The Nakatani Endowment was established in 1993 through a bequest from Kiyo Nakatani, in memory of her late son, Arthur M. Nakatani, a UW-Stout alumnus. Arthur Nakatani earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from UW-Stout in 1971 and 1972, respectively, and taught elementary school in Hawaii until his death in 1989.
In 2008, the Teaching and Learning Center at UW-Stout was renamed the Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center and jointly participated with Learning Technology Services (LTS) in promoting the goals of the Nakatani bequest to create and apply technology and research in the advancement of the art and science of teaching. In 2013, the Center was moved from being under the Learning Information Technology division, specifically LTS, to serving under the Provost Office. The director reports to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Since then, LTS employees have expanded their Instructional Design and technology services to meet the ever-growing technological needs of faculty. This separation of the two units has resulted in NTLC focusing on teaching and assessment topics impacting educators and student learning at UW-Stout. The programs offered by the NTLC are supported with funds from the Nakatani Endowment.