About Viterbo

About Murphy

Quick Facts

Viterbo is located in beautiful La Crosse, Wis.—a city with a population of 52,000 amid majestic bluffs and scenic valleys near the ­Mississippi River. U.S. News & World Report named La Crosse as one of the nation's 10 Best Places to Live. Campus academic and residential ­facilities are located on approximately two acres on the city's south side. Viterbo's soccer, softball, and baseball fields are located ­approximately 3.5 miles north of the main campus. 

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Glena Temple, Ph.D.

Viterbo's main campus is located in La Crosse, Wis., with satellite centers in West Allis, Wis., and Des Moines, Iowa

Identity Statement
Founded and sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA), Viterbo is a Catholic, Franciscan university in the liberal arts tradition. 

The Viterbo University community prepares students for faithful service and ethical leadership.

Core Values
In keeping with the tradition of our Franciscan founders, we hold the following core values:

  • Contemplation, reflecting upon the presence of God in our lives and work
  • Hospitality, welcoming everyone we encounter as an honored guest
  • Integrity, striving for honesty in everything we say and do
  • Stewardship, practicing responsible use of all resources in our trust
  • Service, working for the common good in the spirit of humility and joy

Origin of Name
The city of Viterbo, Italy, is the namesake of the university. Viterbo was home to St. Rose of Viterbo. This young Franciscan woman is the patroness of the FSPA, the order of sisters which founded Viterbo.

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (1890)

Historical Milestones
1890 – Founded as St. Rose Normal School by the FSPA
1937 – Renamed Viterbo College
1943 – Lay women are first admitted
1971 – Men are admitted
1987 – Graduate programs are introduced
1999 – D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in ­Leadership is established
2000 – Viterbo acquires university status
2013 – First doctorate program is introduced: Doctor of Nursing Practice

Viterbo University 125th Anniversary Video

Academic Calendar
Viterbo has term, semester, and weekend ­sessions throughout the calendar year.


Full-time - 79%   Female - 73%
Part-time - 21%   Male - 27%

2,677 overall students fall 2015
1,826 total undergraduate headcount
851 total graduate headcount

$38,544,000 budget
285 full and part-time permanent employees

Financial Aid
98% of our undergraduate students receive financial aid; more than 100 scholarship funds and an array of aid packages; average financial aid need met is 85%.

Undergraduate Class Sizes
Average class size is 16; no classes are taught by teacher assistants or graduate students

Programs of Study
More than 70 undergraduate degree programs, five graduate degrees, two associate degree programs, multiple certification programs

Academic Structure

  • College of Arts and Letters
  • College of Business and Leadership
  • College of Education, Science, and Mathematics
  • College of Nursing, Health, and Human Behavior
  • Center for Adult Learning

Graduate Programs

  • Graduate Programs in Education
  • Master of Arts in Servant Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling
  • Graduate Programs in Nursing

1:11 Faculty to Student Ratio (FTE)
16 average class size

Overall placement rates exceeding 96% for more than the past decade

Total Alumni

Full-time undergraduate tuition and fees: $25,460

School Colors
Cardinal and Silver

Viterbo is a member of the NAIA, North Star Athletic Association. The university offers: men’s basketball, baseball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, track (indoor/outdoor); women’s basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track (indoor/outdoor), and volleyball.

We are committed to the true spirit of competition. Viterbo embraces the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character program which are respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.

Recently, the V-Hawks announced that 106 Viterbo athletes were recognized as “Academic All Conference,” posting a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Campus Facilities

  • 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)

Distinctive Strengths

  • Tradition
    One of only 24 Franciscan universities located in the U.S., Viterbo’s Franciscan values-based education features opportunities for leadership linked to service and a strong emphasis on ethics.
  • Academic Distinction
    Superb science, arts, education, and health care programs. For example, our School of ­Nursing enjoys a superlative reputation. Viterbo ­graduates more four-year nurses than any other private ­university in Wisconsin. Nearly one in five ­Wisconsin private college nursing graduates was a Viterbo student.
  • Engagement
    Viterbo University was named to a list of Military Friendly Schools—one of only 15 percent across the nation to earn that distinction—by G.I. Jobs.
  • Student Engagement
    Viterbo University was admitted to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. To be admitted to the Honor Roll, a school must demonstrate that its students, faculty, and staff are engaged in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.
  • Success
    The university’s graduate programs enjoy an excellent reputation; over 800 students are enrolled in master’s level programs in education, nursing, business, and servant leadership.
  • Integrity
    Speakers of all persuasion experience the hospitality of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, discussing compelling issues of the day while searching for common ground and a better insight into the most urgent challenges of our time.
  • Cultural Showcase
    The magnificent Fine Arts Center attracts over 90,000 patrons annually—adults and children alike—to concerts, shows, lectures, and theatrical ­performances.

Viterbo University is committed to meeting the highest academic standards measured by the Higher Learning Commission. The university offers excellent opportunities for students transferring from similar colleges and universities which have met the stringent guidelines of their regional accrediting commissions. We have a transfer policy that students find accommodating from any of the six regional accrediting bodies located throughout the U.S. The university does not accept credits from non-regionally accredited institutions. We urge all students to verify that the institution where they take courses is regionally accredited to ensure that their coursework can be considered for transfer to any regionally accredited university or college at the graduate or undergraduate level.

Viterbo University is accredited/approved by:

  • American Chemical Society
  • Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Wisconsin State Board of Nursing

Viterbo University is recognized by the State Department of Public Instruction for the certification of teachers in the elementary and secondary schools and for the training of veterans.

Viterbo University holds membership in the:

  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • Attorney General’s List for Foreign Students
  • Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Council on Postsecondary Accreditation
  • National Catholic Educational Association
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities