University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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A History of UWM

The name of the institution has changed—several times—but the roots of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee go back to 1885, when Wisconsin established the Milwaukee Normal School, a two-year teacher's college.

1885 Milwaukee Normal School opens to train teachers in downtown Milwaukee at 18th and Wells.
1892 University of Wisconsin offers day and evening classes in Milwaukee.
1909 With the completion of a new Milwaukee Normal School building (today's Mitchell Hall), the campus moves to its present location.
1920 The University of Wisconsin Extension Division, formed in 1907, takes over responsibility for UW instruction in Milwaukee.
1927 Normal school becomes Milwaukee State Teachers College with four-year degree.
1928 UW Extension opens Milwaukee Center downtown.
1951 Milwaukee State Teachers College becomes Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee, with liberal arts degrees.
1956 WSC and UW Milwaukee Extension merge to form UWM.
1961 The 8.6-acre Milwaukee-Downer Seminary site, including three buildings, is purchased.
1963 UWM offers first Ph.D. degree (mathematics).
1964 UWM buys Milwaukee-Downer College buildings, expands campus.
1965 UWM purchases the 6.3-acre Milwaukee University School campus.
1970 Three towers, collectively called Sandburg Residence Halls, open for student housing.
1988 UW System designates eight Centers of Excellence at UWM.
1995 Division of Outreach and Continuing Education Extension (now the School of Continuing Education) moves to new offices in the downtown Plankinton Building.
2000 Carnegie Foundation names UWM to top tier of research universities.
2001 Governor announces Honors Academy at UWM. Women's basketball team is first in school history to reach NCAA Tournament.
2002 UWM opens Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. Fourth tower added to Sandburg Residence Halls.
2005 Men's basketball team advances to Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament.
2006 $100-million Campaign for UWM announced. Pavilion athletics complex and Kenilworth Square mixed-use student housing facility open. Men's and women's basketball teams both advance to NCAA Tournament.

By the turn of the century, the school had expanded to offer programs in the liberal arts and science as well as education. By the 1930s, the school, now called Milwaukee State Teachers College, was a national leader in innovative teacher education, with 1,500 students, one of whom was Golda Meir, who became prime minister of Israel.

After World War II, the College was authorized to award four-year bachelor degrees and, in 1951 became Wisconsin State College. Five years later it combined with the Milwaukee Extension Center, which had been the local outreach program of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Together, the two institutions became the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with its focus on academic research, teaching and community service.

Since its founding, UWM has expanded its programs so that today its 12 schools and colleges offer 81 undergraduate programs, 48 masters and 17 doctoral degrees.

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