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Ted Crabb, 2016

Black, Sugar, Cream or Both?
Ted Crabb Takes on the Wisconsin Union

"Black, sugar, cream, or both?" That was one of many questions Theodore (Ted) Crabb answered his freshman year at UW-Madison. Standing in Der Rathskeller, Crabb ordered his first cup of coffee. At the time, it was unlikely he knew how much of an impact he would make on the Wisconsin Union.

As a student, Crabb was an active student government leader, helping to procure the first voting rights for students on the Student Life and Interest Committee, previously dominated by faculty. He was elected student president of the Union his senior year. Upon graduation, he accepted a job as an advisor to the Wisconsin Hoofers.

In 1968, during the height of the Vietnam Era, the UW found itself amid chaos. It was at this time that Ted was named the second Union Director, succeeding Porter Butts. He saw the potential for the Memorial Union to serve as a place of calm and non-destructive debate on campus during the war. This was the first program of many that Crabb would organize.

Over the next 33 years, Ted Crabb directed the evolution of the Wisconsin Union into what it is today, including Union South (the second Union building), several campus programs, and standardizing the iconic Terrace sunburst chairs. He retired in 2001 but through his career, he advocated for and mentored hundreds of students—and continues to do so today.