Founded in 1858 as Winona State Normal School, Winona State
University is a comprehensive, regional public university with more than
it received authorization to grant the bachelor’s degree in 1921, the
normal school became Winona State Teachers College; and just before
celebrating its centennial was renamed Winona State College to reflect
an expanded mission and academic program. Finally, in 1975, it became
know as Winona State University, with five colleges: Business,
Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science and
Engineering. It is the oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges
and Universities system. Three campuses now comprise the University:
the original Winona campus, the Winona West campus, and the
Mission Statement:The mission of Winona State University is to educate and enlighten
our citizenry at a distinctive institution: a community of learners
improving our world. top
“We are the shared creation of an extraordinary group of people who
care deeply about being part of a community of learners and about the
responsibility of putting our knowledge and skill to good use….Winona
State University is also a product of this special place along the banks
of the Upper Mississippi. We have been an integral part of this
community from the very beginning when the citizens of the City of
Winona contributed $7000 to secure the right to establish the first
Normal School west of the Mississippi in the same year that Minnesota
became a state.” -- Judith A. Ramaley, President
- The WSU men’s basketball team was the NCAA Division II National Champion in 2006 and 2008.
- More than 78 percent of 2007 incoming freshmen graduated in the
top half of their high school class. Entering freshmen averaged 23 on
the ACT, nearly two points higher than the national average (36 is the
highest achievable ACT score).
- WSU has the nation’s only undergraduate program in composite materials engineering.
- WSU's Center for Mississippi River Studies is an
interdisciplinary collaborative that recognizes the Mississippi River as
a remarkable resource for research, outreach and education. A focal
point is the River Explorer, a 64-foot vessel that functions as "a
- In partnership with the National District Attorneys
Association WSU houses the National Child Protection Training Center
(NCPTC). NCPTC is implementing a comprehensive plan to eliminate child
abuse in the United States.
- WSU is ranked one of the top 50 universities for access to wireless technology as ranked by Intel and published in U.S. News & World Report.
- Winona State has been named among the "Best in the Midwest" by
The Princeton Review for five consecutive years. Winona State is the
only Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System member to receive
- Winona State University ranks as a “Top Tier” institution in the 2009 listing of America's Best Colleges published by U.S. News & World Report.
- Institutional Research and Evaluation (IRE) has named Winona
State University as one of “America's 100 Best College Buys” for 13
consecutive years. Winona State is the only Minnesota school included in
this independent ranking of the value and quality of colleges and
universities across the nation.
- When Minnesota was just 93 days old it enacted legislation
that established a normal school system. Winona was the first city to
raise the money and land needed to earn the distinction as the first
public normal school in Minnesota, and the first west of the
- Winona State Normal school opened in 1860 but closed two years
later when Principal John Ogden (now called President) left to fight in
the Civil war.
- It reopened in 1864 under the leadership of Principal William
Phelps who was instrumental in establishing the “model school” approach
to teacher education.
- In 1866 the first class of 14 graduated after three full days of oral examinations open to the public.
- President Shepard (1879-1898) expanded the model school to
include kindergarten (the first west of the Mississippi), an innovation
for its time. This led to the first program for kindergarten teacher
training in the state. The model school was later known as the Phelps
- As the permanent secretary for the National Education
Association, President Shepard built an addition to his home to house
the NEA offices.
- Winona State originated the idea of summer school in 1897 until
jealous rivals encouraged the State Normal School Board to shut down the
enterprise because the other normal schools could not afford the
- In 1917 began offering classes in Rochester, MN.
- In 1921 became Winona State Teachers College and was authorized to grant the bachelor’s degree.
- In 1922 the first permanent building, Old Main, burned to the
ground under suspicious circumstances. The Winona community rallied its
support and classes resumed within days in buildings and churches
throughout the city.
- College Hall, now named Somsen Hall, was built in its place in 1924.
- 1938 - The original Maxwell Library was made possible through
private gifts and Works Progress Administration (WPA) grants. Currently
houses the National Child Protection Training Center.
- In 1957 became Winona State College as degree programs were expanded to include BA, MS in education, and AA.
- In the 1960s the baby boomers hit college age and WSU saw an
enrollment explosion and subsequently a building boom. Ten new
buildings were constructed during that decade.
- President Darrell Kruger was instrumental in closing the streets
that criss-crossed the campus and transforming it into a garden oasis.
The current library is named after him. o In 1975 became Winona State
- Current President Judith Ramaley is leading Winona State
University in its commitment to addressing climate change and
sustainability through partnerships with area governments and
- NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Champions – 2006. They
continued their success with a record-breaking 57 game winning streak in
2007, and repeated as champions in 2008.
- Current enrollment is over 8,000 with approximately 400 faculty.
- Campus has expanded to include West Residential Campus, East Lake Apartments, and Rochester Center campus.
- Total enrollment: 8,274; 62% are female, 38% are male o States
represented: 31, countries represented: 47 o 80% of students receive
- $3.7 million in scholarships awarded annually.
- Student/Faculty ratio 21:1
- WSU graduates more than 200 nurses and 150 teachers every year. o
Warrior men and women athletes earned a 3.14 overall GPA in 2007-2008.
- WSU students devote more than 15,000 hours a year to local youth mentoring programs.
Tim Penny ‘75
Former U.S. Congressman, former MN State Senator and current
President of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. As a member
of the Minnesota Senate, Penny served as vice-chair of the
Transportation and Finance committees. Among other issues, Penny's
areas of emphasis included student financial aid, rural and rail
transportation and regulatory reform. While in Congress, Penny served
on the Education and Labor, Agriculture and Veterans' Affairs
committees. He chaired the Subcommittee on Veterans' Education and
Training and the Foreign Agriculture and Hunger Subcommittee.
Martin R. Lueck ‘78
Chairman of the Executive Board in the national law firm of
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P. In 2003, he was named one of
15 Minnesota Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, and in 2004, he
was recognized as one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal. In 2007, Lueck was named a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law & Politics
and became a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, an
organization that limits itself to just 5,000 members among the nation's
nearly 1,000,000 lawyers. Earlier this year he was named a Fellow of
the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Patrick Knoll ‘86
Known for his award-winning television ads for clients such as
Anheuser-Busch and McDonald’s, he is one of the most recognized names in
advertising. Knoll, who graduated with a degree in mass communications,
is vice president and creative director at DDB Worldwide in Chicago. He
has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and was USA Today’s Super Bowl
Ad Meter winner in 2006.
- “I really appreciate the relationships you can have with your professors. Mine have given me their home phone numbers!” — Kyle Rodenkirk ‘06
- “Having a notebook laptop is one of the best things about
Winona State. It’s great to connect with teachers electronically, to
utilize my laptop almost anywhere on campus, and to be so up-to-date
with the latest technology.” — Ellis Minor ‘08
- “The best thing about Winona State is how accepted you are by
the campus community and people around town. I love the close campus
atmosphere, too. It’s so much nicer than dodging cars and fighting
traffic.” — Pete Kucharas ‘06
- “I’ve done research in three departments – something I
couldn’t have done at any other university. What’s more, I have been a
chemistry teaching assistant, a math tutor, and an engineering grader.
These opportunities provided a review of the material and led to more
research opportunities.” — Joanna Zanmiller ‘05