Winona State 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.
Winona State Teachers College
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.
Winona State College
A Growing University
Did you know?
Founded in 1858, Winona State was the first normal school, or teacher training school, west of the Mississippi River.