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Jon Ebel

Jon Ebel

Professor, head | Department of Religion

During move-in week ’19, we asked UI faculty members to tell us a story about their own experience of leaving home for the first time. Here’s veteran, one-time Congressional candidate, 14-year UI faculty member and Religious Studies Professor Jon Ebel, whose college journey started at Harvard.

“I left home for college on August 21, 1988, which happened to be my 18th birthday. I usually love my birthday, but my feelings that day were mixed.

“My parents were moving from Minneapolis to Rochester, Minnesota, so it was my last day in my childhood home and our neighborhood. Also, I wasn’t going straight to college.

“First, I had to go to a condensed boot camp for Navy ROTC students. Which meant that before I could enjoy the welcome cookouts and campus orientation, I had to endure a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant dumping my things on a barracks floor, yelling at me for making such a mess, and then making all of us do pushups because his mother didn’t love him.

“By the time I got to my actual freshman dorm, Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard, any roommate other than that Gunnery Sergeant would have seemed like the best roommate ever.

“Thankfully, I did actually have a great group of roommates and a great four years.”