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175th anniversary glass paperweight
February 15, 2024

Design + Innovation Labs team with glassmakers to commemorate UW-Madison history

Written By: Tom Ziemer


Attendees of a reception on the eve of the February 2024 meeting of the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents left with a physical example of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s glassmaking prowess—thanks to a cross-campus collaboration between the UW-Madison Glass Lab and the Grainger Engineering Design + Innovation Labs in the College of Engineering.

The two groups teamed up to produce glass paperweights given to guests—including members of the Board of Regents, university chancellors, provosts, presidents and vice presidents and other staffers—as part of a celebration of UW-Madison’s 175th anniversary.

Design + Innovation Lab staffers John Burr, Jesse Darley and Mike Hughes used 3D Computer-Aided Design modeling and Mastercam software to produce a graphite mold for the project. Helen Lee, an associate professor of glassworking in the Department of Art, and Kagen Dunn, Glass Lab project manager, took it from there, creating the paperweights.

Lee, who spoke at the gathering, leads the UW-Madison Glass Lab, which started as the first collegiate glass program in the United States in 1962.

Jay Rothman, president of the Universities of Wisconsin, receives a 175 anniversary glass paperweight from Carrie Olson, campus events & special programs manager, while at right Karen Walsh, president of the UW Board of Regents, looks on during the UW Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Feb. 9, 2024. Photo by: Althea Dotzour, UW–Madison.