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More than Corn

As the Badger men’s basketball team prepares for a two-game stretch against the Iowa Hawkeyes, we thought it’d be polite to learn some fun facts about our rivals. Who knew? Iowa is more than corn. In fact, we have a lot more in common than you’d think.

Chelsea Rademacher ’13
January 21, 2015

You Really Maybe Ought to Give Iowa a Try

Who knew we had so much in common with our neighbors to the west?

As Badgers, we all know almost every fun fact about UW-Madison. We know we were the state’s first public university. We know that Buckingham U. replaced a real, live badger, with quite an unruly temperament. We know that Madison is the greatest college sports town (read: state), and Scott Van Pelt agrees.

But as the Badger men’s basketball team faces off against the Iowa Hawkeyes twice in a span of 11 days, we thought it might be polite to learn some fun facts about our rivals. And as it turns out, we have a long and complicated history:

  • Wisconsin and Iowa were originally linked as one territory – the Wisconsin Territory. They left us in 1846. (We think we’re taking the break-up generously.)
  • Our mascots’ Facebook relationship status should be: “It’s Complicated.” Herky the Hawkeye first appeared in 1948, as a caricature of the university’s athletic director. Shortly thereafter, the university adopted the drawing, but left the naming up to a statewide contest. Bucky, on the other hand, was first seen as a cartoon in 1940. He made his football debut at the 1949 Homecoming game…against Iowa. (Final score: 35-13 Badgers.)
  • Like UW-Madison, the University of Iowa was its state’s first public university.
  • Not only was the University of Iowa the first university in the country to equally admit both men and women, but it was also the first public university to grant a woman a law degree.
  • Turns out, UI has many firsts. It was also the first state university to recognize the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied Union group in 1970. UW-Madison’s LGBT Campus Center opened in 1992.
  • Both UW-Madison and University of Iowa made the list of the Top 50 largest college libraries in the nation (12 and 26, respectively).

Iowa City and Madison are often ranked as two of the most “livable” cities in the United States.

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