In just a few days, thousands of Badgers will receive their degrees and leave this campus, never to return as undergraduates.

The graduation ceremony is a bittersweet process, but a necessary one. After all, there are only so many parking spots on campus.

Commencement has taken countless forms over University of Wisconsin’s years of existence. Take a look at some historical highlights with the photos below:

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In this picture, Abe Lincoln was just four years old. Look how cute he was back then! He has hardly aged a day.

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Congratulations on your new degrees, graduates! Go have a beer┬áto celebrate, and enjoy it because it’s the last legal drink you’ll have for more than a decade.

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The man at the desk is none other than Porter Butts, a notable proponent of developing┬áMemorial Union as a hub of student activity on campus. We’ll appreciate it more once all the cement mixers get off the Terrace.

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The Second World War was over, and the fern business was booming. Graduates assemble in the field house to receive diplomas and wonder whether the Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb yet.

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Five years later, and Badgers began to wish they got way more sunburnt during commencement. To fix this, the ceremony moved onto the sun-baked field of Camp Randall.

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Hell yeah, balloons! Jimmy Carter is president, but he hasn’t really cracked down on the environment yet, so we may as well throw all this confetti around too.

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This must have been before UW introduced the “no reptiles” policy in student enrollment. Here, a real live alligator earns its degree and boldly enters the professional world.

Best wishes to all graduates!