Ask Abe: International Chapters

An Alum

When did the Wisconsin Alumni Association form its first international chapter?

Abe

Since the founding of the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) in 1861 and the creation of its first alumni chapter in 1899, Badgers have found strength in numbers. Today participants in alumni chapters in more than 75 cities worldwide get together to watch Badger games, raise money for student scholarships, and host spirited gatherings such as Founders’ Day events, Badger Student Send-Off Celebrations, and networking opportunities. There are 13 active international WAA chapters, six of which are located in Southeast Asia — which is also where the first international alumni group was founded. Where, you ask? The Philippines! In April 1909, the Wisconsin Alumni Magazine (the predecessor of our beloved On Wisconsin magazine) shared that seven UW graduates in Manila had gathered for the “first annual Philippine Interfraternity banquet,” which was held at the Hotel Metropole. A 1910 letter from Albert Ralph Hager 1897, however, shares that another event had taken place well before the Metropole gathering. Hager, who eventually served as president of the Philippines alumni chapter, said that the first event was open to any man or woman who had ever called Wisconsin home. We expect nothing less from our Badger alumni community today!