UNIVERSITY CLUB HISTORY

THE UNIVERSITY CLUB TODAY

Located at the foot of State Street and fronting Library Mall, the University Club has been a focal point of the campus since UW President Charles Van Hise’s call in 1906 for a faculty club to promote fellowship in the campus community.
The club boasts a selection of diverse meeting, reception, and banquet rooms available to members for catered events and private luncheons.
Meet your guests in the comfort of our Reading Room and Club Café Espresso & Coffee Shop, enjoy dining in the Wayside Room or on the veranda, take advantage of our monthly billing service (please be sure to have your member number available for this service), utilize our private dining rooms, or let us cater your next party.
Exterior image of wedding venue
The University Club exterior today. Photograph by Paulius Musteikis.

UNIVERSITY CLUB BOARD OF DIRECTORS

2019 – 2020

President –  Lindsey Stoddard-Cameron • August 2015 – July 2021 (Second Term)
Vice President/Treasurer – Dennis Lloyd • August 2016 – July 2019 (Second Term)
Secretary – Tricia  Nolan • August 2017 – July 2020
Past President – Margaret Tennessen • August 2018 – July 2020

MEMBERS

Susan Cook • August 2012 – July 2018 (Second Term)
Kelly DeHaven • August 2019 – July 2022
Mark Fraire • August 2014 – July 2020 (Second Term)
Jerlando Jackson • December 2017 – July 2021 (Mid & First Term)
Laura Morris • August 2019 – July 2022
Bethany Pluymers • August 2016 – July 2019
Margaret Tennessen • August 2014 – July 2020 (Second Term)

UNIVERSITY CLUB MANAGER

Justin Duris • January 2012 – Present

THE UNIVERSITY CLUB HISTORY

The University Club was incorporated on 1907, under the leadership of University of Wisconsin President Charles R. Van Hise, as a private non-profit corporation. Having served the university community for over 100 years the University Club remains an important part of our great institution.
Located at the bottom of Bascom Hill at 803 State Street, the venerable and historic club has been a hospitality facility promoting social and cultural diversity, intellectual exchange, and community relations with programs and events throughout its history. As one of nearly 100 such reciprocal academic membership organizations throughout North America, the University Club continues a strong tradition in league with other prestigious universities.
The University Club has a long and distinguished history that includes many of the historic and current leaders of the university. Some highlights from the University Club’s history include:

1907
Membership is open to University of Wisconsin faculty and alumni and alumni of other institutions. Charter members number 211, and include some of the great names in UW history: Edward A. Birge, John R. Commons, Richard T. Ely, Frederick Jackson Turner, William F. Vilas, Charles Van Hise, and E. B. Van Vleck.

1908
The first clubhouse, the family home of University Vice President John B. Parkinson at the corner of Murray and State Streets, is purchased by club members through the sale of stock and bonds.
The club opens for business. The first addition, a wing on the west side of the old house, is completed; in 1912, dormitory wing to the south is added; and in 1924, the Parkinson house is removed and replaced by a wing on the east side, bringing the building to its current configuration. The latter two additions are the work of local architects, Law, Law, and Potter. As the building expands, income is generated from membership dues, room and board rates for residents, and restaurant service.

Parkinson House, 1914. Also visible are the 1908 west addition (right) and 1912 dormitory wing (left).

1933
Declining income during the Depression threatens the life of the club. As a result, the club’s directors turn over title to the property to the university. In return for the gift, the university assumes the club’s utility and maintenance expenses.
Women are admitted to membership.

1941
Professor Helen C. White becomes the first woman to head the club.

1943
Rooms are taken over by the Army Student Training Program

1944
The Arthur Burke affair results in the elimination of the color barrier by the board. The effort to end race discrimination is led by professor of history and Pulitzer Prize winner Merle Curti.

Members of the dance committee make arrangements for the kickoff football dance to be held at the University Club after the Wisconsin-Marquette game in September 1954.

 

1969
The University takes over most of the dormitory space and converts it into badly needed office space in the south wing of the building and the upper floors. The University Club retains space on the ground floor and lower level of the building.

The University Club exterior and surroundings in 1974.

 

1979-2012
Mildred Lindquist, who has worked at the Club for 46 years, retires as manager in 1979. She is succeeded over the years by Mimi Lyons, Julie Johnson, Christie Chastain, Edward Zaleski, and now, Justin Duris.

2003
Complimentary membership is offered to all employees of the UW-Madison, though only Contributing Members may make reservations, sign for meals, and enjoy reciprocity at affiliated clubs in North America.

2014
To this day the club provides weekday breakfast and lunch service and is available for meetings, dinners, receptions, and a wide range of activities. Coffee service is available in the large and comfortable Reigel Reading Room. Private meeting rooms, which can service a total of 250 people, are available for special events. Lunch service is available on the front veranda during summer months.

Exterior image of wedding venue
The University Club exterior today. Photograph by Paulius Musteikis.