Clinton Hall Memories Story for Wartburg Magazine
Publication: Wartburg Magazine
Date: Spring 2015

Purpose: To write a feature article that illustrates some of the memories made in a residence hall. The story was published in conjunction with the launch of a fundraising campaign to renovate the residence hall.

Summary: My goal with the article below was to capture a variety of memories related to Clinton Hall. I hoped these stories would evoke alum’s emotions about the building and make them consider donating to the fundraising campaign.


THE YEARS AND NAMES CHANGE. The stories all have their own twist. But, when former Clinton Hall residents are asked to share memories from their time living in the 57-year-old residence hall, they all remember the good ones.
Now, with the help of a planned $8 million revitalization, Clinton Hall memories will continue for decades to come.
The predominantly first-year residence hall is the capital centerpiece of the college’s $75 million Transforming Tomorrow comprehensive campaign.
The project includes necessities like new windows, a new roof, an accessible entrance, and updated mechanical systems. Upgrades will create new living and learning spaces to enhance the first-year experience, including new lounge, office, and program areas.
Most notably, a faculty member apartment will allow greater student and faculty interaction and mentoring for nearly half of the college’s first-year students.
Mark Borchardt ’84 met the love of his life during his early days at Wartburg.
“The first time I noticed Sherry was in a class we had together freshman year,” he said. “The first thing I noticed when I walked into class was a beautiful young lady wearing an
Osage track sweatshirt.”
Borchardt continued to bump into Sherry Bremer Borchardt ’84, and eventually they
started to talk after a chance meeting at Joe’s Knight Hawk.
When Mark returned home to Riceville that summer he was happy to learn that Sherry
lived just 18 miles away in Osage. They returned to campus, and Clinton, that fall closer than ever. During May Term, he proposed to Sherry in his Clinton room.
“It wasn’t really planned out. It was just one of those moments that felt right at the time, so I
asked her if she would marry me,” he said. “I didn’t even have a ring. I didn’t have a lot of money, but we went to Tenenbaum’s Jewelry and selected a ring together.”
They married that August.
“It was a fast and furious summer getting ready for our wedding,” he said. “I guess you can say we have been on the fast track since the beginning, but I would not have traded it for anything.”
Anna McMullen ’14 credits an open-door policy as the reason she met her three best friends.
“We all lived on the same floor freshman year,” she said. “Our R.A. (Hannah Willems ’11) had this
competition where if we all had our doors open, we would get treats, like cupcakes or ice cream.” McMullen quickly met many of her neighbors, including Grace Clark ’14, Heidi Johnson ’14, and Elise
Reinert ’14. The four women often gathered to watch reality TV, their laughter carrying through Clinton’s hallways. “I don’t remember anything about the bachelors or the women, but I do remember laughing really hard,”
Reinert said.
Roommates McMullen and Reinert also joked about their less-than-ideal room placement.
“Heidi and I were the ones stuck hearing every toilet flush and shower singer because we bordered the
bathrooms,” Reinert said.
When someone got sick, living in a building with good friends made it a little easier.
“On our floor I could just leave my room unlocked and my friends would come in to check on me,” Johnson
said. “I was used to being taken care of by my mom, so having the girls come check on me made me feel a lot better. I loved living in Clinton because I felt like there was always someone around to help me.”
Dr. Delford (Del) ’06 and Stephanie Baty ’06 Doherty met at the top of the Walston-Hoover Stadium bleachers the first day of first-year orientation.
“We began talking and
getting to know each other and discovered that we were both living in Clinton,” Stephanie said.
The two first-years pointed across the football field to show each other their rooms—Stephanie on Clinton 3 South and Del on Clinton 1 North. Stephanie told her new friend that her mother, Jane Dunbar Baty ’72, had lived on Clinton 1 North her first year of college and had said the friendships she established were the ones she kept throughout her time at Wartburg.
“By the end of the second full day of orientation, while at the dance on the tennis courts, Del asked to be ‘official’ and the rest, as they say, is history,” Stephanie said.
On July 29, 2006, just two months after donning their caps and gowns, Del and Stephanie were back on campus for their wedding.
On each visit to Wartburg, the Dohertys note the “Wartburg” and “Be Orange” banners hanging on the west exterior wall of Clinton.
“We both remember as if it were yesterday when we were rudely awoken at 7 in the morning for several days as they worked to secure the banners,” Stephanie said. “At the time, it was not a welcome wake-up call, but now, when we come back to campus, we see those banners and smile remembering their connection with our first year at Wartburg.”
The couple, longtime Wartburg supporters, contributed to
the Transforming Tomorrow campaign with a portion of their gift designated to the Clinton Hall project.
“We not only want to see the amazing transformation take place, but also feel we should be a part of it,” Stephanie said. “We owe a lot to this place—the place we once called home.”
While living on the third floor as first-year students in 2004, six women formed a tight-knit friendship that lives on today. “It’s a running joke in our group about how much we loved Clinton Hall,” said Heidi Hesse Goetzinger ’07. “It may not have been the nicest building, but we had so many good
times there and loved living so close to one another.” Brei Aspenson Johnson ’08, Sally Ferguson Murch ’08,
Courtney Jontz Prinsen ’08, Erin Jontz ’08, Jena Zaputil ’08, and Goetzinger have celebrated special occasions with each other since graduation, including Goetzinger’s wedding.
The bride and groom asked guests to leave their fingerprint and name as a signature in the guest book. As a playful nod to their college days, Goetzinger’s friends made sure a fingerprint signed “Clinton Hall” was left on the canvas.
“It seemed inappropriate for Clinton Hall not to leave its mark on her wedding,” Jontz said. “After all, it left a huge mark on our friendship.”
The group’s two years in Clinton involved caring for
a pet duck during May Term, office chair races down the hallways during finals week, and watching football games out their window.
“I wish everyone could have a Clinton Hall experience like ours. I think the world would be a better place because of it,” Ferguson said.
“The minute we talk to or see each other, it is like we are freshmen at Clinton Hall again,” Zaputil said.
In recent years the group has reunited for races such as a color run and a glow run.
“We wanted another reason to get together, to compete together and to create another common bond,” Prinsen said. “In fact, we wore sweatshirts one year that represented Clinton Hall.”