Bill Medland

This tribute site is dedicated to remembering Bill Medland as a university president, mentor, colleague, friend, and most recently as Chancellor of Viterbo.

Bill Medland was the longest serving president in the history of Viterbo, holding the post from 1991-2006. His list of accomplishments is both long and distinguished.

During his tenure, Viterbo underwent 13 years of record enrollment growth, major campus construction projects including the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education, the D.B. and Marge Reinhart Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology, and the Outdoor Athletics Complex, and an increase in endowment from $2.7 million to $21 million.

"Hopefully people will see me as a person of integrity who tried to do his best under a variety of changing circumstances," Medland said in an interview for the February 2006 issue of Viterbo's Strides magazine. "That is far more important than any building, endowment, program, or materialistic achievement. It's not about money, titles, or anything like that…it's 'Have I lived a meaningful life?' If you can say yes to that question then I believe you have achieved all that really matters."

Rest assured, Bill, that you have accomplished your goal.


William "Bill" Medland, 69, of Onalaska passed away Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 at home with family. He learned to balance cancer and living for over 15 years. He was born on Jan. 1, 1944 to Thomas and Mary Medland of Logansport, Ind. Bill was a higher education administrator and professor for more than 40 years. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, two master degrees and his Ph.D. from Ball State University. He did postdoctoral studies in "cold war diplomacy" at Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UW-Madison, and Freie Universitat in Berlin.

Bill married Donna Lee Bahnaman on March 12, 1977 in the evening at St. Vincent Church in Logansport, Ind. where they had met at Saturday morning Mass two years earlier.

Bill served on many local, regional, and national boards and committees and was a founding director of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium, and the Amie L. Mathy Center, a joint project with the Boys and Girls Clubs-a first nationally.

After serving for five years as provost at Saint Mary's College in Winona, Minn., Bill became president of Viterbo in 1991 and served for 15 years, the longest serving president in Viterbo's history. He also served the university as chancellor for more than two years. After retiring in December 2008, he worked in development at Catholic Charities for two years before final retirement in 2001.

During the 15 years of the Medland administration, Viterbo transformed from a college to a university. During his presidency, the Viterbo community generated yearly record enrollment, including annual increases in undergraduate and graduate degree recipients, generated new master degrees in business, nursing, and servant leadership, and six undergraduate degrees as well as increases in fundraising and the annual budget. As president, he initiated a new governance system creating five schools. He founded and served as the first director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership (1998-2000). He helped create two strategic plans: "Vision 2005: Living and Learning in the 21st Century" (which he implemented, 1995-2005) and "The University of Opportunity" (which he presented publically as an initial draft in 2005).

The landscape of Viterbo changed between 1991 and 2006. Among the projects completed were Rose Terrace Student Apartments, the Athletics Complex on Highway 16, the physical plant building, the D.B. and Marge Reinhart Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology, and the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education. The campus was expanded and enhanced.

Bill would be the first to admit that he was recognized too often and for the accomplishments of others. He always gave recognition to the people of Viterbo University. Among some of his awards were La Crosse Tribune Person of the Year, Chamber of Commerce Chair's Community Service award, LADCO Triangle of Achievement award for collaboration, Boys and Girls Clubs' National Man and Youth award, Boys and Girls Clubs' Wall of Fame, AFP Mississippi Valley Outstanding Professional Fundraiser award, honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Viterbo, Iverson-Freking Ecumenical award, Pope John XXIII award (with Donna), Bishop Heiss Founder's award for Catholic Identity from Bishop Jerome Listecki, honorary member of La Crosse Downtown Rotary, and honorary 50 year member of the Knights of Columbus of the Notre Dame Council. He had three scholarships in his name: La Crosse Tribune Extra Effort/Bill Medland Scholarship, President Medland Endowed Scholarship for first generation college students, and the Bill and Donna Medland Endowed Scholarship for student service to Viterbo and/or the La Crosse community.

Survivors include his devoted and loving wife Donna; daughters, Bridget (Evan) Tepper of Largo, Fla. and Jeanne, and son, Mark. He has two brothers, Dick of Tucson, Ariz. and Tim of Indianapolis, Ind., and three grandchildren, Paige and Aidan Tepper, and Brooklyn Medland.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Tom.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1031 Main Street, Onalaska. Monsignor Steve Kachel and Father Robert Cook will officiate and entombment will be in the St. Francis of Assisi Mausoleum at the Catholic Cemetery in La Crosse. Family and friends may call at the church on Friday from 9 a.m. until time of service.

The Dickinson Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

The family suggests memorials to Viterbo University for the Bill and Donna Medland Endowed Scholarship for Student Service. Memorials may also be directed to FSPA, Catholic Charities or the Franciscan Healthcare Foundation.

The family thanks the doctors, nurses and staff of the Cancer Center at Mayo-La Crosse, Franciscan Healthcare.