Viterbo University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Viterbo University
Founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1890, Viterbo University is a...

Viterbo University

La Crosse, Wisconsin

Viterbo University offers more than 70 academic programs (traditional and online) that prepare students for outstanding careers. Whether it be at the associate’s bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree level, classes are taught by faculty members dedicated to the success of their students. With a 1:11 faculty-to-student ratio and an average class size of 16, Viterbo students are known by name and receive personal attention both in and outside of the classroom. Many programs feature guaranteed paid internships, study abroad, high impact practices, and research opportunities that enhance the classroom experience. Viterbo also has a generous transfer-credit policy and bachelor’s degree completion programs specifically designed for busy adult learners. Viterbo’s beautiful campus and close-knit community are located in La Crosse—a city nestled between scenic bluffs and the Mississippi River and named the top college town in Wisconsin.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,861 undergraduate students
80% of undergrad students are full time
28% male — 72% female
34% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
120 full-time faculty
204 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
93% of first year students live on campus
36% of all students live on campus

School Location

Viterbo University is located in beautiful La Crosse, Wisconsin. Between the majestic bluffs and the scenic valleys near the Mississippi River sits a vibrant campus just minutes from downtown and the arts district. There are many opportunities for recreational seasonal activities in La Crosse, including hiking the bluffs and running the marsh trails, walking in Riverside Park along the Mississippi River, watching bald eagles, relaxing at the Black River Beach or Pettibone Beach, and skiing and snowboarding at Mt. La Crosse. Viterbo’s campus is about 15 minutes away from the Valley View Mall retail shopping area.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

80% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

46% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 2%
White 90%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


Viterbo University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and a part of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Conference. The university has the following varsity sports:

Men’s sports: baseball, basketball, bowling, competitive dance and cheer, cross country, golf, soccer, track (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.
Women’s sports: basketball, bowling, competitive dance and cheer, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball.

Mascot: Vic V-Hawk
Colors: Cardinal and Silver

Other Information

Viterbo University is a Catholic, Franciscan, undergraduate and graduate, liberal arts college founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

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

More Distinctions

  • Catholic Colleges of Distinction

  • Champions of Character Five-Star Institution 2015-2016 Silver

  • Military Friendly School

  • The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

  • Member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

  • Member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

  • Member of the Attorney General’s List for Foreign Students

  • Member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

  • Member of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation

  • Member of the National Catholic Educational Association

  • Member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

  • Accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • Accredited by the American Chemical Society

  • Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of The American Dietetic Association

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

  • Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

  • Accredited by the Council for Business Schools and Programs

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music

  • Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

  • Accredited by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

  • Accredited by the Wisconsin State Board of Nursing

Experiential Learning

A Viterbo education means much more than traditional books, classrooms, and computer labs. Viterbo offers hands-on learning. Just a few of the options available for students include: spending the night outside in February—a simple but profound gesture—to raise awareness about people experiencing homelessness; harvesting organic vegetables at the local community garden; and gaining nursing experience assisting the people who are utilizing the services of the Salvation Army.

Study Abroad

Perhaps the most enriching and life-changing experience a student can have is studying abroad in another country. In addition to academics, students learn first-hand about new places, people, and cultures while experiencing things most people only see in books or on a screen. Viterbo students also have opportunities to join their classmates on week-long overseas trips during Christmas break. For example, a group of Viterbo theatre and musical theatre students traveled to London to learn more about the history of theatre and see different styles of theatre. Meanwhile, a group of music students enjoyed European culture and opera over break.

Community Service

Service is an essential component of a Viterbo education. Students can choose to help with a Habitat for Humanity house build, to collect hats and mittens for those less fortunate, or to stock the food shelves at the local food pantry. Students find the experience of providing service extremely rewarding. Viterbo also hosts Service Saturdays, which provides opportunities for students and employees to serve alongside various community organizations, connect with each other, and enjoy a post-service reflection meal. Viterbo campus ministry organizes spring break and summer service trips to Midwest cities to focus on building community among trip participants, between participants and the people served, and living out the message of the Gospel.

Viterbo’s ability to engage students in meaningful civic and community projects has been recognized nationally, as the university was named to the President’s Higher Education Service Honor Roll.


Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  

Viterbo University prepares students for whatever career they choose, diving into outstanding academic programs that are taught by faculty members who are dedicated to student success.

Unique Seminar Courses

Knowledge should be acquired with purpose and meaning. Viterbo’s unique core curriculum allows students to select seminar courses that align with their interests and infused with Viterbo’s mission: Franciscan Values and Traditions, Living in a Diverse World, Serving the Common Good, and The Ethical Life.

Undergraduate Research

Viterbo offers outstanding opportunities for personalized student research in every area of study. On a larger scale, at a regional symposium held on the Viterbo campus, students and their faculty mentors present and defend their research.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Viterbo offers more than 25 student organizations or sport clubs as well as the opportunity to start new clubs. The different opportunities are listed here. One of the newest additions is the Breaking Barriers Diversity Club. Its mission is to bring awareness to the student body and faculty about different issues involving race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies. Viterbo also created a Diversity and Inclusion Center with a relaxed and quiet atmosphere.

Outstanding Facilities

State-of-the-art facilities also add to the academic experience. Viterbo’s Reinhart Center houses outstanding science facilities. The School of Nursing building is truly distinctive, with four simulation labs dedicated to critical care, medical/surgical, maternal newborn care, and child health care. It also has a premiere nutrition and dietetics lab. The Charles D. Gelatt Finance Simulation Lab is located in Brophy Center, which is home to the Dahl School of Business. The finance lab features two 22-foot stock tickers, 24 dual-screen computer terminals equipped with financial markets simulation software, and four large screen televisions to provide live coverage of the financial markets and world news. The Viterbo Fine Arts Center is one of the best facilities of its kind in the region and includes a 1,100 seat main theatre, a recital hall, an art gallery, a dance studio, and a Black Box theatre for performances in a more intimate setting.


Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 136 189 103 16 11 16 0 471

Guest Speakers

Viterbo University students enjoy amazing speakers and programming brought to campus by the university’s D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership. Guest speakers include Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel; best-selling author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom; and Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza. The Ethics Institute sponsors a series of lectures by nationally and locally known speakers that are intended to be both informative and inspiring, and to address ethical issues in a variety of settings, including business, health care, science, religion, politics, and technology. In a similar Leadership at Noon series, students are able to meet face-to-face with business leaders who serve as inspiring role models. The university also hosts an annual Holocaust workshop for middle and high school teachers, a humanities symposium, and a variety of interdisciplinary conferences.

The Arts

Viterbo is the region’s home to the fine and performing arts. The university features an outstanding and diverse lineup of fine arts events each year, from world-renowned concert pianists to amazing singers and incredible musicians at the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center. The School of Fine Arts also performs outstanding concerts, plays, and musicals throughout the year.

Viterbo also shares space in the Weber Center for the Performing Arts. It is a beautiful 30,000 square-foot, 450-seat facility located on the Mississippi River, less than a mile from campus in downtown La Crosse.

Athletics Facilities

The Varsity Athletics Center, the Amie L. Mathy Center, and the Outdoor Athletics Complex are home to Viterbo athletes and are used for community athletics and clinics. The Outdoor Athletics Complex building features locker rooms, athletic training rooms, concessions, and public restrooms.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

What lies beyond the “book knowledge” that any college is qualified to offer? Viterbo’s ethics-based liberal arts curriculum prepares students to get the most out of life.

Academic Resource Center

Viterbo offers the practical tools for success. The university’s Academic Resource Center is utilized by 87% of students and offers a wide variety of tutoring, academic counseling, test-preparation services, and academic workshops. Faculty members also give students personalized attention that helps them to succeed. The university offers counseling services, extensive disability support, and health and safety services. Each Viterbo student is assigned an academic and professional advisor.

Career Services

Success for many students means landing a job in their academic field. With a 99% placement rate, the Viterbo career services office helps students do just that. Career services offers assistance with interviews, resumes, internships, and securing gainful employment. In addition to an excellent placement rate, Viterbo graduates have outstanding reputations with employers, which is very important in a competitive job market.


Viterbo guarantees that all business students will participate in at least one paid internship or field practicum. Internships provide an opportunity for students to gain invaluable work experience related to their academic major or career field and have proven to improve job placement prospects.


Admissions Fall 2016

1,770 Total Applicants
1,107 Total Admissions
312 Total Freshmen Enrollment

62.54% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Volunteer work
Work experience

First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Level of applicant’s interest

Application Essay
Geographical residence
State residency
Racial/ethnic status

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 430 490
SAT Math 370 530
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 26
ACT Math 19 26
ACT English 20 26
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $25,460
Fees $690
Total $26,150
Room and Board (on campus) $8,510
Estimated Total On Campus $34,660


Aid Information

Ninety-five percent of all Viterbo undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance. All need-based financial aid awards are for one year only. Students must reapply each year of attendance. Renewal is dependent on continued need for aid, maintenance of academic standards as outlined in the Student Handbook and continued funding.

Students are awarded aid drawn from approximately 30 federal, state, and Viterbo University programs. Students are usually offered a combination of scholarship, grant, loan, and employment opportunities. Besides providing general tuition and fees information, Viterbo’s financial aid office offers an “early estimator” that reveals the amount of financial aid the student is eligible to receive. Viterbo’s financial aid office also helps students with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) questions, scholarship information, veterans’ benefits, and more. Visit: for more information.

Viterbo also recognizes the confusing nature of the financial aid process and has taken steps to simplify it. Viterbo features an online cost calculator designed to help students estimate their financial aid options: Many are surprised at how affordable college is when all financial aid is included.


In addition to providing dozens of scholarships for incoming students, transfers, and adult learners, Viterbo hosts four annual scholarship competitions for first-time freshmen students in humanities, human behavior, health science, and nursing.