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University History

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater University Archives and Area Research Center

Statement on Potentially Harmful Content

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) University Archives and Area Research Center (UA-ARC) is focused on the digitization of records created by UW-Whitewater and its’ predecessors. Materials in the digitization process consist of university yearbooks, newspapers, scrapbooks, pamphlets, images, etc. The digitization of these materials dramatically increases accessibility of rare and unique material for students, faculty, and other researchers. However, increased access to these collections also demands enhanced institutional responsibility for the public’s reception of this content. 


At the UWW UA-ARC, we do our best to preserve our collections within the historic context in which they were created. As a result, some of our collections may contain content that reproduces beliefs and values that, in contemporary settings, are recognized as harmful, offensive, and inappropriate. These collections are products of beliefs that persisted in specific time periods and provide researchers with details about the dynamic social conflict that has existed at UW-Whitewater and other Wisconsin communities.  As a result, users may come across depictions of racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, sexism, or Eurocentrism that persisted in the time periods these collections were created. These beliefs are not endorsed by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater or the University Libraries, and we strive to create an accessible, welcoming, and accountable understanding of the historic record. 

The UW-Whitewater University Archives and Area Research Center continues to digitize and make accessible materials that document the institution’s history.  These materials are freely available through JSTOR’s Open Community Collections initiative.  

Currently, the collection includes:

  • The Yearbook Collection - The Minneiska documents the students and faculty, activities, and campus organizations from 1909-1991 as the institution grew from the Whitewater Normal School to the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater.
  • The Royal Purple - The student run newspaper for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has been published continuously for over one-hundred twenty years. The issues document campus milestones, social and cultural changes, and the general history of the institution and surrounding community.  Issues from 1901-1989 are available online, with more decades available over the next several months.

History of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Collection

The History of UW-Whitewater Collection includes resources that document the history and evolution of this campus. The collection includes published material as well as archival materials and may eventually include additional books, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs, maps and other resources deemed important to the study of our state's university system and its campuses. The materials included in this rich and growing collection were selected by librarians, scholars, and other subject specialists.  

This collection also includes resources that document the history and evolution of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater at Rock County campus.

Interim Chancellor John Chenoweth   John Chenoweth, Interim 2022-2023

John Chenoweth began as UW-Whitewater provost on July 1, 2021. He previously was dean of the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics, the largest AACSB-accredited business school in Wisconsin. A tenured faculty member in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, Chenoweth arrived at UW-Whitewater in 2002. He received his Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from East Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in computer science from the University of South Dakota, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Augustana University.

Interim Chancellor Jim Henderson   Jim Henderson, Interim 2021-2022

Jim Henderson served as UW System Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs from 2016-2018. Prior to that he held the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from 2014–2016, and was dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles, from 2008–2013. Among his other administrative and faculty roles, Henderson was UW-Madison interim provost during summer 2019. 

Chancellor Dwight Watson   Dwight C. Watson, 2019 – 2021

Dwight Watson brings more than 35 years of experience in education to his role as the leader of the Warhawk family. As a passionate educator, Watson is inspired by UW-Whitewater’s commitment to providing its students transformational and empowering education experiences. As a first-generation college attendee of modest means, he found that higher education provided him the functional, navigational skills needed to access future opportunities. With a focus on access, affordability, service, and success, his work now is to inspire learners to achieve and to remove barriers for students so they can have access to greater opportunities. 

Interim Chancellor Greg Cook   Greg Cook, Interim 2020

Greg Cook held several positions at UW-Whitewater, including department chair and professor of psychology, and chair of the audit and review committee. He served as director of academic assessment, where he spearheaded campus efforts for LEAP, a national program created to reinvigorate liberal arts learning. He served as associate provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for over ten years.  

Interim Chancellor Cheryl GreenCheryl Green, Interim 2019

Cheryl Green brought more than 25 years of experience in higher education and student affairs to her role as interim chancellor. During her tenure, she helped implement the Higher Educational Regional Alliance, along with 17 other university and college presidents. She prioritized relationship-building both on and off campus, and celebrated the successful conclusion of the Sesquicentennial fundraising campaign.

Chancellor Beverly KopperBeverly Kopper, 2015 - 2018

A professor of psychology who previously served as provost, Beverly Kopper focused on increasing student involvement in high-impact practices, including undergraduate research. She led a major reorganization of the enrollment and retention units, and championed the construction of the Mary Poppe Chrisman Success Center. During her chancellorship, campus experienced record retention and graduation rates.

Chancellor Richard TelferRichard Telfer, 2007 - 2015

First arriving on campus in 1985 as an assistant professor of curriculum and education, Richard Telfer served the university in many roles. He put great effort into student retention initiatives, the development of learning communities, and improved academic advising programs. Under his leadership, campus experienced record enrollment and unprecedented national athletic success. His congeniality, collegiality and common sense were valued by faculty, staff, students and the community.

Martha SaundersMartha Dunagin Saunders, 2005 - 2007

The first female chancellor, Dr. Martha D. Saunders brought a varied background to her duties. On campus, she finalized plans for major building projects totaling $110 million and focused on revitalizing campus communication and upgrading the mission and goals statement of the University. Her philosophy followed three guiding priniciples: know your students, connect them to bigger things, and set a good example.

Jack MillerJohn (Jack) W. Miller, 1999 - 2005

A distinguished scholar and native midwesterner, Miller continued the tradition of educators at the helm of Whitewater. He headed a highly successful campaign to raise money for a new College of Business and Economics building, as well as oversaw the building of Kachel Fieldhouse, major renovations of Upham Hall and the Williams Center. Miller was the recipient of numerous teaching awards, and taught in several places around the country, as well as Costa Rica, England and South Africa.

Gaylon GreenhillH. Gaylon Greenhill, 1991 - 1999

Dr. Greenhill came to campus in 1962 to teach political science and stayed, serving in many capacities over the span of his 37 year career. While on campus he organized the Campaign for Excellence, which added millions to the University's Foundation, as well as instituted the Core Curriculum program with the vision of crafting Whitewater into a premier comprehensive university. He succeeded - the school was named as one of the best in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report during his tenure. The Greenhill Center of the Arts is named in his honor.

James ConnorJames R. Connor, 1974 - 1991

James R. Connor is best remembered on campus for his warmth and ability to work productively with the people around him. He pushed for an internationally diverse faculty and student body, opening doors for minorities and women on campus. The Observatory, McGraw Computing Center, and the Greenhouse were all built during his tenure. The James R. Connor University Center, the major hub of student life on campus, is named in his honor.

William CarterWilliam L. Carter, 1967 - 1974

The University's last president and first Chancellor William L. Carter served the campus during a time of turmoil. The university was merged into the University of Wisconsin system and took on its present name, the country was dealing with the Vietnam War, and the demands of women and minorities in society were changing. Campus black students protested and faculty members were terminated and/or censured for political beliefs. Carter made the campus and buildings one of the most accessible in the nation for disabled students, receiving a distinguished service award.

Cord O. Wells, interim 1967

Walker WymanWalker D. Wyman, 1962 - 1967

Wyman converted Wisconsin State College into Whitewater State University with three separate college and eighteen academic departments. He also founded the UW-Whitewater Foundation, making the first contribution himself, and during his tenure oversaw the construction of 22 campus buildings. The Wyman Mall is named in his honor.

Robert WilliamsRobert C. Williams, 1946 - 1962

Enrollment tripled to over 3000 during Robert C. Williams' tour as president. Williams increased the number of liberal arts programs on campus, upgraded the academic side of teacher education, and oversaw the construction of Andersen Library and the first dormitories. Under his tenure the University changed its name to Wisconsin State College - Whitewater, began offering graduate classes, and doubled the size of the faculty. Williams Athletic and Physical Education Center is named in his honor.

Claude YoderClaude Yoder, 1930 - 1946

Yoder served during the difficult years of the Great Depression and WWII. He continued operation of the college during the war years (only 20 male students were enrolled at the low point) by increasing summer classes to accelerate students toward graduation. After sixteen years as president, he retired in 1946 having seen the business program grow, and gained the University national accreditation.

Frank HyerFrank S. Hyer, 1919 - 1930

Hyer oversaw construction of the East Wing of Old Main (now Hyer Hall), growing the school from the smallest to the second largest Normal School in the state. The name changed to Whitewater State Teachers College, during his tenure, and the school become the first college in the state to grant four-year college degrees. Fraternities and sororities first appeared on campus during his tenure. The remaining East Wing was renamed Hyer Hall after Old Main was destroyed by fire in 1970.

Albert YoderAlbert H. Yoder, 1912 - 1919

In 1913 Yoder set the course for Whitewater's future as the Normal School become only the second public institution in the country to offer business education courses for credit. Presiding during the tumultuous years of WWI, he encouraged students to support the American Red Cross. Hamilton Gymnasium, the first academic building other than Old Main, was constructed during his tenure.

George C. Shutts, Interim 1911 - 1912

While at Whitewater, Shutts taught mathematics, history and served as Conductor of Institutes from 1901 to 1910.  He was instrumental in setting up the Normal School athletic conference and strongly supported campus athletics.  He left Whitewater in 1918 to take up farming in Montana.

Albert SalisburyAlbert Salisbury, 1885 - 1911

Born five miles from College Hill, Albert Salisbury was the first Wisconsin-born person to serve as president of the school. As president,beautified the campus with landscaping, developed four-year programs in the humanities and increased offerings in many other areas, and also opened a kindergarten on campus to allow for lifelong education. Under his tenure, sports teams gained popularity, The Royal Purple student newspaper was established, and the first telephone was installed on campus.

Theron B. Pray, Interim 1885

Pray taught mathematics, civil government, and political economy at Whitewater from1881 to 1894, and served as Conductor of Institutes from 1888 to 1894.  In 1894, he was chosen as the first president of Stevens Point Normal School where he served until 1906.

John StearnsJohn W. Stearns, 1878 - 1885

In his time on campus, Stearns expanded the Normal School's library from 600 volumes to over 1500, added an art gallery, and expanded the college's offerings in elementary education and the natural sciences. Electricity also came to the town during Stearns' tenure, marking a time of great transition in national history. After leaving Whitewater, he taught pedagogy for 19 years at UW-Madison and wrote extensively on education in Wisconsin.

William PhelpsWilliam F. Phelps, 1876 - 1878

William Phelps was a noted educator when he took the reins of Whitewater Normal School, and held strong views about the way the campus should be managed. Among them, he believed contact between the Whitewater community and the college should be minimized, much to the chagrin of the faculty who considered themselves part of the local community. His insistence on his own way led to his departure within two years.

Oliver AreyOliver C. Arey 1868 - 1876

The Whitewater Normal School's first president established the concept of the "whole man" or "whole woman," and believed that students should be evaluated on their character, integrity, manners and moral backbone as well as academic performance. He believed students should complete two years of general academic study along with their teaching curriculum. Arey and his wife took a paternal interest in every Whitewater students after the untimely death of their own daughters.


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