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The University of Wisconsin–Madison Turns 175

February 2, 2023 By Kristina LeVan
Bascom Hall's pillared front, covered in banners that form a W.

On July 26, 175 years to the day since its founding as the state’s first public university, UW–Madison will kick off a year-long celebration to reflect on the successes and challenges of its first one and three-quarter centuries and to spark conversation around the next 25 years leading up to its bicentennial in 2048. Photo: Jeff Miller

There are anniversaries, and then there are demisemiseptcentennials—a milestone 175 years in the making.

This July marks 175 years since Wisconsin’s first governor and legislature created the University of Wisconsin. Since then, the state’s very first public university has been a constant trailblazer, leading the way in everything from ground-breaking research discoveries to defining cultural movements.

UW–Madison will honor these historic moments as part of a year-long celebration beginning July 26, 2023 — 175 years to the day since the university was created. Programming will run through May 2024 and will include annual traditions, such as Homecoming and Founder’s Day, as well as anniversary events that will take the Badger spirit to counties across Wisconsin.

“For the past 175 years, UW–Madison has been a place where extraordinary ideas become life-changing realities, where we honor traditions of the past while also continuing to propel Wisconsin forward,” says Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin. “In the year ahead, we’ll celebrate many of the people, events and important advancements that have made UW–Madison one of the most respected institutions in the nation.”

Planning for the 175th anniversary will bring together UW–Madison students, faculty and staff, and university partners, including the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA), Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and community groups. The events will not only reflect on the successes and challenges of the past 175 years, but also aim to spark conversation around the university’s next two-and-a-half decades leading up to its bicentennial celebration in 2048.

“Since its creation, UW–Madison has positively impacted every corner of the state. As we approach this important milestone, we invite students, faculty, staff, alumni and residents from across Wisconsin’s 72 counties to join us in celebrating the university’s past and look ahead to its bright future,” says Charles Hoslet, vice chancellor for University Relations.

Additional information about UW–Madison’s 175th anniversary will be released in the coming weeks. Comments and questions about the event can be shared with

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