The Sixties

1960s students seated in open lounge area


As the Kansas State University student population grew, so did the Union, not only in structure but also in programs and services. A 40,000 square foot addition, at the cost of $900,000, was completed in 1963. Students in the 1960s appreciated what the Union had to offer and again worked to expand the facility. From two additions and a satellite Tuttle Creek Lake Union concept, students supported the mission of the Union. Richard Blackburn was named Union director in 1963, becoming just the second person to hold that title. More than 300 students were involved with the Union Program Council (UPC) each year during the 1960s. Programs included trips to New York World's Fair, skiing in Colorado, a tour of Europe and a cruise to the Bahamas, along with appearances by Harry Belafonte, Jerry Lee Lewis and Baroness Maria von Trapp from "The Sound of Music" story. 


  • Trip to New York World's Fair
  • Jerry Lee Lewis performed
  • First addition completed
  • Blackburn named second director
  • UPC has more than 300 student members
October 1960 The Union assumed responsibility for the campus vending service program. 
1961 The concept of a Lake Union was pondered. Four different sites on and around Tuttle Creek Lake were studied. After two years, it was decided that the construction cost and the cost to operate such a facility would be too high for students to support and the idea was dropped.  
1963 The first addition to the Union was completed. James C. Canole, a state architect, was the architect for the addition. Green Construction Company of Manhattan was the general contractor and added 40,000 square feet to the building. Largely due to the significant growth in enrollment at K-State, the addition was funded without additional student fee money. The additional square footage cost $900,000. Enough of the expansion project was completed to host 1,000 people in the Ballroom for K-State's Centennial Banquet and Ball. 
October 1963 Richard Blackburn became the second K-State Student Union Director.