‘An Idea Comes of Age’
New hardcover book chronicles university’s 125-year history
December 5, 2016
Four years in the making, University of
Wisconsin-Stout has published a comprehensive, yet readable, history of its
first 125 years.
Comes of Age: UW-Stout, 1891-2016” was written by Jerome Poling, assistant
communications director for UW-Stout’s University Communications and a
previously published author.
The book was
commissioned by Chancellor Emeritus Charles W. Sorensen to coincide with the
university’s 125th anniversary this year.
I have spent nearly three decades at UW-Stout, I found this book fascinating
and enlightening,” said Chancellor Bob Meyer, a UW-Stout alumnus who also
served the university as a faculty member, college dean and
administrator. “I know anyone who cares about UW-Stout will want a copy.”
historian, said Poling has done an excellent job distilling the important
historical facts and events that have shaped the university.
has an important and relevant story to tell,” Sorensen said. “Jerry’s book
tells that story in a very readable fashion while remaining true to the storied
history of the institution.”
his goal in writing “An Idea Comes of Age” was two-fold. “One was to chronicle
how UW-Stout came to be and how it grew and changed over the decades. That in
itself is a fascinating progression. It opened as two-room private school. It’s
now a state-owned university — the only one named after a person — with more
than 40 buildings on 124 acres.
“The other, more
challenging goal was to dig deeper and find out who and what drove the changes.
The university has had leaders with very different personalities who faced
unique challenges, internally and externally. Universities are shaped by their
governing bodies, their people, their students and the times.”
covers the history of UW-Stout from its founding by James Huff Stout as Stout
Manual Training School. Watershed events and periods include an 1897 fire that burned
down the school, early political battles that ultimately secured the school’s future,
challenges during the Great Depression and World War II, rapid enrollment
growth in the 1960s and 1970s, major academic program growth beginning in the
1990s and the last two decades that have seen UW-Stout win the Malcolm
Baldrige National Quality Award and be designated as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic
UW-Stout was among the first in the state to offer four-year degrees and have a graduate school.
One chapter examines
campus culture and student life. It includes vignettes on student activities, the
history of homecoming, famous visitors such as John F. Kennedy and Billy Joel
and the history of university athletics.
UW-Stout is a vastly different institution than it was in 1891 and even the
1950s, it’s impressive to see how the dedicated leaders and others have passed
down the school’s birthright still intact over the generations. UW-Stout’s mission
in 2016 remains remarkably true to its founding philosophy by James Stout — to
educate men and women, hand and mind, to serve the needs of a changing society,”
the first full-length published history of UW-Stout. A three-book set released
on the 100thanniversary in 1991 included a short history, biography
of James Stout and oral history.
hardcover book, which includes nearly 140 historic photos, is published by Thomson-Shore
of Michigan. It retails for $29.99.
Comes of Age” can be ordered online through the Seattle Book Company and through Amazon.
from the sale of the book will be used for scholarships through the Stout
Top: The third Stout Manual Training School building, with a 135-foot
clock tower, goes up in 1897 near the site of its predecessors. At right is the
new city school. The buildings were connected by a covered walkway.
Middle: The cover of "An Idea Comes of Age"