UA Journey

Constitution Hall

Fairbanks Campus

Description: 504 Tok Lane

The Student Union Building was one of two major construction projects completed on campus in 1955. It housed a snack bar, bookstore, game room, barbershop, coatroom and a spacious lounge with television and "hi-fi" sets. A cafeteria that could serve up to 285 students was on the second floor. On the third floor were student government offices, a faculty lounge, student publications, the alumni association, journalism and broadcasting faculty, and Alaska’s first public radio station, KUAC-FM, which went on-air in 1962. Today, the building is home to the UAF Alumni Association, UAF Bookstore, a barbershop, post office, an office for United Campus Ministry and KSUA-FM, the student-managed radio station. Construction of an elevator is planned in 2009 as part of campus-wide American Disabilities Act compliance.

In November 1955, some 55 elected territorial delegates assembled in the new building to draft a constitution for Alaska, with the hopes of reviving the stalled statehood movement. The delegates were able to draft a constitution written by and for the people rather than special interests because no lobbyists were allowed to be present. The delegates spent 75 days that winter working on the document in the Student Union Building and signed it in what is today Signers' Hall, on Feb. 8, 1956. The Student Union Building was rededicated later in 1956 as Constitution Hall in honor of the document created there. In February 2006 the “Creating Alaska” celebration on the Fairbanks campus commemorated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the constitution.

Congress ratified the state constitution in 1958. President Eisenhower signed it Jan. 3, 1959, and Alaska was admitted as the 49th state in the union.

Sources

“The Cornerstone on College Hill,” by Terrence Cole; “1959-60 University of Alaska Catalog;” Facilities Services Web page, 2002-03 Construction Overview; University Relations Tour Script 2002

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