Timeline of Select Events in UWSP History, 1893-2018

1893 The Board of Regents of State Normal Schools chooses Stevens Point as the site of its sixth normal school.

1894-1926, Stevens Point Normal School (SPN)

  • September 17, 1894, first day of classes
    • 366 students are enrolled in various programs
    • First president, Theron B. Pray
  • December 1895, the first student newspaper is published, The Pointer.
  • 1897, the Pointer reported "the organization of a real Greek letter fraternity among our students," Phi Beta Psi.
  • 1898, the first game of women's basketball is reported in The Pointer. The score is 4-4.
  • 1899, Arnold Gesell graduates and goes on to become one of the world’s leading child psychologists, spending most of his career at Yale University. Gesell founded The Yale Clinic of Child Development. The Gesell Institute has been in operation at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point since 1972.
  • 1906, John F. Sims becomes the second president of SPN. (Pray-Sims Residence Hall is named for UWSP’s first two presidents.)
  • 1915, Nelson Hall is constructed and serves as the first dormitory for women. During World War I and II, the women were displaced by the members of the Army Training Corp. (Nelson was put on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2006.)
  • 1926, Robert D. Baldwin becomes the third president of SPN.

1926-1950, Stevens Point State Teachers College (CSTC – Nicknamed Central State)

  • 1926, the school becomes a teacher’s college and students can now receive bachelors’ degrees.
  • 1930, Baldwin resigns and Frank S. Hyer becomes the fourth president of the college. (Baldwin and Hyer Halls are named for them.)
  • 1933, the Pointer basketball team stuns fans by defeating the Badgers 28-24 in a non-conference game.
  • 1937, the WLBL AM radio studio is moved from downtown Stevens Point to the Campus Laboratory School (now known as the Communication Arts Center). This station evolves into today’s WWSP 90FM, home of the world’s largest trivia contest.
  • 1938, Phillip Falk becomes the fifth president of the college.
  • 1939, Falk is replaced by E. T. Smith as president. (Smith Hall is named for him.)
  • 1940, William C. Hansen becomes the college’s seventh president and the only alumnus to serve in this position. He served as president for 22 years. (Hansen Hall is named for him.)
  • 1941-1945, World War II, as students enlist, enrollment drops from 775 in 1940 to 225 in 1944.
  • 1946, a conservation education major is approved by the Board of Regents. The program is lead by Fred Schmeeckle (Schmeeckle Reserve is named for him). This program would eventually lead to the founding of our College of Natural Resources.

1951-1963, Wisconsin State College at Stevens Point (WSC)

  • 1951, the college is granted the authority to establish bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees, and the school expands its curriculum beyond courses for teachers by establishing the College of Letters and Science.
  • Summers of 1955-1957, the Green Bay Packers use the campus for their training camp.
  • 1955, the enrollment goes over 1,000 for the first time in the school’s history.
  • 1958, parking is an issue on campus according to The Pointer.
  • 1959, a bachelor of music degree is approved for WSC. It is the first to be offered in the Wisconsin State College System.
  • 1960, the first graduate courses are offered on campus during the summer session.
  • 1962, James H. Albertson becomes the eight president of the college.

1964-1970, Wisconsin State University at Stevens Point (WSU)

  • 1964, the college becomes a state university.
  • 1964, a School of Fine Arts is established.
  • 1967, President Albertson, who was leading an educational mission to South Vietnam for the U.S. Agency for International Development, is killed when his plane crashes near Saigon. (The library building is named for him.)
  • 1967, computers are now used for data processing.
  • 1967, upset by the prospect that the drinking age in Wisconsin may be changed from 18 to 21, about 1,000 students stage a "beer riot" in downtown Stevens Point. They start a bon fire at the intersection of Main and Division Streets and loot a beer truck of 100 cases of beer.
  • 1967, Lee Sherman Dreyfus becomes the ninth president of the university. At a reception held his first day on campus, he quipped that his initials are LSD "and we’re going to take a trip together." The psychedelic nickname stuck and LSD becomes known for his sound bites.
  • April 1, 1968, The Pointer reported that about 100 co-eds participated in a jock raid. The women gathered outside of Steiner Hall (former site of the first Hyer Hall) and chanted "We want Fruit of the Loom." The reporter noted that the male residents of Steiner "were fairly generous" and "several choice garments floated from the windows." The women then yelled "April Fools" and moved on to another men’s hall.
  • 1969, the first group of students to participate in the university’s new International Studies Program leave for England.
  • May 7-10, 1970, several hundred students participate in a sit-in at Nelson Hall to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The group is lead by Scott Schultz who would become the mayor of Stevens Point from 1987-1994
  • 1970, two new colleges are established, Natural Resources and Professional Studies.

1971- 2019, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP)

  • 1971, beer is sold on campus for the first time at Allen, DeBot, and the Student Center.
  • April 1971, the state declares Old Main unsafe and mandates that it be razed by 1977.
  • May 1971, the faculty senate approves co-ed dormitories.
  • 1974, the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State Universities are merged into the University of Wisconsin System.
  • 1976, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla gives a speech to the local Polish Heritage Society. Two years later he is elected Pope and takes the name John Paul II.
  • 1979, Lee Sherman Dreyfus is elected governor of the state of Wisconsin and Philip Marshall becomes chancellor of the UWSP.
  • October 22, 1980, after a lengthy battle to save Old Main, which was spearheaded by alumni and the Stevens Point community, the oldest building on campus is rededicated.
  • 1981, the Library’s card catalog is replaced by an online catalog.
  • 1982, alumnus Judy Goldsmith is elected president of the National Organization of Women.
  • 1982, the College of Natural Resources Mural is dedicated. It is created with the assistance of a computer and is reputed to be the largest piece of art of its kind. It took volunteers seven years to complete it.
  • October 1982, a $1.75 million federal grant is approved to assist UWSP in the development of a campus wide computer network that will serve as a model for other institutions.
  • 1983, the computer science major begins at UWSP.
  • 1986, UWSP and AT&T open an information systems network.
  • 1987, the women’s basketball team wins the NCAA Division III National Championship. It is the first time a Pointer athletic squad wins a national title.
  • 1988, residence halls begin to have computers.
  • 1989, students may now register for classes using computers.
  • 1989, Keith Sanders is named chancellor and becomes the eleventh leader of the university.
  • 1992, the class registration computer system is tripped up by leap year.
  • 1992, the National Science Foundation awards the UWSP a $1.2 million grant to prepare 1,800 Wisconsin educators to integrate environmental issues into their curriculum.
  • 1994, UWSP celebrates its centennial. Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Justus Paul, writes The World is Ours, a history of the school.
  • 1994, internationally known researcher Jane Goodall comes to UWSP to discuss her work with chimpanzees.
  • September 1995, UWSP is listed among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest in the U.S. News and World Report. This distinction continues into the 21st Century.
  • September 1995, the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station at Sunset Lake marks its 20th Anniversary.
  • 1995, faculty and staff are invited to learn how to "surf the net," "use email," and interact with new computer technology.
  • 1996, Tom George becomes the 12th chief executive of the UWSP.
  • 1996, UWSP students complete their 15th annual Eagle Walk. They spend spring break hiking through Wisconsin for 9 days to promote environmental awareness and raise money for land preservation and endangered species protection. The Walk is still an annual event.
  • 1997, smoking becomes a "burning issue" in residence halls.
  • 2001, Sony enforces copyright MP3 laws.
  • 2002, the women’s basketball team wins the National Championship, Division III.
  • 2003, the UW System faces $250 million in budget reductions.
  • 2003, online class registration arrives at UWSP.
  • 2004, Linda Bunnell becomes the first woman to serve as UWSP’s chancellor.
  • 2005, Christine Thomas becomes the first woman to serve as the Dean of the College of Natural Resources.
  • 2005, a green roof is added to the Library. This is one of several campus green initiatives.
  • 2006, Governor Jim Doyle chooses UWSP to serve as a model for his energy conservation initiative.
  • 2007, Chancellor Bunnell announces that UWSP's economic impact on the region approaches $400 million.
  • 2008, Schmeeckle Reserve celebrates its 30th anniversary.
  • 2008, A.I.R.O. (American Indians Resisting Ostracism) sponsors their 35th anniversary Pow Wow.
  • 2010, Bernie Patterson becomes the 14th chancellor of UWSP.
  • 2011, Schmeeckle Reserve’s Moses Creek is restored to its original state.
  • 2016 Historic capital campaign moves into public phase.
  • 2016 Groundbreaking of Chemistry Biology Building – first fully constructed academic building in over 40 years
  • 2018 On July 1, UW-Marshfield/Wood County and UW-Marathon County became branches of UW-Stevens Point after the UW System restructured.

Some information was taken from the UWSP timeline created by John Anderson and Sally Clanton of the UW-Stevens Point News Service Department.