The Catalyst originated as a publication of UW-La Crosse’s University Honors Program. It began in September 1979 as a General Honors Program newsletter. In March 1980, the newsletter took on the name The Catalyst. In this first titled volume, Editor Rick Harsch writes
“As you can see, the General Honors Program Newsletter has become The Catalyst, a title that is subject to change if we receive a sufficient number of comments.
The Catalyst is dedicated to providing an outlet for creativity, criticism and news from within the Honors Program, as well as to communicating ideas from anyone else who wishes to contribute. We take no political or any other stand as a group, rather we wish to expose people to any and all ideas. If all the political essays until now have been radical, it is only because nothing else has been submitted. I am looking forward to many more contributions of all types in the future, including drawings, poems and news.”
Through the rest of the ’80s, The Catalyst added more creative works in with their political and academic essays, publishing a new issue every couple months. By the ’90s, The Catalyst began including more varying cover artwork, changing from issue to issue, and began publishing twice a year, which we still do today.
As publication continued, The Catalyst began focusing more on creative works than political and academic essays. Starting in 2004, each issue of The Catalyst was given a theme. Much like today’s issues, the theme is to spark creativity and submissions outside the theme are still accepted.
The program ended in 2009 when funding was dropped. Original hard copies of The Catalyst are on deposit in the Special Collections of Murphy Library. You can also see all previous versions online at http://digitalcollections.uwlax.edu/.
To keep The Catalyst alive, the UW-La Crosse English Club took up the publication. Since the club lacked funding, The Catalyst continued as an online-only publication. This continued until Fall 2013 when The Catalyst received a grant, allowing us to print the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 volumes. The editors hope to continue receiving yearly grants to print future volumes.