Our History

A century of continuum

From delivering correspondence courses by motorcycle to giving people who otherwise couldn’t afford it the chance to enroll in professional development opportunities, UW Continuum College has grown and evolved for more than 100 years, passing many milestones along the way. Explore Continuum’s decades of history and learn how we’ve become a bridge to education for our community. 

aerial photo of uw campus 1930s

 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s | Next 


The Great Depression Looms 

As the emphasis of the University Extension Services shifted toward providing educational opportunities for working adults, stories emerged about professionals taking on schoolwork to enhance their careers. 

There was the story of a businessman with an eight-hour-a-day office job who enrolled in classes before work and had the energy to complete homework afterward. And there was the story of a young stenographer who decided to pursue more schooling to jumpstart her stagnant career. She wondered whether she could handle the pressures of schoolwork on top of her full-time job. It turns out she could. 
Amid the Great Depression, Extension Services began printing and selling manuscripts written by faculty members that “would be useful to the layman.” The first of these, published in 1934, covered essential nutrition, food fads and purchasing and preparing food on a budget, which was timely information for families struggling with unemployment. By decade’s end, annual enrollment climbed to 4,325 – twice as many students as from 1932 to 1933, the lowest enrollment reached during the Great Depression.