Wartburg is a family affair

NAME: Judy Nuehring 

CLASS YEAR: 1985 

MAJORS: Christian Elementary Education and Religon 

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Director of Youth and Family Ministry, St. Paul Lutheran Church (Villa Park, Ill.)

WHY WARTBURG: My parents, also Wartburg alums, always said my sisters and I “could go anywhere we wanted as long as it was Wartburg.” With Oklahoma City being so far away and so different from Waverly, we resisted for a long time. My older sister went to the University of Central Oklahoma for a year before starting Wartburg the same time I did. There was just something about Wartburg that felt right, even without parental coercion. Our family is very close and committed to each other and that is the same feeling that encompasses the entire campus. So the distance seemed to shrink as we encountered the welcoming and supportive family prevalent in the Wartburg community. Wartburg also provided me with opportunities to remain active in my faith life and begin learning how I could incorporate this aspect into my adult life without the guidance of my parents.

Judy Nuehring ’85

WHY WAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: I received not only a high-quality and well-rounded education, but was prepared to confront the world with an entire support network of not only friends but also professors and administrators. You never felt like you were venturing into the unknown “real world” alone. I have been hired for a couple of positions simply because I not only attended a liberal arts college but a liberal arts college in Iowa.  

WHAT DID YOU NEVER IMAGINE YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG:  I never thought I could travel 13 hours away from home for college — in the days before cell phones and internet! As previously stated, my family is very close and we depend on each other’s presence and support, but they also helped me form the wings and confidence to take a step on my own out of the comfort of the fold. 

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE:  The Wartburg experience also helped prepare me for living the same 13 hours away from my family for the (so far) 30+ years of my married life! I married a Wartburg classmate so I was preparing to keep the Wartburg tradition alive and well within our family. It also provided me with internships, field placements, and other opportunities to venture into the world before graduation. I was able to experience a taste of adult life especially in my chosen field to help solidify I had made the appropriate career choice. Traveling to Europe with the band my senior year also increased my appetite for traveling the world and exploring all aspects of God’s creation.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE:  My husband and I donate monetarily to many aspects of the college, including the general fund, Alumni Board scholarship, Athletic Boosters, and Clinton Hall. I also am a member of the Alumni Board. Shortly after graduation, I attended recruiting events throughout the Chicago area and served as the alumni speaker. We have two children who are also Wartburg graduates. Our daughter, Megan Nuehring Pedersen ’13, married Reed Pedersen ’13, and our son, Jon Nuehring ’16, is seriously dating another Wartburg graduate. We are faithful supporters of Homecoming and local Outflys and have attended almost all of the Cubs outflys in Chicago. As a person who works directly with the youth, I also celebrate the opportunities of Wartburg constantly!

HOW DO YOU LIVE OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: Life at Wartburg has shaped the journey I have encountered following graduation. I have been blessed not only with an outstanding education, which prepared me for a successful professional life, but also with a partner whose financial success has allowed me to be a leader in areas where service is most needed. I have remained faithful and my work has had our church or faith as its core. I have been involved in not only the faith formation of youth but in the development of social services for our present in situations that are comfortable but also prepares us to venture into the uncomfortable where we can improve the lives and dignities of others without prejudice, judgement, or ridicule. With Wartburg’s mission as my guiding principle I hope others have felt Jesus’ grace through my faith, whether it be in my church community with the youth or when I am working in the community at Hands and Feet, the outreach program I instigated to meet the physical needs of personal hygiene and paper products for those in Dupage County who feel the stress of living without appropriate income.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. The world is yours, and the best time to explore is when you have the safety net of the Wartburg community to guide and support you wherever your journeys lead!