Winona State University is a comprehensive university that offers academically inspired students the opportunity to obtain an education in the liberal arts and contemporary professions and to explore the application of knowledge in today’s world. The University prepares students to be skilled, competent, and active citizens with a strong sense of personal responsibility and motivation to contribute to the communities in which they live and work.
Located in the beautiful Upper Mississippi River Valley, Winona State University is built on a powerful sense of place and compassion for the human condition. The University offers distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs that reflect the special character of the communities it serves and contribute to the quality of life in Minnesota, and the region, through thoughtful research, service, and unique collaborations with the community. Winona State University prepares the leaders of the 21st century to apply their knowledge to solve complex and ever-changing problems effectively - truly a community of learners improving our world.
Historical View: 160+ Years of Academic Excellence
Winona State University was founded in 1858 when the first Minnesota State Legislature established normal schools “to prepare teachers for the common schools of the state.” The first tax-supported school west of the Mississippi River was established at Winona to train teachers for the new frontier.
The State Normal School became Winona Teachers College in 1921 and was authorized to grant bachelor’s degrees. From the 1920s until World War II, significant curriculum changes enhanced the academic quality of teacher education, new courses were added, and departments emerged to organize a growing institution. Intramural and extramural athletics, social organizations, and co-curricular activities grew with the student population.
The boom following World War II saw rapid growth. In 1957, the institution became Winona State College; this new name reflected an expanded mission, which included the addition of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science in Education, and Associate in Arts degrees. In 1975, the school became Winona State University.
Today, the University is structured into five colleges spread across two campuses in Winona and Rochester, and is the oldest member of the colleges and universities of Minnesota State. The original campus in Winona primarily serves traditional students; whereas, the Rochester campus offers a non-residential commuter campus with upper-division undergraduate and graduate programs that serve a diverse population of traditional and non-traditional students.
- Nationally Ranked: Winona State University is ranked as the second public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges,” - has been listed among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 17 years in a row, and has been recognized as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for 25 consecutive years.
- e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program: Winona State is the first public university in the Midwest to offer mobile device(s) to most students. Students are provided a Mac or PC laptop, and enjoy wireless access from anywhere on campus and at Lake Winona.
- Be Well: The University’s Integrated Wellness Complex aligns health, wellness, academic and recreational programs and services into a single facility on the University’s tobacco-free campus.
- Set Sail: WSU’s floating classroom, the Cal Fremling, is a state-of-the-art 49-passenger vessel that offers experiential learning opportunities on the Mississippi River.
- Student Involvement: WSU offers students the opportunity to get involved in student government and more than 160 social, service, and professional clubs and organizations that reflect a broad spectrum of student interests. The University also sponsors professional cultural programs as well as student theatrical, musical, and dance performances.
- Darrell W. Krueger Library: WSU’s library is designed to provide a wealth of information resources and services to the WSU community and beyond. The library has over 479,855 print and e-volumes, access to more than 100 databases and is a U.S. Federal Depository with more than 20,000 government resources in paper and 100,000 in microfilm formats.
- Go Green: Winona State University is a signatory of the American Colleges and University Presidents Climate Commitment and has routinely been named one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council.
- Transforming Education: The Education Village in Winona and the STEM Village in Rochester provides teachers with the preparation, support, and inspiration they need to be successful in the 21st-century classroom.
- Distinguished Programs: WSU is home to the first and flagship Child Advocacy Studies program, the only accredited undergraduate program in composite materials engineering in the U.S., as well as bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs in nursing. The WSU College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, one of fifty undergraduate-only institutions to hold the accreditation worldwide. The largest programs on campus include nursing, elementary education, business administration, biology, exercise & rehabilitative science, psychology, social work, and marketing.
- High Caliber Athletics: WSU is home to 13 NCAA Division II and one NCAA Division III varsity sports teams: women’s basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics (Division III), soccer, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball; men’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, and golf.
Two campuses make up Winona State University: the original campus in Winona and the Winona State University-Rochester campus.
The original campus provides a serene yet stimulating collegiate environment in the heart of the city of Winona, MN. Tree-lined walkways, fountains, prominent sculpture, and benches invite students and visitors to a learning community in tune with the natural beauty of southeast Minnesota.
The Winona campus provides students ample facilities for educational activities that combine traditional charm with convenience and state-of-the-art technology. All academic buildings are extensively wired for computer access, and wireless Internet access is available throughout the campus, as well as at East Lake Winona. As a feature of the e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program, many classrooms offer data and power connections for each student.
Winona’s west residential campus is about one mile from the original campus and is comprised of Lourdes Hall, Maria Hall, and the Tau Center. It offers a unique living and learning experience with a strong sense of community. Students are in one of six houses that engage in activities and participate in a friendly, but robust competition on the west campus while still actively participating in university life on the main campus. Lourdes Hall includes residential, dining and recreational space that is shared by residents of Lourdes and Maria. The Tau Center has many conference and special event spaces with picturesque views of the bluffs and a peaceful setting by Gilmore Creek.
In recent years, WSU has upgraded facilities and added new buildings specifically designed to support its academic initiatives. Recent enhancements include:
- Education Village: Consisting of three newly renovated historic education buildings, Education Village is a brand new space focused on preparing teachers. From STEM and robotics labs to collaborative spaces for local K-12 involvement to the Outdoor Education & Recreation Center’s climbing wall, students have access to a variety of resources providing them an unparalleled experience.
- Integrated Wellness Complex: The 90,000-square-foot Integrated Wellness Complex combines health and physical education, fitness, recreational sports, intercollegiate athletics, student health services, counseling services, and teaching and research space to educate a new generation of health care professionals.
- Phelps Hall: The oldest building on campus underwent a major transformation to provide upgraded facilities for the Mass Communications department, including a photo studio, TV studio, multimedia editing lab, and new quarters for the campus radio station, KQAL.
- Maxwell Hall: The recently renovated Maxwell Hall features an integrated academic services center, called the Warrior Hub, to assist students in accessing all the information they need in one convenient location. The building is also home to a state-of-the-art training facility for WSU’s Child Advocacy Studies program, including mock courtrooms and a mock house where simulated investigations are conducted.
- Kryzsko Commons: The campus’ student center houses dining facilities, lounge and recreation areas, offices for student organizations, student study space, and meeting rooms. Major renovations were conducted on various areas in 2014, 2017, and 2020.
- Science Laboratory Center (SLC): This contemporary facility offers modern academic space. The SLC has 118,000 square feet of space devoted to laboratories, a multimedia-equipped auditorium, student study spaces, and a vast atrium where even the floor and massive rock wall promote learning opportunities.
- Kirkland Hall/New Center: This 408-bed residential complex features suite-style living for upperclassmen in Kirkland and transfer and first-year students in Haake. In a typical year, more than 2,100 students choose to live on-campus, and on-campus residents enjoy resources and experiences that complement their academic work. The University features six residence halls on the main campus, with three residence halls on the west campus and University Apartments at East Lake connected by shuttle service.
- College of Business Engagement Center: A newly designed and renovated space in Somsen Hall, the College of Business Engagement Center supports experiential learning for students, faculty and community partners by providing physical space and technology to enhance collaborative opportunities. Physical amenities include The Strauss Center for Sales Excellence, The WNB Financial Markets Lab, The Federated Insurance Role Play Room, and abundant open collaborative space.
Winona State University - Rochester Campus
Winona State University-Rochester has been an integral and steadfast part of the Rochester, MN, community for over 100 years. Since 1917, the University has served students in Rochester and the surrounding area, which has a population of more than 110,000 people. Area residents have a high level of education attainment, and are highly receptive to the lifelong learning opportunities offered by WSU-Rochester.
Over the past century, WSU-Rochester has connected with the community on a daily basis, through numerous partnerships across the Rochester area. These partnerships not only advance and support those partner organizations, but also help WSU-R students gain authentic, service-based learning experiences within the key industries in the area: healthcare, education, human services and social work, business, and more. WSU-Rochester’s strong “commitment to community” is evident as students, faculty, staff, and alumni from a variety of programs engage with their communities and make meaningful contributions to their professions and region.
Serving the region with distinction, WSU-Rochester’s numbers tell the story. More than 1,700 students are served each year at the WSU-Rochester campus through day, evening, weekend and online/hybrid classes. There are more than 5,000 bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates who have graduated from WSU-Rochester, with roughly 275 students currently graduating from the campus each year. Approximately 48 resident faculty are located on the Rochester campus; in addition, Winona campus faculty also teach at WSU-Rochester, and a number of adjunct faculty professionals from area industries serve Rochester students.
WSU-Rochester is housed in various locations throughout the community, including the main location within the RCTC campus, its STEM Village at the nearby Heintz Center, and newest location - WSU-Rochester on Broadway, where the Master of Social Work, offices of Adult & Continuing Education, Academic Affairs, Graduate Nursing Department, and Healthforce MN are, along with classroom and meeting spaces. WSU-Rochester features modern facilities, technology-enhanced classrooms, and a state-of-the-art health sciences building with clinical nursing labs and high fidelity simulation. Interactive communication and instructional technology links WSU-Rochester students with the Winona campuses and the world. WSU-Rochester also offers programming at various off-campus locations including: Austin, La Crescent, Red Wing and Riverside.
WSU-Rochester students are served by the Winona campus Krueger Library as distance students, regardless if they are taking a Winona-based or Rochester-based course. Students should visit the Krueger Library website where they can request physical books and media be sent to them through US Mail, which includes a return mailer free of charge. On the shared main campus in Rochester, students have access to a cafeteria and snack bar, lounge and study areas, and a sports center with indoor courts and a running track.
The city of Winona, MN, has a population of approximately 27,000 and is nestled between the bluffs and banks of the Mississippi River - one of the most scenic areas in Minnesota. Once one of the Midwest’s wealthiest cities because of its location on the river, Winona enjoys a rich legacy of historic buildings and vintage homes. Winona State University is located in the heart of the city, giving students convenient access to shopping, recreation, social activities, and community resources. Additional cultural opportunities are available in La Crosse, WI (30 miles away), Rochester (45 miles away), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (120 miles away).
In addition to WSU, the city of Winona is home to two other institutions of higher education: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Minnesota State College Southeast. WSU cooperates with these institutions, as well as the colleges and universities of Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota, to enrich the educational and cultural opportunities for students at all institutions by sharing their programs and resources.
WSU-Rochester is located in the city of Rochester, MN, a rapidly growing community with an increasingly diverse population of 115,000 residents. Consistently recognized as one of “the best places to live in America,” Rochester is the third largest city in the state and home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, one of IBM’s largest facilities and the second busiest airport in Minnesota. The city offers extensive cultural, dining, shopping, and sports resources, including the Mayo Civic Center, Rochester Athletic Club, Rochester Art Center, Rochester Civic Theater, Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, National Volleyball Center, and Quarry Hill Nature Center. The city also has more than 3,500 acres of parkland with 85 miles of paved trails, six indoor hockey rinks, and four public and four municipal golf courses.
Academic Mission and Goals
Winona State University is an exemplary arts and sciences institution with select professional and graduate programs. With an enrollment of over 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students, WSU is a mid-sized public university committed to small class sizes and rigorous academic standards.
Faculty and administrators are involved with students, facilitate cooperative and active learning, and demonstrate respect for diverse talents and knowledge bases. Faculty members are dedicated to creating an optimal learning environment for students by using contemporary technology and by building learning communities, which help students maximize their post-graduation successes. Students acquire disciplinary expertise, enabling them to pursue careers or to enter graduate or professional schools. They learn the value of aesthetics and ethical integrity as well as the importance of becoming community leaders and furthering the public good.
Winona State University recognizes that many learning experiences occur outside the classroom. Therefore, the University is committed to building and maintaining a caring community. Community members strive for amicable relationships based on shared values and an affirmation of the principle of freedom of speech within an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect. Governed by collective bargaining agreements and guided by principled leadership, the University community respects diversity and collaborates to resolve issues that affect all its members. We celebrate our common successes and our distinctive heritage.
The University is committed to measuring results against self-defined and national standards. Through this ongoing assessment in which students, faculty, and staff participate, WSU will continuously improve and establish accountability for results. Thus, Winona State University reaffirms its social contract to provide educational benefits to the people of Minnesota, the nation, and the world.
Accreditations and Memberships
Winona State University is accredited by the following organizations:
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)
- Commission for Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
- National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)
- University Sales Center Alliance (USCA)
Winona State University is recognized by the following organizations:
- Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
Winona State University programs are approved by:
- American Bar Association (Paralegal Program)
- American Chemical Society (ACS)
- Minnesota Board of Nursing (Entry Level Undergraduate Nursing)
- Minnesota Board of School Administrators (BOSA)
- Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing & Standards Board (PELSB)
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Five distinct colleges comprise the University: College of Business, College of Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the College of Science and Engineering. Through these colleges, Winona State University offers one associate’s degree program, 69 bachelor’s degree programs, 17 master’s degree programs, six doctoral degree programs, two special degree programs, one undergraduate certificate program, and 18 graduate certificate programs.
All programs are offered by highly qualified faculty in an environment that encourages a passion for learning and student service. There are 308 full-time and 152 part-time faculty members who dedicate themselves to delivering challenging academic programs while maintaining “small school closeness,” with classes averaging 19 students and a student-faculty ratio is 18:1.
Adult and Continuing Education (ACE)
209 Somsen Hall (Winona); SS 214 (Rochester)
507.457.5080 (Winona); 507.285.7139 (Rochester)
Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) serves as a major hub for a broad network of academic and community partners, learners, and businesses, with offices in both Winona and Rochester. ACE offers a variety of opportunities for adult learners and coordinates programs that strengthen the University’s links within its service regions. Areas of responsibility include the following:
- Adult Entry Process for Undergraduate Students
- Individualized Studies Undergraduate Degree Program - Major and Minor
- Healthcare Leadership & Administration Degree Program Marketing, Coordination and Onboarding
- Distance Learning Coordination and Goal Setting
- Professional Development Workshops
- Summer Session Coordination
- Business and Industry Outreach & Customized Training
- Non-Credit Continuing Education and Continuing Education Units (CEU)
- Certificate Programs
- Extended Learning Programs
- Digital Badging
ACE also actively seeks and creates opportunities for WSU to be a significant contributor to the business and economic development of our service region. For more detailed information on ACE services, please see the Undergraduate Catalog.