Graduate Education and Research Timeline


The first master’s degree is awarded, 34 years after the university’s founding.


First test of butterfat content in milk. Stephen Moulton Babcock developed the Babcock test which determines the butterfat content of milk. The Babcock test set the worldwide standard for butterfat determination of milk.


University of Wisconsin–Madison one of fourteen institutions from across the nation that meet in Chicago to discuss graduate education, resulting in the creation of the Association of American Universities.


The UW–Madison Graduate School is created, with astronomer G.C. Comstock as its director. Total graduate student enrollment is 115.


Discovery of vitamin A E.V. McCollum, UW–Madison biochemist. The discovery of vitamin A opened up the field of nutrition science and led to UW-Madison taking the lead in vitamin D research. Source: University Communications website, Milestones: Research Serving Human Needs


Comstock named dean of the Graduate School.


Discovery of vitamin B. Two years after the discovery of vitamin A, E.V. McCollum and colleague Margaret Davis discovered vitamin b, which helps prevent beriberi. Source: UW–Madison Strategic Plan (1989) Targeting Tomorrow: The UW-Madison as the 21st Century Begins


The Research Committee is formed. Its initial mission was to raise funds and to coordinate national defense research during World War I. The committee grew to one dedicated to providing resources for faculty research.


Professor Harry Steenbock . CALS biochemist, discovers the process of irradiating food to enrich its vitamin D content. In 1921 E.V. McCollum discovered a substance that cured rickets – vitamin D.


Steenbock and his colleagues found The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Steenbock’s vitamin D patents establish a portfolio of inventions and investments used to support and fund additional research by university faculty, staff and students. More »


Discovery of methods to iodize salt.


Although they may not have anticipated it when the Arboretum was founded, the University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum committee’s foresight resulted in the Arboretum’s ongoing status as a pioneer in the restoration and management of ecological communities. In focusing on the re-establishment of historic landscapes, particularly those that predated large-scale human settlement, they introduced a whole new concept in ecology: ecological restoration — the process of returning an ecosystem or piece of landscape to a previous, usually more natural, condition. More »


Tuition and fees for graduate study are $55 for residents and $255 for nonresidents.


Graduate School takes over evaluations of applications for graduate study from the registrar. The changes were hailed as being more efficient.


WARF funds exceed $1 million for the first time.


First space-based weather camera developed.


International graduate students number 697 from 65 nations and in 78 majors.


Biochemist Har Gobind Khorana created the first synthetic gene. Khorana received the Nobel Prize for the research he conducted while at UW–Madison from 1960-1970. More »


WARF makes available $4.2 million in research support for faculty, staff and students.


John Wiley appointed dean, serving until 1994; followed for a year by W. Charles Read; and Virginia Hinshaw, who led the school from 1995-2001.


The Graduate School begins using an electronic application via the web for the first time.


Biologist Jamie Thompson first cultivates embryonic stem cells in a lab.


Geographer Martin Cadwallader appointed dean of the Graduate School.


The Graduate School celebrates its 100th anniversary. More »


There are 2,239 international graduate students enrolled.


A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers reports the genetic reprogramming of human skin cells to create cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells. The UW–Madison team was led by Junying Yu and Jamie Thomson.


UW–Madison and UW–Milwaukee, the state’s two public doctoral institutions, join forces in the first campuswide program to promote collaborative research projects involving faculty at both universities.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards a $10 million grant to preserve and enhance the humanities at UW–Madison, which is matched by $10 million from the state. In the Graduate School, funding is used to support graduate student at all stages in their career.


The IceCube neutrino observatory in Antartica is completed.


Twenty-three doctoral programs were ranked in the top 15 percent in their respective fields, according to an assessment by the National Research Council.


The Office of Industrial Partnerships created to foster collaboration between researchers and industry.


Distributions to the university from the WARF endowment total $66.2 million, including support for 1,500 research projects and 52 named professorships.


Several UW–Madison graduate programs are ranked among the nation’s best in the 2013 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools.”


The Faculty Senate approved a reorganization of leadership in the university’s research and graduate education enterprise, dividing the responsibilities into two positions – the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the Dean of the Graduate School.


Marsha Mailick, was appointed by Chancellor Rebecca Blank as Vice Chancellor for the Office of Research and Graduate Education in April 2015.


William Karpus, a professor of pathology and microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was chosen to lead the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in May 2015.

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