At the center of the Lamoni campus, and what could be described as the “LIVING ROOM” of Graceland, sits the Memorial Student Center.
Known to most as simply the MSC, the multi-functional building has been host to everything from celebrities and big events to unassuming first introductions of students, some of whom still recall the exact spot where they met the love of their life many decades ago.
In the very same space, thousands of students have had experiences — some big, some seemingly small — that helped them feel like a part of this community and shaped their Graceland experience.
The building’s impact on students has been so great that upcoming Graceland Student Government President Randallynn Smith referred to the shift from the Memorial Student Center to Newcom Student Union as a change of an era when she spoke at the dedication ceremony in April.
“This place is central to so many people here on this campus. We all filter through it all the time,” she said. “This reimagined building has so much in store for students — many moments to be shared and remembered, lots of meetings will be held, meals shared, games played, great conversations … and a lot of those conversations lead to lasting relationships — and at the end of the day, that’s what Graceland’s all about.”
STUDENT SUPPORT THROUGH THE YEARS
The importance of the MSC to students has a history that dates back to before the building was even built. The first major gift from a student group came from the class of 1947, offering approximately $300 toward construction of a fireplace, demonstrating their desire for a space to come together. And that history of student support continues today. On March 5 of this year, the student senate voted unanimously to appropriate $25,000 to the Newcom Student Union renovation.
The 2018-19 speaker of the senate, Tressa Cummings ’20, said of the decision, “We recognize the importance of this space and value the experiences students have here. When we looked at the needs of current and future students, it became clear that this was a good investment and the way we wanted to spend our money.”
While this donation from the 2018-19 senate will earn them the naming rights for the game room in the new student union, what they and all future students will really gain is an improved space where they can embrace the moments of their Graceland experience — everything from big events to those unassuming first introductions.
“The (Memorial Student) Center became our home away from home. Here we ate, talked, played, worked and worshipped. The snack shop, the assembly room, the offices, the entire building with its people became an important part of our Graceland life.”
$300 The gift amount from the class of 1947 toward construction of a fireplace in the Student Center.
$25,000 The donation made by the 2018-19 student senate toward the new Student Union game room.
As the Horizons team spent time looking through old Acacia yearbooks, we noticed a recurring theme that holds true after all these years: the MEMORIAL STUDENT CENTER has become the beating heart of the student life experience. Here are some gems from the past.
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