Northland College (Wisconsin)

Northland College is a private college in Ashland, Wisconsin. Founded as the North Wisconsin Academy in 1892, the college was established in 1906. Originally affiliated with the Congregational Church, the college remains loosely tied to the Congregational Church's descendant, the United Church of Christ. It enrolls 600 full-time undergraduate students and employs 60 faculty members and 99 staff members. Northland College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities.

Northland College
NC official.seal
MottoThink differently. Live differently.
TypePrivate Liberal Arts
Endowment$23.7 million (2013)[1]
PresidentMarvin J. Suomi
Administrative staff
Undergraduates600 full-time
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural, A total of
220 acres (89 ha)
ColorsOrange and Blue          
Nickname"LumberJacks" or "LumberJills"
AffiliationsEco League, United Church of Christ


Northland College is the successor to the North Wisconsin Academy, and was founded on the same tract of land. Wheeler Hall, built in 1892, was the sole building of the North Wisconsin Academy, providing classroom space, board and cafeteria services. The building was renovated in 1993 and 1994 and remains the centerpiece of campus. Today, Wheeler houses classrooms and faculty offices for the social sciences and humanities and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Northland College Ashland Wisconsin Entrance

The college is located in Ashland, Wisconsin, a small city on the shore of Lake Superior. The school is ten blocks from the lakefront. The school's location on the lakefront makes internship opportunities available with agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Ashland Fisheries Resource Office, the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the United States Geological Survey.


As a result of concerns about the college's financial position, the Higher Learning Commission required Northland to file a financial recovery plan.[2] The college's endowment, which incurred losses caused by the stock market crash of 2008-09, has since recovered and the college reported 2010-11 fund raising at the highest level in several years.[3]


Northland College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities.

On August 1, 2012, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, established two requirements for the institution, resulting from its site visit in spring. One involves producing a monitoring report by December, outlining faculty credentials, to include official transcripts and appropriate certifications where applicable. The second requirement involves a focused visit during the 2014-2015 school year that will involve an assessment of student learning and institutional strategic planning, with a focus on student enrollment and college finances.

Native American focus

The college has a relationship with the nearby Native American communities, being close to the Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River and Red Cliff Ojibwa (Chippewa) reservations. The college offers courses focusing on Native American history, language and culture, and offers a degree in Native American studies. In August 2011, Northland College received a $163,383 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation to establish a Native American and Indigenous Culture Center and a Council on Indigenous Relations.

Environmental focus

Each program at Northland College incorporates an emphasis on the environment and sustainability.[4] Many classes focus on or include environmental issues.

In 1971, shortly after the first Earth Day, Northland College hosted its first environmental conference. One keynote speaker was Sigurd Olson. The environmental outreach arm of Northland College, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, opened its doors in 1972. The institute works to educate the North country, students and community members about Great Lakes environmental issues.

Northland College is a sponsoring partner of the Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership, a coalition of 14 regional municipalities and tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations working toward the restoration of Lake Superior. Since September 2010, the partnership has won more than $1 million in competitive grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to fund habitat restoration, outreach, and education and environmental survey initiatives. This amount includes two grants totaling nearly $500,000 awarded in August 2011.

The college is also part of the Eco League, a five-college consortium that enables students to spend semesters at Alaska Pacific University, Green Mountain College, Prescott College and College of the Atlantic.


Northland College has been recognized by Sierra magazine, the Princeton Review, Forbes magazine, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and for its commitment to sustainability and developing environmentally conscious campus initiatives.[5][6][7][8][9][10] The campus has two wind turbines, five photovoltaic arrays, four hot water arrays and a geothermal heating and cooling system. Several of the buildings on campus have been recognized for their environmentally friendly designs, including the McLean Environmental Living and Learning Center and the Dexter Library, which in 2010 received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

Other campus initiatives include the student-managed Renewable Energy Fund, which provides over $40,000 annually to fund campus sustainability initiatives, the Northland Bike Shoppe, which provides free-to-use bicycles for the campus community, and a robust campus-wide composting program, which diverts nearly two tons of food waste from landfills each year.

Northland is an active member of several organizations focused on sustainability in higher education, including the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education, the Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence, and the Leadership Circle of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents' Climate Commitment, which commits participating colleges to constructing buildings that meet or exceed LEED Silver certification.

Campus life

Northland's campus has 19 major buildings, and is dominated by the new student union, completed in 2003, and Wheeler Hall, built in 1892 and renovated in 1993-94. The buildings are predominantly brick with sharply peaked roofs, in an effort to emulate the region's historical brownstone architecture. The campus is centered on an open mall, a grassy area where students gather to sunbathe and play.

Two buildings on campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wheeler Hall and Wakefield Hall.

Wakefield Hall

Wakefield Hall

Northland College Wheeler Hall

Wheeler Hall

Mary Van Evera Visual Art Center Northland College

Mary Van Evera Visual Art Center

Dexter Library, Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin

Dexter Library

Northland College Sign Ashland Wisconsin



Northland College Ashland Wisconsin Sports Field
Sports field

The schools athletic teams are called the LumberJacks and LumberJills. The school currently competes in the NCAA Division III in all sports. The school is a member of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA). They will be leaving the NCHA to join the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2019.[11] There are 15 varsity sports. The LumberJills compete in volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, and softball. The LumberJacks compete in lacrosse, soccer, cross country, basketball, hockey, golf and baseball. Nordic Skiing is offered as a club sport for both men and women.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 23, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  2. ^ Higher Learning Commission. Actions: Academic Year 2011-2012
  3. ^ Ashland Daily Press. "NC starts new fiscal year with strong fundraising success", July 10, 2011, accessed April 23, 2012.
  4. ^ Northland College
  5. ^ Sierra Magazine. "Complete Rankings: America's Coolest Schools", sept/oct 2011, accessed November 29, 2012.
  6. ^ Princeton Review. "Green Guide by State", 2012 edition, accessed November 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Forbes Magazine. "America's Greenest College and Universities ", November 2010, accessed November 29, 2012.
  8. ^ National Arbor Day Foundation. "Inaugural Tree Campus USA", Class of 2008, accessed November 29, 2012.
  9. ^ Sustainable Endowments Institute. "Sustainability Innovator Awards", Report Card 2009, accessed November 29, 2012.
  10. ^ "10 Most Bike-Friendly Campuses", accessed November 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Northland men's, women's programs to leave NCHA, join WIAC for 2019-20 season". USCHO. April 5, 2017.

External links

46°34′46″N 90°52′32″W / 46.57944°N 90.87556°WCoordinates: 46°34′46″N 90°52′32″W / 46.57944°N 90.87556°W

Albin C. Bro

Albin Carl Bro (1893–1956) was a Christian missionary and educator, United States diplomat, and the fifth president of Shimer College.

Ashland, Wisconsin

Ashland is a city in Ashland and Bayfield counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The city is a port on Lake Superior, near the head of Chequamegon Bay. The population was 8,216 at the 2010 census, all of which resided in the Ashland County portion of the city. The unpopulated Bayfield County portion is in the city's southwest, bordered by the easternmost part of the town of Eileen.

The city is at the junction of U.S. Route 2 and Wisconsin Highway 13. It is the home of Northland College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, and the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute.

Barbara Linton

Barbara J. Linton, (born June 27, 1952) was a Wisconsin politician and legislator. She served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1986 to 1998.Born in Ashland, Wisconsin, she attended Northland College, and currently lives in High Bridge. She was the Ashland County Board Supervisor from 1984 to 1988. While serving in the State Assembly as a Democrat for 12 years, she later ran unsuccessfully as a Republican.

Bernard F. Mathiowetz

Bernard F. Mathiowetz (February 11, 1902 – January 17, 1997) was an American politician.

Born in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, his family refused to let him go to high school. Mathiowetz left home and worked on the Soo Line Railroad. In 1922, Mathiowetz graduated from Ashland High School in Ashland, Wisconsin while still working for the Soo Line. He then went to Northland College. He financed his own high school and college education, and in 1924 he was elected as the youngest member of the Wisconsin State Assembly to date. He was a Republican. After his term ended, Mathiowetz received his law degree from University of Wisconsin Law School and then practiced law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mathiowetz died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Beth Meyers

Beth Meyers (born May 29, 1959) is an American social worker and politician.

Born in Bayfield, Wisconsin, Meyers received her bachelor's degree from Northland College and worked for the Red Cliff Tribe as family services divisions chief and later for CORE Community Services. Meyers served on the Bayfield County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors from 2010 until she resigned in 2015 to concentrate on her duties in the Assembly. On November 4, 2014, Meyers was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Democrat replacing Janet Bewley (also a Democrat) who was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate.

Carlisle Runge

Carlisle Piehl "Carl" Runge (March 23, 1920 – September 18, 1983) was a Wisconsin professor, author, environmentalist, and politician who served as Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, and Director of the United Nations Adriatic Environmental Study in Yugoslavia.

Ellen Akins

Ellen Akins is an American novelist from South Bend, Indiana. She graduated from LaSalle High School in 1977, earning a BA in film production at the University of Southern California before working with Sydney Pollack. After losing interest in the film business, Akins enrolled in the creative writing program at Johns Hopkins University. In April 1993 she was awarded the Academy Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for her fiction writing; she has also been given grants by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and won the Whiting Award in 1989.Akins is the author of five books; the novels Home Movie, published in 1988 by Simon & Schuster, Little Woman, published in 1990 by Harper & Row, Public Life, published in 1993 by HarperCollins, and Hometown Brew, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1998, and the short story collection "World Like a Knife", published in 1991 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. As well as writing, Akins has also taught at Western Michigan University, Northland College, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Jamling Tenzing Norgay

Jamling Tenzing Norgay (Nepali: जम्लिंग तेन्जिंग नोर्गे; born 23 April 1965) is a Nepali and Indian Sherpa mountain climber.

John C. Chapple

John Carl Chapple (May 27, 1875 – May 1, 1946) was an American newspaper editor and politician.

Born in La Porte City, Iowa, Chapple went to Northland Academy (now Northland College) in Ashland, Wisconsin and Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He was the editor of the Ashland Daily Press and was also a columnist and printer. Chapple served on the Ashland Common Council, the Ashland County, Wisconsin Board of Superviors, and was a Republican. He was also the postmaster. Chapple served in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1909, 1917, and 1919. He was also elected in 1942 and 1944. Chapple died in Ashland, Wisconsin while still in office in 1946.

Karen Halbersleben

Dr. Karen Halbersleben was the 11th president of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, serving from 2002 to 2009. She succeeded Robert Rue Parsonage, who retired from the position in 2002, and became the first female president of the private university since its founding in 1892.

She is the author of a book titled Women's Participation in the British Antislavery Movement, 1824-1865.

Raised in Buffalo, New York, Halbersleben received her Ph.D. in history from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo before teaching at SUNY-Oswego, where she was promoted to the administration before moving to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1998. She was serving as the vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty at Buena Vista when she was selected as Northland's president. Halbersleben resigned her position in the spring of 2009.

Laurie E. Carlson

Laurie E. Carlson (January 12, 1908 – March 26, 1999) was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

List of NAIA regions

NAIA regions no longer exist. The following is a list of former National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics regions.

Northland College

Northland College is the name of several learning institutions:

CanadaNorthlands College in SaskatchewanNew ZealandNorthland College (Kaikohe), a small high school at Kaikohe in the far north of New ZealandUnited States of AmericaNorthland College (Minnesota) in Minnesota, a Community and Technical college

Northland College (Wisconsin) in Ashland, Wisconsin, a small liberal arts college

Northland Baptist Bible College, a private college in Wisconsin (Not affiliated with Northland college in Ashland)

Sigurd F. Olson

Sigurd Ferdinand Olson (April 4, 1899 – January 13, 1982) was an American author, environmentalist, and advocate for the protection of wilderness. For more than thirty years, he served as a wilderness guide in the lakes and forests of the Quetico-Superior country of northern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario. He was known honorifically as the Bourgeois — a term the voyageurs of old used of their trusted leaders.

Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute

The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute is an outreach arm of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. A 1971 environmental conference at Northland with Sigurd Olson as a speaker was the origin of the institute. Robert Matteson was the founder of the Institute. The Institute opened in Spring, 1972.

Stan Gruszynski

Stan Gruszynski (born February 6, 1949) is a former Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly representing the 71st district. He served five terms as State Representative from 1984 to 1994. He is currently a member of the Democratic National Committee and, therefore, a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 United States Presidential Election. In June, 2008, Gruszynski announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for the 36th district of the Wisconsin State Assembly.


WRNC-LP was a student-owned, freeform radio station on 97.7 MHz, and served the Chequamegon Bay area from the campus of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

WRNC began in 1995 as a student initiative initially began broadcasting in 1998 at 25 milliwatts. Soon after the station began broadcasting, student organizers discovered that licensing paperwork had never been filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which led to an end of broadcasting for the new station.

In 2001, an LPFM tower construction permit was drafted and filed with the FCC. In 2003, Northland College was granted a 100-watt, low-power frequency to begin broadcasting in December of that year.

WRNC-LP, in its latest incarnation, began broadcasting in May 2005. The station featured a variety of programming and operated twenty-four hours a day.

The station also webcast its programming via its website.

WRNC-LP ceased operations on or about May 23, 2017. The closure of the radio station was due to budget cutbacks, at a time when the college was attempting to find solutions to a severe budget shortfall.

William Plizka

William G. Plizka (born December 8, 1944) was a Republican politician and legislator from Wisconsin.Born in Ashland, Wisconsin, Plizka graduated from Northland College in 1969. He served in the Wisconsin State Assembly for just one term. He was a former member of the local school board, as well as the Ashland County Board.

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