Campus History

The Scoop on Founders’ Days

If you’ve ever wanted to time-travel back to college to enjoy a great class and rapport with fellow Badgers, you can: simply attend your local Founders’ Day.

From left, Renee Tuzee ’88; WAA Chief Alumni Officer Sarah Schutt; Virginia Porter ’58, MM’60; and Lea Davis enjoyed dinner at the Orange County Founders’ Day. Courtesy of WAA: Orange County Chapter

The UW has been celebrating Founders’ Days since 1924, sending faculty and alumni speakers to chapters around the world to commemorate the institution’s first class in 1849.

Chris Davis ’79, president of the WAA: Orange County chapter, says his group has found that tasting events are popular with alumni, whether “beer or wine or chocolate or cheese.” Last year, the chapter invited food-science professor Scott Rankin to speak about cheese. “When you’re far away from Wisconsin,” Davis says, “that’s the guy you want.” Rankin provided a selection of artisan cheeses from Wisconsin, and alumni had a chance to sample them during the happy hour and after Rankin’s talk.

Attendees also heard from WAA Chief Alumni Officer Sarah Schutt, participated in a silent auction to raise money for scholarships, and applauded Matt Gunderson ’85 when he received the chapter’s Badger of the Year award.

“Go to Founders’ Day,” urges Davis. “It’s one of the best opportunities to meet a wide group of Badgers.”

Some of the speakers for the 2019 Founders’ Day events include comedian Charlie Berens ’09 (Los Angeles); science-fiction writer Kevin Anderson ’83 (Pikes Peak, Colorado); and Gina Bryan ’99, MS’02, DNP’12, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing who will speak about opioid addiction (Brown County, Wisconsin).

Chancellor Rebecca Blank will travel to Beijing and Shanghai in May to headline events in China. Other international Founders’ Days are scheduled for Mexico, Singapore, India, Denmark, Pakistan, and eighteen other countries.

See to learn about your local event.

Published in the Spring 2019 issue


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