100 Years of Care

A lot has changed in the last 100 years, but one thing has never changed: our deep appreciation for all the children and families who trusted us as their healthcare experts. We learned and grew together. You supported us as we embraced new technology and recruited and welcomed clinical experts from around the world. You were there to help us build a beautiful new hospital that supports our vision of excellence.

We’re excited to celebrate our first 100 years, and eager to begin the next century of care. Here are just a few highlights from our first 100 years:

1920-2020 Milestones:
100 Years of a Children’s Hospital on the UW-Madison Campus


Pediatric Care

First children’s hospital on UW Campus opens as the Mary Cornelia Bradley Hospital for the Study of Children’s Diseases.

Born in 1909 to a University of Wisconsin professor, Dr. Harold C. Bradley and his wife, Mary Josephine Crane, little Mary Cornelia Bradley was stricken with measles at age six before dying of meningitis in 1916. As a tribute to their daughter, the Bradleys raised most of the funds to open the new children’s hospital.  

Now called Bradley Memorial, the building is still used as office space by several UW-Madison departments

In addition to these b/w photos, See color photo at https://map.wisc.edu/s/wkqowr53


Wisconsin General Hospital

Wisconsin General Hospital (later University Hospital) opens. This hospital, which is open until 1979, treats mostly adult patients, but some pediatric patients are cared for here. The building currently is known as the Medical Sciences Center, part of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.  


Wisconsin Orthopedic Hospital

Wisconsin Orthopedic Hospital

To combat the new polio epidemic, a new children’s hospital is erected one block away, called the Wisconsin Orthopedic Hospital. The building today is the home of the UW-Madison Nutritional Services Department. 


Wisconsin Children’s Hospital
Wisconsin Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Care

Pediatric care is consolidated into the Wisconsin Orthopedic Hospital and renamed University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital.


Nathan Smith, MD becomes the first chair of the newly formed UW Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Smith served as chair until 1963 and was instrumental in launching the first pediatric outpatient clinic, which was in the Bradley Memorial building.


Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) attended the dedication.

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Memorial Laboratories

Dedication of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Memorial Laboratories on the UW-Madison campus. The precursor to today’s Waisman Center, the Laboratories were located in the UW Orthopedic Hospital. The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) attended the dedication. 


Charles Lobeck, MD

Charles Lobeck, MD serves as chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics. 

Dr. Lobeck specialized in cystic fibrosis research and patient care. In 1975, he became dean of the University of Missouri Medical School, and later returned to the UW Medical School as vice dean.


UW Marching Band Plays for UW Children's Hospital Patients

UW Marching Band Plays for UW Children’s Hospital Patients

Patients at the old UW Children’s Hospital would gather outside to hear the UW Marching Band, which used to play at the hospital after Badger home football games.


Professor Fritz Bach, MD

First successful bone marrow transplant

UW Children’s Hospital is the site of the world’s first successful bone marrow transplant. Professor Fritz Bach, MD of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and Professor Robert Good, MD, PhD, of the University of Minnesota performed the transplant, made possible by Bach’s earlier research findings.


The Waisman Center

The Waisman Center

Dedication of the Waisman Center, which was named for Harry A. Waisman, MD, PhD, a biochemist, pediatrician, and pioneer in intellectual and developmental disabilities research. Established a biomedical research unit at the Waisman Center, representing a new focal point for brain research on the UW-Madison campus.


William Segar, MD, serves as chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics.

An expert in fluid and electrolyte metabolism and pediatric fluid therapy and dialysis, Dr. Segar was a driving force in building the UW’s pediatric renal service. Faculty grows from 29 to 41 members in his tenure.


University Hospital

University Hospital

New Clinical Science Center opens on the far west side of Campus, providing a new home for UW Hospital and Clinics and UW Children’s Hospital.


Philip Farrell, MD, PhD

Philip Farrell, MD, PhD, serves as chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Farrell is an international expert on cystic fibrosis research and patient care, as well as newborn screening. He was the dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health from 1995 to 2006.


Aaron Friedman, MD

Aaron Friedman, MD, serves as chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics. 

A former department resident and fellow, Dr. Friedman joined the faculty in 1981 as a pediatric nephrologist. He was the dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School from 2011 to 2013.


Ellen Wald, MD

Ellen Wald, MD serves as chair of the UW Department of Pediatrics.

Under Dr. Wald’s leadership, faculty membership in the Department more than doubled, from 89 in 2006 to 183 in 2019.  Extramural research funding has also grown significantly, from $14.6 million in fiscal year 2007 to $38.6 million in fiscal year 2019 – an increase of 165 percent.


American Family Chrildren's Hospital

American Family Children’s Hospital

Through a naming gift from American Family Insurance and the generosity of many businesses and individuals, a world-class, state-of-the-art facility with contemporary family-friendly amenities, opens next to UW Hospital and Clinics.

UW worldwide leaders in Pediatrics research:

Philip Farrell, MD, PhD

Philip Farrell, MD, PhD, retired professor of Pediatrics, led the research group that investigated the benefits, risks, tests, and costs of early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis through newborn screening. As a result of his group’s efforts spanning four decades, DNA-based population screening for early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis eventually became the worldwide standard.

Robert Lemanske, Jr., MD

Robert Lemanske, Jr., MD, professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and head of the Division of Pediatric Allery, Immunology and Rheumatology, is a leading researcher and clinician in the field of pediatric asthma. Since joining the UW faculty in 1983, Dr. Lemanske has published more than 200 articles pertaining to basic, clinical and translational research in several of the nation’s leading medical journals.

Paul Sondel, MD, PhD

Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, professor of Pediatrics, Human Oncology and Genetics. A leader for decades in the field of childhood cancer research, Dr. Sondel’s body of pathbreaking work was widely recognized in 2015 when he was named one of the first recipients of the National Cancer Institute’s Outstanding Investigator Award. Moreover, Dr. Sondel is a member of UW’s pediatric cancer “Dream Team” – one of only 8 in the world that are seeking to advance the study of immunotherapy as a new form of cancer care showing promise of greater effectiveness with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.