The Union Club Hotel was built in 1929 as an addition to the Purdue Memorial Union, which opened in 1924 as a memorial to Purdue students who served in World War I. The building has not been given any significant upgrades in the decades since and lacks features and amenities now considered customary for a world-class hotel. The gift from the Whites will fund a major renovation, including the addition of a formal restaurant and bar that, when completed, will also serve as a hands-on learning environment for Purdue students majoring in hospitality management. The renovation is expected to include upgrades to both the look and feel of the hotel, including its furnishings, fixtures, and amenities, as well as the transformation of some rooms into suite-type lodging. In addition, the building's entry will be expanded to include a grand entrance and atrium that celebrates Purdue alumni who have had an impact around the world.
Bruce White graduated from Purdue in 1975 with a degree in management and served on the Purdue board of trustees from 2011-15. He is the founder and CEO of hotel and hospitality chain White Lodging Services Corp., which is headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana. A longtime supporter of Purdue, White helped establish an endowment fund for future Hospitality and Tourism Management students at Purdue's West Lafayette campus; gifts from the Bruce & Beth White Family Foundation and the Dean & Barbara White Family Foundation also enabled Purdue University Northwest to expand and enhance its Hospitality and Tourism Management program, now known as the White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
"We couldn't be more thankful to Bruce and his family. We are excited to work with the White family on this long-needed modernization of our historic Union," said Purdue president Mitch Daniels. "We know our alumni, our future guests, and our faculty and staff will be equally thrilled to see the all-new Union Club Hotel come to life."