When Grainger Hall opened in 1993, the Wisconsin School of Business didn’t just get a new building—Business Badgers got a new home. This year, the School celebrates 25 years of a space where students learn how to build community, help each other achieve, and create a foundation for future success.
Grainger Hall was a unique project, the first building on campus built with combined public and private financing. A naming gift came from the Grainger Foundation, along with significant gifts from John P. and Tashia Morgridge, Albert O. and Nancy Nicholas, and Ted D. and Mary Kellner.
A home like Grainger Hall was a long time coming for the School of Business. After its founding in 1900, the first decades of what was then the School of Commerce were spent in Sterling Hall. By 1950, the School outgrew Sterling Hall, and classes were held in as many as 29 buildings scattered around the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, including some temporary buildings that helped handle the post-World War II boom. In 1956, the School moved to the Commerce Building (now Ingraham Hall) and within a decade outgrew that, too, as interest in business education continued to flourish.
Much has changed in the 25 years since Grainger Hall opened. Technology turned the world upside down. Fields of study that didn’t even exist a quarter of a century ago are now in high demand. More and more students pursue business education. Grainger Hall has changed with the times, too.
Alumni who once walked the halls of Grainger Hall would probably find a familiar home, with some modifications and improvements. A 2008 renovation created the striking East Atrium, which serves as a main entryway to the building. The new wing helped enhance the Wisconsin MBA experience by providing homes for the academic specializations and collaborative spaces that strengthened teamwork among students.
In Spring 2018, the new donor-funded Learning Commons opened as not just a replacement for the Business Library but a three-level collaborative space that offers opportunity for students to learn in a variety of ways. The beautiful, vibrant space was designed to serve the needs of the WSB community now and in the future.
Despite the many changes of the past 25 years, one thing has stayed the same: Grainger Hall remains a place to learn, to collaborate, to produce transformative research, to innovate, and to begin making a mark on the world. Grainger Hall is where Business Badgers are born and where, for a lifetime, they know they belong.