The University of Wisconsin-Stout traces its history to 1891 and has undergone many fascinating changes over time, but it has always stayed true to its mission of providing practical, career-focused education. To learn more about the history of Stout, view its history by eras using the tabs on this page.


How we knew it: Stout's names over time

The UW-Stout has undergone five name changes from its inception. Throughout its history, Stout has maintained its connection to its founder by bearing his name.

Stout Manual Training Schools » 1891 to 1908

Under the auspices of the Menomonie Public Schools, James Huff Stout funded various educational enterprises. In 1891, The Stout Manual Training School began educating students in manual training and domestic science. In 1894, the school introduced kindergarten classes. It began formally training  kindergarten teachers five years later. A School of Physical Culture opened in 1901 and provided physical training. In 1903, the school initiated programs for training teachers of manual training and domestic science. Finally, in 1907, the manual training schools added a Homemaker's program to the curriculum.

The Stout Institute » 1908 to 1955

To simplify administration of the various public and Stout Training Schools, The Stout Institute formed in 1908. The institute was designed to "provide facilities in the way of buildings, equipment, and teachers, through which young people of both sexes may secure such instruction and training in industrial and related lines of educational effort as will enable them to become efficient industrial, social, and economic units within their environment." In 1911, following Senator Stout's death, ownership transferred to the State of Wisconsin.

Stout State College » 1955 to 1964

The Stout Institute Board of Trustees was abolished, and the institution came under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents of the State Colleges. Initially, the institute board resisted this change, because it  feared the loss of prestige from being a special college. In retrospect, joining the "League," as President Fryklund expressed it, proved to be a distinct advantage to the school and its faculty.

Stout State University » 1964 to 1971

The name change was authorized by the Board of Regents who believed that the "state colleges had reached another plateau in their development." Increased enrollment brought new and enlarged facilities. The school maintained its traditional focus as it added new majors and brought established majors into new directions.

University of Wisconsin-Stout » 1971 to present

The Wisconsin State Universities and the University of Wisconsin campuses merged to form the University of Wisconsin System. Stout was designated by the Board of Regents as one of only two special mission universities in the UW System. Stout was to offer focused programs "related to professional careers in industry, technology, home economics, applied art and the helping professions." In March 2007, UW-Stout was designated "Wisconsin's Polytechnic University" by the UW System Board of Regents.

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