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Students decorate their graduation caps at Cappy Hour, hosted by the Wisconsin Union.

The beloved Memorial Union Terrace is back. Students, staff and faculty as well as our esteemed Wisconsin Union members and guests have visited this cherished space since 1929.

In its early years, the Terrace hosted a variety of gatherings such as Venetian night, Cap Night and University Sings. At one point, the Terrace was even flooded by the Wisconsin Hoofers to create an ice skating rink!

Porter Butts, the first Wisconsin Union director, captured the Terrace’s appeal perfectly when he wrote, “Where, other than at Wisconsin, may one step from university soil into a canoe, see the crews sweeping by, watch a glowing marine sunset while music plays from nearby student houses or the Union Terrace?”

This year, many excited students celebrated the reopening of the newly renovated Terrace by helping return these iconic chairs back to the beloved space. This event also kicked off a weekend of festivities.

First, the University of Wisconsin Marching Band performed a lively concert on the Terrace’s brand new stage. Then, the Terrace After Dark concert series kicked off with shows by 16 Candles and Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets.

Thousands of people came out to celebrate the return of the beautiful Terrace, including many of UW-Madison’s recent graduates. These new alumni reminisced about the fond memories that they made at the historic spot and took pictures with their families and friends.

The 2016 reopening featured a new and improved, yet familiar Terrace. One major goal of the Memorial Union Reinvestment (MUR) was to preserve the outdoor space’s historic integrity and charm.

The Terrace renovations also included increasing accessibility so that all members and guests can enjoy the space, improving the stage for better programming and adding more seating. A second concession stand was also created to provide more expedient customer service.

The 2016 Terrace season included new traditions including family movie nights, regularly occurring yoga classes and Wheelhouse on Wheels. These combined with time-honored traditions that have made the Terrace campus’s summer home for generations.

One way that MUR was funded was through the now concluded Terrace paver campaign. Members and guests were given the opportunity to purchase personalized pavers, which are now displayed on the historic Terrace. The place where memories are made is now a permanent home for these members’ and guests’ stories. The rest of MUR was made possible by donations, student segregated fees and operating revenue.

This past year of work on the Terrace will ensure that future generations will be able to visit this beautiful place and make memories at their lakeshore campus home.


The Wisconsin Union helps student leaders learn and grow every day. To make it happen, we rely on our greatest resource—the loyalty and generosity of alumni, members and friends. Every gift helps us do more for our students and members. To give, please visit union.wisc.edu/give

Author: terraceviews-admin

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