History

From 1967 to present day, Nicolet shares its history with you

The Nicolet College District was created in 1967 with classes starting in January of 1968. Shortly after the district was formed, college officials purchased 280 acres just south of Rhinelander to build the Lake Julia Campus. The property, a mix of forest and field, featured 3,000 feet of frontage on Lake Julia. The purchase price: $75,000.

The first building, the Science Center, later renamed the University Transfer Center, and is now the Red Oak Center, was constructed from 1969 to 1970. While the building was under construction, the college held its first classes in downtown Rhinelander in what is now the Rhinelander Fire Department.

Since its early days, Nicolet has provided superior technical programs and has grown to offer options for pursuing a bachelor's degree along with opportunities for personal enrichment. Nicolet has also established outreach centers to extend to all corners of the 4,000-square-mile district, including the three Native American communities.

Nicolet has played a unique role in higher education in the state and the Northwoods and continues this tradition today.

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Nicolet College sign marking the start of the college

1968
Site is Secured for Nicolet College

Thomas Lawrence, president of the board and Dr. Richard Brown, first college president at the future site of campus.

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Historic photo of students on campus

1968
Higher Education in the Northwoods

Thousands have followed in the footsteps of these students, seeking a college education and career skills to build a better life.

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Nicolet's first graduating class

1969
Nicolet's First Graduating Class

Nicolet College's first graduating class of 33 graduates in May of 1969 gathered for a class photo and a dinner celebration.

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Virginia Wolf Nicolet Players play

1971
Nicolet Players Theatre Troupe Begins

Since its inception, The Nicolet Players have produced more than 183 productions in the Nicolet College Theatre. Learn More >

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newspaper clipping from 1975

1975
Nicolet is Popular with High School Seniors

>A UW study cited Nicolet as first choice for college-bound high school seniors in the area, outdistancing UW-Stevens Point and UW-Eau Claire by 2:1.

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Construction being done to the Birchwoods Center

1989
Nicolet Campus Construction is Complete

>The Birchwoods Center was the last building project on campus. In 2009, it received Gold LEED Certification for its sustainable remodel.

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Historic photo of adding in a fiber optic line

1990
Making a Stronger Connection

Nicolet established a fiber optic network between buildings to speed up communication on campus computers, one of the first in the area.

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chef hands plating food

1990s
“Top of the Hill” Restaurant Opens

Student chefs plan and create delicious dishes in a student-managed restaurant offering a unique variety of global cuisine. Learn More > 

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Learning in Retirement blacksmith event

1995
Learning in Retirement Begins

Organized to offer stimulating and entertaining courses for retired Northwoods residents, it now serves around 300 members annually. Learn More >

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UW Madision building

2006
UW-Madison Guaranteed Transfer

Associate of arts and science grads are guaranteed admission to UW-Madison. Today, transfer agreements exist with all UW campuses. Learn More >

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Telepresence classroom

2014
Telepresence Connects Classrooms

Nicolet installed telepresence distance learning technology which includes five, 65-inch displays and advanced camera system with theater audio.

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IT student in class

2017
Competency-Based Education

This learning model was started in select programs to offer flexible courses and labs with instructor support to work around students' busy lives. Learn More >