After more than a year of preparation and anticipation, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will finally get to toast the 150th anniversary of its first day of classes on Sept. 12.

The UW Oshkosh Sesquicentennial Community Celebration runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the heart of campus—festivities will be centered on the pedestrian walkway between Reeve Memorial Union and the Arts and Communications building. A map of the event layout is available by clicking here.

A full century and a half since the opening day of classes at the Oshkosh Normal School for teacher training back in 1871, the entire Oshkosh community is invited to get together to celebrate the institution's epic journey of teaching, learning, research and service.

It's too bad the bold city leaders and residents who all those years ago fought for the ability to invest in a teacher's college couldn't see the impact of that work through the generations—and that they also couldn't grab a bite and a beer with the rest of the UWO community on the historic day. But good news: You can!

Here's a rundown of what to expect at the event 150 years in the making:

A brief program, featuring remarks from UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and other UWO dignitaries, is planned for 1 p.m.

UWO students past and present will fill two stages of live music. Performers include Northsoul, the Astronomers, the Jazz Orgy, Ken Yerkes, Carson Blake and the Present Age. 

Fifth Ward Brewing Co., an Oshkosh business launched by two alumni, will serve a special commemorative beer.  SesquicentenniALE, anyone? 

Food options include a handful of food trucks, including Aftershock Smokers, Any Street Grill, Dante's Inferno, Funtime Enterprises and Ong's Food Truck. Aladdin Campus Dining also will have cookout food available. 

Inside Dempsey Hall will; be a historic display called Humans of UW Oshkosh. The exhibit from journalism instructor Grace Lim includes first-person recollections of faculty, staff, administration and alumni about their experiences at UWO.

Children's activities will include bounce houses, giant bubbles and sidewalk chalk. UWO student-athletes will organize and run various games for the kiddos, too.

Whether you're returning to campus for the first time in decades or thinking of someday enrolling, campus tours will be available and led by the admissions office. Tours start at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.


September 12 is also is a big fundraising day for UWO. Dubbed the inaugural Giving Day, the university is hoping to raise money for its new Give 150 fund to benefit student academic, research and professional pursuits; school efforts in the areas of sustainability, social justice and economic security; and campus environment and student experience. For more information, visit uwo.sh/givingday.


Other things to know:
With the recent increase in coronavirus transmission, UWO is requiring masks to be worn while inside campus buildings. Still, most of the celebration activities are outside.  Parking will be free for the day on campus. A shuttle service also will be available. Before you look it up, the Packers kick off the new season at 3:25 p.m. Sept. 12. It's no coincidence the community celebration wraps up at 3.

For more information on UWO's Sesquicentennial Community Celebration, visit uwosh.edu/150.

Stay the night in Oshkosh—click here for overnight options!