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New monument pays tribute to the Wisconsin Idea

October 12, 2012

A granite boulder with a bronze plaque honoring the Wisconsin Idea is the newest addition to Bascom Hill, courtesy of the Class of 2012.

Photo: Class of 2012 gift

The boulder and plaque given by the Class of 2012 commemorate the Wisconsin Idea.

Workers installed the massive boulder on Friday, Oct. 12 near the top of a grassy area between North Hall and Bascom Hall.

The Wisconsin Idea, often articulated as “the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state,” reflects the belief that UW–Madison teaching, research, outreach and public service should provide benefits beyond the classroom. First applied to the relationship between the university and the people of Wisconsin, it is now generally acknowledged to be national and global in scope.

The cast bronze plaque features a phrase attributed to UW President Charles Van Hise: “I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every home in the state.” It is affixed to a large boulder, apropos of Van Hise’s scholarship in the field of geology.

The Class of 2012 made the gift last May as a capstone recognition that 2011-12 was marked as the Year of the Wisconsin Idea across campus.

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