Photo gallery Moments in Time 2021: Our photographers’ favorites
Was 2021 the bounce-back year we were hoping for when the calendar page turned from a grim 2020? In some ways, yes. Students, faculty and staff who had been studying, teaching and working at home returned to campus, darned near 100% vaccinated — a success story we can all be proud of. Family gatherings, large events, shopping trips and vacation travel resumed. But a glimmer of hope that we might soon put the pandemic in the past vanished like a false spring. Back in the classroom, but still in masks. Triple vaxxed, but wary of variants. Virtual meetings with colleagues next door. It was easy to feel at times like the “new normal” was getting old.
Moments in Time 2021 reflects what played out as more of a bounce-back-and-forth year. As always, this collection of images is not a “year in review,” because it doesn’t attempt to document every important occasion, but a “year of views” — chosen for their artistic beauty, the stories they tell, the emotions they convey. The resilience, resurgence and joy you see will jog your memory and, we hope, refresh your spirit as you contemplate what 2022 may have in store.
Photos by Jeff Miller, Bryce Richter, Althea Dotzour and Brian Huynh; Text by Bill Graf
Did you know that UW’s official colors are cardinal and white? On this frosty day in the Arboretum, it was easy to see why. But we’ll continue cheering “Go Big Red!” at athletic events — “Go big bird!” wouldn’t sound nearly as menacing to opponents.
Spitting image: Saliva testing for COVID-19 required a public education campaign teaching students, faculty and staff — in gross but memorable terms — how to “pool your drool.”
You can hide from winter, or face it head-on — take your pick. Lizz Epp, gear master for the Mountaineering Club, chose the latter during the Wisconsin Union Winter Carnival.
There are no known cases of COVID-19 transmission from snowmen, but Frosty was taking no chances and joined the rest of the campus community in observing safety precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.
Tennis, anyone? No? Didn’t think so. On the balance sheet of winter, this late snowfall was a net loss.
State Hygiene Lab employees on the frontlines of the UW response to COVID-19 test an N95 mask for proper fit. If Danica Harrier cannot smell or taste the mist that Ernie Stracener is spraying, she’s good to go.
The experiments were chemical; the distancing, physical. Students observed health and safety protocols during a class in this Medical Sciences Center laboratory.
This is what learning looked like in one typical classroom in the hybrid environment of 2021. Students participated both in person and on screen in Professor Harry Brighouse’s Topics in Philosophy course in the Discovery Building.
We can only hope the animal science instructor resisted the urge to tell students, “We have to start meating like this” — even though it would have been literally true.
Bounding within boundaries, students in Karen McShane-Hellenbrand’s Contemporary Dance class were each assigned their own floor segment to ensure safe distancing during rehearsals in Lathrop Hall.
Sleeves up, thumbs up, vaccination rates up. Kim Bertagnoli of University Health Services administered the COVID-19 vaccine to Santa Gurung, a custodian at the Waisman Center, during a clinic for second-shift employees at Carson Gulley Center.
Chance of rain, but visibility improving for the contributions of the National Pan-Hellenic Council — the nine historically Black fraternities and sororities known as the Divine Nine. They will be honored with a new plaza, garden and display to be created on East Campus Mall.
Everybody sing: “Sweet carillon (bah, bah, baaah), springtime never seemed so good ...”
Graduates — but, due to health and safety considerations, not family, friends or visitors — were able to celebrate an almost-traditional spring commencement when the in-person event at Camp Randall Stadium returned from 2020’s pandemic-induced hiatus.
Ethan Labriel, of Fresh Meadows, New York, had already accepted admission to the UW as part of the Posse Program when he and his mother visited Madison for the first time. The campus tour only heightened his excitement. “And the lake!” he said. “That took my breath away.”
Admit it: You, too, have had the urge to splash around in the fountain at Alumni Park on a hot day. Hey, if you’re up for it, we won’t stop you — but bring your own towel, because you’d look pretty silly dripping wet in your 1:00 Zoom meeting.
A moment of pier joy as two friends embraced over Lake Mendota off the Union Terrace, which reopened in late spring.
If sunset made a sound, it might be a lot like what fans heard from Marquis Hill’s band at a twilight performance on the Terrace for the Madison Jazz Festival.
Just speculating, but we’d guess the volleyball players in short sleeves are Wisconsin kids who thought temperatures in the mid-60s on June 21 were nice and balmy, while the guys in sweatshirts are probably from warmer climates and were freezing.
High-tech imaging put a sculpture at the Chazen Museum of Art in a new light. Technicians were assisting artist Sanford Biggers in analyzing the depiction of an enslaved person in the “Emancipation Group.” Biggers and the Chazen are planning an exhibition at the museum in response.
You’d think he was the star, but selfies with Bucky Badger were just the warm-up to UW Movie Night at Camp Randall Stadium. More than 800 university employees and their families stretched out on the field to watch Dolittle on the 101-by-42-foot video board.
“O.K., what if we turn it the other way?” If you’ve ever helped a student move into their dorm, you know the feeling.
A UW undergraduate’s experience is bookended by the Chancellor’s Convocation at the beginning and — after a lot of hard work, deep thought and revealing discoveries — commencement at the end. Members of the university’s largest-ever freshman class attended this year’s convocation at the Kohl Center.
Transfer students, who arrive at UW later in their academic careers without the benefit of having bonded as Badger freshmen, enjoyed a greeting especially for them during a Labor Day Bash at the Middleton Building sponsored by the Transfer Engagement Center.
Remember when “rubbing elbows” was just an expression? It became a thing as people like microbiologist Jaret Schroeder, introducing himself to Chancellor Rebecca Blank at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, sought a pandemic stand-in for the handshake.
Students scurried past Bascom Hall on the first day of classes Sept. 8. Bucky frowns on tardiness.
First-day friendships were formed as Chemistry 103 students added each other as friends on Snapchat before their class began in Agricultural Hall.
Hindsight was 2020 for students who received their degrees last year but whose commencement ceremonies were cancelled due to the pandemic. They were able to return to campus in September of this year when the evolving COVID situation permitted appropriate festivities at Camp Randall.
Reflecting on (and in) his team’s NBA championship, Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks told the Class of 2020, “We all have the potential to be superheroes in different ways, but it’s the journey that makes it worth it.”
One bygone “perk” of the pandemic: You can no longer attend a virtual career fair dressed in a suit coat and sweat pants. Veeraj Luthra and Sophie Eberlein were looking sharp for the in-person Career and Internship Fair at Gordon Dining and Event Center.
“Things are about to change in very big ways,” predicts Bilge Mutlu, who studies how people interact with robots. This student worked with a robotic arm in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, where Mutlu is conducting research for NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Go ahead, say it — we know you’re thinking it — “Barry Alvarez, out standing in his field.” Well, it’s true. The Camp Randall turf is now named after the retired director of athletics and coach, who was greeted by former Chancellor Donna Shalala during an October ceremony.
Now we’ve seen pumpkin everything. Move over, muffins. Later, lattes. The Giant Pumpkin Regatta is what floats our boat.
A leafcutter ant, it is said, can carry 20 times its body weight. That would be like you or me lifting a Buick. Weigh that as you watch the ants go marching in this Microbial Sciences Building display of bacteriology Professor Cameron Currie’s research.
Nbiiwakamigkwe (left) of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Keja Schreiber of Marten Falls First Nation embraced for the potato dance — in which two people try to keep the beat while holding a potato between their foreheads — during a celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day at Gordon Dining and Event Center.
Long shadows extended like tall defenders from the silhouettes of students playing a pickup basketball game near the Lakeshore Neighborhood residence halls.
Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity performed during the Multicultural Homecoming Yard Show at Shannon Hall. Proceeds from the event were contributed to the Divine Nine Garden Plaza project on East Campus Mall (see image #12).
As Bucky Badger approached during the Homecoming parade, a young spectator — resplendent in Bucky gear from hat to sweatshirt to leggings — was sure to attract her hero’s attention.
One good thing about mandatory face coverings is that they make it easier to maintain your poker face. See? We don’t have a clue whether Tinky Winky or the wizard had the upper hand during a Halloween Bash game of spoons at Dejope Residence Hall.
Varmints in time: Snake specimens in the UW Zoology Museum — some preserved since the 1950s — helped scientists uncoil a mystery about a fungus that was killing endangered rattlers. The museum has more than 700,000 samples, from mussel shells to hippo skulls, available for research.
Sweeping views through the windows of the Discovery Building invited fall color inside, providing an inspiring mood for a studious moment.
No person with a camera phone can resist the urge to become a nature photographer in the UW Arboretum, especially when it’s ablaze with autumn hues.
The “memorial” in Memorial Union, etched in stone upon its dedication in 1928, refers to “the men and women of the University of Wisconsin who served in our country’s wars.”
Yaa Gyasi, author of Transcendent Kingdom — a novel exploring issues of race, immigration, science, faith and family that was this year’s selection for the “Go Big Read” program — signed copies of her book in Ingraham Hall after a seminar for faculty and students from the African Studies Program.
Members of Sanford WhiteEagle Legion Post 556 presented the colors of the Ho-Chunk Nation during a ceremony on Bascom Hill. The Ho-Chunk flag was later raised over Bascom Hall — the first time in the university’s history that it had flown another nation's flag from its main administrative building.
Head in hand, a student appears absorbed in her studies at Union South. Her phone and tablet may be fully charged; if she can’t say the same, Peet’s is right down the hall.
A Facilities Planning and Management worker replaced a banner promoting the record-breaking $4 billion “All Ways Forward” fund-raising campaign with the watchful visage of Bucky Badger.
Tracks on the Union South plaza after a light snowfall gave the appearance that a person in heavy boots had barely eluded an extremely large badger. The beast’s paw prints may actually have been an artist’s impressions in the concrete, but we’d keep moving along just in case.
Students were encouraged to dress as “the most authentic version of themselves” for a multicultural and international student fashion showcase. Wuffa K., director of the Society and Politics Committee of the Wisconsin Union, posed for a photographer from MODA, a Madison fashion magazine.
Wisconsin volleyball players got their kicks — and their hits, and digs, and spikes — in sweeping Minnesota before a home crowd at the Field House to advance to the NCAA Final Four for the third consecutive season. Up to now, UW has not lost a set in tournament play this year.