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Catholic Profile

Viterbo University is a Catholic, Franciscan university rooted in the liberal arts tradition. 

Founded in 1890 by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Viterbo has a long history of preparing students not just in their field of study, but to be good leaders and good citizens as well.

Viterbo is one of only 24 Franciscan colleges and universities in the nation, and its heritage is evident in the University’s ethics-infused curriculum and values-based education. A Viterbo education means so much more than books, classrooms, and computer labs. Many student experiences are designed in ways that are thought provoking or life changing, such as:

• Spending the night outside in a cardboard box to raise community awareness of the plight of individuals and families experiencing homelessness

• Researching water resources at the local U.S. Geological Survey site

• Volunteering by serving meals at Place of Grace Catholic Worker House

• Harvesting organic vegetables at the local community garden

• Tutoring kids in Spanish or math at the local Boys and Girls Club

• Gaining nursing experience providing compassionate care at the Salvation Army


Campus ministry service trips are very popular with students. Travel to inner-city Cincinnati to help the disadvantaged, work at a homeless shelter, or journey to an orphanage in Peru. Service is an important part of a Viterbo education and is required of each student. 

Viterbo provides students with a close-knit Franciscan environment that encourages students to discover themselves culturally, spiritually, and academically. Discover everything Viterbo University has to offer—outstanding facilities, a beautiful campus, and dedicated faculty members who genuinely care about student success.


Academic distinction
With a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, faculty members at Viterbo know their students by name. Students receive plenty of attention both in and out of the classroom.

    Courses are taught by faculty—not graduate students—in small classes. Viterbo has outstanding academic programs that prepare students well for whatever future career they choose. With over 70 programs of study, five master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, and renowned programs in nursing and fine arts that draw students from all over the country, students are sure to find the perfect fit.

Viterbo students will enjoy and have their education enriched by the outstanding speakers and programming brought to campus by the University’s D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. Many notable speakers have shared their incredible messages at Viterbo, including Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, best-selling author Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven), syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson, and Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war Charles Plumb.

Viterbo also offers excellent paid research and internship opportunities. All students in the Dahl School of Business are guaranteed a paid internship.

Outstanding facilities
Viterbo’s state-of-the-art School of Nursing building opened in 2011. It features four cutting-edge simulation labs dedicated to critical care, medical/surgical care, maternal/newborn care, and child care; three lecture halls and 11 multipurpose rooms/labs; a computer-testing lab and community health lab; four seminar rooms; gathering spaces designed to promote faculty and student interaction; and a premier nutrition and dietetics lab and classrooms as part of a multi-allied health approach.

The Fine Arts Center is the cultural center of Western Wisconsin and features an outstanding 1,122-seat main theater, a recital hall, an art gallery, a smaller black box theater, and a dance studio. The Weber Center for the Performing Arts is a premier 450-seat main theater and 100-seat black box theater facility located on the Mississippi River in downtown La Crosse.

Clare Apartments, an apartment-style residence hall where students can experience modern college living with all the conveniences that come with living on campus, opened in 2012.

One of the most popular places on campus, Einstein Bros. Bagels offers a great mix of freshly baked bagels and sandwiches, soups, salads, and gourmet coffee. Located just outside the library and open early and late, Einstein’s is a great place to get your morning coffee, study, or catch up with friends.

Stay in shape at the Amie L. Mathy Center, the place for all types of physical recreation, including cardiovascular and strength training, fitness classes, and intramurals.


La Crosse—a great college town
Home to more than 13,000 college students, La Crosse is a great college town. In addition to Viterbo University, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College are also located in La Crosse, a city with many amenities and a small-town feel.

La Crosse is located on the Mississippi River and is surrounded by beautiful bluffs. The city features countless recreational activities, a vibrant nightlife, and great cultural and arts opportunities. With 720 acres of hiking and nature in Hixon Forest, the Great River Bike Trail, downhill skiing, concerts at the La Crosse Center, or just hanging out and socializing with friends at one of the city’s many establishments, there is always something to do.

La Crosse is a great place to live. The American Lung Association’s 2015 State of the Air Report rated La Crosse as one of the cleanest cities in Wisconsin. La Crosse also made the list of Outside magazine’s Best Towns 2014, and U.S.News & World Report named La Crosse one of the nation’s 10 Best Places to Live in 2009.



Type: Catholic, Franciscan, private, liberal arts 

Enrollment: 2,012 undergraduate, 800 graduate 

Tuition and fees: $23,790 

Room and board: $7,940

Percentage of full-time undergraduates receiving financial aid: 98% 

Campus: Located in scenic La Crosse, Wisconsin, between the Mississippi River and the surrounding bluffs 

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

Varsity sports: Men’s baseball; men’s and women’s basketball; men’s and women’s bowling; men’s and women’s cross-country; men’s and women’s golf; men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field; men’s and women’s soccer; women’s softball; women’s volleyball 

Athletic affiliations: National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the North Star Athletic Association conference 

Average walk to class: Five minutes 

School colors: Cardinal and Silver 

Mascot: Vic V-Hawk 

Freshmen living on campus: 93% 

Student-faculty ratio: 12:1