The University of Wisconsin is the oldest and largest public university in the state. It is the official state university of Wisconsin, and founded in 1848 when Wisconsin became a state.
Its sports teams called the Wisconsin Badgers participate in 25 intercollegiate sports in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA’s Division I and have bagged 28 national championships.
Here are some of the things you may not know about the university:
- The University of Wisconsin mascot is named Bucky, an anthropomorphized badger who has a sweater with the UW-Madison athletic logo attached to it. The first Bucky Badger in 1890 was a live and unruly badger. During the 1920s, live mascots were on hand during football games to inspire fans.
In 1940, artist Art Evans drew a caricature version of Bucky, from which today’s image of the mascot came from. Yet it still had no name then, so in 1949, a contest was conducted to name the badger. There were a few entries but the contest committee eventually picked the name Buckingham U, or Bucky, for short.
- The fight song of the UW Badgers is titled “On, Wisconsin.” The tune was not originally intended for the university. The composers of the anthem, Carl Beck and William Purdy, first wrote it for the University of Minnesota, but the latter rejected it. So they brought it to University of Wisconsin, which gladly adopted it. The song was first sung by UW Badgers supporters in 1909.
- The Mifflin Street Block Party, one of the two biggest outdoor parties in Madison, actually started after a protest conducted by University of Wisconsin students. The tradition started to commemorate the first anniversary of the French student rebellion in 1968, when around 100 were nabbed for causing disturbances and 70 were hurt. The party was also seen as a demonstration against the Vietnam war.
Every year, around 10,000 people flock Mifflin Street for the annual celebration which is considered as one of the best spring parties in the United States.
In 2013, the party was discontinued after opposition from the police, which reasoned that the crowds had become unruly. However, the party made a comeback in 2015.
- Some of the most famous alumni of the University are Yahoo! President, chair, and president Carol Bartz, former Seattle Seahawks owner Kenneth Behring, actor Mason Adams, and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.
- Law students have a distinctive tradition for a homecoming game. They organize a cane toss during halftime, wherein they toss a white cane over goal posts. If a student on the opposite side of the post catches the cane, the belief is that their first case will be successful. The tradition was said to have originated from Harvard University, and introduced to UV law students in 1910.
- The University has long been notorious for its party image. In 2014, it was named by Playboy magazine as the number two ‘party school’ and number 8 by the Princeton Review. However, the image can be partly attributed to the traditionally high level of alcohol consumption in the state.
- UV is the only university in the US that has two daily student newspapers. The first is The Daily Cardinal which was started in 1892, while the second is The Badger Herald which was founded in 1969.