The story of UW-Fond du Lac began in 1963 when the Wisconsin coordinating Council for Higher Education (CCHE) designated Fond du Lac as a potential site for a two-year branch campus as part of its "outreach" plan designed to bring quality higher education within easy reach of students.
The Citizen's Committee of Fond du Lac County residents began exploratory studies which led to a formal resolution of support in 1966 by the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors.
Original construction, land and equipment costs totaled just over $5 million, and the campus opened on Sept. 9, 1968 with Dr. Willard J. Henken as Dean.
Henken served in this position from 1968 to 1987, followed by Bradley Gottfried from 1988 to 1993, Judy Goldsmith from 1993 to 2002 and 2009 to 2010, Dr. Daniel J. Blankenship from 2002 to 2009 and Dr. John Short from 2010 to 2015.
In 2016, UW-Fond du Lac became part of the UW Colleges Northeast region which also includes UW-Fox Valley and UW-Manitowoc. Dr. Martin Rudd is the current Regional Executive Officer and Dean.
UW-Fond du Lac is one of the 13 UW Colleges in the state. The merger of the University of Wisconsin and the State University System in 1972 resulted in the University of Wisconsin System and united the UW Colleges' campuses in its mission under the name University of Wisconsin Center System. In 1983, the name of the institution became the University of Wisconsin Centers. In 1997, the name of the institution was changed to University of Wisconsin Colleges.
A $13 million campus renovation project was completed in the fall of 2000.