It has been four decades since the Bone Student Center/Braden Auditorium (BSC/BA) doors opened. The milestone will be marked on campus this year with activities for former student employees.

Construction of the student center began in 1970, and the facility opened in 1973. In 1982, the building was renamed after two former presidents and their wives: Robert and Karin Bone and Samuel and Beth Braden. The Brown Ballroom was named after Francis and Helen Brown in 2005.

Forty years after its completion, Bone Student Center remains a vital part of campus. The key to its success has been “the outstanding work of the many student employees, who significantly outnumbered full-time staff,” said retired BSC/BA Director Christ Schwelle.

“We relied on them a great deal, and they came through. Student volunteers on various boards and committees provided advice on policies, procedures and finances and played an active role in scheduling and hosting events for students,” said Schwelle, who was director from 1978 to 1999.

Current Director Michelle Paul is hopeful many alums tied to the facility will return during the year-long anniversary celebration. “We are so excited to celebrate our 40-year history and look forward to sharing today’s Bone with old friends,” she said.

A planning committee is developing anniversary events that will appeal to current students, faculty and staff , as well as alumni and community members. Details will be released during the summer months.

To receive notification of upcoming events, update your contact information on the Alumni Association website or join the Friends of the Bone Student Center Facebook group. Contact Mary Thedens Weber at or (309) 438-7097 with questions or comments.