Skip Navigation

UW–Madison’s first commencement in 1854 was such a momentous event that it had more speakers than it did graduates. (Nothing marks a special occasion like a 3:1 speaker-to-graduate ratio.) To celebrate the graduating class of two, Chancellor John Lathrop and six students delivered speeches and orations about a variety of topics that impacted the early years of the university. Although the contents of the speeches aren’t known, the ceremony program does reveal their titles. These included a welcome in Latin and “Imperfections of the Social System” by Levi Booth 1854, MA1858 and “The Course of Liberal Study” by valedictorian Charles Wakeley 1854, MA1857. In the many commencements that followed, politicians, athletes, astronauts, and more have imparted their unique wisdom to classes of UW grads. You may not be able to read exactly what was said at UW–Madison’s first commencement, but you can cling to every word as you watch the upcoming livestream of its 171st

More From Ask Flamingle HQ