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Wish You Were Here: Terrace Time

Concerts on the bandstand. Pitchers with friends. Hours of conversation over sheepshead and cribbage and euchre. Brats at lunch and sailboats at sunset. Choosing the best chair. (John Deere green? Allis Chalmers orange? Sunshine yellow?)

May 19, 2020

Deshawn McKinney ’17 carries a chair out to the Terrace, 2017. (Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Concerts on the bandstand. Pitchers with friends. Hours of conversation over sheepshead and cribbage and euchre. Brats at lunch and sailboats at sunset. Choosing the best chair. (John Deere green? Allis Chalmers orange? Sunshine yellow?) 

Badger friendships are cemented over Terrace time. But in the summer of 2020, students, faculty, staff, and alumni are away and the Terrace is a shadow of itself. Help us remember what makes this spot special. Share your best Terrace story, or offer advice about the best way to experience the most iconic place on campus. 

Send us your memory or tag your posts #WhereBadgersBelong. (Include photos, please!) We’ll add them to this scrapbook.

Deshawn McKinney ’17 carries a chair out to the Terrace, 2017. (Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)


I remember a "spring break" style event MU-Social Ctte put on in early-ish 80s, complete with sand. Fun, but a mess! 
Susan Stemper ’83, MS’87 

​I wrote my dissertation on the Terrace. Relaxing space. 
William Schmitz ’85, MS’92, MS’93, PhD’97, MS’99, MS’09 

In the late '50s I was "Best Boy" to Louis Armstrong and he had me buy a gross of cotton handkerchiefs, pressed flat. Also, a Wisconsin mug and a large bottle of gin. For which he gave me $100 bill. Quite a thrill! I wish I had saved one of those handkerchiefs. 
Richard Leifer ’63 

​My most memorable concert was the Fall of 2018 when Steely Dane performed. 
Julius Lee 

​I accidentally fell asleep on the top floor after a long night working at the Terrace, and I DID hear a loud noise at like 3 a.m. 
Jack Snedegar x’21 

​I would pay $100 for a pitcher of Spotted Cow and a bag of popcorn on the Terrace at this point.
Rick Kalson ’90 

The Terrace! Dreaming of being there in the sun with a beer. Ahhhhhh 
Michelle Ruehlman Hans ’88 

The Terrace!! Best time of my life!!  
Mapi Marquez-Rogers 

Sitting on the Terrace while eating a double scoop of Babcock ice cream.  
Nancy Widmann Hansis ’76 

The terrace. Standing date every Friday with my buddies. Whomever arrived first grabbed the table and the first pitcher. 
Kelly Steiner ’84 

I was bartender in the Rathskeller in the early 70s. During the summer served beer from the Skiftskeller bar to patrons on the Union Terrace. 
Robert Good MA’75, PhD’78 

My son, who’s a prospective Badger, wanted to see the campus and the lake this summer. We were able to a few nice photos of the sunset over Mendota even though we couldn’t get out onto the Terrace. 
Thom Knutson ’90 

My father brought me from Beloit to the Union Terrace to hear India's Prime Minister Nehru speak from the balcony. In 1956 my family came to the Terrace to hear me play with the UW concert band. 
Rolf Mjaanes ’61 

My father, Robert A. Ristau, got his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration along with his state teacher's license in 1951. In 1957 he got his Master Degree in Education. In 1970 his Doctor of Philosphy degree in Education. His doctoral thesis was "An Idiographic Model for Program, Planning, and Budgeting Systems in Business Education". In 1972 - 1973 he worked as Associate Director for the University of Wisconsin Center for Studies in Vocational Education and appointed a lecturer in the School of Education.
Robert Ristau ’51, MS’57, PhD’70

My favorite memory of Memorial Union Terrace was the last time I spent sitting on the terrace. It was May of 1984 and I had just finished my last exam before graduation. That spring day was a sunny and beautiful. I sat on the terrace and took in the sights. I thought about the fact that it was my last terrace experience because I was moving on to law school in another state. I’m not sure I truly appreciated how special the UW campus was (and still is), but that memory serves as a snapshot in time (no cellphone cameras back then). I am forever grateful for that memory. #WhereBadgersBelong #OnWisconsin
Christina Koehn ’84

On particularly splendid Friday afternoons, our research group from the Chemistry Department. would decide on a group meeting on the Terrace. On occasion we would stay for the live music, one of our favorites was a Country Rock band called Broken Bow. On more than one occasion our meeting lasted into the evening!
Drew Klein ’78

I was flat broke when I graduated with a BA from the College of Letters and Science. Nevertheless, I scraped together enough money for a Life Member’s Card to Memorial Union Building Association. I could not bear the thought of being denied beer-drinking access to the Terrace as an alumna. I still have my paper membership card, No. 1588, dated 5/31/77.
Karen Ann Roesler ’77, MA’81

Each year 20 or so of my fraternity brothers meet for a football weekend in Madison. We are very much looking forward to October 1-3 this year. Our weekend always starts with our gathering at the Union Terrace.
Gary Sack ’70

I had just returned to UW to start my Junior year. It was a beautiful late August day and I was sitting at the lake edge on the steps. Another male student whom I did not know said what a beautiful day and I agreed. I said I wished I was out in one of those sailboats right now. He said do you want to go? I'm a member of Hoofers and we can get a boat & sail. So, I said sure. When we were out on Lake Mendota I realized we had not even shared our names and for a second I was a little apprehensive since I didn't know this guy but decided I was a really good swimmer if I felt I had to escape! We shared our names and became good friends while at UW as I learned he was a grad student in hydrogeology. We kept in touch even though we lived across the country for about 10 years or so. I don't know where he is now but it is a very good memory!
Michelle Guilette ’76

On a very cold Saturday morning, my wife and I huddled on the roof of the Union cafeteria with a brass group from the UW Marching Band. While they struggled in the cold to play my arrangement of "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," my son, a former member of the band, proposed to his girlfriend. She accepted and we all went to the game in which UW destroyed Northwestern. They now have two delightful boys and we are all living in California and NOT freezing!
Michael Cuthbert ’62, MS’64

Going to see the Violent Femmes play a free concert during Registration Week ((during those years, you picked up your “registration packet” at one of the Veterinary School buildings in a dirt floor, and got “stamps” at the various classrooms when you were admitted to the class)) back in 1982 with Andy Wittig, Jim Reinardy and the Mack House gang! Now that's a great memory!
Jim Kunick ’86

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