This week I continue the march from the Wisconsin State Capitol (February 26) down State Street (March 5) to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. My formal relationship with the University began in 1987 when we moved from North Dakota so I could work on a Ph.D. in Continuing and Vocational Education (CAVE) with an emphasis on adult and extension education. However, I was acquainted with the University and the CAVE department from a couple of mentors early in my career with who both earned their education degrees here at UW-Madison, Webb Voorhees and Myron Johnsrud. It also helped that a long time friend Marilyn Lesmeister was working on her degree here in Madison. So the choice of a graduate program was easy, getting into the UW proved to be more of a challenge since my undergraduate grade point was about average and my master’s graduate degree with very good grades didn’t count much. But I persisted and was accepted conditionally as long as I could make the grade so to speak. So that’s how I ended up at the UW and how we made the decision to make Madison our home for the past 30 years. Lots of students come to Madison and want to stay after their time at the University, it’s often said that your Madison taxi driver might have a Ph.D.!
First a little history, then a brief photo tour. The University of Wisconsin-Madison (also know as the University, UW, UW-Madison, or simply Madison if you are talking with other academics) was established in 1848, the same year as Wisconsin statehood. The UW is a highly regarded public research university and is the flagship university of the University of Wisconsin System. It is the land grant university in Wisconsin and also is a designated sea grant university. Of the 43,000 students, over 29,000 are doing undergraduate studies while over 13,000 are studying for postgraduate degrees. The University employs more than 21,000 faculty, academic and support staff. The University is organized into 20 colleges including medical and law schools. It is also home to the “Wisconsin Idea” developed in 1904 by the then President of the UW, Charles Van Hise and replicated by other universities around the world. The Wisconsin Idea is the belief that the boundaries of the university should be the boundaries of the state and that the work of the university (research, teaching, and service) should be applied to solve real world problems and improve the lives of all citizens of the state. A great view of the world and one that still holds today although it does have its detractors mostly from the political class!
Now on to the photo tour. We start our tour on the Library Mall at the corner of State and Lake streets. On the right is the Memorial Library where I spent a lot of time doing research and writing my dissertation. Across the promenade is the University Bookstore where I spent a ton of money of books and class materials! In fairer weather, the library mall offers a number of food carts for those students and staff in a hurry. The mall is often a gathering place for protesters and demonstrators of all types. President Obama gave a speech on the mall during one of his visits to Madison.
Also located on the library mall is the Wisconsin State Historical Society, one the oldest state historical societies in the country.
Around the corner and across the street from the library mall are the restored Red Gym and Memorial Union. The Red Gym is one of the oldest remaining buildings on campus and at one time was a combined armory and gymnasium now serving a student activities center. It looks like a Roman castle and is a National Historic Landmark. The bottom photo in this series is of the Memorial Union Terrace that I’ve featured in a previous article. The Terrace is a popular gathering spot during the summer for both students and the community. Currently, the Memorial Union is undergoing both exterior and interior renovations.
Our next stop is at the foot of Bascom Hill looking up the hill to the “center” of campus, Bascom Hall. The open quadrangle is surrounded by several classroom buildings so everyday thousands of student climb Bascom Hill. It’s said that you can tell someone who makes a regular trek up the Hill by how strong their calf muscles appear!
Bascom Hall is the administrative home to the UW Madison. In addition to classrooms, it houses the office of the university president and other administrative offices. Near the entrance to the building is a statute of Abraham Lincoln. Graduating students take thousands of selfies of themselves sitting on Lincoln’s lap and rubbing his nose for good luck!
In my article a couple of weeks ago about the State Capitol, I mentioned that the view from the Capitol to Bascom Hall can’t be obstructed. The following photo is the view from Bascom Hall towards the Capitol.
One of the first buildings built on the campus, the Education Building, is still in use housing faculty offices and classrooms. I had a couple of classes in this building so had to make the trip up Bascom Hill several times!
As we continue our journey through campus, we reach the Allen Centennial gardens. This gem is located on the “ag” campus with the former Ag Dean’s Residence as a backdrop. The Garden is an outdoor classroom and living laboratory for sustainable ornamental horticulture. The gardens are free and very beautiful during the warmer seasons of the year. Below are some scenes from the Allen Gardens.
Nearby is Babcock Hall that houses the UW dairy plant and produces some of the best ice cream known to mankind! Yes, I’m sure other university based dairy plants produce some decent ice cream, to be honest I’ve tasted some of them, but Babcock Hall is hard to beat.
At the far end of campus is the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, a level one trauma center and a major player in medical training and research. The UW hospital is physically connected the Madison VA Hospital where I worked for over sixteen years. I also worked part time the UW hospital while I was pursuing my degree. The hospital can be barely seen in the distance from a photo taken the outside deck from the Meteorology Building. The second photo shows Med Flight coming in for a landing.
A couple other notable places on campus are the Camp Randall Stadium home to the Wisconsin Badger football team as seen from the Meteorology Building. Of note, Camp Randall was a training ground for the Union Army during the Civil War.
The Kohl Center is the home of Badger basketball and hockey. This arena opened in 1998 and seat over 17,000 spectators. It was named after Herb Kohl, former US Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s the guy behind the Kohl’s clothing and grocery store chain and used some of his fortune to donate $25 million for the construction of the Kohl Center.
Nearby is the Chazen Museum of Art that houses the University art collection and serves art students and public through exhibits and lectures. It’s auditorium also hosts a well regarded Sunday classical music series that is aired on Wisconsin Public Radio.
Well folks, that’s the short but hope spectacular trip around the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. By the way, I did eventually graduate, took me more than a few years but it was certainly worth the journey.
Until next week, travel safe.