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Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

A History of the University of Wisconsin System

“Drawing on Brady's own inside knowledge as the System's former general counsel, A History of the University of Wisconsin System offers unique insights into the conflicts and accomplishments of the administrative and political elites who shaped the System.”
—Chad Alan Goldberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin System was established in a tumultuous 1971 merger combining all of the state's public colleges and universities into a single entity. Drawing on decades of previously unpublished sources, administration insider Patricia A. Brady details this dramatic story, illuminating a continual struggle among and within the System campuses, and between the System and the state.

The UW System serves as a powerful case study for how broad, national trends in higher education take shape on the ground. Brady illustrates the ways culture wars have played out on campuses and the pressures that have mounted as universities have shifted to a student-as-consumer approach. This is the essential, unvarnished story of the unique collection of institutions that serve Wisconsin and the world—and a convincing argument for why recognizing and reinvesting in the System is critically important for the economic and civic future of the state and its citizens.


Author. Photo credit, Name Patricia A. Brady is a consultant on higher education law issues. She serves as chief legal officer for the University of Wisconsin System from 2002 to 2010.




“A very original piece of work that not only captures the uniqueness of the UW System and its history but is laced with a literature review of how UW's founding intersects with other system documentaries.”
—Nancy Zimpher, Rockefeller Institute of Government

“A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the UW System's establishment and maturation. It expertly paints the picture of the UW System that is born and evolves from spirited confluences of politics, leadership, values, economics, demographics, priorities, personalities, emotions, truths and exaggerations, and yet more politics.”
—Noel Tomas Radomski, managing director, Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education



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Of Related Interest


The University of Wisconsin
A History, 1848-1925
Merle Curti and Vernon Carstensen


The University of Wisconsin
A History. Volume III, Politics, Depression, and War, 1925-1945
E. David Cronon and John W. Jenkins

A History of the University of Wisconsin System by Patricia A. Brady. Cover art: maroon and red background.

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April 2020
LC: 2019039026 LD
392 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $49.95 A
ISBN 9780299326401
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