Viterbo University began in 1890 as St. Rose Normal School, a preparatory school to train the Franciscan Sisters as elementary school teachers. The accredited school evolved into St. Rose Junior College, 1932; Viterbo College, 1939; and Viterbo University, 2000. The university takes its name from Viterbo, Italy, home to the thirteenth-century Franciscan, Saint Rose of Viterbo, patroness of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
Today, Viterbo University’s programs are accredited by the American Chemical Society, the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council on Social Work Education, the Higher Learning Commission: North Central Association, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin State Board of Nursing. The university is also recognized by the State Department of Public Instruction (WDPI) for the certification of teachers in the elementary and secondary schools, and licensures in Educational Leadership, Early Childhood Education, Director of Instruction Licensure, Reading Teacher License, Literacy Coaching Certificate, and Reading Specialist License. The university is recognized by the DPI for the training of veterans and has membership in more than 50 professional educational organizations.
For a comprehensive overview of the history of Viterbo University, see Continuity and Change: The History of Viterbo College, 1890–1980, and A Chapter of Franciscan History: The Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration: 1849–1949 in the Special Collections Room of the Todd Wehr Memorial Library.