History of the HUB

Photo from the Sept. 1969 Comenian Newspaper

Photo from the Sept. 1969 Comenian Newspaper

The Haupert Union Building is the hub of student activity. But how did this building come to be the place that we all know and love? 

Discussions to build the HUB began in the 1920s but wasn’t constructed due to the Great Depression. In the 1930s a need for student “soft space” — non-academic or athletic spaces for students — was prevalent. To that end, the basement of Comenius Hall was converted into a lounge and candy store. This lounge was known as Emsee, for MC or Main Campus. It was named after the South Campus equivalent: the Femsee. 

Students began outgrowing the Emsee as the population of undergrads grew over the next 20 years. In the 1950s, students began donating $75 per semester for the construction of a student union building on campus. The new student union, which would replace the Emsee, was fund-raised primarily by the classes of ‘56, ‘57, and ‘58, according to Moravian University President Bryon Grigsby ‘90. Seventy-five dollars in 1956 is equivalent to the purchasing power of about $830 today. 

The students who donated presented a check of $400,000 to President Raymond Haupert in 1958, and the board of trustees approved the construction of a student union building in 1958. The HUB would become the first student union building in Pennsylvania. 

image from Breslin Architects 
images from Breslin Architects

The plans for the original structure called for a cafeteria and dining hall, snack bar, music room, and meeting rooms. On the lower level, there were student mailboxes, a supply room and storage space, and student rooms that featured table tennis and billiards tables, and televisions. A portico ran the length of the building to overlook the football field, today the John Makuvek Field. 

Construction began in September 1960 and was set to be completed by September 1961. Completion was delayed until May 1962 to accommodate the addition of Prosser Hall. The auditorium was a gift from local philanthropists Harrison and Myrtie Prosser. 

As stated on the Lighting the Way webpage, the CUB, standing for College Union Building, was dedicated and opened on 2 May 1962. 

According to a Comenian Newspaper article published on Mar. 23, 1962, the opening of the CUB took place on Mar. 12, 1962. Editor David Howard said tours led by student guides were held from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. 

“The College Union Building has something for everybody,” said Howard. 

In 1969 the building was renamed the HUB in honor of President Haupert in the wake of his 

retirement announcement. President Haupert served as president from 1944 until 1969.  

There have been a few renovations to the HUB over the years, including those to the dining spaces, the Pavillion, and Lounge. More recently, the bookstore out of the HUB and into the Moravian Book Shop on Main Street. The space once occupied by the bookstore now houses the Student Life Center.  

image from Breslin Architects 
images from Breslin Architects

images from Breslin Architects 

One of the largest renovation projects occurred in 1994, funded with a $3.5 million dollar budget. These renovations improved the interior of the HUB, giving it a more modern look. This renovation was divided into two phases, with the first being completed in October 1994 and the second  by late 1995. 

When asked about the historical significance of the HUB, President Bryon Grigsby said, “The building itself is not historical. The alums that raised the money as students are the ones donating the money now to reconstruct it.” 

Grigsby also said that the HUB was not built to a 100-year standard, so he’s not surprised that the building needs a renovation. 

The HUB has been home to many student gatherings and serves as a place of reprieve from dorm halls and classrooms. With the reconstruction of the HUB on the horizon, we can all get excited about the history that will continue to be made in the building.