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History of the Union

Old University CentersUC San Diego was officially founded in 1960 as a premier research institution for graduate and undergraduate study. Campus now includes six undergraduate residential colleges, five academic divisions— Arts & Humanities, Biological Sciences, Jacobs School of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences—three graduate schools, a medical school and a school of pharmacy. Through the years of growth and study, students from all disciplines have relied on their student union as a home away from home; a place where they can relax, study, and belong.

Early 1980s

Student Center at Muir College was insufficient for the more than 12,000 enrolled students. Students pass a referendum to raise student fees from $12.50 to $37.50 per quarter for the purpose of constructing a new university center.


Construction workers broke ground on the new student union, a facility that would house restaurants, a movie theater, and offices for student organizations.


Retail mogul, Sol Price donates $2 million toward the project—one of the largest donations in university history. As a result, the new student union is named Price Center.


April 21, 1989 is the Price Center’s grand opening. University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) is established.


Enrollment is projected to exceed 30,000 by 2010; Student task force recommends renovations to the Student Center and an expansion of the Price Center.


Students approve a fee increase of $39 per quarter to fund the Price Center expansion project.


Price Center earns two architectural awards. One from the American Institute of Architects and the other from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.


Construction begins on Price Center East. The project ultimately earns a LEED silver equivalent rating for sustainable elements and construction practices.


Price Center doubles in size with the grand opening of Price Center East in May 2008. The new addition hosts lounge spaces, offices for student organizations, a ballroom, a grocery store, new restaurants, and a new entertainment space known as The Loft.


Price Center East earns its second consecutive merit award for architecture from the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), the nation’s largest state architectural organization.