Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Members of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board offered free cake and hot chocolate to students Friday to celebrate 168 years of UW-Madison classes on Founder’s Day.

Members of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board offered free cake and hot chocolate to students Friday to celebrate 168 years of UW-Madison classes on Founder’s Day.

Students, alumni celebrate university’s history through Founders' Day

One hundred sixty-eight years ago, the inaugural group of Badgers sat down for the first classes at UW-Madison. Now, every Feb. 5, current Badgers celebrate the university’s founding.

At its beginning, the university was simply a preparatory school that cost $20 a year to attend. The 20 male students, ranging from 10 to 22 years old, took courses in arithmetic, grammar, geography, Latin and penmanship.

In the years since 1849, UW-Madison has grown from 20 students, fewer than 10 areas of study and a 720-square-foot teaching space to nearly 43,000 students across 232 majors on a campus sprawling 936 acres.

Following an editorial in The Daily Cardinal in which student leaders claimed “too few students know anything about the past life of their university,” the first campus-wide celebration of Founders' Day was held in 1919. All 2,000 students were dismissed from class early to congregate at the Red Gym, where they saw the UW Marching Band and speakers who reminisced about the university’s history. Within a few years, birthday cake became a staple of the celebration.

In line with tradition, members of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, a student organization within the Wisconsin Alumni Association, handed out free birthday cake and hot cocoa at numerous campus locations Friday to celebrate the event.

Students were encouraged to share photos and stories from their time at UW-Madison with the hashtag #UWFoundersDay and by using Snapchat filters with location-specific facts about the history of the university.

“Our mission is to ‘connect students past, present, and future’ so we see the day as an opportunity to celebrate the sense of fellowship and community this university has provided to Badgers everywhere for the past 168 years,” said Joe Paul, a member of WASB’s campus and community outreach committee.

Throughout February, WAA chapters around the world will also be celebrating the occasion by inviting notable faculty and alumni to speak in their respective cities.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal