University Of Wisconsin, an institution of learning at Madison, Wisconsin. In 1838 congress granted to the territory of Wisconsin 46,080 acres of land for the support of a university. In that year the university was incorporated by the territorial legislature, and Madison selected as its site; but it was not organized until after Wisconsin became a state. The state constitution adopted in 1848 provided for the establishment of a state university at or near the seat of government, and set apart as a perpetual fund the proceeds of all lands granted or to be granted by the United States to the state for the support of a university. In the same year the university was incorporated and a board of regents appointed. A preparatory department was opened in 1849, the university was formally opened in January, 1850, and the first college classes were formed in 1851. In 1854 another national grant of 46,080 acres of land was made to the university, which also received in 1866 the 240,000 acres of land granted to the state by congress in 1862, for the establishment of an agricultural college.
Pursuant to the conditions of the latter grant, the university was reorganized in 1867. Prior to 1866 the institution had received nothing from the state; but appropriations have since been made to the amount of $170,000, including $50,000 in 1870 for the erection of "ladies' hall," and $80,000 in 1875 for the construction of "science hall." By the law of 1876 a tax of one tenth of a mill on the total valuation of the state is to be levied annually for the university, increasing its revenue by about $40,000. In 1875 the university fund amounted to $231,256, of which $222,256 was productive; the income from all sources was $42,671. The productive agricultural fund was $236,134, yielding an annual income of $16,207; unproductive, $65,000. The general management of the university is vested in a board of 11 regents, comprising, besides the state superintendent of public instruction, 10 members appointed for three years by the governor, being one from each congressional district and two for the state at large. The president of the university is chosen by the regents. The system of instruction embraces a college of letters, a college of arts, and a school of law.
The college of letters comprises a department of ancient classics with the usual collegiate course of studies, and a department of modern classics, which differs from the preceding chiefly by the substitution of French and German for Greek. The college of arts embraces the department of general science, with a four years course; agriculture, four; civil engineering, four; mining and metallurgy, four; mechanical engineering, four; and military science. There are also a sub-freshman course of one year, and a post-graduate course of two years. The studies of the latter are elective. The law school, organized in 1868, affords a course of one year. Judges of the supreme court are members of the faculty. The soldiers' orphan home near Madison has been transferred to the university and sold by the regents. With the proceeds it is designed to furnish an astronomical observatory as soon as the necessary funds for its erection shall be secured. Tuition in the university is free to all students from the state. Since 1867 all departments of the university have been open to women. The academic degrees conferred are those of bachelor of arts, of letters, and of science; and master of arts and letters, and of science.
The special and professional degrees comprise those of bachelor of agriculture, of civil engineering, of mining engineering, and of mechanical engineering; those of civil, of mining, and of mechanical engineer, which are conferred upon bachelors of civil, of mining, and of mechanical engineering; and that of bachelor of laws. The university grounds comprise about 400 acres, of which 200 constitute the farm of the agricultural department. The institution has a library of 7,000 volumes, and extensive cabinets and apparatus. In 1875-6 there were 27 instructors and 345 students.