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 Löhe 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.
Wartburg College is named after one of Europe’s best-known landmarks, the Wartburg Castle. The Wartburg Castle is a fortress built in 1067 overlooking Eisenach, Germany. During the stormy days of the 16th-century Reformation, the castle provided a refuge for Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran church.
Wartburg College signed a formal Agreement of Cooperation with the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, which makes possible cultural exchanges and visits, study opportunities and internships, annual choir and band performances in the castle with permission for radio and TV broadcasts, a Castle exhibit and room on the Wartburg campus. The college also signed an agreement between Deutsche Welle broadcasting in Bonn, Germany, in 2012 for internships and other exchanges.
The agreement builds on the partnership established in 1992 by the cities of Waverly and Eisenach to become sister cities.