University of Wisconsin–Whitewater

The University of Wisconsin–Whitewater (UW–Whitewater) is a public university in Whitewater, Wisconsin. It is part of the University of Wisconsin System. Student enrollment in the 2014–2015 academic year was more than 12,000. The university offers 47 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs, with over 1,000 courses available to students.[2] Approximately 1,400 faculty and staff are employed by the university, and the student body consists of individuals from about 40 states and 30 countries.[3]

University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
TypeState university
ChancellorDr. Dwight Watson
Undergraduates11,142 (2015–2016)[1]
Postgraduates1,204 (2015–2016)[1]
Location, ,
United States

42.838339°N 88.743246°W / 42.838339; -88.743246
ColorsPurple and White          
MascotWillie Warhawk


The school was dedicated on April 21, 1868, as Whitewater Normal School and graduated its first class of teachers in June, 1870. Albert Salisbury, writing in 1893, remarked: "The young men and women who gathered into this school in those early years found here a new and stimulating atmosphere. The spirit of earnestness–almost a severe earnestness,–pervaded the place; and the high ideals of its administration were contagious in a remarkable degree." Salisbury wrote of a unique tradition of the school known as "Students' Day." One day during the term faculty would, unannounced, be entirely absent from the school. Once students recognized that the day must be "Students' Day", they would elect a President and Faculty from amongst themselves who would take up the regular duties of the day. The annual catalogue stated the purpose of "Students' Day" as the following: "The object of thus putting the institution under the care of the students is to test their moral culture, their executive ability, and their devotion to their work."[4]

In 1927, the school received authority to grant baccalaureate degrees in education and the name was changed to Whitewater Teachers College. With the addition of liberal arts programs in 1951 it became Wisconsin State College–Whitewater, and was later designated a Wisconsin State University in 1964. In 1971, after the merger of the former University of Wisconsin and the former Wisconsin State Universities, the school became part of the University of Wisconsin System and has had the name of University of Wisconsin–Whitewater since then.[5]

The university briefly gained national attention in 2018 when Chancellor Beverly Kopper's husband was investigated for allegedly sexually harassing university employees. The chancellor resigned during the investigation amidst allegations that she had ignored the alleged harassment.[6]

On May 23, 2019, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Dwight C. Watson as the 17th Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, following the recommendation made by a selection committee. Dr. Watson, who previously served as Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Minnesota State University, started on August 1, 2019[7].


The University of Wisconsin–Whitewater encompasses 400 acres in southeastern Wisconsin. The iconic landmark of the university's campus, Old Main, was destroyed by fire on February 7, 1970. The school's oldest building, it was the only one that had been part of the original campus. The east wing of Old Main, now called Hyer Hall, is all that remains of the building. It houses many of the university's administrative offices, in addition to classrooms and lecture halls.[8] After the fire that destroyed Old Main the building's carillon bell was removed and installed in front of the Alumni Center. Now an electronic carillon bell rings regularly throughout the day.[9]

The James R. Conner University Center occupies the heart of campus. The "UC" contains a bowling alley, an art gallery, a stage for live music, a coffee shop, and several dining options.[10] Young Auditorium, the largest performing arts venue on campus, hosts dance, music, theatre, comedy, and other university events.[11] The UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve is located in the northeast corner of campus and consists of 110 acres of various ecosystems such as woodlands, wetlands, and prairie. In addition to serving as an outdoor classroom and laboratory the preserve includes recreational trails for running, hiking, cross-country skiing, or biking.[12]


University Honors Program

The University Honors Program provides students the opportunity to participate in academic activities, such as field trips and honors courses, and to graduate with University Honors.[13]

Undergraduate Research Program

Students participating in the Undergraduate Research Program receive a grant and work with a faculty mentor on a project that the student designs. Most departments on campus have students and faculty mentors who participate in undergraduate research projects.[14]

Research Apprenticeship Program

The Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) provides a paid opportunity to assist faculty and staff with their research. This opportunity is open to freshman and sophomore students, transfer students, returning nontraditional students, and international exchange students.[15]

Student government

Whitewater Student Government (WSG) is the students' governing body. It consists of a senate, a president, a vice president and an executive board. WSG has the primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services, and interests according to Wisconsin State Statute 36.09(5).[16]

The organization also provides services to students on campus.[17] It hosts an adopt-a-lot service, where students and organizations can adopt a campus parking lot to clean; provides legal advice through an attorney; offers free income tax assistance to students and community members as part of a joint effort between Student Government, Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Department, and the IRS; and maintains updated listings on the WSG website for community housing.[18]

Extracurricular activities

The University of Wisconsin–Whitewater has over 170 recognized student clubs and organizations.[2]

The Royal Purple

The Royal Purple is the university's independent student newspaper. It has been in publication since 1901.[19]


UWW-TV is the university's student-run television channel. It provides news, sports, educational and original programming produced entirely by University of Wisconsin–Whitewater students. UWW-TV is part of the campus cable line-up and is located on channel 100.1 in high definition.[20]

Jitters Coffee Lounge

Jitters is a student-run coffee house located on the first floor of Wells East Residence Hall.[21]

Ceramics Guild

The Ceramics Guild hosts an annual December/fall semester ceramics sale, often in collaboration with the alloy metalsmithing group. A tradition established in 1977, the sale contributes financially to the UW-Whitewater ceramics program, allowing visiting artists to lecture. To date, over 60 visiting artists have conducted workshops in studio ceramics.[22]

91.7 The Edge

The Edge is the campus's student-run radio station broadcasting out of Andersen Library, where they have been broadcasting since 1966. The station broadcasts local news and sports and plays music ranging from jazz and hip-hop to alternative and metal.[23]

Greek system

Fraternities and sororities are involved with annual philanthropy and community service projects, homecoming week activities, socials (also known as exchanges) between other Greek organizations or general student organizations, scholarship opportunities for members, and professional networking skills and opportunities.[24]


UW–Whitewater is a member of NCAA Division III for athletics. It is a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). The university's athletics teams are nicknamed the Warhawks and are represented by the colors purple and white.

In the 2013–2014 academic year, the Warhawks made collegiate sport history by winning the men's football, basketball, and baseball championships. UW-Whitewater is the first school in NCAA history in any division to experience such a three-sport sweep in the same academic year.[25]

One of UW-Whitewater's programs for students with disabilities, Cornerstones for Success, provides athletes with disabilities the opportunity to share their experiences in sports and everyday life with students from across the Midwest. UW-Whitewater also has wheelchair basketball programs for men and women; both teams have won national championships.[26]

Notable people




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Further reading

  • Bohi, M. Janette. A History of Wisconsin State University, Whitewater, 1868–1968. Whitewater, Wis.: Whitewater State University Foundation, 1967.
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