Waldorf University

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Coordinates: 43°15′48″N 93°38′24″W / 43.263365°N 93.639992°W / 43.263365; -93.639992

Waldorf University
Waldorf University seal.png
Former names
Waldorf College
MottoLux et Veritas, Light and Truth
TypePrivate liberal arts college
AffiliationColumbia Southern University
PresidentRobert Alsop, Ph.D.
Academic staff
Location, ,
CampusRural, 50 acres
ColorsPurple and gold[1]
Sporting affiliations
National Association of Intercollegiate AthleticsNorth Star Athletic Association
Waldorf University logo.png

Waldorf University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts based institution with roots in the Lutheran tradition offering undergraduate and graduate degrees through both residential and online modalities. This tradition values service to the community, academic excellence, freedom of inquiry, a liberating education, and learning through the exchange of ideas in open conversation. Waldorf University is located in Forest City, Iowa, United States, approximately 120 miles south of Minneapolis and 123 miles north of Des Moines.[2]


Waldorf University, founded in 1903 as Waldorf College, was a result of "The Great Hotel War of Forest City". This expression refers to a competitive battle between the only two upper-class hotels of Forest City that were built at the same time. The end result was the Waldorf Hotel being left vacant after only four months of operation. The vacant hotel provided an opportunity for Rev. C.S. Salveson to put together the necessary resources in order to create a Christian college. Waldorf started out as an academy and business college and not just a preparatory program primarily for future pastors. From its earliest days, Waldorf viewed education sponsored by the church as being essential for success in society.[3] Since 1920, Waldorf's curriculum has gradually evolved to fully reflect a liberal arts emphasis. Today, almost all the students who enroll have the intent of ultimately earning a bachelor's degree. In the spring of 1994, Waldorf (College) was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[3] Waldorf College became Waldorf University in March 2016.[4]


Waldorf University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).[5][6] HLC is the regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities located in nineteen Midwestern and South-Central states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In addition, Waldorf holds membership in the Council of Independent Colleges & Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission is one of six accrediting agencies in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis, evaluating an entire institution and accrediting it as a whole. Other agencies provide accreditation for specific programs. Accreditation is voluntary. The Commission accredits approximately 1100 institutions of higher education in a 19-state region, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).[7]



According to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report, Waldorf University had an admissions acceptance rate of 50.7%.[8] Peterson's - The Real Guide to Colleges and Universities ranked Waldorf College admission as being moderately difficult.[9]

Academic program[edit]

Waldorf University offers associate, bachelor, and master's degree programs, as well as several undergraduate certificate options and online career-prep programs.[10][11]

The Biology Department became a baccalaureate program in 2005 and grants B.A. or B.S. degrees, with tracks in conservation biology, cell and molecular biology and anatomy/physiology. The department equips four laboratories to provide student learning experiences in molecular studies, organismal biology, and ecology. In addition to maintaining high teaching standards, Waldorf faculty build and support federally funded research programs that allow students to participate in research at the undergraduate level, addressing questions in developmental and cancer biology, microbiology, field ecology, and physiological and ecological modeling. The department also features a GeoWall which creates a 3-D environment where students can examine intricate structures like a cell, a section of DNA or an internal body organ.

The college is also known for the strength of its communications program, which features intensive training in television, radio, public relations, web design and newspaper journalism. Its student-managed broadcast facilities (WAL-TV and 91.9 KZOW) were among the first in the nation built to operate with only digital media. Its multimedia facility was recently renovated to ensure it is fully compatible with high definition standards.

Waldorf University established a new human performance lab for its Wellness Department, which features exercise technologies currently being used by NASA and the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The lab, also known as an exercise physiology lab, features a hydrostatic weighing system for the measurement of body density, a metabolic measurement system, and a Trackmaster treadmill that is programmable from the metabolic computer.

The university has one of the few undergraduate programs in the country to specialize in Shakespeare studies. The minor in Shakespeare allows students who complete a satisfactory course of study at Waldorf to continue into graduate work. They are able to complete this study at the Mary Baldwin College and American Shakespeare Center (the Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance program). The Theatre Arts Department offers four annual productions, including a Shakespeare play and a musical coordinated with the Department of Music. Waldorf University also offers a major in creative writing and a history program. Education majors are required to engage in practical experiences in area schools during each semester they are enrolled.

The Waldorf Choir is recognized as one of the oldest a cappella choirs in the midwestern United States. It tours annually (domestically or internationally), as does the Waldorf Wind Symphony.

Alpha Chi Honor Society[edit]

Waldorf University is home to Iowa Iota, Chapter 364 of Region IV of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. Alpha Chi is a national college honor society that admits students from all academic disciplines. Membership is open to college juniors, seniors and graduate students who are in the top 10% of their class. Invitations to join the organization are issued directly to eligible students by faculty sponsors of active Alpha Chi organizations. The society inducts about 12,000 new members each year through its 300 chapters, which are located in almost every state.[12] Notable members of Alpha Chi include Jesse Lenz, Gina Trapani, Clayton Anderson, Dan Rather, Reuben Ironhorse Kent, Dr. Mary W. Gray, Carl E. Stewart, Susan Kyle, Dr. Swaid N. Swaid, and Greg Bibb.[13]

Alpha Psi Omega[edit]

Waldorf University Theatre is home to the Alpha Epsilon Omega cast of Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society (APO). This is a society for highly involved theatre students (both majors and non-majors) that serves the theatre program by sponsoring events and fundraisers, assisting in workshops and career development programs for the department, and working to develop future theatre trips to Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and London.[14] Waldorf University is also an active member in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Alpha Sigma Lambda[edit]

Waldorf University is home to the Alpha Iota Lambda chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda, which is the oldest and largest national honor society for non-traditional students (typically adults also engaged in professional careers) who achieve and maintain outstanding scholastic standards and leadership characteristics while adroitly handling additional responsibilities of work and family. [15]


Waldorf University teams are known as the Warriors. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the North Star Athletic Association. The Warriors formerly competed in the Midwest Collegiate Conference and Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference.[16] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, soccer and wrestling. Women's sports include basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling.

The Waldorf Warriors Football team represents the university in college football.

The Waldorf Warriors Men's Soccer team represents the university in college soccer. They play in the North Star Athletic Association conference which is a part of the Association of Independence Institutions independent conference. Waldorf Warriors Men's Soccer are the current champions of the Association of Independence Institutions conference having beat Georgia Gwinnett College Men's Soccer in 2017 to claim their first conference title in the sport.

The Waldorf University Cheerleaders are a competitive squad recognized for all-female stunting routines. The university expanded athletics in 2010 by adding men's ice hockey and women's wrestling.[17] The ice hockey began play during the 2011–12 academic year and plays an independent schedule of club programs, as the NAIA does not currently sponsor a championship for ice hockey.[18] The program is coached by Brett Shelanski, former head coach at Minnesota Flying Aces junior A team.[19] The college launched Iowa's first collegiate women's wrestling program in 2010.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Major benefactors[edit]

Waldorf has been the recipient of many large donations from the John K. Hanson family, founders of recreation vehicle-maker Winnebago Industries, also located in Forest City. Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, gave the college $5.5 million, its largest one-time financial gift.


  1. ^ Waldorf University Brand Standards Interactive. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  2. ^ "About Us". www.waldorf.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  3. ^ a b "History". www.waldorf.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  4. ^ AJ Taylor (2016-03-17). "Waldorf College is Changing It's [sic] Name Today – Mix 107.3 KIOW". Kiow.com. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  5. ^ "Accreditation & Licensure". www.waldorf.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  6. ^ Yost, by Rae. "Waldorf College reaches a gold standard". Mason City Globe Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  7. ^ "CHEA Database of Institutions".
  8. ^ "Waldorf College | Best College | US News". colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  9. ^ "Waldorf College in Forest City, IA - Find information about admissions, tuition, majors and campus life at Petersons.com". Petersons's. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  10. ^ "Academics". www.waldorf.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  11. ^ "Programs of Study". www.waldorf.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  12. ^ "Alpha Chi Honor Society". www.alphachihonor.org. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  13. ^ "Alpha Chi Honor Society". www.alphachihonor.org. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  14. ^ http://www.waldorf.edu/fine-arts/theatre/get-involved-with-theatre
  15. ^ http://www.alphasigmalambda.org
  16. ^ "Members". Midwest Collegiate Conference. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "Waldorf to Launch Hockey Team". Waldorf College. September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  18. ^ Yost, Rae (September 16, 2010). "Waldorf College adds hockey program". Forest City Summit. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Dyrdal, Andrew (August 27, 2011). "Waldorf hockey hires new coach". Albert Lea Tribune. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  20. ^ "Waldorf College launches new women's wrestling program". Access News. 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  21. ^ "Josh Neer MMA Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  22. ^ "Henry Waechter". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.

External links[edit]