Not that we want to speed through summer, but the fall semester at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is coming up sooner than you think. With its approach comes extra excitement thanks to the 150th anniversary of the founding of the institution that has produced thousands of proud alumni now making an impact worldwide.
The sesquicentennial includes a handful of events and happenings, some just for those connected to the University, others for the greater Oshkosh community. To fill you in on what's what, we thought we'd run with the theme of classroom education—UW Oshkosh first began in 1871 as a teacher-training school, remember—and deliver an A-to-Z guide to the big celebration.
A is for alumni: With 150 years of history, there are tens of thousands of UWO alumni scattered about the globe making a difference in seemingly infinite ways. That's something worth celebrating no matter the year.
B is for Black and Gold Scholarship Ball: This black-tie evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing is planned for Nov. 13 and is a fundraiser for student scholarships. The inaugural ball was held in 2019 but last year was canceled due to the pandemic.
C is for community celebration: The public is invited to the event that serves as centerpiece of our sesquicentennial year. It's set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 12 on the pedestrian walkway between Reeve Memorial Union and the Arts and Communication Building and lands on the anniversary of the first day of classes for the Oshkosh State Normal School back in 1871.
D is for Dempsey Hall: A cornerstone of the Oshkosh campus, the building that opened in 1917 will be open for exploration during the community celebration. It will also house photos and stories from the Humans of UW Oshkosh project that day. (More on that later.)
E is for educators: One constant in our 150-year story of excellence and opportunity is the education and preparation of teachers. It started as a teacher-training school and today UWO's College of Education and Human Service remains dedicated to the preparation of the next generation of professional leaders in education, human services and counseling.
F is for Fond du Lac and Fox Cities: When we talk about the growth and evolution of the University over the decades, look no further than UWO's two access campuses. Extension classes began in the Fox Cities in 1919 and Fond du Lac in 1933.
G is for Give 150: An occasion celebrating the past also has an opportunity to prepare for the future. The inaugural Giving Day is Sept. 12—the day of the community celebration—and gives the community a chance to support the new Give 150 fund. The new fund supports three key areas: student academic, research and professional pursuits; University efforts in the areas of
sustainability, social justice and economic security; and campus environment and student experience.
H is for Homecoming: Not only is it the 150th year of the University, it's the 100th anniversary of Homecoming Oct. 22-23. On Oct. 23, the Titan Tailgate will be held at Reeve Memorial Union with refreshments, entertainment and a look back at how Homecoming has been celebrated for a century.
I is for inaugural Alumni Outstanding Service Award: This new honor created for the 150th anniversary year recognizes a graduate who has made exemplary contributions to the University. Jerry Gonyo, a 1964 grad, will be recognized as the first-time winner at the annual Alumni Awards Celebration, held Homecoming weekend.
J is for just 43: When the institution launched 150 years ago, it featured a class of just 43 students. These days UWO welcomes about 10,000 students each semester. My how things change in a century and a half!
K is for kickoff: The centerpiece of Homecoming weekend, the football game against UW-Eau Claire Oct. 23 at Titan Stadium, kicks off at 1:30 p.m. (It's the second home game of the season—the first being a week before, Oct. 16 vs. UW-Whitewater.)
L is for Lim, Grace: A journalism lecturer, Grace Lim is the creator of a project called Humans of UW Oshkosh. A collection of memories from faculty, staff, students, alumni and administration is packaged in a 200-page book and a related display will be showcased in Dempsey Hall the day of the community celebration. After that it will be on display in a gallery in Reeve Memorial Union through October.
M is for merchandise: For those extra psyched about the sesquicentennial, there's special 150th-themed merch available to order. University Books & More has an online store with polos, zip-ups and short- and long-sleeved T-shirts. Orders need to be placed by Aug. 15 for the apparel to arrive by the community celebration.
N is for nursing: It was 1966 when the then-named Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh added a nursing school. The first year of the baccalaureate nursing program included 27 students. Now the nursing program—ranked in the 97th-percentile of U.S. nursing schools—admits 96 students each semester.
O is for Oshkosh State Normal School: When first founded, what is now UWO was then Oshkosh State Normal School. Its name has changed several times in 150 years, growing from a teacher-training school to a comprehensive university with more than 200 majors, minors and emphases.
P is for pride: The University, established in the wake of the Civil War, made it through the Great Depression, two world wars, major societal changes and now two global pandemics. It not only survived, it thrived and today stands among the top comprehensive higher education institutions in Wisconsin. Heck yes, we're proud.
Q is for Quiver: In 1897, students at what was then the Oshkosh Normal School launched a yearbook called the Quiver. For 78 years it would chronicle the people and events that made the school a community—and now is a valuable resource when looking back on the school's history.
R is for reunion: The Sept. 11-12 weekend includes the Golden Titan Reunion. The classes of 1970 and 1971 will be honored as they celebrate 50 years since their graduation. The reunion weekend includes a special historical presentation, class dinner and program, campus tour and luncheon.
S is for School of Business Administration: Now known as the College of Business, UWO's business school launched in 1965. It now is the only business school in the region accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and offers majors in accounting, economics, finance, marketing and supply chain management, among others.
T is for Tommy: More recent alumni and fans are likely familiar with Clash, the Titan mascot who's a regular at athletics events and other happenings. But making a special appearance this fall will be Tommy Titan, a mascot not seen since the 1970s. (Will he dust off a pair of bell-bottoms? We just have to wait and see.)
U is for UW System: A century after its founding, a merger brought Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh into the University of Wisconsin System in 1971 and the school was renamed UW Oshkosh. The UW System now includes 13 universities across 26 campuses with about 165,000 students.
V is for vaccinations: Throughout the pandemic, the University hosted a community COVID-19 testing site and later a vaccination center. The collaborative effort with local and regional healthcare organizations helped thousands in the community stay safe—and make celebrations like that of the 150th possible.
W is for walking tour: Called Sound Markers, a campus audio walking tour will be a feature this fall. Using a smartphone, the stop-by-stop tour features short audio clips detailing the histories of buildings on the Oshkosh campus. A website with all of the recordings will be available for those unable to experience the tour in person
X is for Titans X 2: The elite group of people who are both UWO alumni and employees, dubbed Titans X 2, get a special breakfast event on Nov. 18 at the Culver Family Welcome Center. Believe it or not, there are more than 500 proud members of the Titans X 2 club.
Y is for You want to know more? There's a website for the sesquicentennial celebration at uwosh.edu/150. There you'll find information on events, a handy timeline of UWO history and much more.
Z is for Zoom: Because of the pandemic, much of the planning for the sesquicentennial celebration happened virtually. As those precautions move further into the past, it makes in-person gatherings like the Sept. 12 community celebration sound all the more exciting!