Milwaukee State Normal School
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) originally started as the Milwaukee State Normal School in 1880. This school was formed by the Wisconsin State
Legislature after a law was passed requiring the Board of Regents of Normal
Schools to form a normal school in order to meet the needs of the soaring population of Milwaukee. A location was picked and the
Milwaukee State Normal School opened for classes in 1885 with John J. Mapel as president.
Over the next 32 years, the school would see 7 different presidents, the addition of both music and liberal arts programs, graduate programs and rapid growth from an initial enrollment of 46.
Wisconsin State Teachers College
The Milwaukee State Normal School underwent changes in 1922 when the State Normal School
Regents voted to discontinue college courses in an effort to refocus on the instruction of teachers. During this time, enrollment
in the programs dropped. This caused the school to tighten admission standards and begin to offer education-related four year
degrees, such as degrees for kindergarten, primary, secondary and
music education. In 1927, the Milwaukee State Normal School became known as the Wisconsin
State Teachers College.The Wisconsin State Teachers College quickly dropped all non four-year degree programs and offered their first Bachelor of Science degree program in 1937 for education. After World War II, the school added a
graduate program in elementary, exceptional student, and music
education. The Legislature empowered all state colleges to offer liberal arts programs in 1951, and the school’s name became Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee.
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
In 1955, a measure which combined the Wisconsin State College of Milwaukee and the
Milwaukee Extension Division was passed, forming the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. By 1959, the enrollment in the University included 5369 regular, 848
graduate, 1,399 evening credit, and 1,631 non-credit students. The first UWM commencement was held on June 16, 1957.