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Sifting and Winnowing

Theodore Herfurth

Bascom Hall is the citadel of power of the University of Wisconsin. In this building the Regents of the University officially convene. Theirs is the prerogative and the responsibility to establish, to defend, and to preserve the spiritual, the ethical, and the cultural values which comprise the essence of a great university. Securely riveted to the wall in the loggia, immediately to the left of the main entrance, is a tablet cast in enduring bronze. In picturesque language the tablet heralds to the world that the University of Wisconsin is permanently dedicated to the principle of academic freedom. ...

Whence came this noble sentiment, and why? Upon whose excellent mind was the thought first mirrored, and whose facile pen etched it out in words so colorful and expressive?... At whose behest was this permanent declaration of academic freedom cast in bronze? By whose dictum, under what circumstances, and when was it erected in so prominent a place?... To answer these and related questions is the object of this study.

Theodore Herfurth Madison, Wisconsin 1948

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