arrow-orange arrow caret-dark-graycaret-orangefacebookinstagramlinkedinlogo-accentlogo-wordmarkplay-circlesearchsoundcloudtwitteryoutube

Events and Learning Cohorts

Loading Events

Celebrating the Spiritual History of UW-Madison—A Multimedia Event 

March 1 @ 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM CST

  • This event has passed.

The spiritual history of UW-Madison is deeper, richer, and more complex than most people know. Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches located around the campus? Did you know that most of the early dorms had chapels? Have you noticed the religiously-themed plaques on buildings, or the statue in honor of Abraham in the Humanities’ building courtyard? The more you look, the more you see, and the more you might marvel. 

From the early president, John Bascom, to professors, administrators, and thousands of students, up to today, UW has been home to many whose faith influenced their lives and university work, and vice-versa.  

Through archival research and interviews, Upper House’s Director of University Engagement, Dan Hummel, has recovered religious facts and themes that thread through UW-Madison’s entire history. Undertaken as part of the Higher Pursuits Project, with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, Upper House sought to create original research and present it in ways accessible to the wide university community, telling the ongoing story of spiritual and religious expression at UW-Madison. In recovering this story—and sharing it through written, video-, and audio-recorded means—we aim to illuminate ways spiritual inquiry and practice have been vital to UW’s identity in the past and can continue to help the campus thrive in the future.  

Join us for our 4:30 PM reception and 5:00 PM program celebrating the Spiritual History of UW-Madison, featuring—

  • A 20-minute video highlighting the diverse leaders, professors, and places at UW-Madison connected to religious and spiritual claims, produced by Scott Wilson. 
  • A 14-stop self-guided tour of the old UW-Madison campus, titled Spirit and Stone: A Walking Audio Tour of the Spiritual Geography of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, narrated by Jon Dahl, longtime InterVarsity graduate and faculty ministry leader on UW-Madison’s campus. 
  • A 70-page essay with numerous images, titled The University of Wisconsin and the Ideal of Nonsectarianism: Organized Religion at a Flagship Public University, 1848-2023, by historian Daniel G. Hummel, PhD, Director of University Engagement at Upper House. 

We will discuss these resources, highlighting their origins and—just as importantly—acknowledging that we work and live in a place where God has been active for generations, and remains so.  

Please join us for light refreshments, brief introductory presentations, a video viewing, and Q&A. Attendees will leave with a free monograph and links to the video and audio tour.  


Jon Dahl serves as an InterVarsity campus minister at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served graduate students, faculty, and staff at UW–Madison for more than 20 years. Prior to his campus ministry work, Jon worked for the USDA and other units of government as a resource conservationist. Jon has a BS in agricultural engineering technology from UW–Platteville and a master’s in theological studies from Regent College at the University of British Columbia.  

Dan Hummel is Director of University Engagement at Upper House. Dan received his PhD in history from UW-Madison, and his writings on American religion and politics have appeared in Christianity Today and the Washington Post. His forthcoming book is The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle Over the End Times Shaped a Nation (Eerdmans Press, 2023). 

Scott Wilson is retired after 42 years serving in Communications with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. For many years he directed InterVarsity’s Twentyonehundred Productions. He has a BS in math/physics from Westminster College and a MDiv from GordonConwell Theological Seminary. 


NOTE: All of the above products were created with funding support from the John Templeton Foundation, and the opinions expressed therein reflect the views of their authors/producers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. 




March 1
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM CST
Event Categories:


Melissa Shackelford


Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website