The 175 logo superimposed on top of a historical photo of Main Hall.

Lawrence University is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding in 1847, honoring a history of brilliance in the liberal arts and sciences and pointing toward a future bright with possibilities.

It was on January 15, 1847, that Lawrence Institute was granted a charter, one year before Wisconsin became a state and six years before Appleton would be incorporated as a municipality. The private college took its name from Amos A. Lawrence, the Boston merchant who pledged $10,000 to endow the school.

The campus was built on land purchased from the Menominee tribe, the ancestral homelands of the Menominee and Ho-Chunk people. It became one of the first co-educational colleges in the country. In 1874, the Conservatory of Music was established. In 1913, the institution adopted the name Lawrence College to underscore its commitment to undergraduate liberal education. And in 1964, Lawrence again assumed the name Lawrence University when it was consolidated with Milwaukee-Downer College for Women.

Now marking its 175th year, with an enrollment of nearly 1,500 students, Lawrence continues to honor the vision of its founders and build on the heritage of excellence in undergraduate education.


Main Hall lit up at dusk

Inauguration Ceremony & Celebration

Join us Friday, May 13th for a light-filled ceremony in Memorial Chapel, followed by a celebration under the stars on Main Hall Green.

Lawrence is also celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding. Join us Saturday, May 14th as we honor the shared history of Lawrence and the Fox Cities with a curated collection of presentations, performances, and gatherings across campus open to the community.

175th Anniversary beanie, mug and stickers

Get Your 175th LU Swag!


From t-shirts (we even have class colors) and beanies to coffee mugs and pint glasses, be sure to grab your special 175th LU gear in our pop-up shop. Merchandise is available only through 2022, so don’t wait too long to stock up on your commemorative gear.

Celebrate on Social Media

Let all of your friends know why Lawrence is such a special place. Share a photo of your time at Lawrence or wearing Lawrence gear on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and use #Lawrence175 when you post!

Travel Through Time

Explore Lawrence’s history in these photos from the University Archives.

Current News & Highlights