Laura Heitritter


Laura Heitritter ’84, an education instructor since 1992, isn’t the only fan of Northwestern in her family. Her father, Dick Dykstra ’43; mother-in-law, Sharon Heitritter ’75; husband, Steve ’86; and their two oldest sons, Paul ’05 and Joe ’08, are all Northwestern alumni.

Teacher of teachers

What is one of your fondest memories as a student at Northwestern?

I loved my experience. I took Western Man with Dr. Ronald Nelson my first semester. One of our assignments was to debate whether Jefferson’s idea of all men being created equal was a Christian idea. He let us know we would be expected to present real evidence for our thinking. It was both scary and exhilarating to have my faith and my thinking stretched and challenged.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

This week I saw a Facebook status from a former NWC student, Josh Bird ’95. It said, “Today I start my 18th year of teaching. Looking forward to the opportunity to teach the 18 kids in my class this year, and thankful my job is something I love to do!”

That stayed with me all day. What an awesome privilege it has been to help prepare people like Josh for careers and lives they love! I’m grateful to be able to see NWC’s successes through the generations.

If you could work in any department on campus besides your own, which would it be?

Although I work in Van Peursem Hall, I park in the chapel parking lot. This allows me to walk through the chapel on my way to VPH and hear students and faculty making music. I love slipping into the back of chapel, pausing outside of practice rooms and hiding in the hallway outside of the band room to eavesdrop on the music-makers. Although I don’t have the skills to work in the music department, my walk through the chapel provides beautiful bookends to my day.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

Over the years, my kids have loved to climb up to the Zwemer tower. Sometimes we stop at the candy machine in the basement and then go to the tower and enjoy a snack while looking over Orange City and the campus. It’s especially beautiful when the tulips are in bloom and can be seen lining the street all the way to the city center.

Your two youngest children are adopted from Ethiopia; what led you and your husband to adopt?

We love kids and we like parenting. Although we already had four kids, we thought we might be a good match for kids who didn’t have parents. Our girls are now stuck with us. We are fortunate indeed!

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