The years and names change. The stories all have their own twist. But, when former Clinton Hall residents are asked to share memories from their time living in the 57-year-old residence hall, they all remember the good ones.
Now, with the help of a planned $8 million revitalization, Clinton Hall memories will continue for decades to come. The predominantly first-year residence hall is the capital centerpiece of the college’s $75 million Transforming Tomorrow comprehensive campaign.
The project includes necessities like new windows, a new roof, an accessible entrance, and updated mechanical systems. Upgrades will create new living and learning spaces to enhance the first-year experience, including new lounge, office, and program areas.
Most notably, a faculty member apartment will allow greater student and faculty interaction and mentoring for nearly half of the college’s first-year students.
A CLINTON HALL PROPOSAL
Mark Borchardt ’84 met the love of his life during his early days at Wartburg.
“The first time I noticed Sherry was in a class we had together freshman year,” he said. “The first thing I noticed when I walked into class was a beautiful young lady wearing an Osage track sweatshirt.”
Borchardt continued to bump into Sherry Bremer Borchardt ’84, and eventually they started to talk after a chance meeting at Joe’s Knight Hawk.
When Mark returned home to Riceville that summer he was happy to learn that Sherry lived just 18 miles away in Osage. They returned to campus, and Clinton, that fall closer than ever.
During May Term, he proposed to Sherry in his Clinton room.
“It wasn’t really planned out. It was just one of those moments that felt right at the time, so I asked her if she would marry me,” he said. “I didn’t even have a ring. I didn’t have a lot of money, but we went to Tenenbaum’s Jewelry and selected a ring together.”
They married that August.
“It was a fast and furious summer getting ready for our wedding,” he said. “I guess you can say we have been on the fast track since the beginning, but I would not have traded it for anything.”
AN R.A.’S BRIBE LEADS TO FRIENDSHIPS
Anna McMullen ’14 credits an open-door policy as the reason she met her three best friends.
“We all lived on the same floor freshman year,” she said. “Our R.A. (Hannah Willems ’11) had this competition where if we all had our doors open, we would get treats, like cupcakes or ice cream.”
McMullen quickly met many of her neighbors, including Grace Clark ’14, Heidi Johnson ’14, and Elise Reinert ’14. The four women often gathered to watch reality TV, their laughter carrying through Clinton’s hallways.
“I don’t remember anything about the bachelors or the women, but I do remember laughing really hard,” Reinert said.
Roommates McMullen and Reinert also joked about their less-than-ideal room placement.
“Heidi and I were the ones stuck hearing every toilet flush and shower singer because we bordered the bathrooms,” Reinert said.
When someone got sick, living in a building with good friends made it a little easier.
“On our floor I could just leave my room unlocked and my friends would come in to check on me,” Johnson said. “I was used to being taken care of by my mom, so having the girls come check on me made me feel a lot better. I loved living in Clinton because I felt like there was always someone around to help me.”
FROM FIRST-YEAR PHOTO TO WEDDING BELLS
Dr. Delford (Del) ’06 and Stephanie Baty ’06 Doherty met at the top of the Walston-Hoover Stadium bleachers the first day of first-year orientation.
“We began talking and getting to know each other and discovered that we were both living in Clinton,” Stephanie said.
The two first-years pointed across the football field to show each other their rooms—Stephanie on Clinton 3 South and Del on Clinton 1 North. Stephanie told her new friend that her mother, Jane Dunbar Baty ’72, had lived on Clinton 1 North her first year of college and had said the friendships she established were the ones she kept throughout her time at Wartburg.
“By the end of the second full day of orientation, while at the dance on the tennis courts, Del asked to be ‘official’ and the rest, as they say, is history,” Stephanie said.
On July 29, 2006, just two months after donning their caps and gowns, Del and Stephanie were back on campus for their wedding.
On each visit to Wartburg, the Dohertys note the “Wartburg” and “Be Orange” banners hanging on the west exterior wall of Clinton.
“We both remember as if it were yesterday when we were rudely awoken at 7 in the morning for several days as they worked to secure the banners,” Stephanie said. “At the time, it was not a welcome wake-up call, but now, when we come back to campus, we see those banners and smile remembering their connection with our first year at Wartburg.”
The couple, longtime Wartburg supporters, contributed to the Transforming Tomorrow campaign with a portion of their gift designated to the Clinton Hall project.
“We not only want to see the amazing transformation take place, but also feel we should be a part of it,” Stephanie said. “We owe a lot to this place—the place we once called home.”
CLINTON HALL LEAVES ITS FINGERPRINT ON SIX WOMEN
While living on the third floor as first-year students in 2004, six women formed a tight-knit friendship that lives on today.
“It’s a running joke in our group about how much we loved Clinton Hall,” said Heidi Hesse Goetzinger ’07. “It may not have been the nicest building, but we had so many good times there and loved living so close to one another.”
Brei Aspenson Johnson ’08, Sally Ferguson Murch ’08, Courtney Jontz Prinsen ’08, Erin Jontz ’08, Jena Zaputil ’08, and Goetzinger have celebrated special occasions with each other since graduation, including Goetzinger’s wedding.
The bride and groom asked guests to leave their fingerprint and name as a signature in the guest book. As a playful nod to their college days, Goetzinger’s friends made sure a fingerprint signed “Clinton Hall” was left on the canvas.
“It seemed inappropriate for Clinton Hall not to leave its mark on her wedding,” Jontz said. “After all, it left a huge mark on our friendship.”
The group’s two years in Clinton involved caring for a pet duck during May Term, office chair races down the hallways during finals week, and watching football games out their window.
“I wish everyone could have a Clinton Hall experience like ours. I think the world would be a better place because of it,” Ferguson said.
“The minute we talk to or see each other, it is like we are freshmen at Clinton Hall again,” Zaputil said.
In recent years the group has reunited for races such as a color run and a glow run.
“We wanted another reason to get together, to compete together and to create another common bond,” Prinsen said. “In fact, we wore sweatshirts one year that represented Clinton Hall.”
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I met my absolute best friend, Jessica Bates, my freshman year on the third floor of Clinton Hall. She actually lived in the room across the hall from me, and we met because her roommate and my roommate went to high school together. We built such a strong friendship our freshman year that we decided to live together every year after that. We remained best friends after we graduated in 2008, and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding in 2011. She’s become like family to me, joining my family in annual get-togethers and traveling from Des Moines to my home in Jesup to visit and celebrate birthdays.
-Kaci Hanson DeSousa ’08
There was a group of us girls (Emily Cory, Gretchen Oswald, Laura Duitsman, Mollie Enwright, Kylie Rottink Steege, Brittni Lair, and Katy Wendt) who lived in the middle of Clinton 3 our freshman year (2008). We were always rambunctious and having way too much fun. To this day, we still keep in daily/weekly contact and continue to have way to much fun even though we scattered around post graduation. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the "random" dorm room assignment way back when. Great planning by Wartburg. From duct taping room in Hebron 3 (sorry Corey, Schrom, and Mike) to giant slumber parties in the three-person room, we share so many memories that can only bring smiles to our faces.
-Rachel Pins ’12
I have a few memories of great friendships that started in Clinton Hall. Molly Erikson was told by a professor that one of the best date night ideas she ever had was to have a candlelight dinner at Kids Kingdom. My friends from Clinton 2 South (Molly Erikson, Staci Speer, and Tara Stoykavich) and I went to Kids Kingdom and had a midnight candlelight picnic that consisted of McDonald’s food. We met freshman year and are still great friends to this day.
Nicole Lequia was originally from California and was very excited to see the winter snow. We both agreed that it would be a lot of fun to sled down the golf course hill, but were both too scared to do it so we found a cheap sled and went out to sled in Clinton field.
Courtney Ihnen and I were assigned to live together on third floor Clinton. We instantly connected since we were both involved in similar activities in high school and both wanted to be teachers. As the year went on, Courtney and I became more like sisters than friends. We cared about each other and always enjoyed our late night chats with me up in the loft and Courtney down below. We were close and enjoyed living together so much we ended up being roommates the rest of our college careers.
-Kelli Kuker ’11