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Spring Commencement Shenanigans

Over the past few decades, the UW has seen its fair share of spring commencement shenanigans in the form of wandering mascots, dancing Badgers, and eye-catching headgear.

Esther Seidlitz
May 04, 2022

A 1987 graduate dons a crocodile costume for commencement.

Congratulations to the class of 2022! We won’t pretend that our graduates’ high spirits come solely from celebrating the glory of a UW degree. There’s likely some post-finals, over-caffeinated delirium added into the mix of emotions, as well. But that just adds to the joy and silliness of a UW commencement ceremony — no matter when or where it takes place.

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen our fair share of spring commencement shenanigans in the form of wandering mascots, dancing Badgers, and eye-catching headgear. Take a spin through the gallery of graduation photos below, and be sure to let us know if you find yourself in any of the pictures (especially you, Commencement Crocodile).

1961 — A Dachshund's Degree

UW Archives, S05256
What do you think this puppy majored in? Animal sciences? Or maybe a DVM.

1978 — Break Out the Bubbly!

UW Archives, S05308
A graduate blows bubbles to celebrate commencement in Camp Randall.

1978 — Balloony Badgers

UW Archives, S05307
Graduates party with balloons and confetti at Camp Randall in 1978.

1983 — A Grouchy Graduate

UW Archives, S12228
A grad pairs his mortarboard with some Groucho Marx glasses in 1983.

1983 — Polka Party

UW Archives, S12229
Two graduates show off their polka skills in a sea of newly inducted UW alumni.

1983 — Where's Waldo?

UW Archives, S12226
A grad uses the creative thinking skills she developed at the UW to find a way to stand out in the crowd.

1987 — Commencement Crocodile

UW Archives, S12231
Or it that a graduation gator? Either way, that’s some serious craftsmanship.

1988 — Invalid License

UW Archives, S12225
Commencement is just the beginning, not the end!

1989 — Medical Mortarboards

UW Archives, S12235
Teamwork makes the dream work for these two physicians who graduated in 1989.

1990 — Flamingo Fun

UW Archives, S12236
A pop of flamingo pink is the best way to help your parents spot you in a mass of black robes.

2016 — Jump for Joy

Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications
Graduates from the class of 2016 spread out in an open aisle so they have enough room to properly dance to “Jump Around.”

2021 — Belated Bash

Photo by Bryce Richter, University Communications
Even the spring graduates of 2020 got their chance to celebrate commencement in Camp Randall. They came back to campus for a delayed ceremony in September of 2021.

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