Preserving the past for the future...
Following fierce competition with surrounding communities
and pledges from the city and county of land and $50,000 in cash, Stevens Point
Normal opened its doors in 1894 to 300 students. Several programs were offered
in teacher preparation to anyone who had completed at least an eighth grade
education and was not less than 15 years old.
Besides teacher preparation, "domestic science,"
later known as home economics, was a popular course led for nearly 40 years by
Bessie May Allen. Fred Schmeeckle, hired in 1923, established courses in
conservation education which eventually grew into today's College of Natural
Resources with one of the largest undergraduate enrolments in the country. The
curriculum continued to expand and in 1927 Stevens Point Normal became Central
State Teachers College with the right to grant four-year teaching degrees.
After World War II more and more students were seeking an
education in liberal arts rather than teacher training. The state legislature
responded in 1951 when the school became a Wisconsin State College authorized
to grant liberal arts bachelor's degrees.