The Indiana Memorial Union’s rich history dates back to the early twentieth century. In 1909, tensions between freshmen and sophomores and between fraternity members and unaffiliated students at Indiana University reached a breaking point, leading to physical altercations on campus. Dismayed by the uncivil campus climate, an IU student named John Whittenberger decided to form a student organization that would encourage unity and collegiality among students.
With the help of IU’s president, William Lowe Bryan, and members of the faculty—Whittenberger founded the Indiana Union on December 6, 1909. Whittenberger served as the first president of the organization, which had 15 charter members.