The unofficial opening of the Student Union was September 9, 1950. The event was marked by President Henry Bennett's annual address to the faculty. When it first opened, lounges, dance rooms, snack bars, gift shops, bowling alleys and game rooms immediately attracted students. Considered by many the "Waldorf Astoria of Student Unions," its first director was C.A. Tibbetts. A national conference of deans was held in the air-conditioned building the next year and participants thanked the college for giving them "the warmest welcome in the hottest weather in the coldest meeting place."