UW–Madison timeline

1838 The state territorial legislature passes a bill to establish a University of Wisconsin “at or near Madison, the seat of government.”
July 26, 1848 Wisconsin’s first governor, Nelson Dewey, signs an incorporation act creating the University of Wisconsin and investing its government in a board of regents.
February 5, 1849 First class meets, under the direction of Professor John Sterling.
1851 North Hall, the first building constructed on campus, opens, housing classrooms and residences for students.
1854 Levi Booth and Charles T. Wakeley become the first graduates of the university.
1861 Wisconsin Alumni Association founded.
1863 First women students admitted.
1866 Legislature designates the UW as the Wisconsin land-grant institution.
1885 Marching Band founded to accompany the University Military Battalion.
April 4, 1892 The Daily Cardinal, the oldest student-run newspaper on campus, begins publishing.
1892 Charles R. Van Hise receives first UW Ph.D.
1894 Regents defend a UW professor by adopting the sifting and winnowing statement: “Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great State University of Wisconsin shall ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth may be found.”
1898 UW music instructor Henry Dyke Sleeper writes “Varsity,” the university’s traditional alma mater song.
1904 Charles Van Hise, president of the university, declares that “the beneficent influence of the university [be] available to every home in the state,” later articulated as the “Wisconsin Idea.”
1907 Wisconsin Union founded, second only to Harvard’s among U.S. universities.
1909 William Purdy and Carl Beck write “On, Wisconsin,” which becomes the fight song for UW athletic teams.
1925 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is chartered to control patenting and patent income on UW inventions.
1927 Faculty member Alexander Meiklejohn opens the Experimental College in Adams Hall, which, until closing in 1932, featured an innovative curriculum integrating learning and social activities.
1934 UW Arboretum is dedicated with a mission to restore lost landscapes such as prairies.
1946 Soldiers returning from World War Ⅱ help to nearly triple the UW’s enrollment from its 1944–45 level, sparking decades-long expansion of the faculty and the physical space on campus.
1961 UW students travel to India as part of the university’s first formal study-abroad program.
August 24, 1970 Radicals detonate a bomb in front of Sterling Hall, which housed the Army Math Research Center, killing one researcher who was inside at the time.
1971 Legislature establishes the University of Wisconsin System, merging the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State University system.
1984 University Research Park is founded to encourage technology transfer and create an endowment for research programs.
1993 University initiates e-mail accounts for students.
1995 Bradley Learning Community opens as the first modern residential learning community, reviving the innovative integration of living and learning first tried through Meiklejohn’s 1927 Experimental College.
1998 Wisconsin biologist James Thomson reports the first isolation and culturing of human embryonic stem cells.
2003 The University of Wisconsin Foundation launches the public phase of “Create the Future: The Wisconsin Campaign,” the most ambitious fund-raising effort in the university’s history.
2003 The WiCell Research Institute, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, is named as one of three national centers to further the study of human embryonic stem cells.
2004 The new Health Sciences Learning Center opens near the UW Hospital and Clinics as the educational hub for health sciences students on campus.
2004 Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle proposes the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, a UW–Madison research enterprise, to strengthen the state’s position in science and technology.
2006 UW–Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge pledge $50 million — the largest individual gift in the university’s history — to support a public-private partnership to develop the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery.