Celebrating "50 Years of USM"

In the fall of 1964, University School of Milwaukee opened its doors, on two separate campuses, for the first time. The founding of USM was a result of the merger of three highly respected independent schools in Milwaukee: Milwaukee Country Day School, Milwaukee Downer Seminary, and Milwaukee University School. This represented the first successful merger of three independent schools in the United States. Five decades after that historic merger, USM continues to celebrate its success as the finest preschool through secondary school in the Milwaukee area and the state of Wisconsin, and one of the top college preparatory schools in the country.
Throughout the 2014-15 school year, our School community gathered together to celebrate the past 50 years. We thank everyone who joined us in reflecting upon our proud tradition of excellence.

Today, USM continues to provide an excellent educational experience to a diverse student body, preparing them for a lifetime of success. Everyone in our School community – students, alumni, parents, grandparents, parents of alumni, and current and former faculty and staff – plays an important role in the continued success of University School of Milwaukee.

"50 Years of USM" Logo

In anticipation of the 2014-15 year of celebration, a committee of current and former faculty and staff, alumni, parents of alumni, and other friends of USM was formed to oversee the design of a visual identity for “50 Years of USM.” The committee’s charge was to oversee the creation of a sophisticated and elegant visual identity that would reflect well upon the School and represent USM’s three immediate predecessor schools.

Following review of more than 30 unique logo designs and revisions over several months, the committee settled on a logo that included:
• the USM nickname;
• a legacy version of the USM campus’ iconic tower, used in a previous School logo;
• laurel leaves, an element which was also used in a previous School logo;
• the names of USM’s three immediate predecessor schools;
• the anniversary and corresponding years being celebrated; and
• the blue (from MUS), gold (from MCDS), and white (from MDS) colors that have been a part of USM since its inception.

The visual identity system for “50 Years of USM” was showcased during the 2014-15 academic year, from August until June.

Browse our "50 Years of USM" commemorative piece from fall 2015

Browse our "USM at 25" publication from 1989

A History of Tradition

List of 22 items.

  • 1851

    German-English Academy founded with 2 teachers and 50 students. Peter Engelmann is the first director.
  • 1851

    Milwaukee Female Seminary formally chartered as Milwaukee Normal Institute and High School.
  • 1891

    GEA moves into new building on Broadway Street in Milwaukee, featuring first gymnasium in America.
  • 1895

    MFS merges with Downer College of Fox Lake, WI.
  • 1896

    Downer Seminary builds new campus on Hartford Avenue.
  • 1910

    Downer Seminary becomes separate institution from Milwaukee Downer College.
  • 1912

    Boys German English Academy High School opens. Former Milwaukee Academy High School is incorporated with German English Academy.
  • 1917

    Name change from German English Academy to Milwaukee University School.
  • 1917

    Milwaukee Country Day opens in Whitefish Bay.
  • 1919

    MCD Junior School opens on Prospect Avenue.
  • 1920

    Girls high school founded by German English Academy.
  • 1927

    Frank Spigener named director of German English Academy.
  • 1931

    MCD Junior School moves to new building on Whitefish Bay campus.
  • 1936

    Lake School for Girls merges with Downer Seminary.
  • 1959

    Downer Seminary sale of Hartford Avenue property to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for $1.15 million. Purchase of 59 acres on Fairy Chasm Road.
  • 1959

    MUS purchases 40 acres on Fairy Chasm Road.
  • 1961

    Downer Seminary opens new Fairy Chasm Road campus.
  • 1963

    MUS Hartford Avenue property sold to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for $2.3 million.
  • 1963

    Merger of MUS, Downer Seminary, and MCD announced.
  • 1964

    University School of Milwaukee opens.
  • 1970

    USM Girls Upper School moves to Whitefish Bay campus.
  • 1985

    Consolidation of North and South campuses.
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