University School of Milwaukee continues to reflect the proud tradition of excellence set forth by our predecessor schools while striving to meet and exceed the challenges of education in the 21st century.

A History of USM and Predecessor Schools

School Spirit and Traditions

University School of Milwaukee is steeped in tradition dating back more than 170 years to the early days of the German-English Academy. Today, USM features a series of division-specific and All-School activities that bring our students together in friendship, community, and school spirit.

Our Opening Day ceremony welcomes students back to campus and highlights our Common Trust value for the coming school year.

School spirit hits a fever pitch during our Homecoming festivities, as the USM community comes together for a series of athletic events, pep rallies, and Willie the Wildcat’s Fall Fun Fest each fall. The all-school outdoor pep rally highlights Homecoming week, as students gather on Ken Laird Field and perform grade-specific cheers and engage in activities together as a school.

The year concludes with our Senior Send-off, where we convene as a school to bid farewell to USM’s graduating class. Each grade performs a skit or song for our seniors, who take a victory lap before exiting for a final time as Wildcats.

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. Now nearly six 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, the USM community gathered together to celebrate the past 50 years. We thank everyone who joined us in reflecting upon our proud tradition of excellence.

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

Browse our "USM at 25" publication from 1989

History and Tradition