Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Union Building

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Goshen College
Original/Historic Place Name: Union Building
Location on Campus: west campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1948-1950original construction Eash, Orus O.
Designer: Orus O. Eash
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: structural steel, masonry block faced with brick
Roof: Duro-Last single-ply, steel deck
ca. 1948gymnasium
ca. 1948auditorium
ca. 1948-present (2006)student union (multi-purpose)
ca. 2004-present (2006)student union (computer center)

Though few would name this Bauhaus-like mass as a favorite building, one can claim it as symbolic of a variety of campus relations with the external world. The south portico is symbolic of the many departures and arrivals, particularly for the international study that Goshen College students have undertaken, for it is from this portico that many busloads of students have departed for and returned from terms of study abroad. As such, this portico is the physical launching-point to a variety of locales around the world that regularly serve as extensions of our campus. The clock tower, adjacent to a state highway, is also one of the most visible representations of Goshen College to the external world. On the second floor between the south portico and clock tower, the campus radio station (WGoshen CollegeS-FM) has made campus events and other programming available to the outside world.

From Goshen College's earliest days, students and faculty have demonstrated and exercised a high level of interest in international affairs. Strong, direct connections with Mennonite missions in India later expanded to include post-WWI reconstruction and relief in Europe and the Near East, as well as missions in South America. For example the 18-member Class of 1917 propelled at least a third of its members into international service ranging from missions to teaching in American colleges abroad to diplomatic careers with the League of Nations. In the 1920s, recent Goshen College graduates helped found an international relief agency, Mennonite Central Committee, that today has over 1300 workers in 57 different countries. Following WWII many faculty members and alumni participated in relief and educational efforts around the world. Building on this wealth of experience and interest, Goshen College worked in the mid-1960s to develop a cross-cultural study-service experience that by 1968 was integrated as a requirement for all students graduating from Goshen College. Goshen College was one of the first undergraduate institutions to require international study, and the program remains distinctive in its focus on service-learning. Over the course of its history to date, the Study-Service Term (SST) has sent over 6,000 students for a full semester in one of 18 different countries, usually in the developing world. Students spend half the term in language and cultural studies and half the term in full immersion service-learning contexts. In most countries, students live with local families throughout the entire term. Quoting from SST, An Uncommon Journey (used by the college to present the program): "SST is a central component of Goshen College's international education program, which stresses ideals such as intercultural understanding, peace-making, living simply and equality for all persons. The program is vital to the college's mission, and to Goshen College's motto, Culture for Service."


Cane, Linda Nelson. Goshen College Architecture, Centennial Project. Videocassette. Goshen, IN: Goshen College Art Department, 1995.

Kauffmann, Norman L. et al. Students Abroad, Strangers at home: Education for a Global Society. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1992.

Miller, Susan Fisher. Culture For Service: A History of Goshen College, 1894-1994. Goshen, IN: Goshen College, 1994.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006