GROUNDED IN HISTORY

The story of Purdue University is a powerful one, where people bring their best and learn to build a better world together through small steps and giant leaps.
—Message on the Atlas Family Marketplace welcome arch

A comprehensive renovation has revitalized the Purdue Memorial Union’s ground floor, which reopened in January as the Atlas Family Marketplace.   

The facility’s name honors a $2.5 million gift from the Robert and Judith Atlas Family Foundation. A former senior vice president with Walgreens, the late Bob Atlas (P’57) met his future wife, Judy, at Purdue. When they were first dating, they often ordered hamburgers in the Union. Judy liked hers with tomato—which cost an extra 10 cents—and always wondered why Bob would drink water instead of Coke. He didn’t mention it at the time, but the young college student was working his way through school and sacrificed having a Coke so Judy could enjoy her tomato.

A black and white photo of young man and woman standing together

Bob and Judy Atlas // 1956

Bob and Judy Atlas // 1956

“Purdue was really the beginning of our family, and we wanted to celebrate that through this gift,” says son Howard Atlas (P’84), president of the foundation. “College is challenging today, and it’s important that students have this hub on campus—a place of refuge, study, and relaxation.”

The University dedicated the Atlas Family Marketplace on April 28. The design blends a fresh, modern look with treasured elements of the iconic building, including plaster arches and wooden windows. Campus memorabilia throughout the facility honor Purdue traditions and history.

The marketplace features state-of-the-art technology; increased accessibility; 900 interior seats in various styles and configurations; collaborative spaces; and 12 retail dining venues.

Purdue completed the Union’s original construction in 1924. The ground floor’s last renovation in 2008 included mostly cosmetic updates.    

“The Atlas Family Marketplace has dramatically transformed the ground floor of the Purdue Memorial Union, blending modern amenities with historic and treasured features,” says Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “We extend sincere thanks to the Atlas family and all of our generous donors who helped us create this premier destination for students, faculty, staff, and guests.”

Photo of the entrance welcome arch in the Purdue Memorial Union
Convenience store entrance with shelves and coolers stocked with snacks
Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area
Billiards tables surrounded by open seating areas
Outdoor couches with plush pillows surround a rectangular fire pit. Vibrant flowers accent the space
Several sets of round tables and chairs fill the patio
Photo of the entrance welcome arch in the Purdue Memorial Union
Convenience store entrance with shelves and coolers stocked with snacks
Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area
Billiards tables surrounded by open seating areas
Outdoor couches with plush pillows surround a rectangular fire pit. Vibrant flowers accent the space
Several sets of round tables and chairs fill the patio

Warm Welcome // Upon entering the Atlas Family Marketplace, visitors are greeted by a welcome arch similar to the one found outside at State and Grant Streets.

Boilermaker Market // A new convenience store allows students and visitors to grab a quick snack or beverage while passing through the Union. The store’s proximity to the Union Club Hotel makes it accessible to overnight guests as well.

Gather Round // The 1869 Meeting Room provides space for small gatherings. The room’s name reflects the year of Purdue’s founding.

Have a Seat // Just outside the 1869 Meeting Room, the 1869 Lounge provides a variety of seating options—booths, couches, and high tables—to create an ideal spot for quiet study, collaboration, or a snack break. 

Take a Cue // Students and guests can reserve one of the marketplace billiard tables, a nod to the Union’s original billiards space. Additional tables and the campus bowling alley can still be found at Union Rack and Roll in the basement.   

Center Stage // The smaller of two terraces within the Atlas Family Marketplace, the Mary J. Hanna-Elmore East Terrace includes an outdoor stage, firepit, and event space ideal for private functions.

TOP: entrance welcome arch, BOTTOM: Convenience store entrance with shelves and coolers stocked with snacks
TOP: entrance welcome arch, BOTTOM: Convenience store entrance with shelves and coolers stocked with snacks
TOP: Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area; BOTTOM: Billiards tables surrounded by open seating
TOP: Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area; BOTTOM: Billiards tables surrounded by open seating
Patio including couches, fire pit, vibrant flowers, and tables
TOP: entrance welcome arch, BOTTOM: Convenience store entrance with shelves and coolers stocked with snacks
TOP: Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area; BOTTOM: Billiards tables surrounded by open seating
TOP: Couches and soft booths in a lounge seating area; BOTTOM: Billiards tables surrounded by open seating
Patio including couches, fire pit, vibrant flowers, and tables

Warm Welcome // Upon entering the Atlas Family Marketplace, visitors are greeted by a welcome arch similar to the one found outside at State and Grant Streets.
(Top image)

Boilermaker Market // A new convenience store allows students and visitors to grab a quick snack or beverage while passing through the Union. The store’s proximity to the Union Club Hotel makes it accessible to overnight guests as well.
(Bottom image)

Gather Round // The 1869 Meeting Room provides space for small gatherings. The room’s name reflects the year of Purdue’s founding.
(Top image)

Have a Seat // Just outside the 1869 Meeting Room, the 1869 Lounge provides a variety of seating options—booths, couches, and high tables—to create an ideal spot for quiet study, collaboration, or a snack break. 
(Top image)

Take a Cue // Students and guests can reserve one of the marketplace billiard tables, a nod to the Union’s original billiards space. Additional tables and the campus bowling alley can still be found at Union Rack and Roll in the basement.   
(Bottom image)

Center Stage // The smaller of two terraces within the Atlas Family Marketplace, the Mary J. Hanna-Elmore East Terrace includes an outdoor stage, firepit, and event space ideal for private functions.

True Colors // A nod to the building’s history, new stained-glass windows emulate existing windows in the Union that represent “the mixing of students of all races and creeds welcome within its walls.”

Stained glass windows and iron rails accent the wall the divides the dining area from the hallway
Close-up of a colorful stained glass window
Large lit sign displaying "Walk-On's" logo at the entrance of the restaurant. Seating and TVs are visible in the background

Co-owned by Purdue football legend Drew Brees (M’01), Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux features 48 TVs and scratch-made, Louisiana-inspired cuisine with game-day flair.   

Co-owned by Purdue football legend Drew Brees (M’01), Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux features 48 TVs and scratch-made, Louisiana-inspired cuisine with game-day flair.   

Wood dining booths and two large televisions mounted on the wall

Photos of Purdue student-athletes are featured within Walk-On’s. (Photo by John Underwood)

Photos of Purdue student-athletes are featured within Walk-On’s. (Photo by John Underwood)

Wooden U-shaped booth with hundreds of signatures etched and painted on the surface

As a tribute to the beloved Pappy’s Sweet Shop previously located nearby, Walk-On’s includes a small section with an original Pappy’s booth. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

As a tribute to the beloved Pappy’s Sweet Shop previously located nearby, Walk-On’s includes a small section with an original Pappy’s booth. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Close-up of hundreds of signatures etched and painted on the surface

Generations of Boilermakers carved their names into this booth once located in Pappy’s Sweet Shop.

Generations of Boilermakers carved their names into this booth once located in Pappy’s Sweet Shop.

Two people sit at the corner of the bar, resting their feet on the metal rails

Lafayette’s electric streetcar service made its inaugural run in 1888, and Purdue was the first university with a complete testing station and railroad terminus. Electric streetcars ran until 1940, when they were replaced by buses. Once located on State Street, the streetcar rails that now function as bar rails at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux were unearthed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Lafayette’s electric streetcar service made its inaugural run in 1888, and Purdue was the first university with a complete testing station and railroad terminus. Electric streetcars ran until 1940, when they were replaced by buses. Once located on State Street, the streetcar rails that now function as bar rails at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux were unearthed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

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Large lit sign displaying "Walk-On's" logo at the entrance of the restaurant. Seating and TVs are visible in the background

Co-owned by Purdue football legend Drew Brees (M’01), Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux features 48 TVs and scratch-made, Louisiana-inspired cuisine with game-day flair.   

Co-owned by Purdue football legend Drew Brees (M’01), Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux features 48 TVs and scratch-made, Louisiana-inspired cuisine with game-day flair.   

Wood dining booths and two large televisions mounted on the wall

Photos of Purdue student-athletes are featured within Walk-On’s. (Photo by John Underwood)

Photos of Purdue student-athletes are featured within Walk-On’s. (Photo by John Underwood)

Wooden U-shaped booth with hundreds of signatures etched and painted on the surface

As a tribute to the beloved Pappy’s Sweet Shop previously located nearby, Walk-On’s includes a small section with an original Pappy’s booth. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

As a tribute to the beloved Pappy’s Sweet Shop previously located nearby, Walk-On’s includes a small section with an original Pappy’s booth. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Close-up of hundreds of signatures etched and painted on the surface

Generations of Boilermakers carved their names into this booth once located in Pappy’s Sweet Shop.

Generations of Boilermakers carved their names into this booth once located in Pappy’s Sweet Shop.

Two people sit at the corner of the bar, resting their feet on the metal rails

Lafayette’s electric streetcar service made its inaugural run in 1888, and Purdue was the first university with a complete testing station and railroad terminus. Electric streetcars ran until 1940, when they were replaced by buses. Once located on State Street, the streetcar rails that now function as bar rails at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux were unearthed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Lafayette’s electric streetcar service made its inaugural run in 1888, and Purdue was the first university with a complete testing station and railroad terminus. Electric streetcars ran until 1940, when they were replaced by buses. Once located on State Street, the streetcar rails that now function as bar rails at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux were unearthed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Black and white image of a metal fence rail outdoors
Metal fence rail that says "Must be 21+ to enter"
Black and white photo of corner limestone and brick sign that says "Purdue University, Founded 1869"
Limestone sign says "Purdue University, Founded 1869", now indoors with stained glass window above
Dining area bustling with students
Limestone fireplace with emblem of a hammer and phrase "Hammer Down"
Bench seating with mosaic wallpaper above
Black and white image of a metal fence rail outdoors
Metal fence rail that says "Must be 21+ to enter"
Black and white photo of corner limestone and brick sign that says "Purdue University, Founded 1869"
Limestone sign says "Purdue University, Founded 1869", now indoors with stained glass window above
Dining area bustling with students
Limestone fireplace with emblem of a hammer and phrase "Hammer Down"
Bench seating with mosaic wallpaper above

Smoke Screen // The smoking fence—an iron railing that once encircled much of campus—got its name from 19th-century students who skirted a rule that forbade smoking on University grounds. The students would lean over the fence, technically off campus, while smoking.

(Photo by Kat Braz)

Sections of the smoking fence can still be found around campus, including inside the Union. A small remnant divides the 21-and-older area of Walk-On’s from the main dining section.

Etched in Stone // A limestone marker honoring the late Beverley Stone (HDR LA’86)—Purdue’s first dean of students and the first woman to hold such a position at a Big Ten university—was once located at the corner of Grant and State Streets outside the Union.

Components of the original marker were incorporated into the ground floor’s design during the renovation, and they now welcome guests at the base of the Great Hall staircase and near the west tower stairs.

Old Flame // The Fireside Lounge features abundant seating, natural light, and a restored fireplace uncovered during construction. The fireplace now includes the popular Purdue acclamation “Hammer Down” at the top.

(Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Pieces of Purdue // The mosaic wall pays tribute to the beloved places, activities, and traditions woven into the fabric of Purdue’s campus.

Look closely, and you’ll see icons representing the griffin on Purdue’s seal, the Bell Tower, space exploration, and the “World’s Largest Drum.”

TOP: Black and white image of a metal fence rail outdoors; BOTTOM: Metal fence rail that says "Must be 21+ to enter"
TOP: Black and white photo of corner limestone and brick sign that says "Purdue University, Founded 1869"; BOTTOM: Limestone sign says "Purdue University, Founded 1869", now indoors with stained glass window above
Dining area bustling with students
Limestone fireplace with emblem of a hammer and phrase "Hammer Down"
Bench seating with mosaic wallpaper above
TOP: Black and white image of a metal fence rail outdoors; BOTTOM: Metal fence rail that says "Must be 21+ to enter"
TOP: Black and white photo of corner limestone and brick sign that says "Purdue University, Founded 1869"; BOTTOM: Limestone sign says "Purdue University, Founded 1869", now indoors with stained glass window above
Dining area bustling with students
Limestone fireplace with emblem of a hammer and phrase "Hammer Down"
Bench seating with mosaic wallpaper above

Smoke Screen // The smoking fence—an iron railing that once encircled much of campus—got its name from 19th-century students who skirted a rule that forbade smoking on University grounds. The students would lean over the fence, technically off campus, while smoking.

Sections of the smoking fence can still be found around campus, including inside the Union. A small remnant divides the 21-and-older area of Walk-On’s from the main dining section.

(Black-and-white photo by Kat Braz)

Etched in Stone // A limestone marker honoring the late Beverley Stone (HDR LA’86)—Purdue’s first dean of students and the first woman to hold such a position at a Big Ten university—was once located at the corner of Grant and State Streets outside the Union.

Components of the original marker were incorporated into the ground floor’s design during the renovation, and they now welcome guests at the base of the Great Hall staircase and near the west tower stairs.

Old Flame // The Fireside Lounge features abundant seating, natural light, and a restored fireplace uncovered during construction. The fireplace now includes the popular Purdue acclamation “Hammer Down” at the top.

(Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

Pieces of Purdue // The mosaic wall pays tribute to the beloved places, activities, and traditions woven into the fabric of Purdue’s campus.

Look closely, and you’ll see icons representing the griffin on Purdue’s seal, the Bell Tower, space exploration, and the “World’s Largest Drum.”

Retro Purdue Pete logo painted on a brick wall

During the renovation’s demolition phase, an exterior wall from the original 1924 construction was uncovered. It is now encased in glass near the Sol Toro restaurant. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)

During the renovation’s demolition phase, an exterior wall from the original 1924 construction was uncovered. It is now encased in glass near the Sol Toro restaurant. (Photo by Rebecca McElhoe)