The College was founded as the Milton Academy (high school) by a group of early Milton settlers, including Milton House owner Joseph Goodrich. It eventually grew to encompass 16 buildings spread over 24 acres (97,000 m2). Its music department was renowned, and a high percentage of foreign students for the era kept the student body diverse. Although initially many of the students came from Milton, in later years alumni of the college would stay in Milton or return.
Closing of the College
On May 15, 1982 the college abruptly closed its doors. At the time, it was Wisconsin's oldest continually operating college.
The college's board of trustees voted 18-2 to close the campus. The decision was forced by a notification from a reviewing committee of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that the college's accreditation would be dropped with the coming of the fall term; the college had previously been in a probational status. The decision from North Central stemmed from the college's continual shaky financial situation, which culminated in a $4 million debt. The college had, in fact, been struggling financially since the Great Depression, 50 years earlier. Without accreditation, the college would not have seen any federal loans or grants, adding to an already difficult situation of decreasing student enrollment. Furthermore, the college could no longer compete with other schools in the Wisconsin State University system.
Some 135 students had been planning to come back to campus when the school closed, many with only a few credits left until completion of their studies. Officials at that time were negotiating with other campuses about accepting Milton students.
Campus Adaptive Reuse
When the school closed, the buildings were turned over to the banks that keep it alive over the years. Now, most of the buildings have been converted to commercial or residential use.
Main Hall is maintained by the Main Hall Preservation Society, and serves as a memorial to the college. Portraits in the building commemorate faculty and alumni over the years.
The library is now the Shaw Community Center, owned by the City of Milton, and houses both city hall and the city library.
The dorms have been converted into apartment buildings.
The gymnasium is currently the home of CrossPointe Community Church which has multiple Christian church services in Wisconsin (Milton, Whitewater and Jefferson) and another in Guadalajara Mexico.