All-Class Reunion

All-Class Reunion
September 27-30, 2018
All-Class Reunion
September 27-30, 2018

UW-Superior will be celebrating 125 years in 2018, and we’re inviting all alumni back to campus to help us commemorate this special occasion. Mark your calendar to join us September 27-30, 2018 at UW-Superior for a weekend filled with fun and fellowship. Don’t miss this opportunity to see old friends – and make new ones!

Planning for the reunion is underway, and more information will be available soon. We will be hosting a special Music Department Reunion as part of the festivities. Were you involved in band, orchestra, choir, etc. and are interested in a possible performance opportunity during the reunion? If yes, let us know how you’d like to share your talents by submitting the online form. Please contact Heather Thompson, Director of Alumni Relations, at 715-394-8593 or for more information.

A Little Bit of History...

In 1893, the Wisconsin legislature established a "normal school" in Superior to train school teachers. The Superior Normal School, which evolved into the University of Wisconsin-Superior, welcomed its first students in 1896. By providing trained, well-educated teachers, the institution helped the small towns and rural areas of the region to grow and prosper.

The school's first class graduated in 1897. Three young men completed the "full course" and nine women and men met the requirements of the shorter "elementary course." These early graduates were pioneers who first brought the benefits of public education to the region's children regardless of their race, social status or economic standing.


1893: Wisconsin Legislature establishes the Superior Normal School, the university's predecessor.

1896: First students begin classes.

1897: First students graduate.

1909: Launches pioneering full-scale training program for teaching kindergarten.

1914: Original campus building (Old Main) burns to the ground.

1916: Old Main rebuilt; first academic institution in Wisconsin to be accredited.

1923: First in state to offer four-year program for high school teachers.

1926: School becomes Superior State Teachers College and grants first bachelor's degree.

1950s-1960s: Enrollment grows, campus boundaries expand, new buildings go up. College adds degrees in Business, Sciences, Art and Music.

1964: College renamed Wisconsin State University-Superior.

1965: Education Specialist degree first offered for principals, superintendents and school business managers.

1967: The Lake Superior Research Institute created to research, teach and publicize the Great Lakes Region.

1971: Campus joins UW System and becomes the University of Wisconsin - Superior.

1985, 1988: School begins offering graduate degrees in Instruction and Special Education.

1998, 1999: UW-Superior launches the Transportation and Logistics Management major and the Transportation and Logistics Research Center

2003: The Health and Wellness Center is completed, the first new campus building in 30 years, and named Marcovich Wellness Center in 2010 after alumnus and regent Toby Marcovich.

2004: The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute is established to pursue research efforts in marine transportation, logistics, economics, engineering, environmental planning and port management.

2009: The Yellowjacket Union, replacement to Rothwell Student Center, is opened.

2010: Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is designated.

2011: Swenson Hall is opened.

New Ideas

Innovation and quality were hallmarks of Superior Normal School from its earliest days. In 1909, the institution became Wisconsin's first normal school to offer a full-scale training program for the then-new idea of kindergarten. In 1923, it was the first to offer a four-year program for high school teachers. In 1916, Superior Normal School earned accreditation for its academic programs. Today, UW-Superior maintains the longest continuous accreditation of any academic institution in Wisconsin.

College Status

In 1926, after training a generation of teachers, Superior Normal School became Superior State Teachers College and granted its first bachelor's degree in Education. Arthur Dudley Samuel Gillett, the college's first president, was a member of its first graduating class.

More Than Teaching

After World War II, the teachers college added undergraduate degrees in other academic fields. In 1950, it offered its first graduate degree, a master of arts in School Administration. The next year, the Board of Regents changed the institution's name to Wisconsin State College-Superior to better reflect its broader role.

Enrollment Booms

As the college's enrollment grew substantially in the 1950s and '60s, so did its physical size and academic programs. New buildings went up as the college added Business, Science, Music and Art degrees. The college started several graduate programs in education, including guidance and counseling, reading and school psychology, along with a Specialist in Education degree in 1965 to further the professional training of school principals, district superintendents and business managers.

Innovation Continues

UW-Superior has continued to focus its academic programs to meet the needs of students and employers. In 1985, the school added a graduate degree in instruction followed by a graduate degree in Special Education in 1988. Since then, the university has added such innovative undergraduate programs as Legal Studies, Transportation and Logistics Management and Sustainable Management, which also includes a master's program.