UW-Fond du Lac celebrates 50 years

During its 50-year history, the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac has made it possible for thousands of area students to access a college education close to home.

When it opened in 1968, the Fond du Lac campus was a branch of Wisconsin State University Oshkosh. After several organizational and name changes during the past five decades, the recent UW System restructuring returned the college to its roots: the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Fox Valley in Menasha joined UW Oshkosh on July 1, 2018. As one university with three campuses, now is the time to consider what kind of university this community and region need and deserve, says UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt. The group of local citizens who were instrumental in bringing a UW campus to Fond du Lac pondered the very same question 50 years ago and Leavitt says the time is right to ask it again.

In the 1960s Fond du Lac community leaders recognized the important role higher education has on future economic development. With support of the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors, the initial construction of the Fond du Lac campus was completed in 1968 and a major renovation revitalized the campus in 2000.

A unique aspect of two-year campuses like UW-Fond du Lac is the partnership with local municipalities. While UW-Fond du Lac faculty and staff are UW employees, the buildings and grounds are owned and maintained by Fond du Lac County. In 2017, a student housing facility opened on the UW-Fond du Lac campus, constructed through a public/private partnership between Fond du Lac County and Tri North Builders, Inc.

“We recognize the significant positive impact (of UW-Fond du Lac) on so many people who attended school and on our community,” says Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel. “We need to celebrate all the things UW-Fond du Lac has done for the county – not just education, but also the cultural and social impact. I’m very proud of this place.”

In 1972, Fond du Lac joined other two-year campuses forming a new institution called the University of Wisconsin Center System. The name of the institution evolved to University of Wisconsin Centers in 1983 and changed again to University of Wisconsin Colleges in 1997. Coming full circle, UW-Fond du Lac once again became a UW Oshkosh campus in 2018.

While the name of the Fond du Lac campus may have changed over the years, local access to a UW education remains the cornerstone. UW-Fond du Lac students begin their college journey here and continue their degree seamlessly through UW Oshkosh or transfer to other institutions within the UW System.

Kaitlyn Hurst, of Mayville, chose UW-Fond du Lac because it is close to home and affordable. “I love the experience of being able to do so much on campus within the first two years of my college career and being able to work more closely with the professors here on campus,” she says.

Returning to school after 20 years, Amy Bertram, of Malone, decided she was ready to pursue her goal of being a teacher. “I wanted to start slow, and UW-Fond du Lac is close to home and offers flexible scheduling, which is what I need,” she says.

UW-Fond du Lac has met the needs of local students and the area community for 50 years. As part of UW Oshkosh, the campus will continue to meet those needs for the next 50 years and beyond.

400 University Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
(920) 929-1100

To view the entire 2019 Anniversary Celebrations edition, please click here.