The Student Center Celebrates 50 Years

A physically distant farewell held to honor the building's 50th anniversary.

Although the Student Center was empty of people on the day its 50th anniversary was marked, the community still gathered — albeit virtually — to say goodbye to the cherished community space.

When campus operations shifted drastically in March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team's plans for a large event to honor the building's 50th anniversary and kick off its demolition and renovation quickly adapted. On Monday, April 27th, the Student Center's website and social channels hosted The Wrecking Ball, a series of digital experiences and activities to celebrate the building's impact on the Georgia Tech community. 

The day began with a live event that offered a final tour of the building hosted by the student chair of the Student Center Expansion Committee, Hisham Temmar. During the live tour, students and alumni shared hundreds of their own memories as each corner of the building was visited one last time. The live tour and other items like an interactive historical map allowed the community to look back through time at the various faces and functions of the Student Center's spaces over the years. The memories submitted by community members about the role the Student Center played in their lives were included in several of the historical review elements found on the web page. The live events of the day concluded with a special online tribute to Midnight Breakfast, a long-standing and finals week tradition that was originally planned for this semester on Monday, the 27th.

"We are glad we were able to honor the Student Center legacy and still have Midnight Breakfast virtually. It was exciting to have so many members of the campus community participate throughout the day."

-Dr. Lindsay Bryant
 Senior Director, Georgia Tech Student Center

While the day's events focused on the first 50 years of the Student Center's community impact, attention was also paid to the exciting future of the building as part of the Campus Center project. A project update town hall, behind-the-fence site tour video, Reddit Ask Me Anything and interactive maps of the new facilities launched throughout the day to highlight the next steps of the Student Center's transformation. In true Student Center form, this virtual event also included the light-hearted fun that the student-focused space is known for, including a ceremonial demolition with dominoes, BuzzFeed quiz about which Blue Donkey drink you are and virtual mural.

With all elements of the farewell and renovation kick-off living online, the celebration of the Student Center's legacy can stretch beyond one single day. All videos, maps, and activities from the Wrecking Ball will remain on the Student Center's website throughout the summer to allow the community more opportunities to look back at the Student Center's first 50 years and ahead to the next 50. 

Related Media

Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • Original Fred B. Wenn Student Center, 1970.

  • Tech Rec bowling lanes with hand scoring

  • Student Center ballroom circa 1970.

  • Georgia Tech Post Office circa 1980.

  • Original Chick-fil-A food court location

  • Bookstore in Frank K Houston building (now Stamps Commons)

  • Construction of the Kessler Campanile

  • 1996 Olympics at the Student Center

  • Student performance on the Commons' Midtown Stage

  • Student farewell painting in Tech Rec

For More Information Contact

Kate Curnow
kate.curnow@stucen.gatech.edu