With funding from the John Templeton Foundation (2020-22), Upper House spearheaded the Higher Pursuits Project — to engage the history, ideals, and values that shape the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and human flourishing in the contemporary university. Below find some of the outcomes: An in-depth historical essay based on original research, a video, and an audio walking tour of the old UW-Madison campus.

The University of Wisconsin and the Ideal of Nonsectarianism: Organized Religion at a Flagship Public University, 1848-2023, is a 70-page essay by historian Daniel G. Hummel, PhD, Director of University Engagement at Upper House. Highlighting the university’s relationship with religion over its 175-year history, the essay documents the nonlinear influence of faith on the campus’ culture and policymaking. Based on archival research and interviews with emeritus faculty, this essay was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation through its support of the Higher Pursuits Project (2020-2022).

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Download link for EBook Version

A FREE published essay is available to people who visit the Upper House front desk.



A Brief History of Faith at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a 20-minute video that highlights some of the diverse leaders, professors, and places at UW-Madison.




Spirit and Stone is an audio tour of the historical heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus that highlights some of the rich religious and spiritual heritage of the old campus.