Florette Gagliardi

Florette Gagliardi

Modified & Updated: 28 Nov 2023

Source: Wisc.edu

Located in Madison, Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a renowned institution that boasts a rich history, impressive academic programs, and a vibrant campus life. With its sprawling campus spanning over 900 acres, the university offers a diverse range of opportunities for students to explore and grow. But did you know that there are several lesser-known, yet fascinating facts about this institution that will leave you astonished? From its groundbreaking research to its famous alumni, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has plenty of hidden gems that make it truly unique. In this article, we will delve into 14 unbelievable facts about this esteemed university, shedding light on its remarkable achievements and contributions. So, get ready to be captivated and discover some intriguing facts about the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

Table of Contents

Hidden Tunnels

Did you know that beneath the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus lies a network of hidden tunnels? These tunnels were originally constructed in the early 20th century and were used to transport steam, water, and electrical lines across the campus. While some of the tunnels are off-limits to the public, they still serve an essential purpose in keeping the campus functioning smoothly.

Babcock Hall Ice Cream

One of the most delicious facts about the University of Wisconsin-Madison is that it is home to Babcock Hall, where some of the best ice cream in the state is produced. The Babcock Hall Dairy Plant has been churning out homemade ice cream since 1951 and offers a wide range of flavors to satisfy any ice cream lover’s cravings.

Lakeside Setting

Located in the heart of Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Madison boasts a stunning lakeside setting that adds to its charm. The campus is situated between two beautiful lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, providing students with breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere.

The Terrace

A beloved spot on campus is The Terrace, an iconic outdoor area located along the shores of Lake Mendota. The Terrace is known for its colorful outdoor chairs, live music, and stunning sunsets. It is the perfect place for students to relax, socialize, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the campus.

The Red Gym

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to the historic Red Gym, also known as the Armory and Gymnasium. This impressive building, with its distinctive red brick exterior, was originally constructed in 1894 and has since become an iconic symbol of the university.

Sterling Hall Bombing

In 1970, the University of Wisconsin-Madison made headlines when Sterling Hall, a key building on campus, was bombed in protest against the university’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The incident resulted in the death of a researcher and caused significant damage to the building.

Bascom Hill

One of the most recognizable landmarks on campus is Bascom Hill, a picturesque hill that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. It is a popular spot for students to relax, study, and take in the beauty of the campus.

Camp Randall Stadium

Home to the Wisconsin Badgers football team, Camp Randall Stadium is a historic and electrifying venue that can hold over 80,000 fans. On game days, the stadium comes alive with the cheers and chants of passionate students and fans.

Lakeshore Path

The University of Wisconsin-Madison boasts a scenic Lakeshore Path that stretches for over four miles along the shores of Lake Mendota. Students often take leisurely walks or bike rides along the path, enjoying the tranquility and natural beauty it offers.

Vilas Hall Carillon

Did you know that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has its own carillon? The carillon, housed in Vilas Hall, consists of 56 bells that are played by a skilled carillonneur. Its beautiful melodies can be heard across campus, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.

The Memorial Union

The Memorial Union is a historic building on campus known for its stunning architecture and its rich history. It serves as a hub for student activities and offers a variety of amenities, including dining options, a theater, and picturesque outdoor spaces.

The Wisconsin Idea

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is famous for its commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. This concept emphasizes the university’s mission to improve the lives of the people in the state and beyond through research, education, and public service.

Research Powerhouse

As one of the top research universities in the United States, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a leading center for innovation and discovery. It conducts groundbreaking research in various fields, ranging from health sciences to engineering and beyond.

Wisconsin Union Theater

The Wisconsin Union Theater is an iconic performing arts venue on campus that hosts a wide range of cultural events, including concerts, plays, and dance performances. It has been a source of entertainment and enlightenment for both students and the community for decades.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison is truly a remarkable institution that is rich in history, academic excellence, and unique facts. From its stunning campus to its prestigious alumni, there is no shortage of fascinating information to discover. Whether you’re a student considering enrollment, an alumnus looking to reminisce, or simply someone intrigued by higher education, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a world-class experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Its commitment to research, innovation, and community engagement sets it apart as a leader in higher education. So, whether it’s the “Jump Around” tradition, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store, or the expansive Arboretum, there’s something for everyone to be amazed by at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


1. How old is the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison was founded in 1848, making it over 170 years old.

2. What is the acceptance rate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

The acceptance rate for undergraduate programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is around 54%.

3. Does the University of Wisconsin-Madison offer online programs?

Yes, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a variety of online programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.

4. What are some notable alumni from the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

Notable alumni from the University of Wisconsin-Madison include former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, author and activist Gloria Steinem, and filmmaker Michael Moore, among many others.

5. How big is the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

The campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison spans over 936 acres, with a mix of historic and modern buildings.

6. Is the University of Wisconsin-Madison a public or private university?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public university, part of the University of Wisconsin System.

7. What sports teams does the University of Wisconsin-Madison have?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to the Badgers, an athletic program that competes in the NCAA Division I, with teams in various sports including football, basketball, and hockey.