Wartburg prepared me for my life today

NAME: Nathan Eberline
CLASS YEAR: 2003
MAJORS: English and political science 
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Vice president of operations, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJORS: I have always enjoyed reading and writing, and many of the respected leaders in my hometown were attorneys who personified dignity and service. This combination of factors steered me to the goal of becoming a lawyer, and both political science and writing proved to be solid foundations for law school. Once I arrived at Wartburg, I found professors in both programs who expected excellence and showed me how to accomplish it.

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LAW SCHOOL: My neighbor growing up was a judge. I asked him what I should study in college if I wanted to attend law school. He said it does not matter which field you select; just learn to write. He was undoubtedly correct, and his advice strengthened my resolve to consume dense British literature and political treatises during my formal education. His advice and my subsequent learning at Wartburg not only served as career advice but shaped who I am and how I think.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AS A VICE PRESIDENT AT ACBSP: ACBSP works with colleges and universities around the globe, and international markets are where we see the most growth potential. Our President & CEO serves as an ambassador for ACBSP, and he travels the world to share how we help institutions thrive. To complement his efforts, I oversee the home operations, which includes member relations, communications, IT, legal, and finance.

Nathan Eberline

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: My role with ACBSP is certainly a surprise when I look back to my younger years. Last year, we had meetings in Bogota, Colombia. As I was walking through the city, it hit me how unimaginable this would have been to the small-town version of myself. My parents were incredible at nurturing a passion for travel, but helping lead a global organization would have once seemed quite fanciful and a significant departure from a traditional lawyering role. My learning in and out of the classroom at Wartburg—including two trips abroad during May Term—were wonderful preparation for what I do today.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: Be intentional about not letting your job become your identity. “What do you do?” is one of the first questions people ask during introductions. So it’s no surprise we tend to use jobs as a gauge to determine who people are. Yet these assumptions seldom reflect the makeup of a person. Work is important, but it is more important to ensure your sense of self is grounded in that which is long-lasting and meaningful—never dependent wholly on the work you do.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: Two of my most vivid memories at Wartburg include seeing my name posted on a wall. Both took place during my freshman year and both changed the trajectory of my life. The first was when I was elected to Student Senate, and the second was when Dr. Torkelson selected me for Castle Singers. These opportunities led me to my wife, while shaping my friendships, education, and career. I have endless memories from Wartburg that come to mind most quickly—including smuggling a hot tub into our dorm room—but those two selections as a freshman set all the subsequent memories in motion.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: I return as often as I can, which is sometimes difficult with three young children but always worth it. Last spring, I returned to run the Wartburg Triathlon, which was great fun. But I also used the visit to serve as a guest lecturer for Dr. Waldstein’s leadership class and speak with the pre-law club. Because of all ways Wartburg gave generously to me, I am always looking for ways to remain engaged in the community.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: You will never regret taking an international trip during May Term. I did not travel abroad during my freshman and sophomore years. In part, I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of being on campus with friends. During my junior year, however, I went to Great Britain; during my senior year, I visited Australia and Fiji. I have been abroad since leaving Wartburg, but you will never have such an uninterrupted or affordable opportunity for travel to unique locations. One joy of traveling is immersing yourself in something different from your typical experience. By offering May Term trips, Warburg not only provides the opportunity to enjoy the journey but teaches you how to travel with thoughtfulness, gratitude, and joy.

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: As I suggested in the comments above, Wartburg gave me more than I can possibly repay. My time at Wartburg gave me the gifts of education, friendship, music, travel, athletics, and more—all combined with a deep love for learning. I wondered at times why Wartburg spent so much time in its curriculum on what it meant to pursue a liberal-arts degree. I now see the ways that Wartburg’s focus on engagement is critical for understanding who you are, what you believe, and how you fit into the larger community. My experience continues to shape how I engage in my community, and the values I gleaned at Wartburg are the same values I now want to pass onto my children. Wartburg encompasses value in every sense of the word.