The seeds for the Fox Cities campus were first sown during the Great Depression. Extension Centers provided college coursework to youth who could not afford to go away to college, yet wanted to progress toward a college degree. As the pool of students dwindled during WWII, the Menasha center was shuttered until 1946 when a wave of returning U.S. military veterans overwhelmed the existing University of Wisconsin structure and the Menasha site reopened. That momentum carried the Fox Cities campus through to the initial construction of our current campus in 1960, where enrollments have continued to grow and our students have become increasingly more diverse.
- 1933 – University of Wisconsin Extension offers four college courses in the vocational wing of Menasha High School. Depression-era students were able to earn credits, live at home and save money toward a degree at a four-year institution.
- December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day marks the United States’ entrance into WWII and around that time the Menasha Extension Center ceases operation as prospective students join the war effort.
- Fall 1946 – Returning WWII veterans flood universities and Extension Centers proliferate all over Wisconsin. Menasha’s enrolls 172 students and adds sophomore level coursework.
- 1957 – The Menasha Extension Center outgrows the vocational wing of Menasha High School and leases five makeshift classrooms at the former Jensen Clinic on the corner of Main and Broad Streets in Menasha for three years.
- 1960 – The 20-acre site on Midway Road in Menasha is purchased as the site of today’s modern-day Fox Cities campus. Enrollment that year was 290 students and the original building was 39,000 square feet. Several subsequent additions would follow.
- 2008 – The Fox Cities campus has grown to 41.35 acres and 225,180 square feet.
- 2009 – State-of-the-art 361-seat Communication Arts Center at the Fox Cities campus opens.
- 2016 – UW-Fox Valley became part of the UW Colleges Northeast region which also includes UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Manitowoc.
- 2018 – UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac campuses are joined with UW Oshkosh as part of a UW System restructuring project. The names of the campuses were changed to UWO, Fox Cities campus and UWO, Fond du Lac campus in 2019.
- Vern Imhoff, 1957-1965
- Robert Najem, 1965-1966
- Harry Hutson, 1967-1969
- Leander Schwartz, 1969-1972
- Rue Johnson, 1973-1986
- Robert Young, 1987-1992
- James Perry, 1993-2011
- Martin Rudd, Dean: 2012-2018; Regional Dean Northeast Region: 2016-2018; Assistant Chancellor for Access Campuses: 2018 to present