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UW-La Crosse history

The history of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

2018 The $82 million Prairie Springs Science Center opens for the fall semester . Dedication ceremony held Nov. 15.
2018 The university receives its largest single gift ever. $2 million is donated from the Paul Fleckenstein Charitable Trust to transform how science is taught on campus.
2018 Fall enrollment reaches a new record: 10,569.
2018 UWL hosts the 2018 NCAA III Women's and Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
7/8/17 Student Union opens. Wrestling nationals held here. A new $55 million student union welcomes students returning to campus for the spring semester in January. The building later earns LEED Gold Certification. UWL’s biochemistry major receives national accreditation. The university hosts the 2017 NCAA III Wrestling Championships at the La Crosse Center.
7/7/16 University reaccredited. Business, physician assistant programs do well in national testing. The Higher Learning Commission reaccredits the university. College of Business Administration students have the highest first-time pass rate in the nation on the Certified Public Accountant exam among undergraduate-only programs with more than 60 exam candidates. UWL’s physician assistant program has a 100-percent pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally in Cartwright Center Aug. 11.
7/6/15 Presidential visit. State professors of the year.. President Barack Obama speaks to a large crowd during a speech in the Recreational Eagle Center July 2. He’s the first sitting president to visit. UWL Biology Professor Roger Haro receives the 2015 Wisconsin Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, marking the fourth time in the past five years UWL faculty have taken the honor — 2014: Biology Professor Scott Cooper, 2013: History Professor Victor Macías-González, and 2011: History Professor Greg Wegner. The UW System Board of Regents recognizes UWL’s Mathematics Department with the UW System 2015 Regents Teaching Excellence Award. The American Physical Society names UWL No. 1 in awarding physics degrees among bachelor’s degree granting programs in the country.
7/5/14 Record Enrollment. Physics program nationally ranked. The university reaches record enrollment in fall with 10,558 undergraduate and graduate students. The American Institute of Physics ranks UWL No. 2 in the nation for the number of physics degrees it awards annually among bachelor’s degree granting programs from 2010-12. For the second year in a row, UW-L received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine
7/4/13 Accolades abound. The Biology Department receives the 2013 UW System Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award. The College of Business Administration is reaccredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and earns the Council for Higher Education Accreditation Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes — the first Wisconsin college and only the second business school nationally to be honored. The UW System College Readiness Math MOOC — a Massive Open Online Course developed by UWL faculty and staff — wins the 2013 Desire2Excel award, a national honor for collaboration. UWL receives the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
7/12/12 Two major fires on campus. The university hosts the 27th National Conference on Undergraduate Research. A basement fire in Drake Hall on Jan. 27 that closed the residence hall through the spring semester, and Wittich Hall on June 16, another basement fire that closed the second oldest academic building for more than a month.
7/3/11 Grand openings are held for Centennial Hall, a new academic building, and Eagle Hall, a new residence hall.  
7/1/09 University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Facebook Page launches!  
7/1/09 Enrollment soars! Enrollment passes the 10,000 mark with fall headcount reaching 10,009
7/1/09 The university celebrates its 100th anniversary.  
6/30/08 Construction on new Stadium begins Construction of $16.6 million Veteran’s Memorial Field Sports Complex begins.
6/28/06 Joe Gow is named the university’s 10th leader.  
6/27/05 Grades begin to be submitted electronically 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.
6/27/05 New Residence Hall construction Reuter Hall is demolished and work on a new $22.3 million residence hall begins. Trowbridge Hall, the last traditional all-female residence hall, goes coed when fall classes begin.
6/25/04 Senior Andrew Rock, from Stratford, Wis., becomes the university’s first student-athlete to compete in the Summer Olympics  
6/25/04 The College of Education, Exercise Science, Health and Recreation is the new name of the College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Teacher Education.  
6/25/03 TALON becomes available 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.
6/24/02 For the first time, grades are available exclusively on the university’s Web site or by telephone.  
6/23/01 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.
6/23/01 Former Provost Douglas N. Hastad is named the university’s ninth leader  
6/22/00 The name of North Hall is changed to W. Carl Wimberly Hall Honoring the longest-serving academic vice chancellor in the UW System who served the campus from 1953-1992
6/22/00 The La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium opens its doors.  
6/22/00 Grand opening of the Archaeology Building and Laboratories This was a $380,000 renovation of the campus' original power plant.
6/22/00 Provost Douglas Hastad is appointed interim chancellor.  
6/20/98 Ground breaks on $27 million dollar Health Science Center A building funded through state and local funding via the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium.
6/19/97 Main Hall is renamed It is now Maurice O. Graff Main Hall, honoring the long-time retired vice chancellor.
6/19/97 The Hoeschler clock tower is finished It becomes the new home for the traditional hanging of the lantern during Homecoming.
6/19/97 The Recreational Eagle Center is completed  
6/17/95 The Cleary Alumni & Friends Center, and the Murphy Library addition and remodeling projects are finished.  
6/16/94 UWL's first World Wide Web site goes online.  
6/16/94 Chancellor Kuipers' strategic plan, "Forward Together," is instituted 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.
6/14/92 The university becomes one of the founding members of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium A collaboration with Viterbo College, Western Wisconsin Technical College, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare and Gundersen Lutheran to provide medical education, research and training.
6/13/91 Campus Construction approved The State Building Commission approves Murphy Library addition, a student life building, and the Cleary Alumni and Friends Center.
6/13/91 Judith L. Kuipers becomes chancellor She is the institution's eighth leader and first woman at the helm.
6/10/88 The university purchases Veterans Memorial Stadium from the city for $1.00.  
6/7/85 All Residence Halls go Coed Reuter Hall, the last traditional all-male residence hall on campus, goes coed when the fall semester begins.
6/6/84 UW-L celebrates 75 years A variety of activities were held, including an outdoor pageant recreating opening ceremonies of the Normal School. Enrollment is 9,109.
6/2/81 The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the College of Business Administration.  
6/2/81 Campus acreage enlarges. with land additions to the north in the marsh
6/2/80 The School of Business and the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation are reorganized into individual colleges.  
6/1/79 Noel R. Richards becomes the second chancellor, the institution's seventh leader.  
5/30/77 The women's studies program is initiated.  
5/30/77 Master's degree programs are added in health education, cardiac rehabilitation, and recreation.  
5/28/75 UW-L Student Association forms to succeed the Campus Controls Council.  
5/27/74 The "Nearly Naked Mile" tradition is born 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.
5/27/74 Construction is completed on the Fine Arts Building Later it is renamed the Center for the Arts, and North Hall, later named Wimberly Hall.
5/26/73 Last year of operation for the Campus School as it is renamed Thomas Morris Hall It becomes the center of the elementary and secondary education programs
5/25/72 The first "Campus Previews" are held for recruiting purposes Today they are known as "Campus Close-Ups,"
5/25/72 First annual minority studies conference is held.  
5/25/72 Laux and Drake Halls become the first co-ed residence halls.  
5/25/72 Mitchell Hall adds a track, pool, dance studios, human performance lab, offices, tennis courts, and handball courts.  
5/24/71 The School of Business is initially created under the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences.  
5/24/71 Kenneth E. Lindner becomes the sixth president and then the first chancellor Because of the merger, the position is converted to chancellor
5/24/71 Through a merger, the university becomes part of the University of Wisconsin System The name changes to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
4/14/69 New Eugene W. Murphy Library was constructed More than 60 staff and students move the university library to the new $2.5 million
5/20/67 Sanford Hall for men and Hutchison Hall for women open as residence halls.  
5/19/66 Residence halls - Coate Hall for men, Angell and Drake halls for women - open.  
5/19/66 Whitney Center construction is completed.  
5/19/66 Samuel G. Gates becomes the fifth president.  
5/19/66 Construction completed on Mitchell Hall and Cowley Hall.  
5/15/64 The marching band takes the name Marching Chiefs under the direction of Ralph Wahl The marching band keeps that name until 1990, when it becomes the “Screaming Eagles” to reflect the name change of athletic teams.
5/15/64 Two more residence halls are constructed Laux Hall is constructed as a men’s residence hall and Anna Wentz Hall as a women’s residence hall.
5/15/64 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.
5/15/63 Baird Hall is constructed as a residence hall for women.  
5/15/63 Regents authorized master's degrees in elementary education.  
5/15/62 White Hall, a residence hall for men, opens.  
5/14/61 First institution-wide general education program takes effect.  
5/11/59 Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy speaks to a packed Graff Main Hall Auditorium.  
5/11/59 Trowbridge Hall opens as a women's residence hall.  
5/11/59 Cartwright Center is constructed as the student center Additions are added in 1964 and 1984.
5/11/58 Reuter Hall opens as the first men's residence hall.  
5/10/57 University's First Library Opens 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.
5/9/56 The first master's of science degree is offered.  
5/4/51 Regents authorize granting bachelor's of arts and bachelor's of science degrees in the liberal arts.  
5/4/51 Wilder Hall becomes the first campus residence hall.  
5/4/51 La Crosse State Teachers College becomes Wisconsin State College, La Crosse.  
4/27/44 Women's Self Governing Association forms to regulate all matters pertaining to women students.  
4/25/42 Expanded academic offerings include a joint physical education and recreation minor.  
4/22/39 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
4/22/39 Rexford S. Mitchell becomes the fourth president.  
4/20/37 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.
4/14/31 Homecoming's "Hanging of the Lantern" tradition begins over the south entrance to Graff Main Hall It started due to 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."
4/10/27 La Crosse Normal is renamed the La Crosse State Teachers College It was then authorized to grant four-year teaching degrees in physical education and secondary education.
4/9/26 George M. Snodgrass becomes the third president.  
4/7/25 Ernest A. Smith becomes the second president.  
4/6/23 La Crosse Normal Celebrates its first Homecoming They defeated Lawrence University, 14-9.
3/30/16 Wittich Hall is completed after construction is interrupted by World War I  
3/29/15 Josephine M. Jones is appointed as the first Dean of Women.  
12/14/13 The School of Physical Education is formed Regents authorize training of teachers in physical education as a specialty
3/26/12 The Physical Education Club is formed it eventually becomes the longest continuous organization in the school's history.
3/25/11 First Yearbook comes out named "The Racquet" 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."
11/16/10 The first campus newspaper is published; it's called "The Racquet."  
3/23/09 La Crosse Normal School Opens its Doors 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.
3/22/08 Main Hall was constructed.  
The University of Wisconsin- La Crosse was founded
Thomas Morris sponsors a bill in the state assembly to locate a normal school in La Crosse. The legislature is convinced, allocates $10,000 to purchase a site.