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175th anniversary celebration keeps bringing the wow with ultimate community open house

March 6, 2024 By Doug Erickson

A photo illustration shows a cutout of Bascom Hall with an illustrated rising sun behind the building and a dotted line leading to a location pin next to the words 175th Anniversary Community Open House.

The party Just. Keeps. Going!

As the University of Wisconsin nears the close of its 175th anniversary year, there’s one final flagship event you won’t want to miss. It’s the biggest and best yet, with more than 60 events.

UW–Madison is opening its doors wide, inviting everyone to a 175th Anniversary Community Open House April 5-7. On deck: family-friendly fun, interactive science and art activities, Bucky Badger and much more — all on campus, all open to the public and all free, even the 175 S’more Years ice cream.

“During our 175th year, at events across the state, we’ve celebrated all things UW — its people, its powerful impact, its luminous past and its bright future as a place where an idea can change the world,” says Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin. “With this ultimate open house, we’re inviting the community to join us for a culminating weekend on campus, with all kinds of fun and interesting activities for the whole family.”

View the full roster of events.

The weekend offers something for everyone, whether you want to interact with researchers, listen to beautiful music, explore cutting-edge science or see how cheese is made. Here are a few don’t-miss highlights:

  • Science Expeditions: Enjoy Science Spectacular shows, interact with researchers and visit exploration stations. (Various times, Friday through Sunday)
  • Wisconsin Athletics Family Fun Fair at the UW Field House: Take in interactive displays including inflatables, trophy displays and an appearance by Bucky Badger as we celebrate Wisconsin Athletics’ community connections. (Sunday, April 7 from 1-3 p.m.)
  • Babcock Dairy Observation Deck Tours: Learn about the making of 175 S’more Years ice cream and Cranniverscherry cheese! Tours are first-come, first-served for up to 30 people, but the deck is open to the public during all store hours. (Various times, Friday through Sunday)
  • UW–Madison in Motion: Buckle up for a family-friendly event as we showcase the unique wheels and rides on campus and from our community partners. Check out the UW ice cream truck, the Bucky Wagon, Madison Fire Department trucks and UW Police Department vehicles. If they’re able, Med Flight may even make an appearance. (Lot 131, Sunday, April 7 from 10 a.m.-noon)
  • Celebrate 175 Years of UW (with free samples, prizes and sales): University Book Store is celebrating the anniversary weekend with local treats, amazing discounts and free, official 175th-anniversary ice cream and the official 175th-anniversary cheese. (Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)

“This past year, we’ve looked back on UW ideas that changed the world and looked ahead at how this institution will continue to improve lives and strengthen communities across Wisconsin through its unwavering commitment to the Wisconsin Idea,” says Charles Hoslet, vice chancellor for university relations and chair of the 175th Anniversary Steering Committee. “It’s been gratifying to see how much this institution means to so many people in this state and beyond. We are excited about hosting this open house as another way to share the many facets of the state’s flagship university with the community and to usher in the next 175 years.”

Although the community open house will be the final 175th flagship celebration, related anniversary events will continue, including a performance by the ska band the Skatalites at Memorial Union on April 25 and the UW 175th Anniversary Crazylegs Classic on April 27. For details about these and other events, see the UW 175 events calendar and the list of state stops on the 175th tour.