Dean’s View: Wisconsin Idea

Dean Raymond

Dear friends,

Our academic year is well underway. This is a big year for us: we had a great visit with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (more on that in our next issue); the faculty appointments committee is busily working to bring in new faculty colleagues; and we continue to work toward the goal for our comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Most important, though: this is our 149th year of operation, and we are planning for the Law School’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2018. I want to share two exciting developments about our anniversary with you. The first is that in preparing for the sesquicentennial, we invite you not just to enjoy the historical content we generate, but to be part of creating it. As we compile and share the rich history of the Law School and our graduates, we know there are stories that only you can tell us. You, as graduates of the Law School, have experiences and recollections that are part of the fabric of this place, and we invite you to share those stories with us as we plan to honor and celebrate our 150 years of educating our students for the practice of law. If you have a recollection of the Law School and your experience here, a proud life achievement to share, or a story about a graduate or colleague that you want others to know about, please send an email to Help us broaden our understanding of our Law School’s impact by telling us your story. We look forward to sharing these rich recollections of our history as part of our celebration.

The second is that we plan to use the upcoming issues of the Gargoyle to feature both our Law School’s history, and some of the contemporary activities that reflect our continued commitment to the Law School and the University of Wisconsin’s shared values.

This issue focuses on the Wisconsin Idea. That “idea” is that the university should bring its knowledge and expertise to improve life for the people of the state, the nation, and the world. Our Law School has always embraced the Wisconsin Idea, and continues to do so today. Today’s issue provides some contemporary examples. From Professor Bill Whitford, who as the named plaintiff in Gill v. Whitford s asking the US Supreme Court to reshape the law of gerrymandering, to the collaboration of the Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center and the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic to support tribal entrepreneurship, to the grant-funded work of the Wisconsin Innocence Project bringing the possibility of exoneration to Spanish-speaking clients, the work of our Law School continues to have a profound and lasting impact on the world around it.

Two other anniversaries are recognized in this issue: the 75th anniversary of the Curry Mural in the Law Library, and the 50th anniversary of the LEO program. The Law School’s commitment to law, justice, and equal opportunity has a rich history of its own, one we are proud to honor and share.

I reflect on the upcoming sesquicentennial with pride, excitement, and profound
respect for what this Law School has meant to all of you, and to the clients and communities you serve. I can’t wait to learn more about you.

With warm regards,

Dean Margaret Raymond