Carroll University

Carroll University is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Established in 1846, Carroll was Wisconsin's first four-year institution of higher learning.

Carroll University
Former name
Carroll College
MottoChristo et Litteris
Motto in English
For Christ and Learning
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church (USA)
PresidentCindy Gnadinger
ProvostMark Blegen
Academic staff
136 full-time, 269 part-time
Administrative staff
Undergraduates2,690 full-time, 217 part-time
Location, ,
United States

43°0′13″N 88°13′40″W
ColorsOrange and White         
Athletics22 NCAA Division III teams
Sporting affiliations
MascotPio Pete


Prior to its establishment, Carroll was known as Prairieville Academy, which was founded in 1841. Its charter—named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence—was passed into law by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature on January 31, 1846.[1] During the 1860s, the American Civil War and financial difficulty caused Carroll to temporarily suspend operations. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the institution's name from Carroll College to Carroll University, effective July 1, 2008.


  • John Adams Savage: 1850-63
  • Rensellaer B. Hammond: 1863-64
  • Walter L. Rankin: 1866-71*, 1893-1903
  • Wilbur Oscar Carrier: 1903-17
  • Herbert Pierpoint Houghton: 1918-20
  • William Arthur Ganfield: 1921-39
  • Gerrit T. Vander Lugt: 1940-46
  • Nelson Vance Russell: 1946-51
  • Robert D. Steele: 1952-67
  • John T. Middaugh: 1967-70
  • Robert V. Cramer: 1971-88
  • Dan C. West: 1988-92
  • Frank S. Falcone: 1993-2006
  • Douglas N. Hastad: 2006-2017
  • Cindy Gnadinger: 2017-

* Between July 31, 1871 and June 22, 1893, no college work was carried on. While the charter retained the college privileges, teaching was on the academy level. College work was resumed and the office of the presidency was filled again in 1893.


Carroll University offers more than 95 areas of study at the undergraduate level, with master's degrees and certificates in selected subjects, as well as one clinical doctorate program in physical therapy.

There are 133 full-time and 258 part-time faculty members. 71.4% of the faculty have terminal degrees. As of September 2015, Carroll serves 3,521 students at the full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate levels. These students represent 33 states and 31 countries.


The campus is home to a variety of nineteenth and early twentieth century historical buildings, including Sneeden House (a 1922 colonial home now used as a guesthouse and conference center) and MacAllister Hall (a renovated, 19th-century mansion that now houses offices for the CFO, English, modern language, computational and physical sciences, chemistry, and the Division of Arts and Sciences).[2] The school provides housing in six residence halls, six apartment buildings, and two houses.

The full campus stretches 132.8 acres, with the Main Campus around 50 acres, a four-acre Center for Graduate Studies located three minutes south of Interstate 94, a six-acre property southwest of campus and a 64-acre field research station in Genesee, Wisconsin.

Residence halls

  • North Bergstrom Hall
  • South Bergstrom Hall
  • Shirley Hilger Hall
  • Kilgour Hall
  • Steele Hall
  • Swarthout Hall

Apartment buildings

  • Carroll Street Apartments
  • College Avenue Apartments
  • Frontier Hall
  • Hartwell Avenue Apartments
  • Pioneer Hall
  • Prairie Hall



Since the 1960s, bagpipes have been a part of Carroll's opening convocation and commencement ceremony. Freshmen are escorted to their first assembly by a lone bagpiper, and upon graduation are led to commencement by a band of bagpipers.[3] The rite of passage symbolizes Carroll's connection to its Presbyterian roots; early 19th-century Scottish immigrants settled in Waukesha, then known as Prairieville.

Ring the bell

A longstanding Carroll sports tradition, “Ring the Bell” is a ceremony performed by Carroll varsity teams following a win, when members athletes ring the school victory bell located at the northwest corner of Schneider Stadium. All teams participate—football, soccer, lacrosse—as long as the game is played and won at Schneider. In 2016 the victory bell was repainted and updated to feature the new Carroll Pioneers logo.


Carroll University's athletic teams, known as the Pioneers, participate in NCAA Division III and compete in 11 men's and 11 women's sports in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball.


See List of Carroll Pioneers head football coaches

The college football program at Carroll began in the late 1890s. Past head coaches include Glenn Thistlethwaite, Vince DiFrancesca, and Matty Bell. The current coach is Mark Krzykowski, who replaced Henny Hiemenz after the 2010 season.

On September 5, 1906, Carroll became the site of a milestone event in American football when Saint Louis University player Bradbury Robinson, coached by Eddie Cochems, threw the first legal forward pass in football history (though it was first used experimentally in the 1905 Washburn vs. Fairmount football game).


In 2006, both the men's and women's basketball teams qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in school history. The women won the Midwest Conference tournament and received the automatic bid, while the men's team received an "at-large" bid. Both were eliminated in the first round of play.

In 2007, both teams again qualified for the tournament. The Pioneers won the Midwest Conference tournament, during which freak power outages forced the championship game to be delayed and moved twice, first to Monmouth College, then to nearby Knox College. Upon reaching the NCAA tournament, they defeated 7th-ranked Augustana College in the first round of play, and 5th-ranked University of St. Thomas, to advance to the "Sweet Sixteen" sectional level. The women received an at-large bid to the tournament, defeating Illinois Wesleyan University in the first round, but losing in the second round to 25th-ranked Luther College.

In 2012, Carroll returned to the NCAA tournament, making it to the second round after defeating ranked Transylvania University.


  • Century Magazine, Carroll University's annual literary magazine, publishes art, photography, prose, and poetry created by Carroll students.
  • The New Perspective is the official student-operated college newspaper.
  • WCCX-FM is the official student-operated radio station.
  • MWCTV is the official broadcast home for athletic events.


In 2017, Carroll was ranked 38th in Midwest Regional Colleges by U.S. News & World Report on its list of America's Best Colleges.[4]

In 2018, Forbes ranked Carroll #594 among 650 colleges in the United States.[5]

In 2018, Money Magazine ranked Carroll #613 among 727 colleges in the United States.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. "Carroll College". Wisconsin Historical Society. 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  2. "MacAllister: A History of Haunts"
  4. "Regional University Rankings". U.S.News & World Report.
  5. "America's Top Colleges Ranking 2015: Carroll University". Forbes, July 29, 2015.
  6. "Global Conference 2008 – Steven Burd » Milken Institute". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  7. "What Will Become Of The Dirtbag Left? » The New Yorler". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  8. "Wisconsin Governor Vernon W. Thomson". National Governors Association. National Governor's Association. 2004. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011.
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