UW-Stout's History

Stout Manual Training Schools » 1891 to 1908

Under the auspices of the Menomonie Public Schools, James Huff Stout funded various educational enterprises. In 1891, manual training and domestic science training was introduced through the Stout Manual Training School. 1894 brought the introduction of kindergarten classes. In 1899, the Kindergarten Training School began to prepare kindergarten teachers. A School of Physical Culture opened in 1901, which provided physical training. In 1903, training schools for manual training teachers and domestic science teachers were added. By 1907, a Homemaker's School had opened and a trade school was planned.


The Stout Institute » 1908 to 1955

To simplify administration and clarify ownership of and responsibility for the various public and Stout Training Schools, The Stout Institute was 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, a move that the institute board resisted, fearing a 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. A traditional focus was maintained even while new majors were added and new directions were given to established majors.


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.


Advancements under Charles W. Sorensen

    • Enrollment: It has risen since 1988 from 7,092 to 9,286, an increase of 31 percent.
    • Academics: The number of undergraduate majors has risen since 1988 from 20 to 44 and the number of graduate majors from 18 to 23, plus three advanced graduate programs.
    • Recognition: UW-Stout won the national Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2001. In 2007 it was designated as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.
    • Physical campus: Since 1988 there have been five new buildings, two major additions and seven major renovations.
    • Innovation: The eStout laptop program was implemented in 2002. It provides laptop computers to all undergraduates and is the foundation for a campuswide digital learning environment.
    • Employment success: Maintained the employment rate for new graduates at or above 97 percent, even through the worst recession since the Great Depression.
    • Outreach: UW-Stout opened the Stout Technology and Business Park, Discovery Center, Center for Applied Ethics and expanded the Cooperative Education Program.
    • Budget: The university’s annual budget has grown since 1988 from $66 million to $228 million.
    • Advancement: Stout University Foundation assets have grown since 1988 from $2.3 million to more than $43 million.