Fitting Right In

When Chris (Steffen) Korte (’76), MBA, arrived on campus as a student, nothing felt out of the ordinary. She felt like she belonged there. It was a feeling that never went away.

Korte was part of the initial class of women to attend Loras College after it shifted to a co-education institution for the 1971-72 academic year. Despite the significant shift in the campus population, she didn’t remember the experiences of the women being anything unusual.

“When we got to Loras, we were just focused on classes, getting good grades, and enjoying the college experience. I don’t remember women on campus being that much of an issue,” she recalled.

For Korte, the focus of the female students was on being a college student and no one on campus made them feel out of place.

“We were all women who were focused on becoming successful. I look back on it now thinking of the significance, I know how special it was being on campus. At that time, though, there were quite a few women around and I was just thinking, since I was in college, I needed to get my degree. Nothing felt out of the ordinary.”

One of the aspects that helped Korte adjust to the life of a college student was also one of the reasons she chose Loras in the first place. Her brother, Howard Steffen (’73), was a senior during her first year, so knowing other students already on campus made the transition easier.

She also got involved in different areas of campus, from the Loras Players and singing to playing football, softball, intramurals, and basketball. It was not difficult to incorporate herself into the campus community. She even sang the national anthem prior to multiple football games.

Currently working as a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise Financial in her twenty-fifth year, Korte still remains tied to her alma mater. She and her husband, Charles Korte (’76), MD, are active members with the Alumni Network of Des Moines and maintain strong friendships with many fellow Duhawks. She also served as a member of the National Alumni Board, is currently a member of the Loras College Financial Planning Advisory Council, and returns to campus regularly.

Reflecting on her time at Loras, the thing that stands out is the spiritual bond she formed not only with the school but with other Duhawks.

“My close alumni friends have one thing in common. We always went to mass together. It was a decisive part of my life and it was probably the thing that kept us together all this time,” she said.

Read the other coeducation alumnae stories here.