Founded in 1916, it was first known as the Eau Claire State Normal School. With the merger of the Wisconsin State University System and the University of Wisconsin System in 1971, the name of the institution was changed to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire officially. Now it has a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,022, and the campus size is 337 acres.
Ranked among the top five public regional universities in the Midwest for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, UW-Eau Claire has placed sixth or higher in that ranking every year since 1995. The Princeton Review also included UW-Eau Claire as one of just two UW System regional universities on its 2018 list of "academically outstanding" Best Midwestern Colleges.