WCTC 100th Anniversary

Celebrating 100 Years


The Next Century of Impact

For 100 years, Waukesha County Technical College has been igniting imaginations and instilling a love of learning through transformative education. We have witnessed the remarkable evolution of technology and the workplace, and experience has taught us that the needs of our community are ever-changing. Whatever the next century may bring, we know that education makes our community stronger.


Support Our Students

Please consider a donation to the WCTC Foundation to support the future of our local workforce and help us invest in the cutting-edge tools and technology we need to teach the next generation. Your gift will provide financial support for the College’s highest priorities at the turn of its next century of impact. Your support allows our students to keep dreaming bigger.

Choose "WCTC 100th Anniversary Fund" when you make your donation.

Make a Donation


Centennial Stories

Justin Aprahamian
Justin Aprahamian

Centennial Stories: Justin Aprahamian

"I think back to my time at and leaving WCTC. It really gave me the confidence to go out and be a professional.

There’s always a lot to continue learning, but knowing I had a strong foundation and open mind because of WCTC gave me great attitude heading out for a job."


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Giving an old house new life
Steele Family Farmhouse

WCTC staff member has unique connection to College property

As Waukesha County Technical College continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary throughout 2023, WCTC staff member Trena Anderson recently discovered a unique connection between her new home and the family who once owned the property where the main Pewaukee campus sits.

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Janixa Franco-Gonzalez
Janixa M. Franco-Gonzalez

Centennial Stories: Janixa Franco-Gonzalez

"WCTC is setting me up for success by allowing me to get experience in my field from day one so that by the time I graduate, I am comfortable in my setting, made connections in the field and have plenty of experiences to put on my resume!"

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Bradley Wooten
Bradley Wooten

Centennial Stories: Bradley Wooten

"I have never felt surer that if I put forth the effort, I would master the material. I have a personal cheerleading section as I tackle subject matters I've never approached. There are so many opportunities to be involved on campus; I feel empowered to make the most of this college experience.

This college experience is drastically different from what I experienced in earning my four-year degree. My education feels much more in-depth, relevant and personalized, and I feel like something other than a number here."

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Sarina Vongsavath
Sarina Vongsavath

Centennial Stories: Sarina Vongsavath

"WCTC is full of resources for students, so much so that I am still learning about ones that I didn’t even know existed. I have never felt “on my own” on campus. There is always someone or somewhere to go to for help, no matter the issue.

Some examples that I know make a huge impact on students, including myself, are the free mental health counseling sessions, the food pantry, Academic Support and Career Connections."

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Nick Dillon
Nick Dillon

Centennial Stories:  Nick Dillon

"WCTC is a great learning place because not only are the instructors extremely qualified, but they bring a lot of real-world experience to the classroom.

They are able to take the curriculum and make it come to life with some amazing practical applications and experiential stories for students to identify with, ultimately giving them a realistic view of the profession that they are looking to go into."

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Ruth Sells
Ruth Sells

The Ruth Project

Ruth Sells was appointed to an advisory committee at WCTC in 1972, and two years later, she became the first woman appointed to the WCTC District Board, where she served for 14 years. She later joined the WCTC Foundation Board and served for 20 years until her passing in 2018. She was presented with an honorary WCTC Associate of Applied Science degree in 2012 for her generous service to the College. Like WCTC, Sells would have celebrated her 100th birthday in 2023.

As part of the WCTC centennial, a new scholarship fund, The Ruth Project, has been established to honor Ruth Sells' rich legacy of outstanding leadership and commitment to WCTC. This project will support WCTC Nursing students through scholarships and funding to improve the Nursing Skills Lab.

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Explore Our History


First Instructor Hired

The newly formed Waukesha Vocational School occupied the basement of Waukesha High School (now Les Paul Middle School). J.E. Worthington, who was the principal of the high school, served as part-time director. The 1920 board minutes authorized the purchase of materials to build 20 manual
training benches and 20 mechanical drawing benches – to be constructed by students as their first project.

O.B. Lindholm was hired as the school’s first manual training instructor-turned-director. The school was officially established on May 1, 1923.

Enrollment was 443 – half were daytime continuation
students and half were evening adult students; none
were full time. The school’s annual budget was $15,500, which included $4,500 in federal aid.



Enrollment Continues to Grow

By 1930, Enrollment rose to 700 and the school outgrew its space in the high school basement. A new building was constructed at 222 Maple Ave. for $68,000.

Anthony J. Natalizio took over teaching in the general education classroom until 1937. Natalizio would eventually become the president in 1949, leading the school until 1973.




Enrollment reached 1,400, and a combination gymnasium/auditorium was built. As the only local gym available to adults at the time, the new space was a popular addition.

Historical WCTC Photo


GI Bill Brings New Students

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, or G.I. Bill, was signed into law in 1944 and provided WWII
veterans with funds for college education, unemployment insurance and housing. This caused a spike in postwar college and vocational school attendance for both men and women, and it provided financial assistance for tuition, books, supplies and counseling services, along with other benefits.

Historical WCTC Photo


Lindholm Vocational and Adult School is Born

Anthony J. Natalizio was named the school’s director/
president after O.B. Lindholm’s death and served as president until 1973. Natalizio was unanimously selected by the board; he had been associated with the school as a teacher and administrator for nearly 20 years before taking on the top leadership position.

The school changed its name to Lindholm Vocational and Adult School to honor its longtime director.

Historical WCTC Photo



The school's staff grew to 49 people, and more than 3,000 people used its facilities for classes, recreation and social activities. Most students were now over the age of 25.

Historical 1950s Birdhouses


Expanded Offerings

In 1956, the school completed an 11,500-square-foot addition to its 11-room Maple Street location. The $186,000 addition, which opened in 1957, included classrooms for arts and crafts, home furnishings, drafting, social studies and sewing, as well as a large multipurpose classroom. After this expansion, enrollment skyrocketed by 800 students.


New Programs Open Doors

The school changed its name to Waukesha Vocational, Technical and Adult School.

The Wisconsin Board of Vocational and Adult Education authorized the awarding of two-year collegiate associate degrees and one- and two-year vocational diploma programs. WCTC's first two diploma programs were introduced: Business Education and Metals.

Maple Street



The first two-year programs were added in 1962: Electronics and Basic Electricity.

Occupational advisory committees were formed to provide real-world input into the development of new programs. Today, more than 1,400 industry pros serve on WCTC advisory committees.

Enrollment reached 3,600 and the school announced an addition for a student center, library, classrooms, labs and offices, which was completed in 1965.

Historical WCTC Photo


A Year of Many Firsts

The first student government organization was formed, the first formal athletic program began, and the first formal graduation ceremony was held.


Nursing Program Introduced

The first health occupations program was offered in 1966: Licensed Practical Nurse.

Historical WCTC Nursing Photo


New Horizons, New Name

In 1967, Waukesha Technical Institute became Waukesha County Technical Institute (WCTI).


Police Training Begins

A small group of law enforcement officerts - the Waukesha County Chiefs of Police - organized a police training school that would provide officers with practical training.



WCTI purchased 110 acres of farmland on the outskirts of the Village of Pewaukee from the Steele family as the site for the new campus.

This land is ceded land of the Menomonie, Potawatomi, Sauk and Winnebago peoples. The College honors this ground as sacred, historical and significant to the First Nations People.

Steele Farm Silos


WCTI Breaks Ground in Pewaukee

On April 4, 1970, the College broke ground for WCTI’s historic new $7 million campus in Pewaukee.



Classes Begin at the New Campus

Classes at the new campus began in February of 1972, with 12,147 students enrolled in more than 500 credit and noncredit courses. A formal Admissions and Counseling department was formed.


Richard T. Anderson Named President

Richard T. Anderson, Ed.D. was named director (then president) and retired in 2002.



WCTC Gains HLC Accreditation

WCTC first gained accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) on July 24, 1975. The HLC assures quality by verifying an institution meets standards and is engaged in continuous improvement.



WCTC Foundation Established

The campus expanded to included space for an outdoor sports facility, emergency vehicles operations course and additional parking.

The WCTC Foundation was established in 1977 with a clear mission: to secure charitable resources to help our students achieve their educational goals.


High School Diplomas Offered

WCTI established the state's first formal "external high school" and offered adults options to earn their high school diplomas.


WCTI Owls Win Big

Coached by Athletic Director Wally Wiese from 1970 to 1986, the WCTI Owls basketball team enjoyed 14 straight seasons with more than 20 wins, 13 league titles and eight state championships.




With endorsement from the state, the district began to develop customized training classes specific to employers that were not available to the general public, and in 1981, the School offered courses at 20 companies.

1980's WCTC Students


Recession Leads to Record Enrollment

Aside from the 2007-09 recession, 1981-82 was the worse economic downturn in the history of the U.S. since the great depression. Because of the economic crisis, WCTI achieved record enrollment, with more than 36,000 students taking credit, noncredit and enrichment classes. Historically, the demand for technical and vocational education increases during challenging economic times.

1980's WCTC Students


Customized Corporate Training Begins

The board approved a policy to allow WCTI to contract entire customized programs for specific employers or employer groups. Examples include an Electronics program for General Electric Medical Systems, a customized degree program for Wisconsin Bell and a Real Estate program for Merrill Lynch Realty.


Classic Room Opens

The Classic Room on-campus student training restaurant opened.

WCTC Student



In 1988, Waukesha County Technical Institute changed its name to Waukesha County Technical College to better reflect its mission.




Enrollment reached 36,304 students, and WCTC continued its efforts to support its growing student body with updated facilities and new technology.

The federal Vocational Education and Applied Technology Act provided funding to help high school districts collaborate with technical colleges.

1994 WCTC Construction



WCTC welcomed its first high school juniors and seniors into the Youth Apprenticeship program in 1994.

Youth Apprenticeships


Early Online Classes Begin

WCTC made its debut on the internet in 1995 and began offering online courses in business law, financial planning and real estate.

WCTC Student


Dental Hygiene Clinic Opens

The Dental Hygiene Clinic opened on campus. A newly renovated and expanded clinic opened at the Waukesha campus in 2019.

Dental Hygiene Clinic


Nontraditional Students Shine

The average WCTC student was employed and 37 years old. More than 30 percent of students had previously attended a four-year college and many held bachelor’s degrees. Nontraditional students made up 85 percent of the College’s enrollment.

WCTC Student


Small Business Center Opens

The Small Business Center opened and offered noncredit workshops and courses for small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them achieve success in new and existing ventures.

Small Business Center


Carol Brown Named President

Carol Brown was named president and served until 2006.

The Harry V. Quadracci Printing and Graphics Center (Building G), which houses WCTC’s printing and graphic arts programs and classrooms, was completed in 2002.

Carol Brown


Barbara Prindiville Named President

Barbara A. Prindiville, Ph.D., was named president and served until 2014.

Carbara Prindiville


Building Q Opens

In 2007, the College opened the Harry V. Quadracci Education and Technology Center (Building Q), a 23,600 square-foot facility built as a wing of the Printing and Graphics Center.

Quadracci Education and Technology Center



WCTC began offering the first accredited Paramedic program in the state.



New Enrollment Center Welcomes Students

WCTC’s Enrollment Center renovation was completed in 2010. Students now have seamless access to advising, counseling, admissions, registration and financial aid — all conveniently located in the new center. This has streamlined the registration process and shortened wait times for students.

Enrollment Center


Multicultural Engagement Center Opens

WCTC opened the Multicultural Resource Center (now Multicultural Engagement Center), which focuses on creating an accepting, inclusive campus culture through programs, events and leadership development.

Multicultural Engagement Center



In 2013, WCTC completed its firing range on Hickory Street, which later moved to the main campus and into a newly constructed space in 2022.

The same year, the Dual Enrollment Academy program began as a way to offer high school seniors a head-start in careers in high-demand fields while providing them an opportunity to earn college credits.

Dual Enrollment Academy


Kaylen Betzig Named President

Kaylen Betzig was named president and served through 2020.

Kaylen Betzig



In 2016, the 24,000-square-foot Integrated Manufacturing Center (IMC) was built to increase the amount of space dedicated to electronics, automation and manufacturing trades. The center was renamed to honor donor Terry Lutz in 2018.

The Student Enrichment Center opened in Building B in 2016 as a central location to house Academic Support, Library Services and the Service Desk. The TechEx Center was added in 2017, and the WCTC Bookstore was added in fall 2018.

Student Enrichment Center


WCTC Earns CAE-CD Designation

WCTC became the first college in Wisconsin to be designated as a Center of Academic Excellence – Two Year Education (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.



Renovated Dental Hygiene Clinic Opens

The College moved its Dental Hygiene Clinic into a newly renovated and expanded space at the downtown Waukesha campus.

Dental Hygiene Clinic


Year-Round Academic Calendar Launches

In summer 2020, the College launched a year-round academic calendar featuring 8-week terms.


Richard Barnhouse Named President

In January 2021, Richard G. Barnhouse, Ph.D., joined WCTC as its president, bringing with him more than 20 years of progressive higher education leadership.

Richard Barnhouse


WCTC Excelerate Welcomes High School Students

WCTC began welcoming high school juniors and seniors into any WCTC program - just as any other College student - to earn an associate degree or technical diploma at the same times as their high school degree through the Excelerate initiative.

WCTC Excelerate


Liberal Arts Transfer Degrees Offer New Transfer Opportunities

The College began offering Associate of Arts and Associate of Science liberal arts transfer degrees to streamline the transfer process, guaranteeing admission into UW-Milwaukee and other four-year institutions.

WCTC Students



Meet Ollie!

This year – 2023 – Waukesha County Technical College is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and as part of the centennial, the College’s owl mascot was renamed. The name was chosen through a voting process from submissions by members of the WCTC community, and the official name was revealed earlier in January to the College community.

The new mascot – Oliver Lindholm Steele – pays homage to the College’s history: “Oliver” represents “all of you “– the faculty, staff, students, alumni, business and community partners who make the College a success; “Lindholm” pays tribute to the College’s first, full-time director, O.B. Lindholm, who served as the school’s leader for 26 years; and “Steele” is a nod to the family whose former farmland the main Pewaukee campus is built upon. More casually, the mascot will be known as “Ollie.”

Light the Hoan

On May 1, 2023, WCTC students lit up Milwaukee's iconic Hoan Bridge in celebration of the College's 100th anniversary. Enjoy some footage from their impressively coded displays.