Winona State University

Winona State University (WSU) is a public university located in Winona, Minnesota, United States. Winona State University was founded as Winona Normal School in 1858 and is the oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. It is notable as the first normal school to be established west of the Mississippi River.[5]

Winona State University
MottoA Community of Learners Improving Our World
Endowment$32.8 million (2016)[1]
Budget$159 million (2019)[2]
PresidentScott R. Olson[3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusSmall city
ColorsPurple and White

WSU offers more than 80 programs on its main campus, as well as collegiate programs on satellite campuses at Winona State University-Rochester and the Winona West Campus. It has average annual enrollment of approximately nine thousand enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. Its sports teams compete as the Winona State Warriors in the NCAA Division II athletics in 14 sports, primarily in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

University rankings
Forbes[6] RNP
U.S. News & World Report[7] 71
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[8] 294


Model School Building and College Hall of the Winona Normal School
College Hall (left) and the Model School Building (right), now Somsen and Phelps Halls
Location416 Washington Street and 151 W. Sanborn Street, Winona, Minnesota
Coordinates44°2′52″N 91°38′33″W
Built1915 (Model School), 1924 (College Hall)
ArchitectClarence H. Johnston, Sr.
Architectural styleJacobethan (Model School), Collegiate Gothic (College Hall)
NRHP reference #13000884[9]
Added to NRHPDecember 3, 2013

Winona State University was founded as the First State Normal School, an institution specifically for educating and producing new elementary school teachers. In the 1850s Minnesota was on the American frontier and lacked trained teachers. Winona settler Dr. John Ford lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to establish normal schools and rallied more than $5,000 in local donations to establish the state's first such institution.[10] It was also the first tax-funded school west of the Mississippi River.[11]

Classes at the Winona Normal School began in September 1860, but the following year most of the male students as well as the principal and other staff left to serve in the American Civil War. The school closed in March 1862 due to the Civil War, then for another two years due to the Sioux War of 1862.[12] Its first class graduated in 1866. The program soon added a laboratory school in which local children received education from faculty while students observed or, occasionally, led lessons themselves. The normal school quickly outgrew its original four-room building, but state funding and local donations of money and a plot of land led to the construction of a proper facility in 1869.[10]

The campus expanded with two new wings on "Old Main" in 1894, a library/gymnasium/kindergarten building—Ogden Hall—in 1909, and a women's dormitory—Morey Hall—in 1910. In 1915 a new building was constructed to house the laboratory school, and a second women's dormitory—Shepard Hall—appeared in 1920.[10]

The Winona State Normal School became Winona Teachers College in 1921 and was authorized to grant a four-year Bachelor of Education degree.[11] In December 1922 a fire broke out in Old Main and completely destroyed it, though no one was harmed as it was the middle of a term break. Local public buildings and churches offered space for classes and administrative business until a new main building, College Hall, could be constructed in 1924.[10]

The 1915 Model School Building, now Phelps Hall, and the 1924 College Hall, now Somsen Hall, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 for having local significance in education.[13] They were nominated as examples of the normal school movement, which helped shape public education in Minnesota. The Winona Normal School was Minnesota's first teacher training school and first laboratory school, and operated 1860–1971.[10]

Name changes

  • First State Normal School of Minnesota (1858)
  • Winona Normal School (1873)
  • Winona State Teachers' College (1921)
  • Winona State College (1957)
  • Winona State University (1975)

University presidents

  • John Ogden (1860–1862)
  • William F. Phelps (1864–1876)
  • Charles A. Morey (1876–1879)
  • Irwin Shepard (1879–1898)
  • Jesse F. Millspaugh (1898–1904)
  • Guy E. Maxwell (1904–1939)
  • O. Myking Mehus (1939–1943)
  • Arthur T. French (1939, 1943–1944)
  • Nels Minne (1944–1967)
  • Robert A. Dufresne (1967–1977)
  • Robert A. Hanson (1977–1983)
  • Thomas F. Stark (1983–1988)
  • Darrell W. Krueger (1989–2005)
  • Judith A. Ramaley (2005–2012)
  • Scott R. Olson (2012–present) [14]


Founded in 1858, Winona State's mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities it serves: creating "a community of learners improving our world".[15] It offers 65 undergraduate programs and 12 graduate programs in a variety of fields. The average class size is 24 with a student to faculty ratio of 21:1. Over 55 countries and 32 states are represented by the student body.

WSU is noted as being one of the earliest universities in the country to offer a "Laptop University" program, now known as the e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program. In this program each student, upon acceptance, is required to lease his or her choice of either an Apple Macintosh or Microsoft Windows based laptop directly from the university.[16] In 2013 WSU became the first public university in the Midwest to offer a tablet and a laptop to all students.[17] The purpose of this program is to increase the bond between education and technology.

Each student attending Winona State University pays a .43 cent per credit fee to fund the Minnesota State University Student Association, a student-led non-profit that advocates on behalf of all Minnesota state university students.

International education

The International Services Office is the initial contact for all international students. Winona State University provides scholarship opportunities for International Students.

Cross-Cultural Scholarship

The Cross-Cultural Scholarship offers International Students the ability to pay at the resident rate of tuition. Scholarship recipients share their culture with Americans as part of the requirement of the Cross-Cultural Outreach Program.

The Cross-Cultural Scholarship is available to all International students who qualify for admission at Winona State University and hold a F-1 Student Visa. These scholarships are equivalent to the difference between the resident rate of tuition and non-resident rate of tuition. Since tuition is based on a tuition band, the amount of the scholarship for the Academic Year of 2004 - 2005 is valued at an estimate of USD $4,534 based on 24 - 36 semester credits. Fall enrollees receive the scholarship for the academic year and Summer School. Spring Semester enrollees receive the scholarship for Spring Semester and Summer School.

Application And Renewal Process For Cross Cultural Scholarship Prospective International Students are invited to apply for the Cross-Cultural Scholarship by completing the application. The application will be reviewed as soon as it is received and a decision will be made concerning your possible selection as a scholarship recipient. An award letter clarifying the details of the scholarship will accompany the I-20 form at the time of Admission. Renewing the scholarship for your second year at the University is a simple process by completing the following:[18]

- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.50 (maximum length of scholarship is 9 semesters)

- Maintain a valid F-1 or J-1 Immigration Status

- Complete (3) Cross-Cultural Outreach projects during the academic year, starting in the fall and ending in the spring semester. These projects are called Minor Projects (2) and Major Project (1), for a total of three (3) projects.

The Cross-Cultural scholarship is a substantial source of savings for International Students.

Presidential Honor Scholarship

Presidential Honor Scholarships at Winona State University are designed especially for International Student freshmen with no transfer credits. Students must provide ORIGINAL TOEFL or SAT score to be eligible for the Presidential Honor Scholarship

Application And Renewal Process for the Presidential Honor Scholarship Prospective International Students are invited to apply for the Presidential Honor Scholarship by completing the application. The application will be reviewed as soon as it is received and a decision will be made concerning your possible selection as a scholarship recipient. An award letter clarifying the details of the scholarship will accompany the I-20 form at the time of Admission.

Winona State University has established many sister school relations with colleges and universities around the world, including Tamkang University in Taiwan, Hebei University of Technology in Mainland China, Akita University, Tokyo International University, Toyo University in Japan, Soonchunhyang University, Chung-Ang University in South Korea, and universities in Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Australia, etc.

Winona State Facilities


More than 2,500 students live on the Winona State University campus each year. The university features six residence halls on campus, including a new residence hall that opened in fall 2010. Three additional residence halls and the University Apartments at East Lake are connected by shuttle bus to the central Winona campus. Numerous off-campus rental housing opportunities are available within five blocks of campus.

Academic and Sporting


  1. e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning: WSU is the first public university in the Midwest to offer a tablet and a laptop to all students. Students are provided an iPad mini or Android-based tablet along with a Mac or PC laptop, and enjoy wireless access from anywhere on campus.
  2. A Community of Learners Serving Our World: Community service is a core university-wide commitment, with more than one million volunteer hours logged by WSU students over the last six years.
  3. Sustainability @ WSU: Winona State is all about going green. The university is a signatory of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment and a partner in Sustain Winona, a community-based initiative dedicated to energy conservation, renewable energy technologies and pollution prevention strategies.
  4. Starting a Journey of Lifelong Wellness: The university's state-of-the-art Integrated Wellness Complex aligns health, wellness, and academic and recreational programs and services into a single facility on the university's tobacco-free campus.
  5. A Tale of Two Villages: The Education Village in Winona, which received initial funding during the 2013-14 Minnesota legislative session, and the STEM Village in Rochester, currently in the design/build phase of the project, are bold, responsive, community-based initiatives that will provide existing and future teachers with the preparation, support and inspiration they need to be successful in the 21st century classroom.
  6. Offers academic majors, preprofessional options, master's options and doctoral program at its campuses in Winona and Rochester.
  7. Lead institution in HealthForce Minnesota, a collaborative program that aims to advance Minnesota as a leader in health care education, practice, research and innovation. HealthForce initiatives include Scrubs Camps, which offer hands-on health care experience for students in grades nine to 12 and adults age 18 and up.
  8. As part of the Path to Purple initiative, Winona State works with Rochester Community and Technical College to offer programs in which students are able to begin their undergraduate education at the college and transfer to the university's Winona or Rochester campuses.
  9. In addition to offering upper-division undergraduate degree programs and courses, the Rochester campus also offers an array of graduate programs in the colleges of education and nursing, including a doctorate of nursing practice.
  10. Daily campus visits at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visits include tours of the campus and residence halls and a meeting with an admissions counselor.
  11. College of Business accredited by AACSB International.[21]


Winona State University competes in Division II NCAA athletics and its teams are called the Warriors. It is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for most sports, except for women's gymnastics (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).

The school's first national championship came in 1985 when the gymnastics team took the NAIA Gymnastics title, along with claiming four individual champions and 11 All-American honors, along with National Coach and Gymnast of the Year honors. That same year, the Warrior gymnastics team competed in the NCAA Division II nationals in Springfield, Massachusetts, taking home the third-place trophy, the first team at Winona State to compete in both affiliations at the national level. Again in 1987, the Warriors claimed the NAIA national title, this time paced by one individual champion and seven All-American honors. Two gymnasts were also named Academic All-Americans for their outstanding academic achievements in the classroom. The National Coach of the Year award also went to the WSU head coach.

In the three years following, the gymnasts finished strong in the NCAA II regional competitions and managed to send individuals to the Division II nationals in 1986 (2) and 1987 (1). In 1989, the team represented the school at the Division II nationals in California after a record-breaking season.

The WSU football team won the NSIC conference championship ten times in a 15-year span (1993–2007). The Warriors have also appeared in postseason playoffs 5 times. During the 1993 season they appeared n the NAIA I playoffs and in the NCAA II playoffs 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2017. They have also participated in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2000, 2002, and 2012.

The men's basketball team won the 2006 NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Championship, the first NCAA title for the University.[22] On March 7, 2007, the Men's Basketball team won its 53rd consecutive regular or post season victory, beating the Division II mark set by Langston University of Oklahoma. The streak ended at 57 on March 24, 2007 with a loss at the Division II Championship game to the Barton College Bulldogs 77-75 on a last-second shot. On March 29, 2008, the Men's Basketball team defeated Augusta State University 87-76 to win its second NCAA Division II National Championship in three years.

Winona State's softball team appeared in one Women's College World Series in 1974.[23]

Winona State's baseball team played for national championship on June 4, 2011, faced West Florida in Cary, N.C., in the final of the NCAA Division II World Series, and finished second.

The women's 2012 cross-country team qualified for the NCAA DII National Cross-Country Championship, placing 9th place overall. Two runners earned All-American status and set the new school record with a time of 21:11 in the 6K race.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. "Winona State University Annual Financial Report for the years ended June 30, 2016 and 2015" (PDF). Winona State University. Winona State University. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. "2019 Minnesota State Legislative Databook" (PDF). Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System website. Minnesota State System. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  3. Winona State University WSU. "President's Office - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  4. Hertel, Nora (October 22, 2019). "How has enrollment at Minnesota State schools changed in a decade?". St. Cloud Times. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  5. Hanschu, Steven (2013). The Kansas State Normal years: 1863-1923 (PDF). Emporia State University University Libraries and Archives. pp. 19–28.
  6. "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  7. "Best Colleges 2020: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  8. "2019 Rankings -- Masters Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  9. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  10. Gaut, Greg (2013-05-17). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Model School Building and College Hall of the Winona Normal School" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-07-07. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. "Winona State History". Winona State University. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  12. Brainard, Dudley S. (1953). History of St. Cloud Teachers College. St. Cloud State University Institutional Repository: St. Cloud State University. p. 3.
  13. "Model School Building and College Hall of the Winona Normal School". Minnesota National Register Properties Database. Minnesota Historical Society. 2009. Retrieved 2015-06-23.
  14. Winona State University WSU. "President's Office - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  15. "WSU Mission". Winona State University Website. Winona State University. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  16. Winona State University WSU (2015-07-06). "Information Technology - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  17. "Tablets at WSU". 2013-06-17. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  18. "International Services".
  19. Winona State University WSU. "Integrated Wellness Complex - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  20. Winona State University WSU (2015-07-09). "Warrior Hub - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  21. Winona State University WSU (2015-06-30). "Accreditation - Winona State University". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  22. " – The Official Website of NCAA Championships". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  23. Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
  24. "Logan Clark MMA Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  25. "Rep. Jeanne Poppe". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved October 8, 2012.

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