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Winona State University

Winona State University is a comprehensive public university in Winona, Minnesota, United States, a college and river town located in picturesque bluff country on the Mississippi River, with around 8,900 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.


8th and Johnson St

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Additional Information

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White Purple
Central Intercollegiate

College History


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 a new frontier. Citizens of Winona quickly supported the school with donations of more than $7,000 in money and land. Classes began in 1860, although the school closed for nearly three years during the Civil War. It reopened in November, 1864 to continue its mission of preparing teachers for the new State of Minnesota. Construction of the first building was completed in 1866, and classes were held in Main Hall by 1869. Phelps Hall, with a kindergarten teaching lab, gymnasium and library opened in 1909. Phelps today houses the Psychology and Advising and Retention departments. Classes for students in Rochester were first offered in 1917. The State Normal School became Winona Teachers College in 1921 and was authorized to grant the bachelor�s degree. In 1926, four students � two men and two women � graduated with the 4-year teaching degree. From the 1920s until World War II significant curriculum changes enhanced the academic quality of educating teachers. 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 spurred rapid growth. In 1957, the institution was renamed as Winona State College, reflecting an expanded mission that included the addition of the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science in Education and Associate in Arts degrees. By the late 1960s the campus had six residence halls, a new library, five academic buildings, athletics facilities, a student center and an expanded and remodeled Somsen Hall. In 1975, the school became Winona State University. Today, the University is structured into five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science and Engineering. It is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Three campuses now comprise the University. The original Winona campus and the Winona West campus serve primarily traditional students, while the Rochester campus focuses on non-traditional students, graduate programs and the Institute for Lifelong Education.

College Specialty


The mission of Winona State University is to educate and enlighten our citizenry at a distinctive institution: a community of learners dedicated to improving our world.



Michele Bachmann, Member of the U.S. Congress, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Todd Batta, Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, Department of Agriculture Josh Braaten, actor, television's CSI: Miami, That 80's Show, Spin City, Married to the Kellys, among others, as well as several motion picture credits, including Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and Semi-Pro Verner Suomi, father of satellite meteorology Ali al-Ahmed, Saudi scholar, the founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs J. D. Barnett, basketball coach John Blatnik, Former member of the U.S. Congress Kyle and Lane Carlson, models Susan Catanese, Cleveland, Ohio, radio host and local celebrity known as "Duji" on Rover's Morning Glory Dick Day, Minnesota State Senator Austin W. Lord, Dean of School of Architecture at Columbia University, 1912-15 Troy Merritt, 2009 PGA Tour Q-School Medalist David R. Obray, 2008-2009 Best Warrior, Department of the Army "Soldier of the Year" Tim Penny, Former member of the U.S. Congress Mike W. Peng, the Jindal Chair of Global Strategy at the Jindal School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award winner, and a Fellow of the AIB. Jeanne Poppe, Minnesota legislator, current member of the Minnesota House of Representatives Jerry Seeman, NFL official Brian Wrobel, NFL, Green Bay Packers Austin Aries, professional wrestler Chris Kautza, member of the 2003 football team that won the NSIC Championship Josh Maggert, Bench press champion



Small city