Internationally renowned opera star Simon Estes will be the grand marshal of the Wartburg College Homecoming parade Saturday, Oct. 3.

Estes, a distinguished professor and artist-in-residence at Wartburg, joined the college in 2002. Today, he continues to impact the lives of Wartburgstudents through master classes, private voice lessons, classroom visits and performances with ensembles.

“As Dr. Estes celebrates the 50th anniversary of his operatic debut, we thought this would be the perfect time to honor him for everything he has contributed to the world of music as well as Wartburg College and our students,” said Renee Voves, director of alumni and parent relations and annual giving.


During his career, Estes has enjoyed the acclaim of audiences and critics around the globe. He made his professional operatic debut in 1965 at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, where he sang the role of Ramfis in “Aida.” A year later, Estes received the bronze medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.


Estes has sung more than 100 roles, a distinction held by few opera singers. He has sung for six U.S. presidents, including President Barack Obama. He also teaches at Iowa State University in Ames and in master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Africa and South America.


In addition to his professional pursuits, Estes has worked extensively on philanthropic endeavors, including the establishment of several scholarship funds and a malaria eradication fundraising initiative.


He and his wife, Ovida, live in Waverly. His family financially supports Wartburg students through the Simon, Ovida and Tiffany Estes Endowed Scholarship. Their daughter Tiffany graduated from Wartburg in 2011 with a degree in communication arts/electronic media.