Expanded Student Union building dedicated
“Students, this facility is for you,” said President David A. DeCenzo in his opening remarks. “It is dedicated not only to education, but it’s for those things that matter to you.”
Named in honor of Elizabeth “Lib” Benson Jackson to commemorate a family gift in her name, the structure houses many CCU “firsts”: a 225-seat movie theater, a convenience store, an international center, a multicultural center.
In her remarks, Student Affairs Vice President Debbie Conner emphasized the meaning of the word “union” in relation to the purpose and function of the building. “’Union’ occurs when something is formed by uniting two or more things,” she said. “This space is a place for our students and our community to come together. It represents a coming of age for our university. This facility is equal or better than anything you might find across the country.”
Whitney Comer, executive director of student life, is excited about the synergy that is created when all the student organizations have one central headquarters. The building houses all student activities, including the Career Center and Chant411.
“This is not the same place it was when I arrived at Coastal three years ago,” says SGA President Eliana Padron. “As a consequence of what happens in this building, many lives will be changed. Memories and moments have already begun to attach themselves to this building. This is a real-life Shangri-La.”
Board of Trustees Chairman Wyatt Henderson said, “This building reinforces the board’s commitment to the student body. We exist to support our students, to make sure that they get the best education possible.” Henderson, a CCU alumnus, stressed the importance of the facility to the University’s ongoing efforts to improve student retention. “The facility helps create a true campus life environment. This building is the best reason for students to get involved and stay in school.”
CCU alumnus Delan Stevens, a longtime member of the Horry County Higher Education Commission and a new member of the board of trustees, also helped cut the ribbon. "This is an amazing centerpiece for CCU and will take the University to another level," he said.
President DeCenzo also recognized donors to the building, including Pete and Jaime Green, Debbie and Tracy Conner, and Doug and Teresa Reed-Barnette.