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September 29, 2005

Contact Jan Eriksen at 608-796-3370 or


LA CROSSE, Wis—Viterbo University has received approval to offer a nursing degree program on site in Rochester beginning this January.

The La Crosse based university is familiar to the area; over 230 Rochester area nurses have earned their degrees from Viterbo University. Now, as a result of the latest approval from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, Viterbo has the go-ahead to offer its RN-to-BSN completion program locally.

The nursing program is Viterbo’s largest major and the university has sites in a number of Wisconsin cities but the new Rochester location constitutes the University’s first foray into Minnesota.     

According to Frank McIlmail, the Rochester Site Coordinator, the decision to begin the Rochester based program is a logical move. “This is big news for nurses who want to earn a BSN degree from Viterbo but want to avoid the lengthy and fuel-costly commute to La Crosse.”

Viterbo has been educating nurses from the Rochester area for years, but traditionally these were students who enrolled in our four-year campus based program. For the nurse pursuing a degree completion program, he or she needed to make a weekly trip to La Crosse.

McIlmail has been associated with Viterbo for the past decade and previously served as chair of the Division of Nursing at the former College of Saint Teresa in Winona.  He also has extensive experience working in the healthcare field in Rochester and Olmstead County.

The Viterbo program will feature one-day-a-week classes on Wednesdays and offer a unique “bridge” program enabling nurses to go on to earn a graduate degree in nursing (MSN). Most nurses enrolled in the completion program will be able to earn their degree in two years, McIlmail indicated.

Information sessions have been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Rochester Methodist Hospital, and on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 12-4 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hospital.

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