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Wartburg College

Wartburg College is a selective four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in Waverly, Iowa. Wartburg West is in Denver, Colorado.


100 Wartburg Blvd.

Contact Information


Total Undergrad enrollment
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Out State Tuition Fees
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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Lutheran Church
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
Wartburg College is dedicated to challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning.
Wartburg Knight
Black Orange
Iowa Intercollegiate

College History


Wartburg College was founded in 1875 in Saginaw, Michigan, by Georg M. Grossman, a native of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria. Grossmann was sent by Pastor Wilhelm L�he to establish a teacher training school for German immigrants. The location of the college moved many times between Illinois and Iowa until permanently settling in Waverly in 1935. Also in 1935 St. Paul (Phalen) Luther College of Saint Paul, Minnesota merged into Wartburg College. The college is named after Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, where Martin Luther was protected during the stormy days of the Reformation. Student and alumni groups often travel to the castle, and the Wartburg Choir has performed in the castle several times. Waverly and Eisenach are sister towns, and they often swap foreign exchange students. The college is proud of its German heritage, and celebrates an annual student-declared one-day holiday Outfly, a deliberately mistaken translation of the German noun Ausflug. Another German element of campus life is the granite inscription on the Chapel: "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott", which English-speaking Lutherans sing as A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Campus buildings are named after places and people in Wartburg's history, including Grossmann, Luther, Saginaw, Galena, etc. The college is nearing the end of a long-term effort to unify the architectural appearance of the campus, with new music, library, stadium, cafeteria, and science buildings over the past 15 years. An array of skywalks and building corridors now allows students to walk from one end of campus to the other without having to go outside. In 2008 the new Wartburg-Waverly Sports and Wellness Center, an indoor athletic complex co-sponsored by the city of Waverly, opened. The new center includes a performance arena, an indoor track, and natatorium. It replaces Knights Gymnasium, the longtime home of Wartburg Basketball and Volleyball, as well as the Physical Education Center which formerly adjoined the old gym. The longstanding rivalry between Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Wartburg College has produced colorful moments over several years. The origins of the rivalry are vague. Stories of pranks date back to the 1940s. The rivalry has, for the most part, been characterized by fun and good sportsmanship. The rivalry rose to new heights in October 1996, when two clever Wartburg cross-country runners rented a light plane, flew to Decorah, and dropped leaflets on the Luther campus. The incident was reported in every major newspaper in Iowa, got national mention on the Fox network and made Rolling Stone magazine's list of the most memorable college pranks of the 1996-1997 year. The creativity in the rivalry continued when student staff members of the college radio station, KWAR, secretly entered a float in the Luther College Homecoming Parade. The staff members decorated the float as an environmental club - the Organization of Nature Enthusiasts - from Luther College. In front of judges stand, the float quickly changed colors from blue and white to orange and black. The float continued all the way through town and onto Luther's campus, with numerous Wartburg students joining the procession from the crowd as the parade passed them.

College Specialty


Wartburg College is dedicated to challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning. Wartburg College helps students discover and claim their callings�connecting their learning with faith and values, their understanding of themselves and their gifts, their perspective on life and the future, and the opportunities for participating in church, community, and the larger society in purposeful and meaningful ways. Wartburg traces its roots to 1852, when Pastor Wilhelm L�he of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, sent Pastor Georg Grossmann to America to work as a missionary of the Lutheran faith. With five students, Grossmann founded a teacher-training school for German immigrants in Saginaw, Mich. The college was moved several times to accommodate the shifting tide of Lutheran immigration (Dubuque, St. Sebald near Strawberry Point, Waverly, and Clinton in Iowa and Galena and Mendota in Illinois). It permanently located in Waverly in 1935. The name Wartburg was given to the college when it was located in rural St. Sebald because the wooded countryside of the area reminded Grossmann of the Thuringian Forest where the Wartburg Castle is located.



Sarah Corpstein, class of 2005, Miss Iowa USA 2006. Mark Holtz, class of 1971, voice of the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. Coleen Rowley, class of 1977, whistleblower FBI agent, researched suspected World Trade Center terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, joint 2002 TIME "Person of the Year", candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 2nd District in 2006. Debra Scheller, class of 1978, Miss Iowa 1977. Simon Estes Professor of Music Don Denkinger, Major League Baseball umpire who achieved fame for his call at 1st base as an umpire in the 1985 World Series Tom Zirbel, professional bicycle racer and 2009 USA Cycling NRC points champion who signed to Union Cycliste Internationale professional team, Garmin-Transitions for the 2010 season. Paul Schell, former Mayor of Seattle, Washington Brian Trow, businessman and television personality George J. Woerth, Wisconsin State Assemblyman



rural, 118 acres (48�ha)