Honor the Past. Empower the Future.
Badgers open doors for others to walk through.
William Smith Noland 1875 was the first known Black man to graduate from the University of Wisconsin. More than 40 years later, Mabel Watson Raimey 1918 joined him as the UW’s first known Black woman graduate. She is believed to have been the first Black woman to practice law in the state. Today, UW–Madison is honoring them with the Raimey-Noland Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fund, an effort by alumni and friends of the university to make the UW a more welcoming and diverse community.
What Raimey and Noland began attracted others who were bold enough to challenge barriers:
- William Green LLB1892, the first Black graduate of UW Law School
- George Poage 1903, the first African American to win an Olympic medal
- S.I. Hayakawa PhD’35, Japanese American linguist and U.S Senator
- Vel Phillips LLB’51, the first Black woman to serve as a judge in Wisconsin
- Lorraine Hansberry x’52, the first Black woman to write a play produced on Broadway
- Ada Deer ’57, the first Native American to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Har Gobind Khorana, Indian American professor of life sciences and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize
- Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw LLM’85, pioneer in the concept of intersectionality
Named for the UW’s first known male and female Black graduates, the Raimey-Noland Campaign is raising funds to promote diversity and equity in every level and within every program at UW–Madison. Its goals are:
- to leverage scholarships to increase the diversity of the student body
- to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty
- to support academic success and increase graduation rates, particularly in STEM fields
- to promote an inclusive campus community
- to invest in research that addresses issues of social and racial justice.
Help UW–Madison attract the bold leaders who will extend the legacy of Raimey and Noland, of Phillips and Hayakawa, of Hansberry and Deer. Make UW–Madison a community that is welcoming to all talented minds. Gifts of all sizes — including bequests and other deferred gifts — are welcome.