In an age when Americans have noted declining citizen involvement in community life and increasing political partisanship, a movement towards reclaiming the civic mission of colleges and universities led to the 2008 founding of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) on the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County (UWMC) campus in Wausau, Wisconsin.
A core group of civically- minded local citizens, including former UWMC Campus Dean Jim Veninga, UW System Regent Mark Bradley, attorney Christine Bremer-Muggli, and Professor Emerita of English Linda Ware, envisioned an institute that would connect the resources of the University of Wisconsin with public policy issues, providing new opportunities for faculty and staff to be engaged in public work and promoting student interest in public service.
Located at 625 Stewart Avenue, the new Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) houses WIPPS, the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center, the UWMC Theater, UWMC Continuing Education, and local Wisconsin Public Radio offices. Support for the new
facility was provided by Marathon County, UW-Extension, and the UW Colleges, allowing the Institute to fulfill its mission
of revitalizing democratic life through community outreach, faculty focus on public scholarship, service learning,
deliberation, and civic engagement.