Sir Victor is my half-brother

NAME: Randall Schroeder
MAJOR: History and Communication Arts 
CURRENTLY: Retired librarian

WHY WARTBURG: My father graduated from Wartburg in 1958 and worked as head of the News Bureau and was the sports information director for almost 50 years. His college friends became my honorary “Wartburg aunts and uncles.” With that amount of orange in my blood, it was almost inconceivable that I would go anywhere else. I had developed a strong interest in history by the time I graduated from high school. Ray Norheim, who was a close friend of the family and professor of history at Wartburg, really nurtured my reading and interest in European history. I knew the Wartburg history department was where I wanted to study and see where it took me.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: I have a special relationship with our mascot, Sir Victor. In the 1960s, the media was asking colleges to have mascots to illustrate stories in newspapers and television. My father, Duane, and his graphic artist came up with the idea and image of the first Sir Victor. So, Sir Victor’s “dad” is my dad. In a way, he’s my half-brother. 

Also, in our family, Wartburg Homecoming was the first event of the family holiday season. I loved it all from Kastle Kapers to the parade to the football game to Oktoberfest afterwards. All my “Wartburg aunts and uncles” came to visit and it was as exciting as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Randall Schroeder stands with Sir Victor who is giving a thumbs up.

WHAT WAS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: My experiences at Wartburg made me a confident public speaker. Getting up in front of people holds no terror for me whether it is an information literacy class of a dozen students or 8,000 fans at a football game as a public address announcer. A big part of that is due to Professor Robert Smith of the communication arts department, who worked with me on public speaking and was the adviser for KWAR radio. 

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: Those same communication and writing skills prepared me well for pursuing a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. My professors would comment from time to time that they felt that students from Wartburg and other smaller schools in Iowa were better equipped to handle graduate work at Iowa than their own students. The challenge to be the best student I could be at Wartburg also gave me the humility to understand that I did not have all the answers by myself. The gift of being able to ask others for help has served me well in the academic librarian world.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: I came back to work as a librarian at Wartburg from 1994 to 2007 and was part of the transition from Engelbrecht to Vogel Library. Calling the coffee shop, The Konditorei, was Marianne Beck’s and my idea. Marianne was the college archivist at the time. My hobby at the time was being the public address announcer for Wartburg football, men’s and women’s basketball, and some baseball. It provided some of my best memories of Wartburg. I have too many orange connections not to stay connected. The only question is were you one of my Dad’s classmates or work-study students? Or were you one of my classmates or work-study students at Vogel Library or somebody I worked with at athletic events? Wartburg College is just too ingrained into my family not to have a connection, but social media does help now that I no longer live in Waverly.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: My professional life’s foundation is life-long learning. Even though I am not formally employed as a librarian at the moment, I have provided volunteer leadership to a Library of Congress project to articulate the role of the library in an Age of Mis- and Disinformation.

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: The liberal arts experience and training were incredibly valuable. As one of my “Wartburg uncles” told me, “If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.” What I thought I would do professionally when I graduated turned out to have very little to do with my career as a librarian. What I did learn was life-long learning would serve me well when I did find my calling. Almost none of the practical vocational skills I learned as a student were relevant five years later. Skills of good communication and curiosity about the world helped me for a lifetime. President Vogel, at our senior dinner, charged my class to “become part of something larger than yourself.” Liberal arts learning and a lesson in humility definitely made Wartburg worth it.