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Fun-filled campus event will kick off yearlong 175th anniversary celebration 

June 27, 2023 By Doug Erickson

Memorial Union Terrace on Lake Mendota during a sunny, summer day.

Some anniversaries come and go unnoticed. That’s not the way UW–Madison rolls. 

Wisconsin’s flagship public university will mark its 175th anniversary with a yearlong series of celebrations and special events on campus and across the state. A community kickoff event at Memorial Union will officially launch the festivities on the evening of Wednesday, July 26, 2023 — 175 years to the day since the state’s first governor and legislature created the University of Wisconsin. 

Expect fireworks, live music, free ice cream and the likely appearance of everyone’s favorite Badger mascot. 

“We have so much to celebrate as a university and as a state,” says Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin. “UW–Madison is a cherished public institution that transforms lives every day through its educational opportunities, ground-breaking research and economic impact. This milestone anniversary is a yearlong opportunity to reflect on both our history and our future, and also to thank the people of Wisconsin for their ongoing support. ” 

Programming for the 175th anniversary celebration will run through the summer of 2024 and will include annual traditions, such as Homecoming and Founder’s Day, as well as special events that will take the Badger spirit to counties across Wisconsin. 

The “175th Anniversary Launch Day Celebration” on July 26 will begin with the raising of the Ho-Chunk Nation flag at Bascom Hall. The university occupies land that was part of the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk people. Raising the Ho-Chunk Nation flag at one of the university’s oldest and most iconic buildings will honor this history and center the yearlong 175th anniversary celebration on the shared future between the Ho-Chunk Nation and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. 

Later that day, music and surprises will unfold at Memorial Union Terrace from 4 to 10 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found on the 175th anniversary website. Highlights will include:  

  • Free Babcock Dairy ice cream.  
  • Live music by The Mersey Brothers featuring Sean Michael Dargan.
  • Photo opportunities with the new 175th anniversary Bucky on Parade statue.
  • A Fifth Quarter performance by members of the UW Marching Band.
  • Fireworks over Lake Mendota.

All events are free. No registration is needed. For more information on the launch event and the 175th anniversary, please see the 175th anniversary website.

Tags: UW175