Viterbo University

American university in La Crosse, Wisconsin

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Viterbo University
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Established1890; 131 years ago (1890)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration)
Endowment$55.3 million (2020)[1]
PresidentGlena Temple
Location, ,
United States

Viterbo University is a private liberal arts college in La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1890 by Roman Catholic Franciscans, Viterbo is home to three colleges with nine schools offering 48 academic programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.[3]

Viterbo is one of 23 Franciscan universities in the United States, with 2,521 undergraduate and graduate students and over 23,000 alumni. As of 2020, Viterbo's endowment was a record $55.7 million.[4] Viterbo is a member of the NAIA and the North Star Athletic Association; its athletic teams are known as the V-Hawks.


In 1890, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration founded St. Rose Normal School, a school to prepare religious sisters to teach in elementary schools.[5] College courses were later introduced in 1923 as Viterbo began laying the foundation to evolve into a four-year degree-granting institution. About 10 years later, Viterbo developed a four-year college program, and by the 1931-32 school year became known as St. Rose Junior College with authorization from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By 1939, Viterbo received approval as a four-year degree-granting institution for the preparation of teachers for elementary schools Around this time, the school was renamed Viterbo College, reflecting its evolving and expanding educational offerings. In 1940, Viterbo College held its first commencement exercises with certification from the State Department of Public Instruction.

During the 1950s, Viterbo continued to expand its liberal arts offerings and in 1952 it received accreditation from the University of Wisconsin Committee on College Accreditation, becoming a four-year liberal arts college. Since 1954, Viterbo had been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Today it is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, among many other commissions and groups.[6][7]

On September 4, 2000, the college was renamed Viterbo University to reflect its growth into a comprehensive university with robust graduate and undergraduate offerings, including outreach programs. In 2013, the university's first doctoral program was introduced, in nursing practice.[2]


Viterbo's campus is on 21 acres of land in the Midtown district of La Crosse, Wisconsin, minutes from the city's downtown. The urban, 18-building campus is landlocked within the city's Washburn neighborhood.[8] Viterbo also has a satellite campus in Des Moines, Iowa.

Centered around the historic St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, originally built in 1871 and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire, Viterbo's campus is compact. It began to expand in the early 1900s with the building of San Damiano Chapel and the Student Development Center. Between the 1920s and 1970s, many of the school's core buildings and dormitories were built.

In 1971, Viterbo's Fine Arts Center was completed. In 1987, the Varsity Athletic Center was built. In 2004, the Reinhart Center for Ethics in Leadership (the natural sciences building) was completed, and in 2005 the Mathy Center expansion to the 1987 athletics building was completed. The Mathy Center is a collaboration between Viterbo and the local Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse—the first such effort in the country. A remodel of the Todd Wehr Memorial Library within the main academic building, Murphy Center, was completed in 2006, and the school bookstore was remodeled in the summer of 2006. Between 2009 and 2011, the Student Union was remodeled at the expense of the Student Government Association, in collaboration with the Residence Hall Council. The remodel included upgrades to the security desk, flooring, computer area, television, and furniture.

The School of Nursing Building, which opened in 2011, has simulation labs dedicated to critical care, medical/surgical, maternal newborn care, child health care, nutrition and dietetics. Since 2013, Viterbo has shared space at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, a 30,000-square-foot facility in downtown La Crosse, and the newest university facility.

The Viterbo University facilities in operation are:

  • San Damiano Chapel (1914)
  • Student Development Center (1926)
  • Murphy Center (1941)
  • Brophy Center (1954)
  • Marian Hall (1957)
  • Bonaventure Hall (1965)
  • Fine Arts Center (1970)
  • Treacy House (1975)
  • McDonald Terrace (1975)
  • Varsity Athletics Center (1987)
  • Rose Terrace (1997)
  • Outdoor Athletics Complex (1998)
  • Physical Plant Building (2001)
  • D.B. and Marge Reinhart Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology (2003)
  • Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education (2005)
  • School of Nursing Building (2011)
  • Clare Apartments (2012)
  • Weber Center for the Performing Arts (2013)

Student demographics

As of fall 2020, 2,521 students were enrolled at Viterbo. There were 1,630 undergraduates and 891 graduate students. Viterbo has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and an average class size of 16.[2]


Viterbo University athletic teams, nicknamed the V-Hawks, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the North Star Athletic Association. The V-Hawks were a member of the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) from 1989 until it disbanded in 2015. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball; women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball. Viterbo also has co-ed competitive dance as an intercollegiate sport.[9][10] It competes in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

See also



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Viterbo University. Quick Facts
  3. ^ "University Facts and Statistics | Viterbo University". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. ^ "U.S. News & World Report". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  5. ^ "History | Viterbo University". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Accreditations and Approvals | Viterbo University". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Campus Map | Viterbo University". Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Spend an "Evening with Thea" on April 2". Viterbo University. Retrieved August 17, 2012.

External links


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