Public Service

For more than a century, the university has been guided by the Wisconsin Idea, a tradition first stated by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904. Van Hise declared that he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family in the state.” Today that belief permeates the university’s work, fostering close working relationships within the state, throughout the country and around the world.

The Wisconsin Idea

The Wisconsin Idea

First attributed to UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea is the principle that education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom. For more than 100 years, this idea has guided the university’s work. Read more about the Wisconsin Idea and its history.

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Professor and child at UW at the State Fair day

A horticulture professor shows a dairy farm display to a young visitor during UW–Madison Day at the Fair, demonstrating the campus’s commitment to reach out to the state and beyond.