The University Center was built with several intentional design aspects, one being its placement, physically linking the north and south campuses while avoiding being built on top of the underground Campus Center Parking Garage. This positions the facility as a gateway to the university, both physically and psychologically as the first experience many potential students have when walking into the Smith Commons. In a way, the University Center has become a touchstone for guests, parents and students – a familiar place to arrive, reconnect and depart. This fulfills the legacy of Tinkham Veale II himself, with a desire that the University Center be a crucible that brings people together and enables the life-long friendships and connections that endure long beyond the University experience.
Many times, visitors claim the University Center is a student center, but it’s really much more. As a University Center, the facility embraces all the populations of the institution and the surrounding University Circle neighborhood and beyond. In this approach, the facility welcomes all audiences on a balanced approach. No one has priority over anyone else in reserving and utilizing spaces, and to those with active CWRU ID cards, they can access the facility 24/7 to meet, study, rest or just escape whatever pressure may be upon them.
Over the past five years, the University Center estimates between 1.2 and 1.5 million visitors have visited each year. It has hosted more than 21,000 discrete bookings. Some were concerned that the University Center would supplant the Thwing Center, but the reality is that the two, along with the Kelvin Smith Library have established a mutually supportive symbiosis.