What’s in a Name?
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet...”
- Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 11
If Shakespeare is correct, the modern version of the school that James Huff Stout founded could be called anything, and its value would not be compromised. But at several points in the school's history, its name changed, either as a sign of a change in administration or as an attempt to change the image of the institution.
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 to university 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.