Alumni at a Glance: Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel ’91

Phil Lucas, the Edgar Truman Brackett Jr. Professor of History at Cornell College started a fire in his Civil War course. That is, Lucas “lit the fire that is still burning,” according to Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel ’91, for her passion for American history.

Kristen Oertel
Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel ’91, Majors: History and Sociology, Resides in: Tulsa, Oklahoma

After graduating from Cornell with degrees in history and sociology, Oertel went to graduate school and today is the Mary F. Barnard Professor of 19th-Century American History at the University of Tulsa. 

Oertel attributes her passion for learning to One Course At A Time and says it “cured me of procrastination.” Maybe that’s why Oertel has accomplished so much since her days at Cornell. She sees the publications of her first two books and getting tenure, all while raising her two children, as some of her biggest achievements in life. 

Oertel’s fondest memory of Cornell was when she saw so many presidential candidates during the election of 1988. Thanks to Iowa’s first in the nation caucuses, Cornellians get to see a lot of presidential candidates every four years.

Oertel wants to let any prospective students considering Cornell to know this:

“Don’t let its small size and location fool you; Cornell will make a big difference in your life. The power of a good liberal arts education is priceless!”