Menomonie, Wisconsin History/ortbergj3100

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Bowman Hall
Clock Tower Plaza at UW-Stout

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The University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) is a public Polytechnic University located in Menomonie, Wisconsin. The University was opened on January 5th, 1891 by its founder, James Huff Stout. There are over 9,500 students (88% undergrads and 12% graduates) attending UW-Stout today. Throughout its years, Stout has endured many modifications and has been called by many names: Stout Manual Training School, Stout Institute, Stout State College, Stout State University, and The University of Wisconsin-Stout; each of these names hold a piece of UW-Stout's history that became a building block in the making of the Polytechnic University we know today.

Stout Manual Training School[edit]

UW-Stout originated as an individual manual training school which opened on January 5th 1891 by founder James Huff Stout.

James Huff Stout
portrait of James Stout

James was the son of a wealthy businessman, Henry Stout, on the board of directors of a successful lumber company called Knapp, Stout & Co. whose fortune James was to inherit. James became a huge admirer of manual training schools after working in St. Louis, the home of the very first manual training school[1]. Stout returned to his permanent home of Menomonie, Wisconsin[2] and made an offer to start a manual training school that the city’s common council couldn’t resist, which included the building, equipment, and staff. The school was designed to teach students, both men and women, how to use practical skills and apply them to a working experience. Stout’s manual training school gained a positive reputation practically instantly and became known nearly worldwide. Stout was elected as senator in 1985, which distracted his interest in the school and, in February of 1897, Stout almost completely lost sight of the school when the building was lost to a fire. With encouragement from the training school’s many supporters, Stout rebuilt his school bigger and better[3]. As an art enthusiast, Stout made the mission of the new training school to be focused on mechanic arts, domestic arts and visual art. In 1899, Stout introduced the Kindergarten education schools, which really helped kick off the development of the school. It was a two-year course that trained teachers the art of teaching young children. Stout knew the importance of hands-on learning and therefore introduced the School of Physical Culture, which taught students physical training. To help meet the needs of the students’ physical education, Stout built a gymnasium that included facilities such as an indoor pool, bowling alleys, and a gym[1].

Stout Institute[edit]

In 1908, the Stout Manual Training School transitioned into the Stout Institute. This transition combined the individual training schools into one institute which made management and administration of the school much easier[4]. The goal of the Stout Institute had four main objectives: preparing teachers in manual training, domestic art, and science; train women as homemakers; train men as trade workers; and experimental industrial education[5]. These objectives worked well and helped the students improve on their particular skillset and gave them the preparation and skills they needed in order to be successful in the working world. On December 8th 1910, James Stout regrettably passed away; a year later the school was adopted by the state of Wisconsin. Stout Manual Training School and the Institute had only offered two-year programs up until 1917 when four year programs were introduced.

Stout State College[edit]

In 1955, the Institute was taken over by the Board of Regents, which turned the school into the Stout State College. The Board of Regents is a committee of 18 members who look over the University of Wisconsin System; their duty is to regulate rules, establish policies, review and approve budgets, and make sure the University meets the educational guidelines of the Wisconsin system[6]. Although the name and the ownership had once again changed, the mission from the manual training school and the Institute remained the same.

Stout State University[edit]

In 1964, the State College became a University and the college was able to move forward in the way Stout had envisioned, now with the support of the state. With its new publicity, admissions skyrocketed and brought in more funding; the new money was spent on larger buildings and more facilities. The University was also able to include new majors into the curriculum including psychology, applied mathematics, art and art education, general business administration, marketing and distributive education, preschool education and hotel and restaurant management. Today, Stout is known most notably for their art and design program along with restaurant and hotel management.

University of Wisconsin- Stout[edit]

UW-Stout Student Center
UW-Stout Student Center

Finally, The State University developed into the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1971 when the Stout State University and the University of Wisconsin combined into one campus. The school was one of thirteen other schools supported by the University of Wisconsin system. The school has earned many awards throughout its years and gained a position of national leadership in its specialized areas[5]. The school is proud of the status they hold in having a broader learning experience than schools in the normal curriculum. In 2007, the school further developed into the school we know today as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. The polytechnic system has given Stout a unique reputation for being incredibly intimate with their students. Small class sizes and the complete use of professors instead of teacher assistants gives each student the equal opportunity to be closely connected with their professor and allows enough time for the professors to get to know each individual student.

External Links[edit]

Board of Regents

Henry Stout

Menomonie Page

Stout Archives

Stout website


  1. 1.0 1.1 Laying the Foundation. (1990). In Interpreting the dream: A Stout history. (pp. 1-4). Menomonie, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Stout.
  2. The Board of Regents. A Short Biography. (2015). Retrieved from
  3. James Huff Stout. (2014, November 24). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from
  4. The Board of Regents. What’s in a Name?. (2015). Retrieved from
  5. 5.0 5.1 University Archives (Course Catalogs) - University Library UW-Stout. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from
  6. About the Board. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2015, from