Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
– Bill Gates
Volume 75 | Issue 4
July 2007

Union Spotlight: Widener University University Center


Widener University built its original college union in 1963 and named it after former university president Maj. Gen. Edward E. MacMorland. "During President MacMorland’s tenure, a variety of student activities began, and he is noted as being one of the first student-centered presidents in Widener’s history," said Michael Strong, assistant director of University Center administration.

In 1997, an addition was made to the union. And although the whole facility is called the University Center, the original union is still referred to as MacMorland Center. The university is also planning for another renovation. "Second floor renovations will allow the building to host a significant diversity component of Widener’s culture," Strong said. "It will be home to International Student Services, Multicultural Affairs, and a specially designed international lounge."

Unique features

A perfect spot in the union for any occasion is the Atrium, with an abundance of light and openness incorporated into the design. "It is perfect for high-profile events, like job fairs, receptions, late-night socials and performances because these events can be seen from the street and can seem very inviting," Strong said.

On a typical day, the area is full of students, staff, and faculty. "Just about everyone passes through the University Center Atrium at least once during their day," Strong said.

Another popular area of the union is the Mac Street Lounge, where students either gather for a social event or to study.

The University Center also is home to an art gallery, bookstore, dining hall, computer lab, convenience store, and much more.

Students’ role

In addition to being patrons to the union, 35 part-time student staff members also find the union a place of employment. "Student managers supervise the facility and student operations assistants during evening and weekend hours," Strong said. "At other times, student assistants manage office operations and make decisions regarding policy interpretation." In addition, students are in charge of all event set-ups within the facility.


The University Center sponsors a wide variety of programming. In 2006–07, performers included Sherry Wilson Butler, Trisha O’Keefe, and the Eric Mintel Quartet.

"In recent years, we have done an AIDS quilt presentation, Real World discussion, battle of bands, seminars on domestic abuse, and a Holocaust art exhibition," Strong said.

The union also is a programming space for local bands, greek organizations, and the student orientation office, as well as other campus departments. "Student organizations and campus departments host a variety of cultural and diverse programming, like the Black Student Union’s Mahogany Café, English Club open mic nights, Hillel movie series, Widener Days, and a host of other programs," Strong said.

On the Web

Visit Widener University’s University Center online at www3.widener.edu/i_am_a_/current_student/university_center/82

Widener University

Four-year, private, metropolitan
Full-time enrollment: 2,400
location: Chester, Pa.

University Center
Director:  Michael Strong
Size: 254,000 sq. ft.
Floors: 3
Built: 1963
Student staff:
35 (part-time)
Nonstudent staff: 2 (full-time);
1 (part-time).