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Yes, it’s true! (Why else would we have a replica of the 1936 EL model in Alumni Park?) William Harley 1907, one of the founders of the premier American motorcycle manufacturer, was a UW alumnus, graduating with (you guessed it) a degree in mechanical engineering. Harley and brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson sold their first motorcycle in 1903, which was when Harley decided to attend the UW to learn more about the engineering side of things. Just three months after he graduated, Harley and the Davidson brothers incorporated their company as Harley-Davidson Motor Company. In addition, William H. Davidson — son of Harley-Davidson cofounder Arthur — graduated from the UW in 1928. The younger Davidson was an accomplished motorcycle racer and served as the president of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles from 1942 to 1971. The next time you hear the roar of a Harley, allow yourself to feel some Badger pride.

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