Facts

About WAA

Since 1861, the Wisconsin Alumni Association has been enriching the lives of UW alumni. It connects old friends through the alumni directory, makes new memories on alumni tours, expands horizons at lifelong learning events, and much more.

Alumni Facts

  • Living alumni: 435,196
  • Addressable alumni: 385,350 (89%)
  • International alumni: 13,573 (3%)
  • Alumni in Wisconsin: 161,240 (37%)
  • U.S. cities by alumni populations:
    • Madison: 59,412 (14%)
    • Chicago: 28,060 (6%)
    • Twin Cities: 22,903 (5%)
    • Milwaukee: 21,281 (5%)
    • New York: 12,891 (3%)
    • San Francisco: 10,864 (3%)
    • Washington, D.C.: 7,830 (2%)
    • Los Angeles: 5,945 (1%)
    • TOTAL: 169,186 (39%)
  • Twenty Nobel Prizes and 39 Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded to UW alumni or faculty
  • More than 1,000 UW–Madison alumni serve as CEOs, and nearly 16,000 hold an executive management position
  • With 3,200 grads having served since 1961, UW-Madison is the number one all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers
  • Browse through a list of many of UW–Madison’s most notable alumni

WAA Serving Your Needs

University of Wisconsin

  • Founded 1848
  • Total enrollment in fall 2016: 43,336
    • Undergraduate: 29,536
    • Special: 2,174
    • Graduate and Professional: 11,626
  • 2016–17 yearly undergraduate tuition and fees:
    • In-state: $10,488
    • Out-of-state: $32,738
  • Recent and current building projects:
    • Memorial Union renovation The renovation to update infrastructure and improve accessibility is nearly complete. The remodeled Terrace is open; eating facilities have been expanded and upgraded; and final renovations are in progress for the second through fourth floors of the east wing and the central core.
    • Alumni ParkThis new green space and lakefront destination between the Memorial Union and the Red Gym will open in late 2017. The park will celebrate the positive impact of alumni around the world through more than 50 museum-quality outdoor exhibits. Opening onto Alumni Park, One Alumni Place will be a home on campus for graduates and friends, with a visitor center, event space, and a rooftop deck.
    • Hamel Music Center: A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2016 for this new music-performance facility on the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue, which will include a 662-seat concert hall, a recital hall, rehearsal space, an ample lobby, and state-of-the-art technologies. Completion is expected in January 2019.

The Wisconsin Idea

First articulated by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1905, the Wisconsin Idea is the principle that the boundaries and influence of the university should extend to the boundaries of the state of Wisconsin and beyond.

The Wisconsin Idea Today

Lending faculty expertise: The Wisconsin Idea Scholars Program, which was launched in 2011–12 to observe the Year of the Wisconsin Idea, connects community leaders from across the state with UW–Madison experts to promote discussion and tackle pressing challenges.

Building Wisconsin’s economy: The university connected more than 500 companies, organizations, and individuals with campus business experts and resources in 2016.

Promoting volunteerism: Through the Morgridge Center for Public Service, more than 1,700 students have logged more than 36,600 hours of service at food pantries, schools, programs for the elderly, and more.

Providing continuing education: The Division of Continuing Studies offers some 670 noncredit courses and conferences each year for more than 14,000 lifelong learners, as well as online degrees, certificate programs, and free career counseling for thousands more.


Visit wisconsinidea.wisc.edu to see the Wisconsin Idea at work.

UW-Madison Firsts

1849 – UW holds first class
1861 – Wisconsin Alumni Association founded
1899 – First alumni magazine published
1907 – Wisconsin Union founded
1917 – WHA Radio begins broadcasting
1924 – First Founders’ Day celebration
1939 – Wisconsin Union Theater opens
1945 – Memorial Library opens
1959 – First space-based weather camera
1968 – First bone marrow transplant
1973 – Nation’s only on-campus blood donation center created
1975 – Development of Wisconsin Solution, used in transplant surgery
1998 – First cultivation of embryonic stem cells in a lab
1999 – UW–Madison celebrates 150th anniversary
2002 – Students use Internet to register for classes
2011 – WAA’s 150th anniversary
2015 – UW Foundation and UW–Madison launch All Ways Forward, the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, with a goal of $3.2 billion by 2020

The Wisconsin Alumni Association encourages diversity, inclusivity, nondiscrimination and participation by all alumni, students and friends in its activities.