UW-La Crosse Historical Timeline


Historical Event

1905 Thomas Morris sponsors a bill in the state assembly to locate a normal school in La Crosse. The legislature is convinced and allocates $10,000 to purchase a site.
1908 Main Hall constructed
1909 Fassett A. Cotton named first president of La Crosse Normal School, which opens its doors for the purpose of training public elementary and secondary school teachers.
1910 The first campus newspaper is published; it’s called “The Racquet.”
1911 The basketball team takes the State Normal School crown. The first yearbook is published and named, “The Racquet,”  the same name as the student newspaper. The annual will keep that name until 1931 when it changes to “The La Crosse.”
1912 The Physical Education Club is formed, eventually becoming the longest continuous organization in the school’s history.
1913 Regents authorize training of teachers in physical education as a specialty; the School of Physical Education is formed.
1915 Josephine M. Jones is appointed as the first Dean of Women.
1920 Construction of Wittich Hall is completed. Faculty approve the organization of a six-member student council.
1923 La Crosse Normal celebrates its first Homecoming, defeating Lawrence University, 14-9.
1925 Ernest A. Smith becomes the second president.
1926 George M. Snodgrass becomes the third president.
1927 La Crosse Normal is renamed the La Crosse State Teachers College and is authorized to grant four-year teaching degrees in physical education and secondary education.
1928 The college is accredited by North Central Association as a teacher-training institution.
1931 La Crosse State Teachers College Association is formed, governed by a student council of five men and five women with junior or senior status. The college is divided into divisions of elementary education, secondary education and physical education. Homecoming’s “Hanging of the Lantern” tradition begins over the south entrance to Graff Main Hall at the suggestion of English teacher Orris O. White who said “We’ll hang the lantern in the old college tower ... You won’t need to look for the key — the door will be open.”
1934 The college celebrates its 25th anniversary with an enrollment of 645.
1937 Students adopt the name “Indians” for athletic teams. In 1989, the name for men’s athletic teams is changed to “Eagles.” Women’s teams, known as the “Roonies” since the inception of intercollegiate competition in the early 1970s, become the “Eagles” in 1990.
1938 Campus heating plant is constructed.
1939 Rexford S. Mitchell becomes the fourth president. The Campus School opens. Students brought sleds, wagons, bicycles, and an old wheelbarrow to move equipment from Main Hall to the new building, later renamed Morris Hall.
1941 The school year is shortened from 40 weeks to 33 weeks to help answer the need for wartime workers.
1942 Expanded academic offerings include a joint physical education and recreation minor.
1943 Student government reorganizes into a Campus Controls Council of 20 elected full-time students.
1944 Women’s Self Governing Association forms to regulate all matters pertaining to women students.
1951 La Crosse State Teachers College becomes Wisconsin State College, La Crosse. Wilder Hall becomes the first campus residence hall. Regents authorize granting bachelor’s of arts and bachelor’s of science degrees in the liberal arts
1952 Health education is added as a minor.
1956 The first master’s of science degree is offered.
1957 Students and faculty work “all day and into the evening” Feb. 4 for Operation Booklift, a line carrying books from Graff Main Hall to the university’s first library, the Florence Wing Library, named for the school’s first librarian.
1958 Reuter Hall opens as the first residence hall for men.
1959 The college celebrates 50 years, with enrollment at 1,821. Cartwright Center is constructed as the student center. Additions are added in 1964 and 1984. Trowbridge Hall opens as a women’s residence hall. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy speaks to a packed Graff Main Hall Auditorium.
1961 First institution-wide general education program takes effect.
1962 White Hall, a residence hall for men, opens.
1963 Regents authorize a master’s in elementary education. Baird Hall is constructed as a residence hall for women.
1964 The college is designated a state university; its name changes to Wisconsin State University- La Crosse. The university is then organized into Colleges of Education; Physical Education; and Arts, Letters, and Sciences. Laux Hall is constructed as a men’s residence hall and Anna Wentz Hall as a women’s residence hall. Ralph Wall becomes band director and forms the Marching Chiefs. The marching band keeps that name until 1990, when it becomes the “Screaming Eagles” to reflect the name change of athletic teams.
1965 Construction completed on Mitchell Hall and Cowley Hall. The faculty senate is established.
1966 Samuel G. Gates becomes the fifth president. Whitney Center construction completed. Residence halls — Coate Hall for men, Angell and Drake halls for women — open. Through work of the faculty senate official instructional departments form renaming the School of Elementary and Secondary Education to the School of Teacher Education.
1967 Sanford Hall for men and Hutchison Hall for women open as residence halls. Separate colleges for education, health-recreation physical education, and letters and sciences are created.
1969 On April 14, more than 60 staff and students move the university library to the new $2.5 million Eugene W. Murphy Library.
1970 The Student Coordinating Committee is established as the new student government. The first La Crosse State University Alumni Association meeting is held. Master’s of arts in teaching is offered as a new graduate program. The former library building is renovated and renamed Wing Communication Center, housing audiovisual and the mass communications department.
1971 Through merger, the university becomes part of the University of Wisconsin System with its name changing to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Kenneth E. Lindner becomes the sixth president and then the first chancellor (because of the merger, the name of the position is converted to chancellor). The School of Business is created under the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences. “Dorm life” becomes “Residence Hall life.” Amid a snowstorm, campus radio station WLSU goes on the air, as scheduled, at 2 p.m. Jan. 4.
1972 Mitchell Hall adds a track, pool, dance studios, human performance lab, offices, tennis courts, and handball courts. Laux and Drake Halls become the first co-ed residence halls. The first campus minority studies conference is held. The first “Campus Previews,” today known as “Campus Close-Ups,” are held for recruiting.
1973 Last year of operation for the Campus School. It is renamed Thomas Morris Hall and becomes the center of the elementary and secondary education programs. A cardiac rehabilitation program is started as a joint effort between the medical profession in La Crosse and the College of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.
1974 The Marching Chiefs perform at the Orange Bowl. Construction is completed on the Fine Arts Building, later renamed the Center for the Arts, and North Hall, later renamed Wimberly Hall. Division of University outreach becomes the first organizational attempt to meet the continuing needs of non-traditional students. A Career Planning Center and Placement Office, today known as Career Services, is organized. More than 1,500 students gathered in “the pit” between Angell and Hutchison halls see a group of people run by in nothing but sweat socks and tennies, a “Streaking” fad in spring.
1975 UW-L Student Association forms to succeed the Campus Controls Council. Master’s degrees in business administration and education-professional development are offered.
1976 The Reading Center is developed for teacher training, reading skill improvement for UW-L students, and assistance for area residents with reading problems.
1977 Master’s degree programs are added in health education, cardiac rehabilitation, and recreation. Women’s studies program initiated.
1979 Noel R. Richards becomes the second chancellor, the institution’s seventh leader.
1980 The School of Business and the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation are reorganized into individual colleges.
1981 With the addition of land to the north in the marsh, the campus acreage enlarges. The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the College of Business Administration.
1984 UW-L celebrates 75 years with a variety of activities, including an outdoor pageant recreating opening ceremonies of the Normal School. Enrollment is 9,109.
1985 Reuter Hall, the last traditional all-male residence hall on campus, goes coed when fall classes begin.
1986 The university enrolls a record 9,659 students. With UW System-mandated enrollment downsizing, the record is not expected to be exceeded.
1988 The physical education and microbiology programs are named as centers of excellence by the Board of Regents. The university purchases Veterans Memorial Stadium from the city for $1.
1989 After lengthy debate, the name for men’s athletic teams is changed to “Eagles.”
1990 The National Athletic Training Association re-accredits the undergraduate athletic training program. The women’s athletic teams adopt the Eagles nickname.
1991 Judith L. Kuipers becomes chancellor, and the institution’s eighth leader and first woman at the helm. Reorganization of the general education program takes place. The State Building Commission approves the Murphy Library addition, a student life building, and the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center.
1992 The university becomes one of the founding members of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium, a collaboration with Viterbo University, Western Technical College, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare and Gundersen Lutheran to provide medical education, research and training.  
1993 The university receives reaccreditation in the College of Business Administration by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business and of the teacher education programs by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
1994 Under Chancellor Kuipers’ strategic plan, “Forward Together,” the university reorganizes colleges and departments into the College of Business Administration, College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, College of Science and Allied Health, College of Liberal Studies, School of Arts and Communication, School of Education, and Graduate Studies. UW-L’s first World Wide Web site goes online.
1995 The Cleary Alumni & Friends Center and the Murphy Library addition/remodeling finished.
1996 Women’s sports and the College of Business Administration celebrate 25 years. Construction begins on a student life center, which opens in 1997 as the Recreational Eagle Center.
1997 The undergraduate research program is implemented with a $20,000 starting fund. The Hoeschler Clock Tower is finished and becomes the new home for the traditional hanging of the lantern during Homecoming. Main Hall is renamed the Maurice O. Graff Main Hall, honoring the long-time retired vice chancellor.
1998 Groundbreaking occurs for the $27 million Health Science Center, funded through state and local funding via the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium. The building opens in 2000.
1999 The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education re-accredits the School of Education’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
2000 Chancellor Judith Kuipers resigns to become president of The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. Grand opening of the Archaeology Building and Laboratories, a $380,000 renovation of the campus’ original power plant. North Hall is changed to W. Carl Wimberly Hall, honoring the longest-serving academic vice chancellor in the UW System who served campus from 1953-1992
2001 Former Provost Douglas N. Hastad is named the university’s ninth leader. University athletic teams earn four national championships— NCAA III indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and cross country, and the women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Association title. Flood waters cancel baseball and softball games on the university’s diamonds during the Mississippi River’s third-highest crest of 16.41. The $9.9 million renovation to Wing Technology Center is dedicated Sept. 13, just two days after students, faculty and staff respond to terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., by holding an evening candlelight vigil. A master’s degree in software engineering is offered, the only such program in Wisconsin or Iowa, and one of 50 nationwide.
2002 Men runners accomplish the “triple crown” by earning three more NCAA III titles — cross country, fall 2001; indoor track and field, winter 2002; outdoor track and field, spring 2002— The women’s gymnastics team earns the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association title. For the first time, grades are available exclusively on the university’s Web site or by telephone.
2003 Accountancy students rank No. 1 nationally among those taking the Certified Public Accounting exam in November 2002. Students register for spring semester 2004 classes for the first time using TALON, an online system that replaces touch-tone phone registration and offers a variety of other services.
2004 The College of Education, Exercise Science, Health and Recreation is the new name of the College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Teacher Education. Senior Andrew Rock, from Stratford, Wis., becomes the university’s first student-athlete to compete in the Summer Olympics  — and earn a gold medal. Rock, a member of the men’s 4x400 relay team, ran in the semi-finals which qualified the team to run for the gold.
2005 Reuter Hall is demolished and work on a new $22.3 million residence hall begins. The click of a mouse replaced No. 2 pencils when faculty were required to submit final grades using a user-friendly Web site instead of paper forms.
2006 Chancellor Doug Hastad resigns to become president of Carroll College in Waukesha. The new Reuter Hall, a suite-style residence hall, opens to upperclassmen returning for fall classes.
2007 Joe Gow is named the university’s 10th leader.
2008 Construction of $16.6 million Veteran’s Memorial Field Sports Complex begins.
2009 The university celebrates its 100th anniversary.