Skip to Content

Foreseeing the Wisconsin Union
Porter Butts Builds a Union Foundation

In 1920, Porter Butts enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his everlasting impact on the university began. As an active undergraduate student, Butts was a part of several organizations and honorary societies such as Alpha Tau Omega, Skull and Crescent, and the White Spades. As a junior, he was nominated by his fraternity as a member of an honorary interfraternity society named the Ku Klux Klan, later called Tumas. (There is no evidence that this honorary student organization had any affiliation with the national Knights of Ku Klux Klan.)

His creative side kept him involved with The Daily Cardinal, the humor magazine Octopus, and the Union Vodvil and Haresfoot Dramatic Club. Butts's active involvement and enthusiasm for the University naturally led him to spend his career improving life for the students at UW–Madison and sparking a national college union movement.