St. Norbert College

St. Norbert College (SNC) is a private Catholic liberal arts college in De Pere, Wisconsin. Founded in October 1898 by Abbot Bernard Pennings, a Norbertine priest and educator, the school was named after Saint Norbert of Xanten. In 1952, the college became coeducational. As of March 2018, the school's enrollment is 2,165 students.[3]

St. Norbert College
Motto"Docere Verbo et Exemplo"
Motto in English
"To teach by word and example"
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
(Premonstratensian Order)
EndowmentUS $145.8 million (2018)[1]
PresidentBrian Bruess
Academic staff
133 full-time, 69 part-time
Location, ,
United States
ColorsGreen and Gold
AthleticsNCAA Division IIIMidwest Conference
NicknameGreen Knights


St. Norbert College was established when Abbot Bernard Pennings, a Dutch immigrant priest from the Premonstratensian Berne Abbey of Heeswijk, the Netherlands, founded the college to train young men for the priesthood. Frances I. Van Dyke, a seminarian, was the first and, at the time, the only student. St. Norbert is the first and only institution of higher learning in the world sponsored by the Premonstratensian order. Abbot Pennings later started a commerce program at the college for lay students before retiring in 1955.

St. Norbert's second president, the Rev. Dennis Burke, expanded the college, anticipating the student population would eventually reach 2,000. Robert Christin, who became president in 1968, implemented the current course system and the academic divisional structure. In 1973, Neil Webb, a former faculty member and vice president, became president. Webb established the first permanent endowment for the school. Serving as the college's president from 1983 to 2000, Thomas Manion led the expansion of facilities and the development of additional academic programs. Enrollment topped 2,000. Thomas Kunkel, former dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, became the seventh president of the college in 2008. Since then, the college has constructed the Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center, the Gehl-Mulva Science Center, the Cassandra Voss Center, Michels Commons, Schneider Stadium, the Mulva Library, Gries Hall, Ariens Family Welcome Center and Todd Wehr Hall.

Brian J. Bruess, a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert College and former executive vice president and chief operating officer of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, became president in 2017.[4] Although he announced on November 1st, 2019, that he would not continue in his position as president after the end of the 2019-2020 academic year,[5] uproar from the college community led to further discussion between Bruess and the SNC Board of Trustees that resulted in a multiyear contract.[6] Four members of the board, including the chair, resigned shortly thereafter.[7]


St. Norbert College offers undergraduate programs in more than 40 areas of study, leading to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Business Administration degree. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is also offered through a joint effort with the Bellin College of Nursing. The most popular undergraduate majors are Business Administration, Teacher-Education, and Communication.[8] In addition to its undergraduate offerings, St. Norbert College offers three masters-level graduate programs in business administration, theological studies and liberal studies. The Master of Theological Studies department hosts a branch program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Program studies take place at the Norbertine Abbey of Santa Maria de la Vid in Albuquerque. Students on that campus can earn the full MTS degree. In the fall of 2015, the college began offering an MBA program through its new Donald J. Schneider School of Business & Economics.[9] The Medical College of Wisconsin's Green Bay campus, which serves the northeast Wisconsin region, is located in the new Gehl-Mulva Science Center at St. Norbert.[10]

In 2019, Norbert was ranked 145th among "National Liberal Arts Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report.[11] The college is also ranked 118th among "Liberal Arts Universities" in Forbes's 2019 list of America's Best Colleges.[12]

Mulva Library provides digital and in-person reference services; hosts the Digital Commons, an institutional repository of documents, media, and other materials online;[13]and provides a makerspace with technologies for the academic community.[14] It is the home of the Center for Norbertine Studies, the international center of research on the Premonstratensians and Norbertines.[15] The library also holds the college archives.[16]


The campus consists of 111 acres (45 ha), much of which borders the Fox River. Students typically walk to classes, even in the winter. The many trees and statues on campus provide a scenic view, especially in fall, when the foliage changes colors. Directly behind the Campus Center is a pavilion and marina where St. Norbert hosts a picnic for students to kick off the school year. This shoreline area is also the venue for a free summer concert series, open to the community.

Important social buildings include the Ray Van Den Heuvel Family Campus Center (Campus Center), which includes a fitness center, gymnasium, and diner (Phil’s Diner) and a reading lounge with a picturesque view overlooking the Fox River. There is also an events hall for movies and public speakers. Special events put on by student groups are also held there, such as comedian appearances and awareness speeches.

Old St. Joseph's Church contains a statue/shrine of Saint Joseph that was crowned by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. Novena devotions are held on Wednesday.

Much of the campus is located in what is now the St. Norbert College Historic District.

Student life

Student housing

More than 75% of students live on campus in residence halls, apartments and townhouses. St. Norbert requires all traditional undergraduate students not registered as commuters to live on campus. Freshman housing includes three traditional residence hall options: Madelaine-Lorraine Hall (co-ed), Sensenbrenner Hall (women-only), and Bergstrom Hall (co-ed Honors students). Campus housing options for sophomores include Mary Minahan McCormick Hall, Michels Hall, and Victor McCormick Hall. Upperclassmen enjoy single person dorm rooms such as Burke Hall, the Townhouses and Carriage House (apartment-like housing), college-owned houses and college-owned apartments, including Gries, Xanten and Prémontré Halls.

Student involvement

There are more than 100 registered student clubs and organizations on campus. St. Norbert encourages its students to become involved in their community through community service and by participating in one of the 15 fraternities, sororities, and independent social groups. The school also has 8 National Honor Society chapters, two student publications, and eight musical and performance ensembles. A major activity for St. Norbert students participate in is the annual "Into The Streets" community service project that provides service to organizations in De Pere and neighboring communities. This event is staffed by first-year students, staff and faculty, and is part of the First Year Experience program.

Greek life

Greek life at St. Norbert includes four sororities and four fraternities, as well as two Greek governing groups. Greek groups sponsor fund-raising activities, food drives, and benefits to support charities. Greek groups collectively completed a total of 2,117 hours of service and raised $9,638 for their respective philanthropies during the 2015-16 school year.[17]


There are three fraternities on the St. Norbert campus: Kappa Sigma (ΚΣ), Phi Delta Theta (ΦΔΘ), and Tau Kappa Epsilon (ΤΚΕ).


There are four sororities on the St. Norbert campus: Alpha Xi Delta (ΑΞΔ), Delta Phi Epsilon (ΔΦΕ), Kappa Beta Gamma (ΚΒΓ), and Theta Phi Alpha (ΘΦΑ).

Independent social groups

Independent social organizations at St. Norbert are non-Greek groups that provide a social outlet for members, while also performing service to the campus and local community. These groups also participate in Spring Fling events with the Greek groups. Women’s social organizations include CCHAMS (Canadian Cornishams), BUD, The Electric Company, No Nonsense, and Untouchables. Men’s social organizations include Admar and BIG.


The St. Norbert College Green Knights participate in NCAA Division III athletics and have been members of the Midwest Conference since 1982. St. Norbert offers 22 varsity sports including: football, women's volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey, men's and women's swimming and diving, softball, baseball, men's and women's track and field, cheerleading, and dance. The college's 23rd varsity sport, men's volleyball, will begin its first season in 2019-20.[18]

The Green Knights men's hockey team has appeared in 19 NCAA Division III Tournaments since 1997. The team has 12 Frozen Four appearances and won the national championship in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018, while placing as national runner-up in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2016.[19]

The Green Knights football team has won 17 Midwest Conference championships since joining the league in 1984.[20]

In addition to varsity sports, St. Norbert also offers intramural sports.

The Green Bay Packers have conducted training camp on the St. Norbert campus since 1958, making this the National Football League's longest training camp relationship between a team and school. In exchange, the Packers donate their used equipment and provide St. Norbert yearly grants.[21][22]

Notable alumni


  1. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY17 to FY18". National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  2. Member Directory. Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
  3. "Fast Facts". St. Norbert College. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  4. "Brian J. Bruess '90, Eighth President of St. Norbert College". St. Norbert College.
  5. BeMiller, Haley. "St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess will step down at end of academic year". Press Gazette Media. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  6. "St. Norbert agrees to contract extension with Bruess". WBAY Action 2 News. November 22, 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  7. BeMiller (December 2, 2019). "St. Norbert College board members, including Mulva and chairman, resign after president's contract renewal". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved December 3, 2019. Text "first-Haley " ignored (help)
  8. St. Norbert College 2006 Common Data Set Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  9. "A Schneider MBA Stands Apart – and Sets You Apart". St. Norbert College.
  10. "Building the Future of Discovery". St. Norbert College. April 2, 2013.
  11. "St. Norbert College". U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News and World Report L.P. 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  12. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Forbes Media LLC. 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  13. "Digital Commons @ SNC". St. Norbert College. January 30, 2018.
  14. "St. Norbert Plays in the Digital Sandbox". St. Norbert College. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  15. "Center for Norbertine Studies". St. Norbert College. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  16. "College Archives". St. Norbert College. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  17. Patti Zarling (May 7, 2007). "Fraternities, sororities serious about service" (PDF). Green Bay Press-Gazette. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  18. Lukes, Dan (May 2, 2018). "St. Norbert to Add Men's Volleyball in 2019-20". St. Norbert College. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  19. "2018-19 Men's Hockey Yearbook" (PDF). St. Norbert College. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  20. Lukes, Dan (November 10, 2018). "Defense Paces St. Norbert to 17th Midwest Conference Championship". St. Norbert College. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  21. "Night Practices Continue For '07 Training Camp". Green Bay Packers. 2007-06-18. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  22. Hodkiewicz, Wes (July 24, 2018). "Packers begin moving into dorms at St. Norbert College". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  23. "Celebrating the Milestones in the Career of Tadashi Yamamoto on the Occasion of the Conferment of the Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon" (PDF). Japan Center for International Exchange. October 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-13.

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