It’s Official… UWMC to Join with UWSP!

Written by Brad Karger


The University of Wisconsin–Marathon County (UWMC) will be joined with the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UWSP) in order to address a student population decline of 51% at UWMC since 2010.

On November 9, 2017, the University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents passed a resolution to restructure the UW Colleges and UW College–Extension.

The UW College campuses — including our local UWMC — will be joined with 4-year comprehensive and research institutions, as shown in the schematic below.


This resolution was proposed because Wisconsin is changing…

The UW Colleges as a whole have seen full-time student enrollment decline by 32% in the past 7 years, and demographics suggest that enrollment is unlikely to significantly improve.

By 2040, nearly 95% of the state population growth is projected to be people age 65 and older. Wisconsin’s traditional workforce — those ages 18 to 64 years — is expected to grow only an estimated 1% in the same timeframe. Meanwhile, the demand for an educated labor force is growing exponentially.

UW’s commitment is to provide all Wisconsin citizens with access to affordable, quality higher education, and the approved proposal helps prepare us for the future.

Restructuring the UW Colleges keeps the vital economic and cultural presence of a UW institution in the local communities that each campus currently serves (for example, in Wausau and Marshfield).

The primary objectives of restructuring include:

  • Addressing enrollment challenges at UW College campuses while continuing to provide access to higher education in those campus communities
  • Continuing to identify and reduce barriers to transferring credits within the UW System
  • Maintaining affordability by providing courses currently taught at UW Colleges, while expanding access to upper level college courses
  • Further standardizing and regionalizing administrative operations and services to more efficiently use resources
  • Leveraging resources and shared talent at UW institutions to get more students into and through the educational pipeline successfully, better aligning the university to meet Wisconsin’s projected workforce needs

In making this transformational decision, the Board of Regents relied upon the testimony of 3 people from Wausau:

Dr. Holly Hassel, UWMC Faculty

Dr. Holly Hassel, UWMC Faculty



 David Eckmann, Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce Director


Brad Karger - Marathon County Administrator

Brad Karger, Marathon County Administrator

I invite you to click here to watch the full Board of Regents meeting to see what all went into this momentous decision.

It’s 2 hours and 37 minutes long, so maybe you just want to watch to see how Dave, Holly, and I did on a big stage!

  • You can see Holly Hassel’s testimony here (approx. 29:20 mins in).
  • You can see Dave Eckmann’s testimony here (approx. 42:08 mins in).
  • You can see my testimony here (approx. 52:38 mins in).

In addition, I encourage you to visit the UW’s restructuring website here to learn more about the proposal. They continually update the content, and you can read FAQs, submit a question, and sign up to be notified when new content is added to the site.


As I said in my testimony…

The alternative to UWMC joining with UWSP is that in 3 years, UWMC — because of declining enrollments — will no longer work financially and will be CLOSED.  {Tweet this.}

This new initiative will require a lot of planning at both the state and local level, but the result will be that Marathon County residents will continue to have access to an affordable, high-quality liberal arts education.

While that’s good for business in Marathon County,
most of all, it’s good for the people of Marathon County.

Brad Karger - Marathon County AdministratorBrad Karger

Marathon County Administrator

In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $165 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 30 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday.  Email Brad Karger.

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