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While you might be more familiar with February 5, 1849, or Founders’ Day, which celebrates the university’s first day of classes, July 26, 1848, marks the official date UW–Madison was incorporated 175 years ago — its founding or launch day, one could say. (Check out these pictures from this week’s celebration, which took place at an excellent launchpad: Memorial Union.) In the same constitution that established Wisconsin as a state, provisions were made for the creation of a state university “at or near the seat of state government.” (Don’t worry, the lawmakers kept their promise. Campus starts just 0.7 miles from the capitol.) Later in 1848, Governor Nelson Dewey officially approved the UW and appointed a board of regents to oversee its creation. And 175 years later, hundreds of thousands of Badgers have worked to improve the state and the world. Just check out this timeline of impressive feats and important milestones in UW history if you need proof. In honor of the big 1-7-5 (or the lesser known but decidedly more fun demisemiseptcentennial), anniversary celebrations will be taking place throughout the year.

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