On Wisconsin https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:01:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 A-maze-ing https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/a-maze-ing/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/a-maze-ing/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:13 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21301 Aerial shot of intricate corn maze.

Photo by Angie Treinen

Angie Treinen ’88, DVM’93 received a novel idea this year from the UW’s Geology Museum for her family farm’s award-winning corn maze: a giant trilobite. The now-extinct marine creature — and the state’s official fossil — once cruised the planet’s seas, including those that covered Wisconsin. The maze, cut into corn planted by Treinen’s husband, Alan Treinen ’79, also features the honeybee, the state insect; cubes of galena, the lead ore that drew miners to Wisconsin and made it the home of the Badgers; and a rendering of the field microscope used by Charles Van Hise 1879, 1880, MS1882, PhD1892, a geologist, University of Wisconsin president from 1903 to 1918, and father of the Wisconsin Idea.

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6 Surreptitious Science Lessons in Alumni Park https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/6-surreptitious-science-lessons-in-alumni-park/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/6-surreptitious-science-lessons-in-alumni-park/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:13 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21597 When the Wisconsin Alumni Association opened Alumni Park in October, it offered more than a green space on the Lake Mendota shoreline. It also included dozens of exhibits that feature hundreds of UW alumni and the things they’ve done to leave a mark on the world. Tucked in among those exhibits are several science lessons — to be found by those who look carefully.

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6 Classes https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/6-classes/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/6-classes/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:13 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21308 If you had been a female student at the UW in the late 1860s, your first year would have included the not-so-challenging courses listed below. For a brief period in its early days, the University of Wisconsin had a special college known as the Female College. Although the university began welcoming women in 1863 — partly to boost enrollment when many male students enlisted in the Civil War — the practice was short-lived. When the UW recruited Paul Chadbourne, an opponent of coeducation, to serve as president in 1867, he made it a condition of his employment that the university segregate by gender. He believed that in allowing men and women to study together, “you have an element of incalculable mischief introduced into the institution.”

As a result, the Female College, located in South Hall, opened in 1867 with its own headmistress and curriculum. The innovation was not popular with its students. Jennie Field Bashford 1874 wrote, “The feminine mind was kept in a constant state of irritation by the subordinate position assigned to it at the University.”

Jennie Muzzy Covert 1872, writing in the March 1901 Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, noted, “When I entered, the experimental policy of a ‘ladies’ department’ had given rise to a most anomalous and unsatisfactory condition of affairs. … The young women were coming, craving opportunities for growth and mental development, and finding the restrictions imposed upon them more and more irksome and galling. This feeling of turbulent unrest and dissatisfaction reached its zenith … in 1870 and 1871, and particularly through the senior girls of the class of ’70. A quartette of forceful, brainy, spirited young women, they were pronounced leaders in denouncing offensive rules and regulations, in scheming to obtain larger liberties, and in general mutinous conduct.”

With Chadbourne’s departure in 1871, the university soon reaffirmed its commitment to coeducation, partly because it was inefficient to maintain two separate colleges. The newly constructed Ladies Hall (shown above) served as the women’s dormitory, but they were once again allowed to attend classes with men. Ladies Hall was later named Chadbourne Hall by acting president Edward Birge to commemorate “Dr. Chadbourne’s contumacy regarding coeducation.”

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7 Unusual Gifts https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/exhibition/7-unusual-gifts/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/exhibition/7-unusual-gifts/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:13 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21337 Two men inspect a stuffed polar bear on a ledge in Birge Hall at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Jeff Miller

To thank the university that launched you into the real world, sometimes writing a check doesn’t feel like enough.

That was certainly the case for Tom Koehler MS’96, who gave his 40-acre yak farm to UW–Madison in 2012. The aptly named “Green Bay Yakkers” property in Door County will eventually be sold, with proceeds benefiting the School of Medicine and Public Health.

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes from alumni who want to give back to their alma mater, says Scott McKinney JD’98, chief operating officer of the UW Foundation. “They want to put it toward something that was very meaningful to them: the university,” McKinney says.

Of course, there are gifts just too unusual to accept. McKinney recalls a fishing boat, timeshares, and a coin collection, among others. Most often, though, the UW can find ways to use such gifts, no matter how unconventional, on campus. Here are some — from a very long list — that we found particularly fascinating.

Polar bear

Legally hunted and imported by a private citizen years ago, the 12-foot-tall taxidermic bear now perches atop a foyer in Birge Hall and belongs to the UW Zoological Museum’s permanent collection.

Nurses’ military uniforms

Decades after military nurses tended to wounded World War II soldiers, the UW’s School of Nursing displays a few of the nurses’ uniforms during special events. Former faculty members and alumni of the school donated the uniforms, which they wore while serving in the Army Nurse Corps and the Navy.

Hair wreaths

Of the 14 examples of hair art in the School of Human Ecology’s Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, one was owned by Allen herself — a small tribute to the overtly sentimental styles of the 19th century, when it was common for hair to be exchanged as a gift.

Leaded glass

The bright yellow shard of glass is a fragment from a window at the Hanford Site, a nuclear production complex in Washington State that made plutonium for the Manhattan Project during the mid–20th century. The shard was donated to the university in 2013 by the Friends of the Geology Museum.


Donations to the Wisconsin Brain Donor Program, part of a research center at the School of Medicine and Public Health, provide an important look at the differences between cognitively healthy adults and those who suffered from impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Thai Pavilion

The 30-foot-high ornate structure, donated to the university by the government of Thailand and the Thai chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, was constructed in its home country, carefully taken apart for shipping to Madison in 2001, and reassembled at Madison’s Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Edison’s gramophone

Although inventor Thomas Edison never set foot on campus, he donated a gramophone to physics professor Benjamin Snow in 1919 after hearing that the department would be opening a museum. Today, the piece serves as an occasional teaching tool for physics students — and it still plays records.

Listen to a recording of “My Wild Irish Rose” played on Edison’s gramophone

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13 Custom Confections https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/12-custom-confections/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/12-custom-confections/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21625 Illustration of an ice cream cone with several multi-colored scoops of ice cream stacked on top.

Danielle Lawry

The Babcock Hall Dairy Plant makes special ice cream flavors to honor notable Badger people and events, and we think their creativity is pretty sweet. Here is a partial list of some of the dairy’s commemorative concoctions.

Alumni Park After Dark: Chocolate ice cream with caramel swirl and white chocolate chips; created in honor of Alumni Park’s grand opening this past October

Bec–Key Lime Pie: A Key lime–flavored ice cream with a graham-cracker ribbon; named after UW–Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank

Berry Alvarez: A berry-flavored ice cream with strawberries, raspberries, and a blueberry ribbon; named after Barry Alvarez, the former Badger football coach and current director of the UW athletic department

Berry Proud Parent: Vanilla ice cream with raspberries and chocolate chips; created at the request of the Parent Program in appreciation of UW parents

Cherrity: Black-cherry ice cream made with Door County cherries and chocolate fudge swirls; created to help kick off the university’s charity (get it?) 2016 Partners in Giving campaign

Chocolate Chryst: Chocolate ice cream with Rice Krispie pieces and a cream cheese swirl; named after Badger head football coach Paul Chryst ’88

Crazy Legs: A Badger-red vanilla ice cream full of chocolate-coated, caramel-filled footballs, with a marshmallow swirl; named after Elroy Hirsch x’45, former UW athletics director and Badger football star known for his frenzied style of running

Grainger Granite Crunch with Academia Nuts: Vanilla ice cream with a blend of macadamia nuts, chocolate chips, and English toffee pieces; named after Grainger Hall, home of the Wisconsn School of Business, when it opened in 1993

IceCube’s Blue Neutrino: Vanilla ice cream with brown candies representing neutrino detectors, blue ice cream representing ice, and marshmallow swirl representing the streaking neutrinos; named after the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

In the Dark: Chocolate ice cream with malt background flavor and pecans, fudge, chocolate chips, and brownie pieces; named after the annual Wisconsin Film Festival

MadGrad Medley: Vanilla ice cream with Door County cherries and chocolate chips and flakes; named in honor of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s 150th anniversary

Morgridge Medley: Vanilla ice cream, butterscotch and fudge swirl, brownies, and pecans; served at the Wisconsin Union in 2014 to celebrate a $100 million gift from John ’55 and Tashia ’55 Morgridge

Union Utopia: Vanilla ice cream with a swirl of caramel, peanut butter, and fudge; named after the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant’s largest ice cream customer — the Memorial Union

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5 Great Plays in Badger Sports History https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/5-great-plays-in-badger-sports-history/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/5-great-plays-in-badger-sports-history/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21618 Action shot of Badger basketball player, Bronson Koenig, passing the ball during a game.

Bronson Koenig launches a buzzer-beater to send the Badgers to the Sweet 16 in the 2016 NCAA tournament. AP IMAGES/Richard Ulreich

On the run: The Badgers returned to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 31 years on New Year’s Day 1994, and left with a 21–16 victory over UCLA. The key was a 21-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run by slow-footed quarterback Darrell Bevell ’96. What started as a pass play became a scramble as UCLA defenders blanketed UW receivers. Bevell ran left, picking up a block and making his own slick move. “There was a guy there and I somehow made him fall down,” Bevell said. “I was laughing, the players were laughing at me, a television guy walks by and he’s laughing. … It was the most amazing play.”

Halfcourt heaven: Facing the Magic Johnson–led Michigan State basketball team on March 3, 1979, Badger Wes Matthews x’81 delivered the Spartans a stunning defeat — their last en route to an NCAA title. Matthews took an inbound pass with seconds left, dribbled to halfcourt unchallenged, and heaved the winning shot with a second to play, as the UW won, 83–81. Matthews told the Sporting News years later that he expected a Spartans press, which never materialized. “There was nobody there,” he said. “I thought, ‘They’re going to sit back and watch this? Okay.’ The basketball gods were on my side.”

Happy return: The college football world’s attention was glued to sold-out Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010, as the Badgers faced top-ranked Ohio State under the lights. An already electric atmosphere erupted as the UW’s David Gilreath x’13 took the opening kickoff 97 yards — untouched — for a touchdown that triggered the Badgers’ 31–18 upset victory. Gilreath took the kick, slashed through a seam on the left side, and left defenders in the dust as the crowd roared. Gilreath later said he didn’t hear the roar. “I just remember thinking, ‘Whatever you do, don’t get caught.’ ”

Redemption: After painful years as a football laughingstock, Wisconsin captured respect in a hard-hitting game against fourth-ranked Nebraska in 1974 under coach John Jardine. The Badgers hung with Nebraska and with less than 4 minutes left, UW quarterback Gregg Bohlig ’75 rolled right from his own 23-yard line and fired a pass to flanker Jeff Mack ’76, just beyond the reach of a Cornhusker defender. Mack gathered in the pass and streaked untouched for a 77-yard touchdown, tying Nebraska 20–20. Vince Lamia ’78’s extra point sealed the victory. ABC commentator Duffy Daugherty raved, “This’ll go down in Badger history as one of the great plays.”

Sweet shot: Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig ’17 propelled the Badgers to the Sweet 16 of the 2016 NCAA tournament with some cold-blooded shooting against Xavier. With 11.7 seconds to play in St. Louis, Koenig sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 63–63. Then the UW’s Zak Showalter ’17 took a charge with 4.3 seconds to play and the Badgers regained the ball. After a timeout, Koenig took the inbound pass, wheeled to the deep right corner and popped in the game-winning three-pointer as time expired and teammates mobbed him. “I just tried to channel my inner Steph Curry,” Koenig said, referring to the NBA great.

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Witness to History https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/witness-to-history/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/witness-to-history/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21372 Portrait of John Hall

Sarah Morton

Military history professor John Hall spent 15 years on active duty as an infantry officer and strategic planner for the U.S. Army before joining the UW–Madison faculty in 2009. Now he is recording history as it happens.

In a new Pentagon appointment as a historian for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he follows the development of counterterrorism plans and strategy at the highest levels of the U.S. government and then writes the official history of these efforts.

While counterterrorism may be a relatively new subject to document, the armed forces have been recording military happenings in real time since World War II.

“The U.S. military has been very good for a very long time in recognizing the importance of faithfully capturing details of what transpired, as it transpired, so there’s an accurate historical record,” Hall says.

The job’s requirements — among them a PhD in history, top security clearance, and an Army reservist rank of colonel or lieutenant colonel — fit Hall’s background and his dedication to both scholarship and service. After growing up in southeastern Wisconsin, Hall left the state to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In the second half of his military career, he embarked on what he calls “the military version of academia,” earning a master’s degree and PhD in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before returning to West Point to teach.

At the UW, Hall has taught a variety of classes on military history, including advanced courses on the American military experience since the early 20th century. He also teaches Native American and early American history and has earned several distinguished teaching and writing awards.

Hall’s work at the Pentagon over the next several years will be highly classified, but he plans to bring his experience to the classroom upon his return to campus.

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5 Winter Olympians to Watch https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/5-winter-olympians-to-watch/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/5-winter-olympians-to-watch/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21847 Olympic logo with five multicolored rings.

When the Winter Olympics open February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, these Badger alumni will represent the United States as members of the U.S. women’s hockey team. The squad won silver in the last two winter games, but is coming off of its fourth consecutive world title.

Brianna Decker ’10 — 2014 silver medal

Meghan Duggan ’11 — 2010, 2014 silver medals

Hilary Knight ’12 — 2010, 2014 silver medals

Annie Pankowski x’18 — First Olympic appearance

Alex Rigsby x’14 — First Olympic appearance

Badger men’s hockey coach Tony Granato ’17 — who skated for Team USA at the 1988 Calgary Olympics — is the head coach for the U.S. men’s team, and Chris Chelios x’83 will serve as an assistant after four Olympic appearances.

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Give What You Get https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/give-what-you-get/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/give-what-you-get/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21346 Package wrapped in yellow paper and yellow bow.


If it’s the thought that makes a gift count, here’s a thought that can make your gesture count extra: get a little something for yourself.

Research by Evan Polman of the Wisconsin School of Business shows that recipients are happier with presents when givers get themselves the same thing — a phenomenon he calls companionizing. “The fact that a gift is shared with the giver makes it a better gift in the eyes of the receiver,” he says. “They like a companionized gift more, and they even feel closer to the giver.”

Polman’s subjects rated the likability of various gifts — and how likable the offerings would be if an attached card said, “I hope you like the gift. I got myself the same one, too!” Scores went up for presents that also found a home with the giver.

“When you receive a gift that someone has also bought for themselves, you feel more like them,” Polman says. “That leads you to like your gift more.”

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4 UW Pranks https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/4-uw-pranks/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/4-uw-pranks/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:03:12 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=21677 Photo illustration of Bascom hill dotted with pink flamingoes and elevator going up the center towards Bascom Hall.

Photo Illustration By N. B. Rinehart; Istock Huad262; Jeff Miller; Bryce Richter

UW–Madison can lay claim to something no other college can: an entire era of campus pranks.

Neil Steinberg, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and something of an expert on college pranks, devoted a whole chapter (and the cover) of his 1992 book, If at All Possible, Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks, to the UW’s culture of comedy. He credits legendary campus pranksters Leon Varjian x’83 and James Mallon ’79 for “creat[ing] something even rarer than a single great prank — an atmosphere of great pranking. A Golden Age.”

Within a week of arriving at the UW in 1977, Varjian started a petition to formally change the UW’s name to the University of New Jersey. His pitch? UW graduates could finally boast of receiving an elite East Coast education. Together, Varjian and Mallon formed the Pail and Shovel Party and took over student government from 1978 to 1980. The party’s name was adopted from an early proposal to convert the government’s full budget into pennies, only to be sprinkled over Library Mall and collected by students with pails and shovels.

Varjian and Mallon pulled off the two most recognizable pranks in UW history: bringing the Statue of Liberty (submerged in ice and first replicated using chicken wire, plywood, and papier-mâché) to Lake Mendota and introducing a flock of more than 1,000 (plastic) pink flamingos to Bascom Hill.

In between, the Pail and Shovel Party provided consistent comic relief: proposing to change all students’ names to Joe Smith so instructors could finally know their large class rosters by name; mailing out postcards declaring war on other college governments (in response, four University of Missouri students “nuked” Madison by dumping 500 pounds of manure on the front steps of Memorial Union); hosting an Animal House–inspired toga party for 10,000 people (complete with an endorsement call from actor John Belushi); and employing a full-size construction crane to unveil a five-inch replica of the Washington Monument on Library Mall.

But not all campus humor has aged well. The UW was home to the earliest college “panty raid” on record, according to Steinberg’s book.

In 1899, hundreds of male students had planned a visit to Ladies Hall (later renamed Chadbourne) to serenade its residents. Some of the students went rogue, breaking into the hall’s laundry room and stealing more than 200 garments. The women responded with a threat of “no social relations with the men of the University” until the offenders were brought to justice. Much of the clothing was eventually returned, and 13 male students were either suspended or expelled.

The university itself has occasionally joined in on the fun. On April 1, 2013, the UW’s social media accounts announced a controversial campus construction project: turning a Bascom Hill sidewalk into an outdoor escalator, or “Bascavator.” One of the many mixed responses on social media read: “Really??? We’ve become THAT lazy that tax dollars and education funds need to be used for laziness?! A sad day in education … ”

The Bascavator, of course, was an April Fool’s Day prank.

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