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So That’s a Thing That Happened

Founded in early 1849, the University of Wisconsin is now reaching the end of its 168th year of sifting and winnowing.

John Allen
December 19, 2016
Aerial photo of Madison

Founded in early 1849, the University of Wisconsin is now reaching the end of its 168th year of sifting and winnowing. It’s hard to believe, but the events below were all contained in just one turning of the calendar.

A mild, mild winter gripped Madison, and Lake Mendota didn’t ice up until January 11. That was only 19 days shy of the latest freeze, which occurred on January 30, 1932.

Madison celebrated Leon Varjian Day, sadly, five months after Leon Varjian died. Also, WAA looked at how many alumni were born on Leap Days.

The Badger men’s basketball team made a surprise run in the NCAA tournament but fell to Notre Dame in the third round. The women’s ice hockey team went to the Frozen Four but fell to Minnesota. Popular journalism professor Jim Baughman passed away unexpectedly.

A series of racially charged incidents on campus led to protests by students and faculty. As fear of the Zika virus swept the world, UW researchers helped to lead the quest for a vaccine. And Madison’s Vilas Zoo added two new Badgers with familiar names.

This dude came to commencement, although he didn’t graduate. On the other hand, Martin Griswold did graduate, even though he had died 62 years earlier.

UW virus researcher Yoshi Kawaoka received the Japan Academy Prize. It’s a big deal. The emperor himself gives the award.

SoHE professor Jennifer Angus brought her exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Renwich Gallery to an end. In the Midnight Garden used 5,000 insects arranged in geometric patterns. Beau Solomon x’19 was murdered while studying abroad in Rome. And physics professor Ellen Zweibel won the Maxwell Prize. It’s a big deal, too.

Another Hippie Christmas came and went. Did you find those bedbugs you were looking for? And the Badger football team beat LSU, starting a run of elevated expectations for gridiron glory.

Billboards appeared in 72 counties across Wisconsin to highlight UW–Madison’s connections to the whole of its home state.

This Hill was filled. Oh, how we continue to hate Ohio State. Halloween continued to be Madison’s favorite holiday.

UW–Madison tried to Rock the Vote, but the vote rocked back. Homecoming made its latest appearance in nearly 60 years. It arrived on November 12 this year; in 1957, it fell on November 16. And a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio went on display at the Chazen Museum of Art.

The Badger football team appeared in the Big Ten Conference Championship for the fourth time in the game’s six years but fell to Penn State. The UW still landed a spot in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, which is still pretty darned good, for pete’s sake. The team will play Western Michigan on January 2.

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