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University of Wisconsin-Madison

50th Anniversary: Class of 1973

A collection of old photos from the Class of 1973.
Photos from the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy's Class of 1973.

This year, the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy’s Class of 1973 celebrates its 50th anniversary. To commemorate the event, we’ve collected images and memories from members of the class and searched the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy to add to the memories. 

From Your Classmates

In the summer of 1970, I was anticipating taking a big step toward my goal of becoming a pharmacist. I had completed my pre-pharmacy studies at the UW extension at West Bend and was now heading for the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy.

The Vietnam War was still going on and there was protesting at universities around the country, but what did that have to do with a farm boy from Germantown who had never even crossed the state line? Culture shock is an understatement on my first few days on campus: people everywhere, watch out for the buses, where are the classrooms, stay away from the protesters. Fortunately, my friend from back home, Mike Mergener (BS ’73, MS ’76, PhD ’78), who had arrived in Madison the previous year, guided me around. He actually pulled me back after I stepped off the sidewalk into the bus lane when a bus was approaching.

On August 24th, 1970, Sterling Hall was bombed by a group of activists using a truck bomb loaded with improvised explosives. One researcher was killed and several others injured. Twenty six buildings were damaged, including the pharmacy school next door. Things really got interesting then. At first we didn’t know where classes would be held, we ended up using scattered locations around campus. I had a lab at the pharmacy school but much of the glassware was broken and had to be cleaned up and replaced. The protesting intensified and there were clashes between protesters and the National Guard with rifles and bayonets. You could be walking to class with a group of students and be mistaken for a protester and subsequently get tear gassed. It wasn’t just the National Guard but also local law enforcement. During the worst time of the rioting the police had a beat up car with its windows removed and replaced with chicken wire to keep out rocks and bottles. Tear gas was everywhere. I lived in Ogg dorm, on the fifth floor, you couldn’t even escape the odor there. I got gassed near my dorm and could hardly breathe.

Well, time went on and we accepted the new routine of avoiding outside distractions and got down to getting a college education. There were opportunities for new experiences also, like Badger football games at Camp Randall and Badger hockey in the winter. This was also the time to meet people and make new friends. A group of classmates who kind of hung out together became interested in joining a professional fraternity. We were encouraged to do something about it by Jim DeMuth, who was teaching at UW at the time. Jim had gone to Drake University and had been in Phi Delta Chi fraternity. UW had a chapter years before which had fizzled out. Why not try to reactivate? Over the winter of 1970-71 we were in contact with the national organization and on March 20th, 1971, the Delta chapter was reactivated thanks to Jim Demuth, Jack Arndt, and Mel Weinswig, our advisors.

Being a member of Delta chapter was a positive and rewarding experience. I finally got to travel out of the state when I went to a national Phi Delta Chi event in Louisville, Ky.

—Douglas Hoelz RPh, Class of 1973

From the Archives


Get in touch to share memories from the Class of 1974 or help organize a gathering of your classmates for your milestone reunion year at the next Alumni & Friends Tailgate by contacting Alissa Karnaky.