In the 1970s at FTU/UCF an area for students to gather together and eat on campus had not been constructed. Finally in November 1979, a proposed student union began construction. The initial location of this structure was considered in a proposed expansion plan of the library but, it was decided to build it between the music rehearsal hall and library. Furthermore, the late 1970's student union is known today as John T. Washington Center and it is where the main campus bookstore, Chik-Fil-A, a barber shop, Fairwinds Credit Union, UCF Credit Union and UCF Card Services is located. John T. Washington, an associate professor of sociology, died of a heart attack March 10, 1983 at 41 years old. Washington was a member of the Orlando Crime Prevention Commission, the Metropolitan Orlando Urban League, Orlando Housing Authority, Board of Orange County NAACP, and Central Florida Committee of United Negro College Fund.
In addition to being a member of these groups, Washington also gave time to Meals on Wheels, founded the First Church of Peace in Orlando, and assisted in founding UCF’S Black Student Union. The renaming of the structure to Washington was a tribute to the accomplishments he had done not only for the university but for the community as well. In 1999, the official campus bookstore changed and became what students are familiar with today—Barnes and Noble. In addition to changing over companies, renovations were done to add 25,000 square feet to the bookstore. The addition in square feet allowed for 30,000 titles of general reading books, a Starbucks Cafe, and an academic technology pavilion that provides access to over 4,000 computer software titles at a discount for students and faculty.