Alumni Referral Award graphic with students featured in the article

By Katie Kreis ’19

The Alumni Referral Award has been utilized by alumni spanning 65 years from all disciplines. The class of 2022 was the first class of Alumni Referral Award recipients on campus and saw a 100 percent retention rate from their first to second semester.

“We need every alumnus to refer every high school student they know,” said Voves. “You can be the reason they consider Wartburg. You never know what might spark a student’s interest, whether it’s a conversation, campus visit, or financial aid.”

The deadline to refer high school seniors graduating in 2020 is Nov. 1.

During the 2017 Homecoming & Family Weekend, the Alumni & Parent Relations Office launched the Alumni Referral Award, an initiative to engage alumni in the recruitment process at Wartburg. The program was designed to nurture and encourage alumni relationships with high school students and provide financial aid to future students. In its inaugural three months, the number of referrals skyrocketed to more than 500 in comparison with 2016’s year-end total of 23 referrals.

The program was born out of a request by Wartburg alumni to help in the recruitment of students.

“We heard about alumni referring but that it was difficult for them to keep engaging with those students,” said Renee Clark Voves ’04, associate director of Institutional Advancement – Alumni & Parent Relations and Annual Giving. “The Alumni Referral Award gives them a tangible reason to reach out to a prospective student or students and then follow-up about Wartburg.”

Recipients of the award benefit in two ways. Along with the financial aid component, they gain another supporter during their college decision-making process. 

“We are also seeing the lasting impact that this award has on alumni,” said Voves. “They are engaging with the college in ways they haven’t before, sometimes for the first time, because they are excited about sharing Wartburg. There’s also the mentality of giving Wartburg the gift of another student from their own circle of influence with which they can share their Wartburg experiences. That student can then share Wartburg with their circle, and the word about the college keeps spreading.”

Since the start of the program 1,048 students referred, 605 alumni participated. In 2018 42 percent of referrals came from educators, coaches, and music directors. Participating graduates span class years 1953 to 2018 and come from 21 states.

Set up for success

Read what just a few of our Alumni Referral Award recipients and their alumni sponsors have to say about the program and their Wartburg experiences.

Grace Roseen
Max Aalbers
Luke Oberbroekling
Jayme Willemssen