It's a family affair for Ludwigs as mother, son become students together

The Ludwig family has traveled far and wide, but when eldest son, Mason ’21, found Heidelberg University several years ago, he inadvertently found a Sweet Alma Home for the rest of his family. This year, Mason’s mom, Laura, and younger brother, Charles Jr. had their first day at the Berg together.

Right after high school, Laura was attending Louisiana State University and dating Charles Ludwig (who would, with time, become Charles Ludwig Sr.) Laura was a first-generation college student, and had dreams of going to college since she was 10 years old and her uncle brought her to a football game. When she finally got to college, she was dating Charles long-distance. But after only a year, two big decisions changed their lives. The first: Charles decided to join the U.S. Navy. The second: Charles and Laura decided to get married.

The couple was married in 1997, and Laura put her education on hold to be a proud military wife – and soon enough, mother of five.

The Ludwig family traveled around, the highlight of the family’s stations being in Japan, where Charles Jr. attended Nile C. Kinnick – the same school Mark Hamill attended! The family’s eldest son, Mason, found Heidelberg during his college search in 2017. Mason was looking to continue traveling, and wanted to attend Heidelberg for its travel abroad opportunities and connection to Heidelberg, Germany. “A year later, our second son, Elliot, transferred [to Heidelberg] from Bridgewater College in Virginia, and the Ludwig family had established some roots in the area,” Laura explains. So when Charles Sr.’s military service ended in 2022, the whole family settled in the Seneca County region. 

In 2020, Laura returned to earn her associate’s of arts degree online at Louisiana State University. But she wanted to complete the rest of her degree here at Heidelberg University through the Open Transfer Program. It made sense with the family’s new stability in the region, and Mason’s reviews had been very persuasive. Now, she’s studying Business Administration and Human Resources Management. The community feel of a small school, very different from the state schools she’d attended previously, has helped reinforce Laura’s decision to be a Student Prince. “I was sitting outside of Adams Hall recently,” Laura explains, “and President Huntington stopped to say hi and see how school was going. … He asked me the best question about my plans for school so far: ‘Do you plan to get a better GPA than your son?’” The answer was, obviously, of course!

For all of the intrigue of travel and competition of military life, Heidelberg will mark the first time Charles has attended the same school for all four years, and he’s excited for the opportunity. In school, Charles was in the Navy Junior ROTC program and part of the marksmanship team. While he is certainly an athlete, he won’t be pursuing athletics in college in quite the same way. Charles is preparing to be an athletic trainer by majoring in exercise science and shooting for admission to Heidelberg’s 3+2 Master’s in Athletic Training program.

Charles Jr. knew about how his brother Mason had enjoyed Heidelberg. He’d attended a Family Weekend for Mason and taken a tour or two. In spite of the fact that it wasn’t Charles’ first idea to attend the same school that two of his three older siblings had attended, he “did a shadowing day with the Athletic Training Department on the sidelines with the football team,” and the special experience won him over. So far, his first month at Heidelberg has been the normal excitement of freshman year – “but I’m sure as more people find out my mom is here on campus with me, it’s going to get interesting,” Charles shares.


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