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Farewell to TUC: A Look Back

Date: March 13, 2001
By: Erin Duffy, Public Relations intern
Archive: Campus News
Video Montage: Click here to view an MPEG movie of TUC through the years. Streaming version: Click here to view at UC's Stremedia site.

TUC's story begins in the late 1930s, decades before it would gain the "Tangeman" in its name. In the years leading up to the center's construction in 1937, UC had no student union building at all. In fact, in those years, the site of TUC was a parking lot.

Students came back to campus from winter break in 1936 to find, much to their dismay, that their parking spaces had become a construction site. This scenario holds a bit of familiarity for all of us.

historic TUC photo

The Union, as it was then known, was a much needed addition to campus. UC was a "street car university." Like today, the school attracted a large number of commuters, from many outlying areas including Northern Kentucky. Unlike today, most of those students made their way to campus on streetcars each day. The union was meant to bring this diverse group of students together. Students living on campus now had a hangout, and commuters had a place to meet between classes.

Dances and luncheons were held. Clubs and organizations had offices and meeting space in the building, and the News Record had its office on the ground floor, as it still does today.

The Union became such a popular place in the 20 years following its construction that renovations and an expansion were soon needed. A wing and the bridge area were added in 1965 at a cost of about $3 million. Most was covered by increasing student fees $6 per quarter. The remaining million was donated by Mrs. Walter Tangeman, who had been a staunch supporter of UC, her alma mater, for many years. Well known for generously giving of her time, energy and wealth, she was a Red Cross volunteer for five decades.

In return for such a generous gift, the entire building, old and new, was officially proclaimed the Donald Core Tangeman University Center, in memory of Mrs. Tangeman's son. Donald Core Tangeman had been killed in action on a PT boat in World War II. Donald Tangeman's portrait and an excerpt of a letter written to his parents shortly before his company shipped out to sea were put on display in TUC so that all could appreciate the brave soldier who gave his life for his country.

TUC dining room

Today, as UC prepares for the massive renovation that will transform TUC once again, take a few moments to appreciate the history that helped shape the union and the university. Remember how many students of days long past walked the very same halls and in the very same manner as we do today. We still drop by TUC to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat while we catch up on news from friends. Clubs and organizations still meet in TUC. Students still check out the bulletin boards for notices and announcements.

The center was, and still is, a center of activity on campus. The new building will carry on that tradition, but the foundations were laid many years ago.

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