Rees Hall

Photo of a brick and concrete building surrounded by fall foliage.Completed in 1958, Union’s women’s residence hall was named in honor of Ms. Pearl L. Rees. The east wing was added in 1965. Rees Hall can accommodate 300 students and has several guest rooms, a large, comfortable lobby and a chapel.

Pearl Rees served as preceptress (or in more modern terms, “dean”) for nearly 25 years, starting in 1921. An 1898 graduate of Union, she is one of the alumni represented by a rock in the Rock Pile. Before returning to Union, she had worked as secretary for the Atlantic Union Conference and preceptress at South Lancaster Academy, which later became Atlantic Union College. She died in Lincoln in 1966, meaning she was still around to see her alma mater and former employer dedicate this building in her honor.

In addition to the women’s dorm, Rees Hall also houses:

George Stone School, a multi-grade elementary school used as a laboratory by the Teacher Preparation Program. Union’s education alumni are much more likely to stay teachers after the first five years of teaching than the national average (the difference is something like 90 percent of our alumni persist vs 50 percent nationwide). We believe this is in large part due to their experience interacting in a classroom setting starting their freshman year, rather than waiting for student teaching their senior year for reality to intrude on idealism.

The International Rescue and Relief Program
is one of Union’s most unique academic offerings, combining emergency management, international aid work, rescue certification and a choice of pre-medical/pre-dental, paramedical/firefighter, or pre-PA/pre-professional tracks. The program’s space includes a bouldering wall and the largest single-toilet bathroom on campus (seriously, you have to see it to believe it).

Did you know?
Near the entrance of Rees Hall is a concrete table and bird bath. While we don’t know the exact date of their creation, these were made sometime around 1900, and have been in a few different locations around campus during their lifetime.

Prescott Hall

Photo of a brick and concrete buildingPrescott Hall, completed in 1967, accommodates up to 192 men and several guest rooms. The dormitory is named in honor of W. W. Prescott, Union’s first president and a visionary pioneer in the history of Seventh-day Adventist education.

Prescott Hall is one of two men’s residences, and differs from Culver Hall in several ways. Most notably, rooms in Prescott are set up as suites, with two rooms sharing one bathroom, which the students are responsible for cleaning themselves. In Culver Hall, bathrooms are shared with the floor, but janitorial services are provided.

Did you know? In addition to storage, laundry machines and a TV room, the basement of Prescott Hall houses a sauna. It’s not used often, but it was repaired and reopened in 2007.

Engel Hall

Photo of a brick building with trees and ivy.This building is occupied by The Division of Fine Arts, which includes the music, art, and graphic design programs. The western half of the complex was completed in 1947 as Engel Hall, especially designed as the music building. It was named for Carl C. Engel, head of the music department and teacher of violin and cornet for 32 years. Facilities include faculty offices, band and choir rehearsal rooms, piano practice rooms and a recital hall. Many alumni will remember the east half of the building as the library, completed in 1937. By 1966, the library’s collection had outgrown the building and an addition was built, joining it with Engel Hall. The art program moved into the building in 1984 when the library moved to its new facility in the renovated Don Love Building. Art and graphic design students enjoy spacious drawing and painting rooms, pottery, sculpture and stained glass labs, and a Mac lab.

Culver Hall

Photo of a glass and brick building at dusk.Culver Hall is divided into two main sections, a men’s residence which is referred to with the building’s name, and the Ortner Center, which houses Union Market (dining services), the McClelland Art Gallery, a conference center, hotel-style guest rooms, a 24-hour information center, and two lobbies.

Completed in the beginning of 2004, construction of the Ortner Center involved a rebuilding and expansion of Culver Hall. This project was made possible through the Alvin Ortner Trust and the gifts of many alumni and friends of Union College.

Culver Hall, the men’s residence section of the building, is located directly in front of the site of the old South Hall, which burned in 1954. The residence hall is named for Elder Montie Culver, dean of men from 1945 to 1962, and his wife, Rosella.

Male students accustomed to Prescott Hall’s suites often dislike the idea of sharing a bathroom with the entire floor, as Culver residents do. However, deans report guys in Culver develop more of a sense of community, and the residents often say they would rather not have to clean their own toilets and showers like Prescott residents. The choice between the two men’s residences is mostly a matter of taste.

Did you know? Sharing bathrooms is pretty common in college dormitories, but when Union first opened, roommates were expected to sleep in the same bed. While this seems strange to us now, most students at that time had grown up with fewer beds than siblings and considered sharing quite normal.

Jorgensen Hall

Photo of a brick building with shrubs and ivy.This ivy-covered building, completed in 1946, houses the Division of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Guy C. Jorgensen, for whom the hall is named, was department head and chemistry teacher from 1925 to 1956. In 1967, Dr. Charles E. Plumb, another former science teacher and 1913 graduate, answered a need for more space in the science facilities. He and his wife gave a large sum of money toward the construction of what is now called the Plumb Addition, which is the part of Jorgensen closest to 48th Street.

A new facility for the Division of Science and Mathematics will begin construction soon in the area between Rees Hall and the Larson Lifestyle Center.

Did you know? When Union first started work on Jorgensen Hall, America was still fighting in World War II. Because all resources were dedicated to the war effort, most construction projects were banned. However, science education was considered a vital war-time activity, so Union was given special permission to build this facility.

Don Love Building

Photo of a brick building with snow.Don Love was once mayor of Lincoln, and one of the city’s wealthier citizens. In 1939, shortly before he died in 1940, he gave Union College money to build a broom factory to provide jobs on-campus for students. After he died, his estate gave more money to Union to expand the building and add a furniture factory, and it also built the Love Library at UNL. I think the timing proves Love loved Union more.

The building has seen a number of changes and updates, the most recent renovation taking place in 1984 which added the vaulted atrium and the current library. You can see places thoughout the building where the brick changes or a window has been bricked up, signs that show how the building grew over the years.

Access the following areas from the atrium entrance:

Ella Johnson Crandall Memorial Library

Lora McMahon King Heritage Room, including institutional archives and historical collections (library upper level)

The Studio for Writing and Speaking, including a small video editing lab and tutoring services provided by the Division of Humanities (library basement)

Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society Collection (library upper level)

Associated Student Body Student Center, including offices for Student Senate, The Clocktower (newspaper), The Golden Cords (yearbook), private study areas, TV rooms, a game room and Cooper’s Corner (snack shop)

The Teaching Learning Center, providing academic and life coaching and disability services

College bookstore (atrium lower level), providing textbooks, apparel, school supplies and mail services.

Career Center and Union Scholars Honors Program offices (atrium lower level)

External doors lead to the following additional areas in the Don Love Building:

Nursing Annex (lower level, entrance on the north side), housing patient simulation labs, offices and classrooms

Woods Auditorium (upper level, entrance on northwest side), used for drama productions, meetings and other large-to-medium sized events.

Plant Services offices, storage and boiler room (multiple entrances, main one is on the upper level, south side)

Phonathon Room (southwest entrance)

AdventSource (south entrance)

Did you know? When the library moved to the Don Love Building in 1984, the college installed an electronic catalog, the first one used in the State of Nebraska and the first one used by a Seventh-day Adventist college or university. During that same year, Union College became the first private college in the United States to put a computer terminal in every dorm room.


Everett Dick Administration Building

Photo of the Everett Dick Administration Building taken from center campus.

Date completed: 1975
Date named: 1978

An alumnus and history professor for nearly 60 years, Dr. Everett Dick was basically “Mr. Union College.” When the old administration building had to be torn down, he and his wife traveled the country raising money for a new one. Considering all he did for Union over the years, it seemed only appropriate that the building at the heart of campus was named after him.

If only it hadn’t been built in the architectural dark age we know as the 1970s. This was actually considered a fashionable and elegant building at the time.

Basement: amphitheater, classrooms, Student Health

First floor: Office of Advancement, Student Services, Campus Ministries, Academic Administration, Office of the President, Golden Cords Display, Three Angels sculpture

Second floor: classrooms

Third floor: classrooms, computer lab, Division of Business and Computer Science.

Fourth floor: Division of Human Development, Division of Humanities, Division of Religion

Fifth floor: Enrollment Services, Office of Records, Financial Administration, cashier’s window, Information Systems

Sixth floor: Student Financial Services


The Golden Cords

First created: 1906
Current display created: 1989

Union College was founded with mission in mind. Union’s earliest students came to college to learn how to win souls. They planned to take the Advent message to their hometowns and even further fields. This spirit continues today, and many students don’t wait until graduation. An average of 19 students serve as volunteers oversees each year, and more participate in short-term mission trips during breaks.

The class of 1906 made a physical expression of this mission spirit, making a map with strings going out from the clock tower around the world to where our alumni have served as missionaries.

Eventually the map with yellow strings became known as “the golden cords,” and the “Hanging of the Golden Cords” became an annual event. During each homecoming weekend, alumni and current students who have served as missionaries are honored by having a cord hung for them, a reminder that Union never forgets her own.

This tradition has given Union the nickname “College of the Golden Cords.” This theme is reflected in the titles of the alumni magazine, CORDmagazine, and the yearbook, Golden Cords.

The display has known several incarnations. The current version was created in 1989.


Photo of an Eastern fox squirrel on campus.

Even though Union’s official mascot is the Warrior, many of our students and alumni feel a closer connection to the squirrels. Lincoln is home to two varieties of Eastern Fox Squirrels, red and black. Even though they are technically the same species, the two subspecies are very territorial, and have divided the city into red and black zones. Union happens to be in a red zone, with most black zones located downtown. Lincoln is also inhabited by Southern Flying Squirrels, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see these nocturnal recluses.

Union’s squirrels are particularly well fed due to the variety of trees and bushes on campus and the generosity of students. For many years, the cafeteria even provided old bagels for free so students could feed the squirrels. However, as much as the squirrels love bread, it’s really not good for them. If you want to feed them, get a birdseed mix or fresh fruit and vegetables, and make sure not to feed them anything salty.

The near-mascot status of the noble squirrel is recognized in the naming of “The Golden Squirrel Awards” (the annual talent show) and “Squirreldance” (the student film festival).

Honey Locust Trees

Photo of a shelf fungi growing on a honey locust tree.

Union College’s campus is also known as the Joshua C. Turner Arboretum, named for Union’s director of grounds from 1948-1969. It’s part of Nebraska’s statewide arboretum system, and has more than 130 species of trees and shrubs. However, when the locating committee first came to this spot, it was just a field with only a hedge of locust trees and a few cottonwood saplings interrupting the vast prairie.

It is believed that the honey locust trees in front of Jorgensen Hall were part of the original hedge row, making them perhaps the oldest part of Union College. Those trees were part of this campus before it was a campus.