In the past three months, Kat Gingerich has taken on a new last name, a new husband, a new state, a new job and a home filled with more than 200 young men.
This summer, Gingerich wedded the Resident Director of J. Alvin, Eric Gingerich. They made the move to Siloam Springs from Indiana, into an apartment in the only all-male dorm on campus.
“I don’t like change,” Gingerich explained. “There was a point right before we got married where I realized everything was changing. I was even getting a new last name.”
Both Gingeriches are graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University. She played basketball and his passion was track. Both graduated knowing each other, but that was all.
Only a few weeks before Eric moved to Siloam Springs to begin his current job at John Brown University did their friendship take a turn towards romance.
Eric had returned home to help with a basketball camp where Kat served as the assistant coach. The summer romance became official two weeks after Eric’s move to Siloam Springs. Two years later they exchanged vows.
Since the move, Gingerich is commonly asked about her new status as “the only lady in J. Alvin.”
“Everyone asks me [what it’s like] and I do not have some great answer,” Gingerich said. “I do not know if I was sure what to expect being in an all guys dorm.”
She said no crazy stories have surfaced from her few weeks living in the building of all men. “They are not too noisy and they have all been pretty respectful.”
The men of J. Alvin may be respectful, but Gingerich feels as though she did inherit a large number of children in a very short time.
“We feel like we’re being prepared to have a family. From getting married three months ago to now having 225 children. When they’re sick, we have to take them to the hospital. When they knock, we answer the door,” she explained.
Her new husband is not the only one excited for Gingerich’s permanent residence in J. Alvin. The dorm’s resident staff enjoys her presence as well. Jason Flewellen, a sophomore and current Resident Assistant, enjoys what Gingerich’s presence brings to the dorm and the staff.
“Having Kat as the ‘J Al Gal’ has been awesome,” said Flewellen. “Seeing the way Eric loves and respects her in a truly Godly way speaks to the guys of J. Alvin more than any lecture. Their example of a godly marriage raises the standards for us as men and truly challenges us to redeem manhood.”
Gingerich still struggles to figure out her role on campus. “I think it [looks] different being in all-guys dorm,” she said. “I think if we were in something like Walker where it was mixed gender, I would feel more comfortable pouring into people right away.”
“I think it’s more of a figure it out as I go kind of thing,” she said.