Educational opportunities, like our natural resources, are abundant. The vast number of colleges and universities that populate the region have turned the area into a hotbed for research, development and innovative growth. The continual output of college graduates also keeps our workforce young and diverse. Two major public universities in The 7 Rivers Alliance region are the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and Winona State University. Area private higher education institutions include Viterbo University in La Crosse, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona and Luther College in Decorah, all of which have been acclaimed by U.S. News & World Report. Additional colleges offering associate degrees, certificates and diplomas in the region are Western Technical College, Globe University, Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical and Northeast Iowa Community College.

Wisconsin Higher Education

University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

1725 State St

La Crosse, WI 54601

Viterbo University

900 Viterbo Ct

La Crosse, WI 54601

Western Technical College

400 7th St N

La Crosse, WI 54601

Minnesota Higher Education

Winona State University

175 W Mark St

Winona, MN 55987

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

700 Terrace Heights

Winona, MN 55987

Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical

308 Pioneer Rd

Red Wing, MN 55066

Iowa Higher Education

Luther College

700 College Dr

Decorah, IA 52101

Northeast Iowa Community College

1625 IA-150

Calmar, IA 52132



Located between Minneapolis, MN and Madison, WI, sprawling the center of our ten-county region is Interstate 90, which connects with Chicago-bound Interstate 94 in Madison to the east and runs all the way to Wyoming in the west. The region is also parted by the scenic Great River Road, a historic byway that follows the Mississippi River through 10 states for nearly 3,000 miles. Major U.S. highways include 14, 53 and 61. The average La Crosse area commute time for workers is 14.23 minutes.


The La Crosse Regional Airport provides daily flights via  American Airlines with direct service to connecting hub cities. Drive times and distances to nearby major airports:

  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD): 269 miles, 4:49 hours
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP): 152 miles, 2:40 hours

Additionally, Winona Municipal Airport – Max Conrad Field allows charter, corporate and private aircraft flights.


Passenger: Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which runs from Chicago through Minneapolis/St. Paul to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, crosses the region, stopping at stations in both La Crosse and Winona.

Freight: Area lines include Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway, and BNSF Railway


Jefferson Lines: Provides regional and national service to more than 4,000 destinations with stops in La Crosse, Sparta, Westby, Tomah and Winona.
Greyhound: Provides regional and national service to more than 2,300 destinations with stops in La Crosse, Sparta, Tomah and Winona.
Badger Bus: The College Connection services runs between UW-Milwaukee, UW-La Crosse and the University of Minnesota.

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