Standing guard over downtown Menomonie is the clock tower topped with the distinctive quill that has served as the symbol of the University of Wisconsin-Stout for nearly 100 years. Its bells ring out every quarter hour, reminding all within hearing that the heart of the campus that occupies the center of the city still beats with pride.
The university has a long history of distinguishing itself from other institutions throughout the state. It’s the only one in the UW System named for an individual rather than a city. In fact, UW-Stout is truly a monument to its founder, James Huff Stout, who joined his father’s lumber empire, the Knapp, Stout & Co., Company, at the age of 19. A civic leader who also served as a state legislator, Stout dedicated his life to making his world a better place, especially in the educational arena.
In 1891, he introduced manual and domestic science training when he established the Stout Manual Training Schools under the auspices of the Menomonie Public Schools. From 1908 to 1955, the institution was known as The Stout Institute, with ownership transferring to the State of Wisconsin following Senator Stout’s death in 1911. Over the years, it was known as Stout State College (1955-1964), Stout State University (1964-1971), and finally University of Wisconsin-Stout when it became part of the UW System – designated as only one of two special mission universities in the system.
It isn’t only its name and mission that make UW-Stout truly unique. In 2001, the university was the first ever to receive the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the education category after being judged as outstanding in leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results.
On March 9, 2007, James Huff Stout’s namesake achieved yet another “feather” in its cap when the UW System Board of Regents unanimously approved UW-Stout’s designation as “Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.” Today Stout has more than 9,300 students in 45 undergraduate majors and 23 graduate majors -- now including one doctoral degree. To learn more, visit www.uwstout.edu.