Ask Abe: Mike Leckrone

An Alum

What was campus like when Mike Leckrone started as the UW band director?

Abe

Mike Leckrone has been the director of the UW Marching Band since 1969: at 50 years, he’s the longest serving band director. Last Saturday, Leckrone announced that this 50th year would be his last. When Leckrone came to the UW from Indiana, no one said UW–Madison, as the UW System didn’t exist until 1971. The Badger football team had not won a game since November 19, 1966. (It went 0–9–1 in 1967 and 0–10 in 1968.) There were no women in the marching band, and it hadn’t yet developed its “eat a rock” reputation for physical stamina. Tuition was $225 a semester for in-state students, $863 for out-of-state. Campus protests were growing increasingly violent, and the Students for a Democratic Society held an “unorientation” for ’69’s incoming freshmen. Slide rules remained the best available personal computers. (Buzz Aldrin used one — model N600-ES — on his trip to the moon that July.) And Badger fans would have to wait another year to discover that, when you say Wisconsin, you’ve said it all — Budweiser would introduce that tune in a commercial in 1970.