Kelly Meyerhofer:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is moving forward with the installation of a plaque in Van Hise Hall that would explain the legacy of the building’s namesake, Charles Van Hise, and his promotion of eugenics.

Eugenics is selective breeding, often by forced sterilization, to remove “undesirables” from society, such as people of color and those with disabilities.

The intent of the plaque is to spark a broader conversation about a relatively unknown and painful chapter in state history, and the university’s role in it, said Kacie Luccini Butcher, director of the UW-Madison Public History Project who conducted research on the topic.

Who was Charles Van Hise?

Van Hise received four degrees from UW-Madison, including the first Ph.D. degree granted by the university. He is the university’s longest serving leader, serving as president from 1903 until his death in 1918. During his tenure, UW-Madison established a graduate division, founded a medical school and increased its faculty from 200 to 750 professors.


Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood) and eugenics.