History of Wisconsin Lutheran College

WLC Campus in 1977 image

When a handful of dedicated Christian men gathered to organize this liberal arts college in the early 1970s, they had little more than a strong faith in God and great determination. They had no facilities and no faculty. By the grace of God they opened the junior college in the fall of 1973 with a part-time faculty and two dozen students. It wasn’t until two years later that the school, affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, had its first full-time president.

Wisconsin Lutheran College purchased facilities in 1977: five buildings on an eight and a half acre campus. In 1982, the college purchased the library holdings from Milton College, which was closing. In 1983, the college purchased the science laboratory furnishings of the closing University of Wisconsin-Medford Center, another addition that helped the college pursue a dream: to become a four-year college.

The Board of Regents approved a comprehensive curriculum plan in 1984, and an evaluation team from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools concurred with the Board’s decision, agreeing that the necessary planning and resources existed to enable Wisconsin Lutheran College to move toward accreditation as a baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

In 1985, two and a half acres adjacent to the college were purchased for future campus development. In May of 1987, the first 12 students graduated from the new four-year curriculum with baccalaureate degrees, and the college was granted initial accreditation. In 1988, the Marvin M. Schwan Library was completed and dedicated. In 1991, construction began on a second building, the Recreation Complex. A third building, the Center for Arts and Performance, was completed in 1996, and the Campus Center was finished and dedicated in 1998. Two new residence halls were dedicated in 2000, and a new academic building was completed in 2004. The college's purchase of 26 acres of nearby land on the Milwaukee County Grounds in 2003 enabled athletic fields to be developed and dedicated in 2005. The Outdoor Athletic Center opened at the athletic fields in 2011. A new apartment-style residence hall was completed in 2014.

Dr. Gary J. Greenfield served as the college's first full-time president; he retired in June of 2003. Dr. Timothy J. Kriewall was inaugurated as the second president in September of 2003; he retired in June of 2008. Dr. Daniel W. Johnson was inaugurated as the college’s third president in April of 2009.

The college received a 10-year accreditation in 2005. In 2010, the college began offering an adult degree completion program and a Master of Arts in Education through the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Wisconsin Lutheran College has been ranked annually as one of America’s best colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

To God be the glory for this amazing history of Wisconsin Lutheran College.