The Dow riot, for those too young to remember, were one of the major protests of the Vietnam War era on the UW’s campus. Dow Chemical manufactured napalm for the U.S. military, and on October 18, 1967, Dow was recruiting potential employees in the Commerce Building — home to what was then called the School of Commerce and is today the Wisconsin School of Business. What started as a sit-in turned violent as more than 1,000 people gathered and the conflict between students and police escalated to the use of billy clubs and tear gas.
The Commerce Building still stands — it’s at the corner of Charter and Observatory — but you won’t find it on any map. Its name changed to Ingraham Hall to honor Mark Ingraham, former dean of the College of Letters & Science. Ingraham Hall houses a wide variety of area studies departments: African Studies, American Indian Studies, European Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, and so on.
The School of Commerce had previously been housed in Sterling Hall, the site of another famed Vietnam War protest: the bombing that killed graduate student Robert Fassnacht. But as the UW’s enrollment ballooned in the years after World War II, it was clear that Commerce would need its own home. The Commerce Building went up in 1954, and it was the school’s home even after that entity changed its name to the School of Business in 1966.
Business moved out to its current home, Grainger Hall, in 1993. Commerce then received its new name and its new mission.