Founders Day is on January 15th, marking the 174th anniversary of Lawrence’s formation. It is a day to celebrate the college and its impact on Lawrentians all over the world.
On January 15th, 1847, the Territorial Legislature signed “An Act to Incorporate Lawrence Institute of Wisconsin.” Almost three years later, in November 1849, the Institute changed its name to Lawrence University and opened for its first day of classes. Its first students were taught at the secondary level until they were ready to take on college-level work. Lawrence's first cohort graduated in 1857—ten years after the college was founded and just four years after Wisconsin incorporated the village of Appleton.