University of Wisconsin–Madison
Students enjoy a warm spring day on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison


“I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every home in the state.” – UW President Charles Van Hise 1904

This public lecture series examines the University of Wisconsin’s relationship with the people of the state. It can also be taken for credit as an undergraduate seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

We examine our origins from the birth of the university in 1849, a year following the birth of Wisconsin as a state in 1848.  We explore our successes and failures along the way and imagine a brighter future. In fourteen weeks, we merely scratch the surface of possible topics.

Tuesdays | 6:00pm | 1111 Genetics-Biotechnology Center | 425 Henry Mall | Live Stream

Cora Marrett smiling in a blue dress and jacket.

We are delighted to have Cora Marrett as the facilitator for this semester. Under her direction, this year’s course will focus on the forging of democracy and building of relationships, trust, and common understanding among citizens.

From the coverage of both historical and present-day information, the course seeks to identify challenges, questions, and issues to be considered, if the promise of the Wisconsin Idea is to be realized for the twenty-first century and beyond.

Past Course Facilitators

Fall 2019 – Cora MarrettDepartment of Sociology

Fall 2018 – Thomas O’GuinnDepartment of Marketing

Fall 2017 – Eric Sandgren – School of Veterinary Medicine

Fall 2016 – Chad Alan GoldbergDepartment of Sociology