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Start the sesquicentennial celebration
From State Normal School to UWPlatteville in 150 years
Black Stone Cherry
Black Stone Cherry concluded UWPlatteville's Welcome Week concert Monday night. - photo by Photo by Andrew McNeill

UW–Platteville will mark its 150th anniversary over the next 15 months.

Chancellor Dennis J. Shields kicked off the sesquicentennial celebration during the annual all-campus convocation Aug. 27.

The coming months will provide a variety of opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community to show their Pioneer pride and reflect on the foundation that was used to build the university for a century and a half. 

“It is a special time in our university’s history,” said Shields. “There are thousands of people who are proud to call themselves Pioneers and we want to honor the loyalty they’ve had to this campus over the last 150 years.”

A website has been established at, where visitors can chronicle their memories of campus, read about the university’s history and special upcoming events, view a vintage photo gallery and order new Pioneer Pete bobbleheads.

“This is an exciting time to be on campus and be a part of the history that makes UW–Platteville so special,” said Kim Schmelz, director of Alumni Services. “Our goal is to build student pride and awareness of school history; bring alumni back to campus; involve faculty and staff on campus; engage local, state and regional community members; and communicate appreciation for Wisconsin’s support of higher education. This is a milestone that we really want everyone to feel like they can be a part of and I’m confident that we can accomplish that.”

A sesquicentennial art show is planned as well. “Celebrating the Heritage of UW–Platteville” has begun and will end Oct. 9 with a live and silent auction at the Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery in Ullsvik Hall on campus. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the artwork sold will benefit student scholarships and 30 percent will benefit the artist.

A birthday party for the university is planned for Oct. 15, 2016.

UW–Platteville was known as the Platteville State Normal School when it opened its doors on Oct. 9, 1866. The Wisconsin Mining Trade School, which opened in 1907, changed its name to the Wisconsin Institute of Technology in 1939 and merged with the Platteville State Teachers College (Normal School) in 1959 to become the Wisconsin State College and Institute of Technology at Platteville. 

In 1966, the name was changed to Wisconsin State University–Platteville. And in 1971 the university and all other public institutions of higher learning in Wisconsin merged to form the UW System. As a result, the university changed its name to the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.


The UW–Platteville School of Agriculture celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014.