At a Glance

Viterbo University is a Catholic, Franciscan institution of higher education located in La Crosse, Wis. For over 130 years, Viterbo has been shaped by the heritage of its founding Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Viterbo’s direct predecessor, St. Rose Normal School, was founded in 1890 with a mission to prepare sisters to serve as teachers. The accredited school evolved into St. Rose Junior College in 1932, Viterbo College in 1937, and Viterbo University in 2000. The university reflects the name of Viterbo, a cultural center in Italy and the birthplace of St. Rose of Viterbo, an early follower of St. Francis of Assisi.

Mission and Identity

The mission of Viterbo University is to prepare students for faithful service and ethical leadership. Grounded in its Catholic, Franciscan identity, Viterbo’s culture, leadership, educational philosophy, and priorities reflect its five Franciscan core values: contemplation, hospitality, integrity, stewardship, and service.

Incorporation and Authorization

Incorporated in 1960 as a not-for-profit institution, Viterbo is authorized by the State of Wisconsin. The university operates in compliance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as amended).


In 2018, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration transferred sponsorship authority of the institution to Viterbo Ministries, a Roman Catholic Public Juridic Person charged with ensuring that Viterbo remains rooted in its Catholic, Franciscan identity, mission, and educational philosophy.

Leadership and Governance

Under the leadership of President Richard C. Trietley Jr., EdD, in collaboration with members of the President’s Cabinet, Viterbo is committed to fulfilling its vision of boldly transforming students and our communities through service, collaboration, and leadership. Viterbo’s Board of Trustees is responsible for advancing the institution’s mission, strategic directions, and long-term health.

Strategic Goals

Guided by Strategic Plan 2027- RISE and informed by President Trietley’s Vision 2027, the Viterbo community is engaged in collective action toward the following goals.

  • Resources: Diversify and strengthen revenue streams.
  • Identity: Foster a missional, inclusive reputation and campus culture.
  • Students: Increase student recruitment, reengagement, retention, and success.
  • Engagement: Become the regional higher education employer of choice.

Accreditations and Approvals

Viterbo University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university also holds accreditations for academic programs in specialized fields, is approved by state agencies in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and is a participating institution in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Viterbo’s Carnegie Classification is Master’s Colleges & Universities—Large Programs.

Academic Programs

Viterbo offers a comprehensive portfolio of liberal arts and professional academic programs, including more than 40 undergraduate majors, 10 graduate degrees, and multiple certificates and licensures. Viterbo’s educational offerings are delivered in-person, at a distance, for high school dual credit, and at additional locations through the following academic structure.

  • College of Business, Leadership, and Ethics
  • College of Engineering, Letters, and Sciences
  • College of Nursing and Health
  • Conservatory for the Performing Arts
  • School of Education

Student Engagement and Support

Viterbo’s focus on educating the whole person means students have individualized support from dedicated faculty and staff in their academic, personal, and professional transformation. Students’ development is also shaped by the integration of the core curriculum, applied learning, co-curricular experiences, and community engagement.


Viterbo University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the North Star Athletic Association. V-Hawk teams have won 37 conference championships and earned 20 national tournament appearances. The university fields 20 men’s, women’s, and co-ed athletic teams.

Enrollment and Outcomes

Viterbo University has an overall success rate of 100% and an in-field success rate of 95% for undergraduate students who completed their degree in 2022-2023. In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Viterbo maintains a Consumer Information web page, which includes the following enrollment, demographic, and outcomes data for fall 2023. Additional data are available through College Navigator.

  • Total enrollment: 2,307
  • Undergraduate students: 1,393
  • Graduate students: 914
  • Full-time students: 73%
  • Part-time Students: 27%
  • Female students: 76%
  • Male students: 24%
  • Average undergraduate class size – 18 (fall 2022)
  • Student-to-faculty ratio for undergraduate courses - 11:1 (fall 2022)
  • Undergraduate students who receive financial aid: 99%
  • Average undergraduate financial need met: 85%

Centers and Institutes

Viterbo meets the evolving needs of its community through mission-aligned centers and institutes for ethics, servant leadership, community engagement, social justice, teaching and learning, and the arts.


Since 2015, Viterbo University has been awarded over $12.5 million in grants from federal agencies, private foundations, and corporate partners to support educational access, student success, public health, and social justice.


Viterbo's main campus in La Crosse, Wis., features facilities for instruction, applied learning, research, support services, student engagement, residence life, recreation, and fine arts. The Viterbo Athletics Complex is located 3.5 miles north of campus.