Lakeland traces its beginnings to German immigrants who, seeking a new life, traveled to America and eventually to the Sheboygan area where they settled in 1847. Even as they struggled for food and shelter, these pioneers thought in terms of higher education for their children. Here are some key milestones in the college’s history:
- In 1862, the founders built Missionshaus (Mission House), a combined academy-college-seminary. The school provided training in the liberal arts followed by a traditional seminary curriculum, as most of the early students were destined to become ministers.
- By the end of the 1800s, enrollment was no longer limited to pre-theological students and the college had developed strong programs of study in a wide number of disciplines. A talented, scholarly faculty set high standards for the college early in its existence, standards which have been maintained to this day.
- In 1956, education had evolved and the college adopted the name Lakeland and the seminary moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1962 to become United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
- In 1978, Lakeland launched the state’s first degree-completion program for working adults by offering evening classes designed to fit around their busy schedules. Today, Lakeland’s Evening, Weekend & Online program enrolls more than 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students at seven centers around Wisconsin.
- In 1990, Lakeland formed its two-year campus in Tokyo, Japan, a sign of the institution’s strong commitment to a global education, which continues today.
- On July 1, 2016, Lakeland College became Lakeland University, a change which accurately reflects the current reach and the diversity of offerings.