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Generations come together at annual Grandparents University

July 18, 2007

Grandparents and grandchildren will explore the plants and animals of Wisconsin’s past as they earn degrees this month in climate history, a new "major" to be offered as part of Grandparents University (GPU) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The seventh annual Grandparents University will bring more than 740 grandparents and grandchildren from all over Wisconsin and the world to learn together from university experts and share a campus experience. The award-winning annual conference is co-hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association and UW-Extension Family Living Programs.

This year’s sold-out sessions will take place Thursday and Friday, July 19-20, and Thursday and Friday, July 26-27.

During two days, grandparents and children ages 7-14 can:

  • share hands-on learning activities,
  • attend a tailgate party and take part in evening activities,
  • stay in one of the university residence halls, and
  • earn a "degree" in one of 15 offered majors.

Learners will also create art projects, build rockets, make cheese and ice cream, and work with animals, among other activities. Other majors include art, biotechnology, botany, engineering, entomology, food science, limnology, meteorology, microbiology, physics, rocket science, veterinary medicine, video game design and wildlife ecology.

At the end of each session, GPU participants will receive diplomas at a graduation celebration and ceremony, which feature "deans" from each of the majors.

This year, 74.5 percent of the grandparents and 63.5 percent of the grandchildren are from Wisconsin. In all, participants come from 19 U.S. states.

Twenty-seven participants are returning to GPU for their seventh straight year, and overall, more than 95 percent attendees say they would participate again. The event has also served as a model for similar programs at universities around the nation.

Additional sessions have been scheduled for 2008 to make room for even more grandparents and grandchildren to attend GPU at UW–Madison. 

Media are welcome to attend a session of Grandparents University. Please contact WAA’s Sarah Schutt at (608) 262-5699 or to make arrangements.