Tom Buchheim

Wartburg is in my blood

NAME: Tom Buchheim 


MAJORS: Communication arts and political science 

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Executive social media adviser, American Family Insurance

WHY WARTBURG: Wartburg is in my blood. My parents met here, and my three brothers all graduated ahead of me. I met my wife here, and we got married in the Wartburg Chapel. I am also a native of Waverly, so the campus has—and always will—feel like home. There really wasn’t a choice when I was looking at colleges, but I also knew Wartburg would be a good fit for me because it was always a part of me.

WHY WAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: In every job I’ve held since graduation, there’s been a Wartburg influence. I never imagined I’d be this connected to so many other alums 25 years after graduating. The bond our alumni have with each other is something I didn’t expect when I left campus. But I’ve grown to appreciate it over the years, especially in my role as Alumni Board president. It’s why I know my experience was worth it, and it’s reinforced in the experience I see today’s students getting.

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: I absolutely treasure my liberal arts education because it has allowed me to make crucial pivots in my career. What I learned at Wartburg was less about technical skills, which could land me a job but would ultimately become obsolete, and more about preparing me to see opportunities to grow and learn long after I left the classroom. The work I’m doing today didn’t even exist when I was a student. But the fundamentals I learned—from my liberal arts experience—made adapting to a changing landscape and world possible. I’m ready for the next big thing thanks to what Wartburg has instilled in me.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE:  I stay engaged by remaining connected to our alumni, but also by getting to know today’s students. I’ve been fortunate to serve on the Alumni Board for nearly eight years, and that’s helped me meet and engage with more alumni – from several generations. Getting to visit campus regularly – whether to visit my two nephews who are students or to attend Alumni Board and Board of Regents meetings – it’s the students who truly make me proud to be part of this community. Wartburg continues to produce some of the most impressive people, who are living lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning.  

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD DO THAT YOU HAVE DONE BECAUSE OF WARTBURG: I didn’t expect to have the leadership abilities to manage people and to lead and serve on our Alumni Board. But Wartburg has prepared me—and its community has inspired me—to do both. I wasn’t a perfect student, and I admittedly missed out on some opportunities the college could have offered me as a student. Staying connected to Wartburg through the years has encouraged me to step up and be more than I could have imagined. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: I don’t have a specific memory that stands out from everything, but rather a collective one: The community that my floormates and I built. There was nothing better than having someone knock on your door at dinner time to make sure you were part of the group heading to the café. Our crew from Clinton Ground South always made sure everyone on the floor was welcome. And that was something I appreciated – especially on those days when things weren’t going great and you just needed that community. I miss those guys and that walk from Clinton to the student union and back.