The University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc is one of 26 campuses of the state-wide University of Wisconsin System. It is owned by the county of Manitowoc and operated by the State of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin has had a presence in Manitowoc since 1933 when 26 students took a UW English course at the Vocational School on Clark Street. As the number of classes and students grew, overcrowding prompted the building of the UW-Manitowoc campus on 40 acres along the shore of Lake Michigan. When the doors opened on Viebahn Street in 1962, the new campus was home to 252 students.
In 1986 Hillside Hall (first named West Hall) was added to the campus, doubling its original size. Hillside Hall contains a lecture hall (originally a music rehearsal room), computer laboratory, classrooms, faculty offices, a geography/geology lab and a physical education facility.
In 2001, Lakeside hall was built, adding 22,000 square feet to the size of the campus. A new music rehearsal room, 350-seat theatre, cafeteria and commons area are some of the features of Lakeside Hall. Renovations to Hillside and Founders halls were made with improvements to distance education classrooms, administrative offices, the bookstore and the art gallery. A new lecture hall and computerized classroom were also part of the project.