Viterbo University is a Roman Catholic institution in western Wisconsin. It is situated in the city of La Crosse which, circled by rolling hills, is on the northern reaches of the Mississippi River.
Two miles from the state of Minnesota, the city is 150km south east of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and 200 miles east of Milwaukee, the state’s largest city. Viterbo also has satellite campuses in West Allis, just west of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee, and Des Moines, Iowa’s capital and most populous city.
A Franciscan university, Viterbo is built on the foundations of St. Rose Normal School, founded in 1890. Since 1937, it has been named after Viterbo, the Italian city north of Rome, whose patron saint was Rose of Viterbo, one of the best-known Franciscans of the 14th century, and the patroness of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the congregation which founded the university.
A degree-conferring institution since 1939, Viterbo did not obtain full university status until 2000, but it now runs more than 70 degree programmes, including postgraduate courses, which commenced in 1987. The university has been coeducational since 1970.
Viterbo alumni include Thea Bowman, one of the most high-profile African-American Franciscan sisters of the 20th century, and Shannon Frid, the violinist from Cloud Cult, an experimental indie rock band from Duluth, Minnesota.