Viterbo University was founded in 1890 by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Through the course of its history, Viterbo has graduated more than 20,000 students.
A historical context of partnering in higher education ministry
In keeping with the original mission of the Tertiaries who came to Wisconsin in 1849 to teach the children, the sisters formalized their teacher training and preparation by establishing the St. Rose Normal School. In 1890, St. Rose Normal School, which educated members of the community to become teachers, received accreditation.
Two years later, Viterbo College was accredited by the University of Wisconsin to award a bachelor of science degree. At this time, all students were members of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; however, in 1943, Viterbo College expanded to admit lay women.
Always sensitive to the signs of the times, Viterbo College became co-educational in 1971. New majors were added, the student enrollment increased, additional facilities were either purchased or constructed. Residence halls were built to accommodate the lay students and athletic teams were added to attract particularly male students. Campus life was teeming and both sisters and lay people were members of the faculty and administration. In 2000, Viterbo College attained university status and became Viterbo University. Today, it continues to enjoy a growth in enrollment, national and regional honors for student and faculty achievements and involvements, and to expand into graduate programming, online learning and creative solutions for educating all regardless of age.
Our higher education partners today - Viterbo University
Viterbo University is a Catholic university sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. FSPA established the institution as St. Rose Normal School in 1890 to provide teacher education to its members. In 1940 it became Viterbo College and since that time has grown into a coed liberal arts university, offering professional and pre-professional education and preparing students for leadership and service rooted in Catholic, Franciscan values.