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The Magazine of St. Ambrose University | Spring 2012

St. Ambrose Legends Retire ALSO INSIDE: Cradle of Women’s Coaches

Scene The Magazine of St. Ambrose University Spring 2012 | Volume XXXVIII | Number 1 Managing Editor Linda Hirsch


Editor Craig DeVrieze


Staff Writers Jane Kettering Robin Youngblood Staff Assistant Darcy Duncalf

2 Under the Oaks

Contributing Writers

Meet the “Sims,” “Pamcakes” and an alum who is teaching

Susan Flansburg

autistic children how to act. Then see how St. Ambrose is

Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04

earning its military-friendly stripes. Find all that and more


“Under the Oaks.”

Sally Paustian ’94

Photo and illustration credits: Leslie Bell: cover, pages 10–13, original paintings; John Mohr Photography: cover, pages 6, 7, 10–13, 29 ; Dan Videtich: pages 3, 10, 14; Greg Boll: page 8; Kevin Schmidt: page 26; Grant Legan Photography: page 32; Quad-City Times, page 33. Scene is published by the Communications and Marketing office for the alumni, students, parents, friends, faculty and staff of St. Ambrose University. Its purpose is to inform and inspire through stories highlighting the many quality people and programs that are the essence of St. Ambrose’s distinguished heritage of Catholic, values-based education. Circulation is approximately 23,000. St. Ambrose University—independent, diocesan, and Catholic—enables its students to develop intellectually, spiritually, ethically, socially, artistically and physically to enrich their own lives and the lives of others. St. Ambrose University, 518 W. Locust St., Davenport, Iowa 52803

21 16 Features 9 Retiring Types

32 Alumni Profile 26 A Treat that Smells like Feet

Four iconic St. Ambrose professors will close the books

At “Treat House” in Davenport, Ann Schwickerath ’98

on more than 140 combined years at a school they quickly

lives St. Ambrose’s diocesan heritage by giving inner-city

came to love. So how has St. Ambrose changed since

kids a sense of sanctuary.

the ’70s in the eyes of Joan Trapp, Leslie Bell ’72, Paul Jacobson and Rich Legg? And about those bows?

14 Diocesan Heritage

28 Alumni News The Gift of Giving shows what caring benefactors truly do for fellow Ambrosians; a St. Ambrose alum sees hope on

One of 11 Catholic, diocesan universities in the country,

the famine-stricken Horn of Africa; a decade on, the SAU

St. Ambrose is helping Ambrosians honor that heritage by

Wine Festival is aging well; and 20 Ambrosians go around

following the example of Saint Ambrose of Milan.

the world to see one of our own wed.

16 A Home for Ambrose of Milan Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant ’80 awoke one morning with a

30 Class Notes

plan to create a center to learn about and honor Ambrogio di Milano. A journey spanning two years and as many continents is bringing that dream home.

21 A Cradle of Coaches Lisa Bluder. Robin Becker Pingeton ’90. Tasha McDowell ’98. And don’t forget Bill Fennelly. You could fill a Final Four with the Division I women’s basketball coaches whose careers were launched at St. Ambrose.


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W Campus Triples Bandwidth Capacity

The growing popularity of video streaming was draining bandwidth capacity on the St. Ambrose campus. But students taking a

break from their studies now can Skype, play X-Box, utilize YouTube or watch Netflix to beat the band. In time for the start of spring semester, the university’s information resources technology office completed a project that tripled the available bandwidth across campus. Sean McGinn ’06, assistant IT director, said St. Ambrose started the year with 100 megabits per second (Mbps) of bandwidth capacity, a total that was “maxed” daily when school was in session. Hardware upgrades have increased that total to 300 Mbps, with 200 directed to residence halls alone. The remaining 100 Mbps should sufficiently serve classrooms and administrative offices for at least another 18 months, McGinn said. But new advances in video technology, specifically the anticipated growth of high-definition downloads, eventually will require further upgrades, he said. —Craig DeVrieze

More Than the Name is New The newly named St. Ambrose College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) is poised to advance important changes occurring in education and the health and human service fields. Changes began in July of 2010 when the School of Social Work became part of the former College of Education and Health Sciences. The newly named CHHS also houses the teacher education program and graduate programs in education, and oversees the Children’s Campus. Those programs are being combined within a newly created School of Education within CHHS. The new name “better reflects the diversity and scope” of programs offered by the steadily growing CHHS, said Sandra Cassady, PhD, dean of the college. “The School of Education will provide future and current teachers a range of opportunities with our undergraduate and graduate program offerings.” New programming in the health fields also is being considered.

hen Steve Finn ’02 MBA, was digging up potatoes and plucking tomatoes from their vines last summer, he conjured memories of time spent on his Uncle Buddy’s farm in Pennsylvania during his teens. Manager of Sodexo Dining Services at St. Ambrose, Finn’s boyhood memories were sparked while he worked a small plot of land at the St. Vincent’s Center, along with members of GreenLife, the environmental club at SAU. The garden project is part of a contract Sodexo has had since the mid-1990s with Des Moinesbased Loffredo Fresh Produce Co., to provide the St. Ambrose community with locally-grown food. The produce distributor, with a building in Moline, has contracts with Midwest-only farmers. “There’s a big difference between getting your produce out of California or locally,” Finn said. Summers, Finn also gets vegetables from the GreenLife plot. Last year, GreenLife harvested 162 pounds of tomatoes, 30 pounds of zucchini and 28 pounds of carrots. Sodexo also is helping the farmers. “It’s not hit or miss like at a farmer’s market,” Finn explained. “Every week, the farmer knows he will be selling 10 bushels of a product.” Finn actually has a bigger dream. “My vision,” he said, “is that we have a farmer that can pull up to the dock here, and I’ll say, ‘We’ll take it all.” —Robin Youngblood

—Craig DeVrieze Learn more about the College of Health and Human Services at


BUYING LOCAL a ‘growing’ trend for Sodexo

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High-tech ‘sims’ teach health science lessons

They’re No Dummies Cherry Pepper is having a bad morning. Overnight, she was tolerating fluids, walking short distances and her appetite was returning a bit in the wake of an emergency appendectomy two days earlier. Now, she says she is dizzy and feeling nauseous, but what really is troubling her are the spiders on the ceiling of her hospital room. Something is decidedly wrong here, and it will be up to junior St. Ambrose nursing students Brittani Felderman, Danika Sawyer and Thomas Koehler to read the signs and find the problem. The dizziness, nausea and, particularly, the creepy crawlers that only a hallucinating Cherry Pepper can see are strong clues. The insulin IV drip attached to her left arm completes the tale. The trio decides a blood sugar test is in order, discovers Mrs.

The simulators can mimic a heart murmur. They can display the telltale sounds of pneumonia in a lung. They can also react to repositioning in bed, a skill PT students must consistently practice. Physical Therapy Program Director Michael Puthoff, PhD, said PT students are clamoring for more such hands on experiences and Kaney said plans are being made to expand use of the simulators across the nursing curriculum. Nursing student Sawyer, who recently began working as a clinical assistant in the emergency rooms at both Genesis Medical Center Davenport campuses, said the realness of talking to the simulators has helped her develop a better bedside manner. “Some people are kind of edgy when they don’t feel well,” she said. “So it really helps you develop your people skills, too.”

Pepper is hypoglycemic and, while Sawyer turns off the insulin drip,

—Craig DeVrieze

Koehler phones the patient’s doctor for a prescription.

Watch a video of the “sims” lab at

Crisis averted. But here’s the real news: Although Cherry Pepper isn’t a human being, she is much more authentic than those aforementioned spiders. Nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy students in SAU’s College of Health and Human Services are learning practical lessons this year using six high fidelity simulators that are part mannequin and part computer. “These ‘sims’ can do anything,” Felderman said. “You can make them do anything. You can make them say anything.” “They can drop their blood pressure,” Koehler concurred. “They can make them die, essentially. You have to be prepared for any situation you could encounter in real life with these mannequins, which is really what’s invaluable about them.” In this setting, the “they” is Mary Lou Kaney, an assistant professor and lab director in the nursing department. This simulation exercise is one of countless practical nursing drills 300-level nursing students will experience this year with the help of these high-tech simulators. The six “sims” were purchased with grant money from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the Riverboat Development Authority and the Scott County Regional Authority. With teaching staff cueing a computer, the high-tech mannequins can talk, mimic different medical issues, change breathing patterns, heart rates and blood pressures and respond to medications. They can be catheterized, ventilated, intubated and made up to display a variety of wounds. One bleeds. Another gives birth.


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Students Live Mark Brand’s Dream For three years, Mark Brand, PhD, dreamed of leading a study abroad trip to Israel. Four months after his tragic death, that dream was realized by five students. Brand, assistant professor of marketing studies, developed the idea for a trip during a visit to his daughter and son-in-law in Israel in 2009. That same year he learned of his cancer diagnosis. “He came back with the idea of a trip that would focus on Israel’s high-tech industry, challenging how students look at Israel by studying something other than religion,” said Brand’s wife, Maxine. The support of the Quad Cities Jewish community and the Heeren Family Scholarship Fund for Israel Studies offset a portion of student costs. Brand worked hard to iron out other details. “As sick as he was, he traveled to Israel in 2010 to put the initial pieces together,” said Maxine. “Maybe it was knowing that he had a short time.”

In early January, the students and two faculty members departed the Quad Cities for the two-week trip, which included stops in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and southern Israel. The group visited sites of cultural and religious significance, plus several colleges and universities. Interwoven was the study of business, marketing and economics. Raised on an Iowa farm, senior Joe Bailey focused his research on high-tech agriculture. “Being in the desert, Israelis have realized incredible advancements in irrigation,” he said. “I discovered farmers turning irrigation systems on and off with cell phones, as well as checking soil moisture and temperature that way. It was amazing.” Ian Ross ’10, a graduate student in accounting, was impressed by a company that manufactured electric cars. “They created and offered an entire infrastructure of support, such as battery exchange and charging packages, akin to cell phone plans,” he said. Sophomore Kemper Rusteberg was fascinated by a visit to Kafrit, a global plastics manufacturing company. It is owned by a kibbutz, or communal settlement. “The kibbutz is the CEO, very interesting from a managing perspective,” said Rusteberg. Rusteberg said Brand’s dream will help shape his future. “Dr. Brand would say that you’ve got to be able to ‘market’ yourself,” he said. “A trip like this really puts us in a place to do so, very positively. I believe SAU’s Israel study abroad program was his crowning achievement.” —Jane Kettering For more information about the Heeren scholarship or to donate to the fund, contact Sally Crino in the St. Ambrose Advancement Office at 563/333-6080.

A Towering New Logo

A cross and spire have towered over the St. Ambrose campus since Ambrose Hall was dedicated in 1885, and it towers now next to the university’s name in the official St. Ambrose University logo introduced at the start of the spring semester. The spire was among several designs considered by President Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, and the cabinet

to add visual emphasis to the former wordmark logo. The tower icon was well received in a survey seeking input from the St. Ambrose community last year. “The cross and spire speak to the enduring Catholic Intellectual tradition of St. Ambrose University, to its diocesan heritage and to the spirituality that remains a central tenet of the St. Ambrose mission,” said Sr. Lescinski. “It is a very appropriate addition.” The president introduced the logo at a January gathering of faculty and staff. It will appear on future campus communications and will be phased into publications, and print and television advertising. 4

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Theater Company Offers Autistic Students a Chance to ‘Inter-Act’ Tucked into a corner, alone, a young girl spent two months watching her fellow students play games, stumble through tongue twisters and make faces. She watched them get dressed up and recite lines. She watched them work together. Then one day, “Julia” walked over and joined the group. Kim Furness ’96 says she was “blown away” when that happened, but she has begun to expect extraordinary things from these special students. They have autism, a developmental disorder often characterized by socially inappropriate behavior, communication problems and withdrawal. Participating in an acting class is probably the last thing most people would expect of them. Yet these students make believers of all who see them. They first came together two years ago when a Quad Cities speech pathologist contacted Furness— owner of Curtainbox Theatre Company—about starting a drama therapy class. The subject of several ongoing research projects, drama therapy has been hailed as potentially helpful in improving communication and social skills for autistic students. “These kids really connect with each other,” Furness said. “The parents are like, ‘They’ve got friends now!’ One parent said, ‘My son would never initiate conversations with me, but he does now. His confidence and comfort have improved so much.’” Furness’ autism class is one of several acting classes offered by her company. She said working with her autistic students gives her a special sense of purpose and joy. “This class helps a wonderful group of kids feel like they fit in, sometimes for the first time in their lives,” she said. “It’s really important.”

Furness caps the classes at eight to ten students per term, and the company has never made enough money to pay Furness a salary. By the middle of 2011, she wasn’t sure she could continue the programs. Then, luck struck. First, Furness won $30,000 from an Iowa Lottery scratch-off ticket. Next, she won a $7,500 gift from Royal Neighbors of America for writing an essay about her company. Finally, she won a chance to make commercials for Denver Mattress Company by writing an essay about how much she loved

“This class helps a wonderful group of kids feel like they fit in, sometimes for the first time in their lives.”

her new mattress. “The cash infusion has been wonderful,” she said. “It will help keep the —KIM FURNESS ’96 company afloat for another year.” For her autistic students and their families, it’s a dream come true. “Our parents see these kids as a blessing,” she said. “But you know their hearts are breaking too. They want their kids to feel like they belong. When you see a child like ‘Julia’ standing on stage, costumed, delivering her lines to an audience, you see that dream is possible.” —Susan Flansburg For more information about Curtainbox Theatre Company, visit


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St. Ambrose Sets Pace with Yellow Ribbon Program

There has been a yellow ribbon tied

eligibility requirements, veterans must have

around the old Ambrose Hall oaks,

served 36 months or more since 9/11. The

figuratively at least, since 2009.

VA matches each SAU grant. Additional VA

That’s when St. Ambrose became one of the first schools in the United States to join the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) offered to returning service men and

a monthly living stipend. The program supplements the Post 9/11

women in conjunction with the Department of Veterans

GI Bill, enabling returning soldiers to take


advantage of a private liberal arts education.

This effort, led by former Vice President for

Last year, 34 vets made use of the YRP at

Advancement, Ed Littig, PhD, and President Joan

St. Ambrose and the university has spent

Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, has placed St. Ambrose University

$134,600 since the 2009–10 academic year

among institutions nationally recognized as “military

on matching YRP aid, said Julie Haack ’03


MBA, director of financial aid.

“It has been incredible, “ said John Fury, a former

Fury said a classroom discussion about

United States Marine from Davenport. With a big

financial aid with his fellow Ambrosians last

assist from the YRP, Fury is pursuing his bachelor’s

year left him feeling a bit sheepish, knowing

in accounting through the university’s adult learning

that most of them do not have the financial

program at the 54th Street location in Davenport.

benefits that come with military service.

The Yellow Ribbon GI education program was a

But he didn’t get a whiff of resentment

provision in the Post-9/11 veterans educational act.

from students and staff, who said they see

With in-kind subsidies from participating schools like

the YRP and GI Bill as a means to repay a

St. Ambrose, the program means some veterans of the

serious debt owed to Fury and all veterans.

Iraq and Afghanistan wars won’t have to pay a dime outof-pocket to obtain a degree. “My dad is a Vietnam veteran and had the GI Bill,” Fury

Fury is grateful in return. “I volunteered to go over there,” he said. “I just felt like service was something I needed

said. “When I explained the benefits I receive through the

to do, especially in a time of war. To come

Yellow Ribbon Program, he was in awe.”

back and have somebody say ‘Well, because

Since becoming an early YRP partner, St. Ambrose has

you sacrificed for us, we’ll help you meet

taught other colleges and universities in the region how

your goals,’ that means a lot.”

to participate, said Elizabeth Loveless ’96 MBA, director of

—Craig DeVrieze

graduate admissions and services. St. Ambrose agreed to grant as much as $5,000 toward an undergraduate degree and $2,425 toward a graduate degree for up to 250 eligible veterans. Among the 6

benefits cover the cost of books and provide

Learn more about veterans services at St. Ambrose at

under the OAKS From ‘Hurt Locker’ to ‘Back to School’ some idea of what John Fury experienced during a six-month tour as

Former Marine, SAU Grad Fills New Vets Position

an explosive ordinance disposal technician in Iraq.

Over the first of his two tours of duty in Iraq, former

If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” you have

Now an SAU student and a Davenport police officer, Fury said the movie had its share of Hollywood flourishes, but did effectively con-

Marine Sgt. Andrew Gates used a shovel and cement truck to keep crucial supply routes open to frontline US

vey the edge-of-your-seat nature of his work in Iraq.

operating bases.

“The intensity, I would say that part was accurate. There are no

Gates will have more tools

uniforms (for insurgents) over there. You really are guessing who is

at his disposal as St. Ambrose’s

going to come at you next,” he said

first coordinator of veterans

A Marine from 2001 through 2009, Fury said he and a teammate

recruitment and services. But he

“rendered safe” more than 150 bombs and IEDs during a particularly

believes paving a path to avail-

intense time for troops in Iraq from October 2006 to March 2007.

able education benefits is no less

He suffered a traumatic brain injury just 10 days before returning

of a service to his former com-

home when the vehicle in which he and three fellow troops were

rades in arms.

riding was completely destroyed by 1,000 pounds of explosives

“I really don’t see myself as a

hidden in a culvert running under a road. All four were knocked

recruiter,” said Gates, a 32-year-

unconscious, but their lives were spared because they were in a joint

old Iowa native who received his

response vehicle equipped with 32,000 pounds of armor. “Basically a

SAU bachelor’s degree in journal-

bank truck on steroids,” Fury said. Fury spent the final three years of his military career stateside,

ism at winter commencement ceremonies in December. “I’m here to facilitate the experience and to make it as

and during that time he resumed a college education he’d aban-

convenient as possible for them to get their education.

doned to join the Marines, taking classes through the American

“Recruiting is going to be a big part of my job. But I

Military University online program. He returned to Davenport as a civilian in 2010, then enrolled in the SAU adult learner program. While working fulltime as a Davenport police officer, Fury intends to obtain his bachelor’s in

am not just trying to sell something here. I have been through the St. Ambrose experience. It worked for me. It can work for others.” Gates used the GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program

accounting and then pursue a master’s. He said he will continue his

to earn his SAU degree, and he wants to be sure other

police career, where he believes an SAU education is sure to serve

veterans maximize their opportunities.

him well. —Craig DeVrieze

“No matter what benefits you have,” he said, “I need to get you in a classroom.” The creation of the position and the purposeful hiring of a war-tested veteran should strengthen SAU’s reputation among veterans groups. That was a goal from the outset. But John Cooper, SAU’s vice president for enrollment management, said the school succeeded not only in hiring a veteran. It hired the right one. “Andrew graduated on Saturday and we hired him that following Monday,” Cooper said. “That’s how impressed we were with what he brings to our effort to better serve veterans at St. Ambrose.’’ —Craig DeVrieze


Who is SAU?

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Pam Fox is.

When students enter Cosgrove cafeteria,


now feels like a “second mom” to students who linger

one sitting on the swivel stool, ready to

at her station.

scan their meal cards. Pam can personally greet about half these students (that’s a


infectious laugh and big heart, Pam is a cafeteria fixture.

cially when it involves 70s-era short shorts.



which she hears several times over each day.


Her father ran breakfast and lunch service in the ’60s and ’70s with only one helper.


Michael Kennedy, and “Pam-a-lam-a-ding-dong,”

She first worked in the cafeteria at the age of 15.

She used to watch Rev. Edward Catich ’34 practice calligraphy while he waited for his meals.

Head basketball coach Ray Shovlain ’79, ’82 MBA thought his Fighting Bees played with a little more pep this year, thanks to the brassy encouragement from SAU’s new pep band. The 14-student group, part of a new ensemble class offered by the music department and led by adjunct percussion instructor Brian Zeglis, played at men’s and women’s home games.

SAU Pep Band

She has several nicknames given by students: “Pamcakes,” compliments of basketball player

‘Pamcakes’ short takes:


Pam loves to bring in old yearbooks to show studentathletes pictures of their coaches as students, espe-

whopping 400 to 500 names). With her


She left and then returned to St. Ambrose in 2003 and

chances are good that Pam Fox may be the

She attends as many ballgames, plays and commencements as possible. “You get close to the kids.”


Why food service? “Everybody’s got to eat,” says Pam. And then she laughs.

For more about Pam Fox, go to —Jane Kettering



[142 years]

Thousands of Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . stories by Craig DeVrieze original paintings by Leslie Bell ’72

They found a small Catholic college in a modest Midwest community, both so warm and

Additional Faculty Retirements Brenda DuBois, PhD professor of social work, at SAU since 1997 Ragene Gwin, EdD professor of kinesiology, since 1990 Dolores Hilden, PhD professor and chair of nursing, since 1999 Craig Shoemaker, PhD professor of marketing studies, since 1992 Judith White, EdD professor and director of education, since 2007

welcoming they couldn’t help but feel at home. “It was a nice little campus,” Rich Legg, PhD, remembered of his initial impression of the St. Ambrose he discovered on arrival in 1978. “It looked like an interesting place to be.” St. Ambrose College was that in the 1970s. And St. Ambrose University still is that today, as biology professor Legg, art professor Leslie Bell ’72, MFA, music professor Joan Trapp, DMA, and philosophy professor Paul Jacobson, PhD, all look toward their May retirements. Both in terms of the physical plant and enrollment, St. Ambrose nearly has tripled in size since each joined the teaching staff in the bell-bottomed 1970s. It has not grown so big, however, that one man or woman cannot make their mark, or so vast that his or her departure won’t leave a void. Trapp will retire after 38 years of advancing the St. Ambrose mission, Bell after 37, Jacobson after 34 and Legg after 33. Each will leave a lasting legacy and Jacobson said the unique beauty of St. Ambrose is the opportunity to do just that. “The thing I always liked about St. Ambrose was that it was small enough that individuals could make a difference,” Jacobson said. “I think that is still true today.” Legg, likewise, applauded the freedom that a sense of St. Ambrose community has afforded faculty to do what they do best. And, though some of the school’s early intimacy has been lost to expansion, Legg said the school’s growth and progress are laudable, too. “I like to think of it as a mini-multiversity, with all kinds of different programs serving many constituencies,” he said. Trapp was one of six female faculty members campus-wide when she joined the music department, and she said she is pleased to have watched St. Ambrose grow more diverse among both faculty and students and more global in its outlook. “It is so dynamic and alive, and they have the global perspective of a small world,” she said. “And yet we still have to give a lot of encouragement to students to experience that bigger world. It’s easy to be isolated in Davenport and in Iowa and the Midwest. The increase in international studies, students going abroad, going different places to learn and serve, that has been a really important growth aspect.” Bell agreed. “The school has grown bigger,’’ he said, “but it has also grown much more complicated and much more representative of what the world looks like and how the world thinks.” 9

“I think it is wonderful to not just teach students exactly what they want to learn to get a job. Give them a lifetime of inquiry, of self-improvement, of commitment to society.”

Leslie Bell Caring for a ‘very caring place’ A silent, contemplative walk through the snow with 150 fellow Ambrosians was a perfect beginning to the final semester of Leslie Bell’s fulltime career at St. Ambrose. “It was pretty powerful,” Bell ’72 said of a Jan. 17 march from campus to Davenport’s Hilltop District to help launch Civil Rights Week on campus. “Not a peep was said. Just thinking about Martin Luther King, thinking about the civil rights movement and the ongoingness of it. I think that’s what St. Ambrose does. It is a very caring place.” It is a place Bell has cared for since he arrived in 1965, a budding artist eager to learn under legendary professor Rev. Edward Catich. Bell didn’t know quite how much he cared for St. Ambrose, however, until Fr. Catich, his once and future mentor, helped show him the way off campus when Bell failed to take his studies quite seriously enough in 1969. “I was in a band and I was dating my future first wife and … Well, I’ll leave the rest unsaid. It was the 1960s after all,” said Bell, who took his future wife and his guitar to a commune in Grand Mound, Iowa. In time, Bell realized St. Ambrose was


the community to which he really belonged. He came back for his degree and happily joined the faculty in 1974 after obtaining his Master of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University. “It was comforting to be on a campus where social justice, ethics and morality were part of the daily dialogue,” said Bell, who is pleased to note those values remain at the heart of a St. Ambrose education. “It has grown a lot,” he said of the university, “but it has grown in rings around the liberally educated central core. I think it is wonderful to not just teach students exactly what they want to learn to get a job. Give them a lifetime of inquiry, of selfimprovement, of commitment to society.”

About that ponytail … Bell came to St. Ambrose in the 1960s and, essentially, never left. Not St. Ambrose. Nor, at least in spirit, the ’60s . Bell, who will remain at SAU as an adjunct prof, has grown into an iconic faculty member while also carving a role as a campus iconoclast. More easily done in academia, he agreed of the latter, but: “The freedom you have at a university is the freedom you claim for yourself. It is encouraged, but you need the courage to be encouraged.” If that is a ’60s sensibility, then Bell’s signature ponytail is symbolic of same. But he stressed, “That’s not a style or an affectation. It’s really a life goal to be yourself.” It’s a life lesson he and the art department have stressed for students, as well. “We want them to be self-aware,” he said. “It has kept me excited for 37 years.”

Reading Really is Fundamental Books fill every nook and more than a few crannies of Paul Jacobson’s Ambrose Hall office. Although he will confess to being a fanatical supporter of order, the longtime St. Ambrose philosophy professor finds comfort amid the stacks. The idea of tidily transferring his collection of books to an e-reader he could hold in one hand? That’s a concept more foreign than the tranquil Quad Cities once seemed to a New Jersey kid who grew up across the bay from bustling Manhattan. Jacobson’s passion for the printed page is a philosophy he has been sharing with his St. Ambrose students since he arrived on campus in 1977. And it’s one he will continue to espouse until his last class closes its books in mid-May. “Maybe people will be glad I’m gone because this approach seems so outmoded to many students,” he said. “But I tend to

use the Xerox machine a lot because I want to get words into the students’ hands and I want them to read things carefully.” Reading drew Jacobson to teaching and philosophy. “Reading really changed my life,” he said. “And I don’t mean deciphering letters. I mean learning how to milk a text. I mean to really take it apart. Some of the works of Plato I have read many, many times and I am still finding things I didn’t see before. And I try to communicate that excitement of discovering meaning to my classes.” As both the world and the word grow more digital, Jacobson fears texting and tweeting are being confused for reading and writing. “What are you capable of expressing in 140 characters?” he asked. “The shortest Platonic dialog is 17 pages of text.” Jacobson conceded the immediate availability of information today is an educational gold mine. “The challenge,” he said, “is to help people—not just students, faculty as well—mine all that information. They have to be challenged to read important things and to read them closely and carefully.”

About those jackets … The short answer? Pockets. “I smoked for a long time,” Jacobson said of the cotton, multi-pocketed, safari-style coats he has sported almost daily through his 34-year St. Ambrose career. “I always had my cigarettes one place. I’ve got a calendar here. I’ve got my coffee card up here. Single dollar bill down here. Nail clipper. Key fob. Banjo picks. I’m organized in a world that seems to resist my best efforts.” So no deeper, philosophical explanation for owning a dozen or more such jackets? Well, he confessed, “It’s not quite an academic gown, but it is a uniform.”

Paul Jacobson “I am still finding things I didn’t see before. And I try to communicate that excitement of discovering meaning to my classes.” 11

Tech Revolution? Nope, Evolution Rich Legg watches the parade of thumbs dancing across smartphone keyboards as students exit his biology classes and he wonders if they might better be served by a few minutes alone with their thoughts. The rapid march of technology dramatically has changed the world and the world of education since Legg came to St. Ambrose in 1978. On the other hand, Legg would argue, not much has changed at all. “Students really haven’t changed,” he said. “They’re 20 years old. They’re narcissistic sons-of-guns. It’s their job.” That, of course, is a taste of the sardonic wit for which Legg will be remembered when he retires from teaching in May. In a more serious vein, his intellectual training

tells him that what seems like a technological revolution really is just the earth spinning on its axis. “I’m an evolutionary biologist,” he said. “Thirty years is nothing, for gosh sakes.’’ Between Legg’s birth in New York City in 1950 and his arrival at St. Ambrose, the television transformed society, too, he noted. Before that, the telephone, the automobile and the airplane changed the world as well. “The automobile basically shaped the planet the last century,” Legg said. He did concede that “nothing impacted education, short of the printing press, more than the computer. You have instant access to so many ideas you would never even have encountered before.” He said he wishes students did not come to his classroom as jobfocused as they now seem. Yet, on the whole, Legg insisted, “I still see our students as largely having the same quality. They read and write about as well as students I had 30 years ago. I don’t know about penmanship, because you don’t see it.” But, oh my, can those thumbs dance.

About those bows … There is a simpler explanation than you might imagine to those bow ties the lanky Professor Legg has made his signature during his 30 years at SAU. Traditional, overhanging ties were a bit of a problem when the biologist put an eye to a microscope. But that’s not to say Legg isn’t also a bit of a non-conformist. He donned his first bow to deliver his master’s oral summation. “Along with cardinal red pants with big billowing sheep on them,” he said. “I guess it was some kind of a statement.” So’s the bow. Legg owns 50 of them: “One for every class in a semester,” he said. And nope. No clip-ons. He ties his bows. “Just like putting a shoe on your neck,” he explained.

Rich Legg

“I’m an evolutionary biologist. Thirty years is nothing.” 12

“Now we know that there are other types of music that are worthy of our study and respect. I really like where music has gotten to in my lifetime.”

Joan Trapp Trapp Rhymes with Rap For the record, Joan Trapp does not own an MP3 player. But among a case of CDs she packed for a recent drive to visit her mother in Indianapolis, the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration “Watch the Throne” got the heaviest play. That’s right. Joan Trapp—small-town Iowan, accomplished classical pianist, doctor of musical arts—has gone hip-hop. Just a little, anyway. “It’s a fabulous album, very artful, “ she said of a CD she was vetting for discussion in music appreciation classes in her final semester at St. Ambrose. “ I was really amazed how much I did like it. It became not just a listening exercise for class.“ After 38 years in the St. Ambrose music department, Trapp’s appreciation for music has not waned and the advent of new technology only has created more avenues to appreciate wider ranges and different genres. “I don’t see a downside,” said Trapp, who noted doors to new music have been opened by radio options like Sirius and internet sites such as Pandora and YouTube.

Surprisingly, much like the students she remembers from when she arrived here in 1973, modern collegians remain a bit narrow in their tastes. Trapp said she challenges them to open their minds and ears. “To me, the risk of taking on new and different music is something that I enjoy,” she said. “So you don’t like it? OK. Don’t go back there. But there is so much that is worth trying.” Trapp’s central interest is classical music. Yet, even there, easier access has helped push boundaries beyond the proverbial “Dead White Men,” she said. “Those are still wonderful composers,” she said. “But now we know that there are other types of music that are worthy of our study and respect. I really like where music has gotten to in my lifetime.”

About that piano … More than 50 years at her craft doesn’t afford a pianist the luxury of not practicing. “A lot of my own self-respect is tied up in getting to the piano every day,” said Trapp. “So, of course, I feel horrible on days that I don’t. If I can get in three hours a day, I feel pretty good.” There are days, though, when she can squeeze in only an hour or two at best. So (current students, please stop reading) what gives then? “I should practice scales and arpeggios and such,” she said, before sheepishly confessing: “I don’t always.” 13

St. Ambrose will be recognized as a leading Midwestern university rooted in its diocesan heritage and Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Ambrosians are committed to academic excellence, the liberal arts, social justice and service. This is the fourth issue of Scene in which we continue to “unpack” our university’s vision statement to explore the meaning and significance of each of its elements, so that we may understand this vision more wholly, and thus use it more purposefully to guide us in planning for the future.


Diocesan Heritage

by Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04

From humble beginnings as an academy created by the first bishop of Davenport, St. Ambrose has always welcomed students of all religious faiths, all ethnic backgrounds and all economic circumstances. Fully 130 years after Bishop John McMullen’s dream began with a first class of 33 students, St. Ambrose holds firm to its distinction as a diocesan university built upon a foundation of faith, learning and justice. Our institutional identity is so deeply informed by our diocesan heritage and mission of enriching lives, you can see it in the actions of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. But how does a Catholic, diocesan university like St. Ambrose—now one of only 11 in the country—maintain our diocesan character? How do we grow it? Perhaps we should look no further than the new center for the study of Saint Ambrose of Milan. It is an initiative that at its core best represents the Catholic Intellectual Tradition that is alive and flourishing at St. Ambrose today. It is a perfect example of professors and students, alumni and scholars, Catholics and non-Catholics, asking a full range of questions, driven by a passionate commitment to pursue the true definition of what it is to be Ambrosian. Together, they are powerfully uncovering a way to live for the betterment of others.

Consider the life of Saint Ambrose of Milan: Know him and you will find a man at the very heart of our mission—a person who wrestled with intellectual, spiritual, ethical and social issues while also addressing artistic and physical aspects of life. He was an active leader, dedicated to Milan and to his regional diocese, and a driving force behind imperial events. He was, as Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, PhD, will tell you, both Roman and Catholic. “As a diocesan university,” Fr. Grant wrote recently, “St. Ambrose offers a unique charism that distinguishes us from secular, non-Catholic and Catholic colleges administered by a religious order today.” That is the gift of connectedness to our patron saint, a man who simply wanted the best for the people around him. To celebrate his legacy is to live life as both a person of the world and a person of the Church. Saint Ambrose showed us that it is essential for our faith to influence our work, our service, our politics and our social relationships. It is something not just reserved for Sunday mornings, or whenever it is convenient. Rather, it must be something that changes the way we do everything in our lives, everyday. In other words, it defines our heritage.


In his mind, it was like a scene out of a movie: A Roman Catholic priest from the Midwest moves swiftly through the Porta Sant’ Anna, past the Gardes Suisses standing watch over the Santa Sede—The Holy See—and into the maze of passageways that make up the Il Vaticano. He passes by Michelangelo’s Cappella Sistina, Raphael’s Stanze della Segnatura. There’s a sense of urgency in his step. His heart is beating a mile a minute. If there were a soundtrack in the background, the beats would be low and ominous and on the verge of building into a lush crescendo. But then, silence. He’s arrived at security. He checks in, handing over his passport (it is another country, after all). And in the best Italian this Midwestern American can muster, he says, “Ho un appuntamento con Monsignore Cesare Pasini.” Into the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana he goes: marble hallways where saints once walked have led him to a surprisingly stark, clinical, modern-looking elevator illuminated with fluorescent lighting. He presses the “up” button, steps in, takes a deep breath and thinks: “People don’t get to do this everyday.” Intimidation has set in. The elevator rises. The bell dings. The doors split open.

Centering Ambrogio Bringing our namesake home Months earlier, Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant, PhD, had been scouring bookstore shelves in Milan when he came across “Ambrogio di Milano: Azione e Pensiero di un Vescova,” a book he now recognizes as the best biography of Saint Ambrose available anywhere. “I have to meet this guy,” he had thought as he purchased Monsignor Cesare Pasini’s book and scurried out the door in search of a street he had yet to walk down or a church door he had yet to walk through. Either was certain to reveal something new about ancient Milan or the man who had fascinated Fr. Grant since he was a freshman student on the college campus that bears the Ambrose name. Now, Fr. Grant ’80 sat across from Msgr. Pasini in his sprawling office adjacent to the larger-than-life reading room of the biblioteca, the solid, hardwood desks overpowered only by a ceiling full of Pinturicchio frescoes. He wasn’t sure why Msgr. Pasini, the prefect of the biblioteca, agreed to meet with him, but he was glad that he had.


“I explained right away that I was a professor and priest at St. Ambrose University—the only university named after Saint Ambrose of Milan,” he recalled. “This delighted the Monsignore to no end. He just started giving me books about Ambrose, and a list of people I needed to get to know.” Their conversation—all in Italian—turned scholarly, and on more than one occasion Msgr. Pasini flashed a curious smile, signaling that there was more to be discovered about Ambrose, the man the Monsignore had dedicated a lifetime to researching. At one point during their discussion Fr. Grant asked whether Msgr. Pasini thought Ambrose had exercised any influence on Augustine, who framed the concepts of original sin. Msgr. Pasini leaned forward, conspiratorially tapped Fr. Grant on the arm and said, “Not so much his theology—more’s the pity.” “I think he was implying things would have turned out very differently for the Church if Augustine would have listened to Ambrose,” Fr. Grant said. “You see, this whole business of human nature being disastrously flawed, that we are only capable of sinning, Ambrose didn’t believe that. He thought it was rubbish. Rather, he believed people should pick themselves up by their bootstraps and do what needs to be done. He believed Christians could do great things and sent people out to do them.

by Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04

“If Augustine had inherited some of that confidence in human nature, we might not have this strain of pessimism that we have in Christianity today. This lack of confidence in our human being.” During this first meeting, Fr. Grant suggested that Msgr. Pasini’s book needed to be translated to English. At that point, the only English-language book on Ambrose had been written by Neil McLynn. When Fr. Grant asked what Italian scholars thought of McLynn’s book, which he described as essentially a character assassination on Ambrose, Msgr. Pasini smiled charitably. “You’ll notice he hasn’t written on the subject since,” he replied. With that, the two men bid farewell. As they did, Msgr. Pasini pulled an article he had written from his satchel—an introduction to Saint Ambrose of Milan, written in his native Italian. He gave it to Fr. Grant. “I had been given a test. He wanted me to translate it.”


A Vision is Born A year earlier on his farm near Stockton, Iowa, Fr. Grant awoke one morning and thought: “We are the only St. Ambrose University in the world. Saint Ambrose is the most neglected father of the Church. He is the least translated, the least represented in art, the least recognized. If you ask people who the fathers of the Church are, he is consistently eclipsed by Augustine. “Why,” Fr. Grant wondered of the university whose theology department he joined in 1994, “aren’t we committing our work, our lives, to this man?” That morning, he took the idea of a center, a physical home for the study and scholarship of Saint Ambrose of Milan, to Aron Aji, PhD, dean of St. Ambrose’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Young Alumni Make Commitment to Ambrose Center Lauren Bryner ’13 had never felt prouder to be a St. Ambrose University student than the moment she walked through the doors of the Basilica Sant’ Ambrogio in Milan this winter. “Standing in the center of that church and knowing the patron saint of my school designed and built it, and then walking down into the crypt and seeing his body, it finally made me stand behind my decision to attend St. Ambrose 100 percent,” she acknowledged. It’s that type of student experience that has propelled five St. Ambrose graduates to support the center for the study of Saint Ambrose of Milan with pledges of more than $40,000 toward an endowment goal of $250,000. The group—which includes Dorothy Anello ’02, Deanna Bott ’01, Matthew Ehlman ’02, Ted Stephens iii ’01, ’04 and Karen (Clark) Brenot ’01, DO, and her husband Matthew—hopes that Bryner’s experience will be just one of thousands such revelations for Ambrosians everywhere as they gain a more intimate relationship with the university’s namesake. 18

“Why didn’t we do this a hundred years ago?” Aji asked him. The vision had been born: To build a true home. To form a place—the place—in the Englishspeaking world where students and scholars and religious men and women would gather to collaborate, share and learn about a man who became a bishop under the most extraordinary of circumstances. Two years later, the vision is closer to reality. “As we mold this center,” Fr. Grant said, “St. Ambrose University will be the source of Ambrose scholarship in the liberal arts. It will be a focus for our identity as a diocesan university in the Catholic intellectual tradition. And it will be an investment in our commitment to being a leading Midwestern university, to defining what it truly means to be Ambrosian.”

“If you graduate from St. Ambrose and don’t have a sense of who Ambrose really was, you miss out on a critical component of your educational experience,” explained Anello, a teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. “By supporting this center both through active involvement and our financial commitment, we know the spirit of Ambrose will be there. It will live there.” Bryner couldn’t agree more. “I came to St. Ambrose from Indiana on a whim,” she said. “At the time I had no idea it was the only St. Ambrose University in the world, but now I care so much about this place because I understand what he stood for and how Ambrose the man shows us what it really means to be an Ambrosian.” The donations from the group of alumni will go toward funding scholarly research, lectures and a yearly symposium, as well as providing a scholarship for deserving students like Bryner to travel on the yearly winter interim trip to Italy. Learn how you can support the center for the study of Saint Ambrose of Milan at

“St. Ambrose University will be the source of Ambrose scholarship in the liberal arts… And it will be an investment in our commitment to being a leading Midwestern university, to defining what it truly means to be Ambrosian.” —Rev. Bud Grant ’80

Duomo facade, Milan, Italy

His da Vinci moment At first, Fr. Grant wanted to name the center “The Ambrose Academy” in homage not only to the man, but also to the founding of the university in 1882. But a quick Google search to see if that name had been claimed yielded an unexpected result: a Classe Ambrosiana at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The classe was led by don Francesco Braschi. “Naturally, I tracked him down. I had to,” Fr. Grant quipped. “Braschi was a pleasant guy about my height, with a long beard that falls halfway down his body. He’s quirky. And brilliant. We talked about projects we could collaborate on, and our unified mission of bringing the world to a greater understanding of who Ambrose was. And how relevant he can be to our life today.” As their first meeting came to a close, Braschi put on a pair of surgical gloves, removed a key that was dangling on a string from his waist, and walked to one of the stale-looking, locked cases that dotted the entire perimeter of the room. He pulled out a cardboard portfolio of drawings from Leonardo da Vinci—drawings that had never been seen in public. Braschi asked Fr. Grant if he could help preserve them. “Of course I said ‘Yes,’” Fr. Grant said with a laugh, knowing full well that he neither had the power to make such a decision, nor the resources to meet the challenge. Faculty members in the

St. Ambrose art department later told him, half-jokingly, that he was out of his mind. “This is something I’m told frequently,” Fr. Grant said. Yet, his dream was anything but crazy. It turned into something that could actually happen with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between SAU and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in May 2010, the only such agreement ever made by the Milan institution with another organization. The partnership with “the greatest place on the planet for fourth century research” not only gave international credibility to SAU’s future center, but it also meant the university could send students and professors to Italy for scholarship and the biblioteca can send their people to Davenport. “Our library has agreed to help them with the digitization of their archives, and myself and others will continue to write for the ‘Studia Ambrosiana,’” Fr. Grant said. Although the SAU center for the study of Saint Ambrose of Milan will not officially be dedicated until it is fully funded, much already has been accomplished toward achieving Fr. Grant’s dream: > Marsha Colish, PhD, from Yale University gave the keynote address at a symposium on Saint Ambrose last fall, where she was joined by five faculty members addressing how Ambrose influenced their academic discipline. > A theology course on Saint Ambrose of Milan has been offered for the third year in a row, with the best undergraduate work being posted to the center’s new website. > Three articles have been published in the Studia Ambrosiana by St. Ambrose faculty. > Fr. Grant recently completed a “fifth and nearly final” English translation of Msgr. Pasini’s book, which includes information about St. Ambrose University in the forward. It will be published this year. 19

> St. Ambrose will host an April 4 symposium on cultural tradition and religious innovation of Saint Ambrose of Milan. The keynote address by author Cristina Sogno, PhD, will focus on Ambrose of Milan’s role in a pivotal moment in the transformation of Roman culture. > The center has a physical presence on campus in the Ambrose Room on the third floor of the library. > Finally and most notably, the center also has a director, Ethan Gannaway, PhD, who was hired as executive coordinator in the fall and will continue to teach history. “Ethan is a legit scholar. I am not,” Fr. Grant said. “If this center is going to succeed, it will be because of people like him. He is passionate, a fantastic teacher, a great writer, and he loves the century in which Ambrose lived.”

Font of learning


taking extra courses now so that he can devote his last semester of college to working for the center. “Even if I don’t get any academic credit for it, the knowledge and the experience I’ve gained already from those two guys. I feel obligated to help,” he said. “Walking into the Basilica Sant’ Ambrogio in Milan for the first time, it was just this simple space,” he said. “We walked around the altar to where Saint Ambrose rests in this glass coffin. To literally see him was to have a real connection with him. There he was, lying in front of me, and in some way, was still showing how we can all lead by his example. The truth is that we—as members of this Ambrose community—have a bond with this man that no one else will ever have. No one can identify with him the way that we can.” The experience echoes one that Fr. Grant had with a group of St. Ambrose students 12 years earlier in a small classroom in central India. “We were at this school, talking with the students, the teacher translating what we were saying. We would say five words, and then he would go on for five minutes. And at some point, he slipped into English,” Fr. Grant recalled. “Be proud of India! Be proud of India!” the teacher said. “I want that. I want Ambrosians to be proud of Saint Ambrose,” Fr. Grant declared. “To know that we have this connection with this man. And we have an opportunity—even a responsibility—to celebrate his legacy by modeling his life in ours.”

Over the next few years, the center will become the premier place for research and study of Saint Ambrose in the English-speaking world. It will do so through publications and translations, lectures and study abroad trips, symposiums and scholarships, and internships both in the United States and abroad in collaboration with the Academia Ambrosiana. The SAU center’s motto, fons luminus (font of learning) means it was founded to assist a global community of scholars who will contribute their insights to enriching Basillica of Saint Ambrose in Milan, Italy the Catholic church and today’s increasingly interconnected world. That is already happening For more information on the center for the study of Saint with and for Ambrose of Milan, visit St. Ambrose students. James Hendricks ’14 just returned from the annual winter interim trip to Italy with Fr. Grant and Gannaway. The sophomore is so committed to the center and its mission that he is

Queen Bee Pedigree: You Could Fill a Final Four from SAU’s Cradle of Coaches

by Craig DeVrieze

Lisa Bluder Head Coach, University of Iowa 2000–present Head Coach, St. Ambrose University 1984–90


If St. Ambrose is a cradle of Division I women’s basketball coaches, then

Before he died in 2006, Fox remembered he was on

Jim Fox—the curmudgeonly former Quad Cities prep

the verge of hiring another candidate when an applica-

football coaching legend who directed St. Ambrose

tion from Bluder—then 21, newly married and straight-

athletics from 1984 through 1994—would be the hand

out-of-the University of Northern Iowa—crossed his

that rocked the cradle.

desk in the summer of 1984. On a hunch, Fox and then vice president of adminis-

Reluctantly, perhaps, at first. “I know when I first got there, he probably hadn’t

tration and future university president Edward Rogalski,

been to many basketball games in his life—he wasn’t

PhD, opted to hand the energetic rookie the keys to the

a fan,” said Lisa Bluder, the current University of Iowa

St. Ambrose program. “It was a stroke of good fortune, but we did see some-

women’s head coach who may have been the cagiest of Fox’s SAU hires. “By the time we left, he was a huge fan

thing in her that was extraordinary,” Rogalski said. “We

of women’s basketball. He saw the value and supported

saw that and took the chance.”

it greatly at that point.”

Robin Becker Pingeton ’90 Head Coach, University of Missouri 2010–present Head Coach, St. Ambrose University 1992–2000 22

With that, this cradle of coaches was off and rocking.

Bluder begat Robin Becker Pingeton ’90, who begat Tasha McDowell ’98. When the 2011–12 season began, they collectively helmed three of the 338 Division I women’s basketball programs around the country: Bluder at Big Ten Iowa, Pingeton at Big 12 Missouri and McDowell at Western Michigan of the Mid-American Conference. Add Iowa State’s Bill Fennelly, a Davenport native

For the Record COACH



who assisted St. Ambrose women’s coach Bob Duax as

Lisa Bluder



a college freshman in 1976, and you could have fielded a

Bill Fennelly



Final Four filled with big-time coaches with a Queen Bee

Robin Becker Pingeton




Tasha McDowell





“It’s kind of cool to think about it that way,” Bluder said. “There has been a good group that has gone


(Numbers through 2010–11 season)

through there, that’s for sure.” If the SAU coaching pipeline isn’t quite unprecedented among small college programs, it is exceedingly rare. Bluder can recall only one comparable situation, but

Next? The current quartet might not be the last Queen Bee products to grace a Division I bench. Future candidates include:

it is a doozy. Immaculata University in Pennsylvania has ties to three coaches who advanced to Division I Final Fours. “That’s pretty impressive,” Bluder said. St. Ambrose needn’t apologize. Bluder won better than 82 percent of her games over a 6-year span at the Queen Bees helm, and in 2010 became just the 34th coach in NCAA women’s basket-

Jenny (DeSmet) Putnam ’91 – The Rock Island Alleman graduate has been a Pingeton assistant since 2003 and a coach for over a decade. Currently, the wife and mother of three said she is content at Missouri. “It’s a great situation so there is just no reason to leave,” she said. Jennifer Goetz ’07 – A three-time St. Ambrose All-

ball history to win 500 games. She opened this season

American as a player, Goetz spent three seasons as

with a 567-241 career record and ranked second in all-

an SAU assistant, then led Davenport Assumption to

time wins at Iowa with 211. Her Iowa teams advanced

an Iowa state high school title in her head coaching

to the NCAA Tournament in eight of her first 11 seasons

debut last year. Currently is head coach at Pleasant

and she took Drake to a pair before that.

Valley (Iowa) High School.

Pingeton poured in a still-SAU-record 2,502 points under Bluder’s direction from 1986–90, and then, upon graduation, followed her coach to Drake for two seasons as an assistant coach. She returned to St. Ambrose to helm her own program from 1992 through 2000, eclipsing Bluder’s school record of 165 wins with 192 of her

Krista Van Hauen – Current Queen Bees head coach brought three years of experience as a Division I assistant, one at Bradley and two at Northern Colorado, to St. Ambrose. Last year’s 29-5 record was the best debut by any of SAU’s 10 women’s coaches.

own. She led the Queen Bees to the national tournament five times.


After three seasons as a Fennelly assistant at Iowa State, Pingeton became head coach at Illinois State. There, her teams won three conference championships and advanced to a pair of NCAA tourneys from 2003–10. She is in her second season of rebuilding at Missouri and opened the season with a 351-175 career record. McDowell, a Rock Island native, played a lone SAU season under Pingeton in 1995–96, leading a 27-7 team in scoring, assists and steals. She launched her coaching career as an SAU student assistant the following year and then spent 11 years as an assistant at some of the top Division I programs in the country before becoming head coach at Western Michigan in 2008. She was let go in March after failing to turn around the WMU program. Fennelly also is a 500-game winner over 23 seasons of head coaching, 17 at Iowa State. He wasn’t looking to

Bill Fennelly Head Coach, Iowa State University 1995–present Assistant Coach, St. Ambrose University 1976

coach when he enrolled at St. Ambrose as a freshman, but Duax, a family friend, asked if he would be interested in helping launch a women’s program. “I really enjoyed it and appreciated that chance,” Fennelly said. “It got me hooked to do what I have done all my life.” Women’s basketball was just a club sport that inaugural season, but it has gone on to become arguably the most successful varsity program on campus with an 844-287 record over its first 35 campaigns, each of those a winning season.=

There were so many people who were willing to put their arms around us, help guide us, mold us, lead us and mentor us. Those are the kind of people who are at St. Ambrose. They allow you to spread your wings and be successful.

—Robin Becker Pingeton ’90


Tasha McDowell ’98 Head Coach, Western Michigan University 2008–12 Assistant Coach, St. Ambrose University 1997

Duax, Dave Day and Ken Buckles had solid success

“That wasn’t happening at that level then,” Pingeton said.

prior to Bluder’s arrival in ’84, but the program truly

“I don’t know if it happens now at that level, to be honest

found legs with her on the bench and Becker on the

with you.

floor. “Give a ton of credit to Lisa and to that administration

“It’s amazing how a place like that can have such a huge impact on your life,’’ Pingeton added. “There were so many

when she was there,” Pingeton said. “She had to pave a

people there who were willing to put their arms around us,

new way of thinking. I think she brought that mindset

help guide us, mold us, lead us and mentor us. Those are the

of what it took to be successful in that program. That

kind of people that are at St. Ambrose. They allow you to

opened the door for me. And from there, it opened the

spread your wings and be successful.”

door for Tasha.” Bluder said the support of Rogalski, Fox and then Vice President of Finance Ed Henkhaus ‘64 allowed her to create an attractive program for recruits via road trips

Pingeton said key lessons were learned from wearing so many different hats while commanding a small college program. “You’re the equipment manager, you wash uniforms,

to California and Florida, and games vs. big-school oppo-

there’s no task that is beneath you,” she said. “You really

nents like Notre Dame, Iowa State and Bradley.

have to roll up your sleeves and do everything.”

“I think St. Ambrose let us out of the box a little bit and let us try different things to be successful,” Bluder said. Rogalski said Bluder and her successors helped themselves by recruiting smart players who could supplement partial grants with academic scholarship money.

McDowell said one thing she learned in her two years with the program is that SAU coaches do everything the right way. “It was a school and a program of integrity,” she said, “and I try to run my program that same way.” Pingeton agreed, noting her central mission as a coach

Players also engaged in fundraising. And alumni bene-

today is the same as it was for her first game as the queen

factors helped with the beefed-up travel budgets as well,

Queen Bee.

Rogalski said. Rogalski, though, said that putting women’s sports on

“I don’t care if I am coaching NAIA or Division I,” she said. “It’s about the opportunity to give back to a sport you love,

the same level as men’s was important at St. Ambrose

really impact players’ lives and give them a chance to be suc-

and said that meant going beyond federally mandated


Title IX funding. “We wanted to make a commitment that was not just the routine one,” he said. Bluder and Pingeton said support at St. Ambrose went beyond the bottom line, citing a team/family approach that included the help of current men’s coach and athletic director Ray Shovlain ’79, ’82 MBA and countless others like Don “Duke” Schneider ’76, who televised games and coaches shows on SAUtv. 25

They all come with different emotions… But when they get here, they know what to expect. This is a home and we are a family.



TREATfoodHOUSE: for body and spirit Visit Project Renewal’s Treat House after school and you’ll see what director Ann Schwickerath ’98 calls “organized chaos.” A less discerning eye might miss the “organized” piece of the scene, though: 30-some kids sit, slouch and sprawl elbow-to-elbow as they chatter, do homework, eat snacks, play video games and clown around. It’s noisy, cluttered and smells like feet. Organized? Only a pro could tell. And after 19 years, Schwickerath is a pro. As the accidental director of this after-school and summer program for Davenport’s inner city kids—she went from an intern to director overnight, when the previous director unexpectedly stepped down —Schwickerath has played Treat House mom since 1993. Accident or not, she says it’s the only job for her now. It would be a tough sell for many people. Situated across from a one-time crack house (it was raided less than five years ago), down the alley from a soup kitchen on one corner and transitional housing on the other, and two houses away from a facility for courtordered rehab for delinquent teenage boys, working at the Treat House might seem a little … Dangerous? Schwickerath shrugs. “You can run into trouble anywhere,” she said. “This is a safe haven.” Project Renewal was created in 1973 by Sister Concetta Bendicente, PHJC, at Warren and West Fifth streets in Davenport. Disturbed by the large number of unsupervised children roaming the neighborhood day and night, she wanted to give the children structure, caring and a bite to eat. That bite to eat spawned the nickname, the Treat House. But it’s clear the place—and the resident mom—provide sustenance on many levels. “I remember every moment a child has sat on my lap and said, ‘I wish you were my mom,’” Schwickerath said. “They all come to us with

by Susan Flansburg

different emotions. Maybe they didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe their house was raided last night. Maybe they didn’t have dinner and are really hungry. But when they get here, they know what to expect. This is a home and we are a family.” The family includes assistant director Carl Calloway, several SAU student volunteers and volunteers from churches, schools and other organizations throughout the greater community. Three or four paid interns also assist during the full-time summer program, as did Schwickerath when she first came on board. Newly graduated with a University of Iowa social work degree and a burgeoning sense of social justice, Schwickerath brought her brand of quiet progress to Project Renewal. As Project Renewal transitioned from a part-time playtime program to Schwickerath’s family-style home with structure and rules, she began to get the urge to go back to school to pursue art education. She chose St. Ambrose, she said, because she didn’t want to leave Treat House. Her choice turned out to be serendipitous. “The social justice mission resonated for me,” she said. “And the faculty and staff were so supportive. Still are. They prepare students who make great interns and volunteers here.” Schwickerath cites a wonderful synergy between the SAU students and Project Renewal’s inner city kids. “Our kids have maybe never known someone who’s worked to achieve their potential and dreamed big,” she said. “It’s hard to break the cycle of their poverty without showing them what can be. They won’t believe it can happen. St. Ambrose students reinforce that it can, just by being here.” Learn more about Project Renewal at



䊲 WINE TIME Preview dinner Saturday, April 14, 2012 6 p.m. Reception 7 p.m. Dinner, live auction,

Preview Events Uncork Wine Festival In early March, Wine at the Warehouse served as an introduction to this year’s St. Ambrose University Wine Festival, the opening act of a trifecta that’s proven its staying power since the festival debuted 10 years ago. Next up is the Wine Festival Preview Dinner on April 14, which allows patrons to meet a featured vendor, Smith Madrone Vineyards, and try their wines. “Plus, guests can bid on specialized auction items that focus on wine trips and specialty wines,” said dinner chairperson Molly Carroll. “In recent years we’ve had a theme that made it more exciting, so that you feel like you’re in the heart of wine country.” In the past decade, the wine festivals have raised more than $500,000, much of that as a result of the efforts of several volunteers who have no immediate connection to St. Ambrose. “It’s incredibly compelling that the mission of the university still speaks to them,” said Alumni Directorr Amy Hoover Jones ’02. There has been a concerted effort to make the festival a bigger event through the three components. For example, at the Preview Dinner this year, there will be a boutique wine auction featuring wine that can’t be purchased in the Quad Cities. An additional enticement to attend the Preview Dinner is that the $125 ticket price includes a ticket to the May 19 Wine Festival.


entertainment Rogalski Center Ballroom $125 per person Wine Festival Saturday, May 19, 2012 3–6 p.m. St. Ambrose University campus (outdoors) $45 per person for advance tickets, $50 at festival For a full 2012 Wine Fest schedule visit


The Gift of Giving Scholarship Puts Student Back on Track Against her parents’ best advice, Alexa Vikel (left) tried life as a “grown up” without the benefit of a college education. “After all, “ she recalled, “I was 18 and thought I knew more than they did.” Working 60 hours a week and still “barely getting by” convinced her that college had merit, after all. So Vikel followed her mother from Texas to Davenport and enrolled at St. Ambrose University to pursue a degree in business management in January 2009. “It was the best decision I have made to date,” she said. Mike Humes ’69 understands. He worked 60-hour weeks himself after graduating from Rock Island High School. But after he punched out following his weeknight shifts as a spot welder at International Harvester, Humes would make his way to St. Ambrose for classes from 8 a.m. to noon. “And then,” he said, “I would go home, study, go to bed, get up and be at IH by eleven to do it all over again. Weekends, I pumped gas. I was tired. I was tired a lot.“ Now 65 and retired from a successful business career as founder of Mutual Med, Inc., Humes still feels a keen sense of pride in his hard-earned St. Ambrose education. Yet one thing makes him prouder. That’s when members of the Mike and Mary Humes Scholars program collect St. Ambrose degrees of their own, then

move on to “become productive, responsible adults.” Chief among the reasons Humes and his wife, Mary, (right) established the need-based scholarship program in 2002 is that jobs like those he leaned on to work his way through school aren’t nearly as available today. They didn’t want to see a lack of money stand between a willing student and success. “Students don’t have to be getting straight A’s,” said Humes, a member of the SAU Board of Trustees. “But good kids doing their best to get an education who, for whatever reason, run out of money, we want to help.” Vikel was preparing to withdraw from St. Ambrose in fall 2010 because her mother had lost her job and Vikel lost access to student loans because she lacked proof of parental employment. “Then I got news that I received the Humes Scholarship,” Vikel said. “I cannot even put into words how wonderful that blessing was. My mom and I probably cried for an hour because we were so happy.” “Mr. and Mrs. Humes believed With a big assist from the in me to help me live out my Humes Scholars program, which has helped 25 to 40 dreams. I want to do the same Ambrose students each year for someone in the future.” over the past decade, Vikel —Alexa Vikel expects to graduate next December. Beyond that, she hopes to enroll in the St. Ambrose MBA program. And beyond that? Well, Vikel doesn’t know where she is headed, but said she plans to look back by giving back. She hopes to someday endow a scholarship program of her own. “Like Mr. and Mrs. Humes believed in me to help me live out my dreams, I want to do the same for someone in the future,” she said. Humes likes hearing that “pay it forward” attitude. “That makes me feel as good about what we’re doing as anything,” he said.




The Fifties

Robert Glendon ’51 has published his fourth book, “Forgotten Times Remembered: During the Great Depression” via AuthorHouse. Glendon describes the novel as a “warm look at a grim time.”


The Sixties

James Maher ’68 retired in 2008 and since then has been spending his time between the Philippines and Florida, enjoying both places. Bob Zahlmann ’68 retired from Regions Bank where he was production manager. He spent the past 28 years in mortgage banking working for BancBoston, Chase, and Regions banks. Bob and his wife Chris reside in Indialantic, Fla.


The Seventies

Rick Martenson ’72 opened his own counseling practice, QCCounselor PLC, in Davenport this past September. In December, Mike Duffy ’73 received the Man of the Year award from the Miami Project and its Midwestern fundraising arm, the Chicago Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.


The Eighties

Kelcey Chandler ’80, after selling her chiropractic practice in 2000 to spend more time with her children, went sailing around the world.


Kelcey and her family now reside in New Zealand, where they have lived for five years.


The Nineties

Todd Sturdy ’90 has joined Iowa State’s football staff as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He had been offensive coordinator at Washington State University since 2008 following one season in that role at Eastern Washington University. Sturdy was 85-40 in 12 seasons as head coach at St. Ambrose prior to that. Randee Duncan ’97 MBA is a member of the Plus 60 Club board. The Plus 60 program, sponsored by the Quad-City Times, encourages seniors to be active mentally and physically as well as encouraging interaction with a diverse community group. Jen (Boyle) Walker ’99 is an environmental manager at EnviroNET, Inc. in Davenport. She was appointed to the Diocese of Davenport’s Finance Council in 2011 and nominated to the St. Ambrose Alumni Board in January.


The Zeros

Chris Ingstad ’02, ’04 MBA was appointed vice president at Pearl Mutual Funds in Muscatine and his wife Sarah (Trokey) Ingstad ’07, ’09 MBA, is the executive director at Sunnybrook Assisted Living. The couple makes their home in Muscatine. Mimi (Krupke) Clark ’04 is the marketing coordinator for Western

New Mexico University, Silver City, N.M.

Justin Trine ’02,’03 MBA and Kate VenHorst, Davenport

Matt Jennings ’06 MBA was appointed as the head volleyball coach at Michigan Tech University, Houghton, Mich.

Alecia Logan ’04 and Ryan Burns, Orlando, Fla.

Chad Driscoll ’08 is a program officer for education and youth development for the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services in Des Moines, Iowa.


The Teens

Jenny Clark ’10 was inducted into the Cambridge High School Hall of Fame in December, for her achievements in basketball. Rachael Crawford ’10 is a sales development representative for Yodle, Inc., Austin, Texas. Abbey Curran ’11 is the breast health representative for the Methodist Medical Center, Breast Health Recruitment and Assessment program, Peoria, Ill. The Charlotte Knights, a minor league baseball team in Fort Mill, S.C., hired Audrey Stanek ‘11 to work in their client services and community relations department.


Margaret Speer ’89, ’96 and Dana Curtin, Jacksonville, Fla. Jenny Pender ’95 and Tim Staub, Riverdale, Iowa Craig Burkle ’00 and Jessica Schalk, Davenport Melissa Lowary ’00 and Cory Hart, Urbandale, Iowa

Ty Rakestraw ’07 and Melissa Bond, Peoria, Ill. Nicole Frotscher ’08 and Brett Stang, Scottsdale, Ariz. John Hammar ’08, ’09 MAcc and Karen Haycraft ’10, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jake Toft ’09 and Kayla Williams ’11, Davenport Alicia Brown ‘10 and Brian Werner, Moline, Ill. Steven Claeys ’11 and Heidi Kroeger, Davenport Matthew Dunn ’11 and Arielle Willson ’11, Maquoketa, Iowa


Christina (Patterson) Meeker ’87 and her husband Randy, welcomed the arrival of their new baby boy, Charles Michael, on Mar. 12, 2011. Charlie joined siblings Matt, Sarah, and Jackie in the Meeker clan. Ken ’91 and Melissa (Lee) Harbauer ’93, are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Savannah Marie, born Oct. 20, 2011. Chris Salrin ’97 and wife Dayla, had a son, Nathan, on Feb. 5, 2012. Nathan was welcomed home by brothers Tyler and Andrew. Sean Smith ’99, ’01 MOT and his wife Mary, brought home a baby girl, Catherine, born on July 7, 2011. Catherine joins sister Isabel and brothers Joe and Conner.

Jeremy Koch ’02 is the project director for the USAID-funded Teach English for Life Learning (TELL) Program in Ethiopia. He and his wife, Kimberly, have lived in Africa for more than four years. Koch agreed to share his observations about the ongoing drought and famine on the Horn of Africa with fellow Ambrosians. Jason ’00 MPT and Andrea (Moss) Elgin ’00 MPT welcomed a baby boy, Eli, to their family on Dec. 29, 2011. Eli is little brother to Kaitlyn, Jadyn, and Alexis. Elizabeth (Boardman) Hulsbrink ’00 and her husband Jeff celebrated the birth of their daughter, Elouise, on Oct. 5, 2011. Elouise was welcomed home by her big sister Clare. Eric ’01 and Amy (Bialon) Jensen ’01 are happy to announce the birth of their son, Luke Thomas, born on July 6, 2011. Adam ’02, ’04 MOL and Mimi (Krupke) Clark ’04, are happy to announce a new addition to their family, Caden Kwan, on Mar. 10, 2011. Joe ’03 and his wife Trina (Gillen) Murray ’04 celebrated the birth of twin daughters, Rowan Kimberly and Brynn Taylor on July 3, 2011. Allison (Hemphill) Stanley ’03, ’04 MOT and her husband Scott are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Alyssa, on July 18, 2011. Kristy (Hand) Volesky ’03, ’06 MOL and her husband Matt, brought home a baby girl, Katelyn, born on June 29, 2011, who will be a little sister to sibling Brooklyn. Nicole (Blazina) ’04 and David “D.J.)”Brown ’05 celebrated the birth of a baby girl, Addison Marie, on Nov. 3, 2011. Lindsay (Crane) Vargas ’04 and her husband, Kevin, are the proud parents of a girl, Maggie, born Aug. 27, 2011.

Hope in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa is no stranger to drought and famine. There have been 42 droughts in the Horn since 1980. The 2011 famine was caused by the worst drought the region has seen in 60 years. It is a chronic challenge for the people and governments of the region, and many wonder if the Horn will ever be able to rid itself of famine. The World Food Program estimates that more than 13 million people have been affected by the ongoing famine and that number continues to rise. Amid the current emergency response, however, a story of hope has emerged, one starkly at odds with the too-memorable images of the drought and famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s. Efforts of the last 15 years to limit the devastation have borne fruit. That famine affected about 8 million Ethiopians; the current famine is affecting about half that many. Instead of creating refugees, Ethiopia is housing refugee camps to support those fleeing the famine in neighboring countries. Ethiopia is no longer the face of famine; instead it is a part of the response effort. With the support of international development organizations, Ethiopia has made significant investments to expand its water distribution infrastructure and make fertile land more productive. Health extension workers have been mobilized to provide much needed medical care. Cereal banks have been established to ensure that farmers can feed their livestock. There is still a lot of work to do, but the progress is undeniable. To an expatriate living and working in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, the drought is hardly noticeable. This, too, is a

sign of progress. The limited geography of the drought-affected areas helps focus the response effort. Continuing along this path of development means a day may come in the not too distant future when Ethiopia can say that it has brought an end to famine within its borders. This would be a tremendous achievement and could serve as a model of development for other countries suffering from chronic droughts in the Horn of Africa. — Jeremy Koch ’02


Ryan ’05 and Jayne (Lunz) Antonik ’05 are the proud parents of a daughter, Morgan Patricia, born on Sept. 28, 2011.

Across the World for an Ambrosian Wedding

We like to think the bonds formed at SAU are strong enough to carry us halfway across the world. For nearly 20 alumni, and current and former staff, the Ambrosian spirit did just that shortly after the New Year. The Ambrose group trekked to the tiny Middle Eastern island of Bahrain to witness the four-day traditional Indian wedding of Ria Subrahmanyam to her high school sweetheart, Nipuna Panditha (pictured above at Sacred Heart School in Bahrain). By day, the group toured the island. Evenings were It’s nice to know that marked with authentic food and dancing. Each night represented a distinct aspect of the bride’s heritage, no matter where in including a henna night, Arabian night (in tents in the world you meet, the Bahraini desert), Indian night and a traditional other Ambrosians can Western wedding ceremony and reception. The make it feel like home. Ambrosians had the chance to experience an entirely new culture, which was enhanced by the authentic clothing each wore and took home. “Being across the world was the trip of a lifetime, but getting to experience everything with other Ambrosians made it seem surreal,” said Heather Behrens ’10. “It’s nice to know that no matter where in the world you meet, other Ambrosians can make it feel like home.” Matt Hansen, St. Ambrose director of residence life, made the trip with his wife, Jayme, and their two children. Also in Bahrain were Ambrosians Erin Craghead MOL ’10, Steph DeLacy ’09, Alan Hartley MEA ’11, Diane Hennan ’09, Seth Kaltwasser ’09, Mike Lindsey, Grant Legan ’10, Megan Steahr ’09 and Heather Venema ’06, MOL ’08, and current student Mary Schechinger.

“ ”

— Heather Venema


Rick ’05, ’06 MAcc and Lindsay (Miller) Schaefer ‘05 welcomed the first addition to their family, a girl, Olivia Noelle, on Nov. 22, 2011.


John “Jack” Nagle ’38 Academy, ’42, Bettendorf, Iowa, Jan. 24, 2012 Dan Flynn ’39, Rock Island, Dec. 28, 2011 Willard “Bill” King ’40, Davenport, Dec. 26, 2011 Theodore “Ted” Lapka ’42, Naperville, Ill., Dec. 1, 2011 Leo Swett ’47, Waukegan, Ill., Dec. 28, 2011 Donald Manson ’48 Academy, ‘52, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 24, 2011 Daniel Lawlor ’49, Clinton, Iowa, Jan. 7, 2012 Joseph Bush ’50 Academy, The Villages, Fla., Nov. 12, 2011 Rex Concannon ’50, Riverdale, Iowa, Jan. 12, 2012 Rev. William ‘Digger’ Dawson ’50, Davenport, Dec. 13, 2011 Domenico Dilulio ’50, Sherrard, Ill., Nov. 6, 2011 Dr. Thomas Mogan ’50, Nashville, Tenn., June 11, 2011 Dr. Donald Heming ’51, Davenport, Dec. 23, 2011 James Murphy ’51 Academy,’56, LeClaire, Iowa, Sept. 16, 2011


Found Ring Comforts Alum’s Family

Bobby Williams ’52, East Moline, Ill., Dec. 10, 2011

Kenneth Hanger ’79, Moline, Ill., Jan. 7, 2012

Lawrence Eck ’53, Westmont, Ill., Dec. 11, 2011

Douglas Brown ’83, West Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 1, 2011

Roy Buckrop ’56, Moline, Ill., Nov. 1, 2011

Brian Carey ’84 MBA, Carmel, Ind., Dec. 6, 2011

Eugene Walton ’57, Cumming, Ga., Dec. 2, 2011

Robert “Bob” Jurevitz ’86, Bettendorf, Iowa, Nov. 19, 2011

Celestino “Chele” George ’59, Bettendorf, Iowa, Jan. 7, 2012

Robert “Bob” Bakula ’94 MBA, Guntesville, Ala., July 31, 2011

Ronald Janssens ’59, Rock Island, Nov. 15, 2011

Michelle Kolar ’99, Davenport, Nov. 3, 2011

Rev. Ernest Braida ’60, Knoxville, Iowa, Jan. 6, 2012

Hannah Joy Olson ’11 MSW, West Salem, Wis., Sept. 18, 2011

George Doe ’61, Clinton, Iowa, Dec. 11, 2011

Faculty and Staff

Marvin Doyle ’61, Argyle, Iowa, Aug. 7, 2011

Rev. William ‘Digger’ Dawson ’50, Davenport, Dec. 13, 2011

John Meier ’62, Cedar Falls, Iowa, June 24, 2011

Mary Jo Meier, Rock Island, Ill., Nov. 20, 2011

F. Eugene “Gene” Bender ’63, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 29, 2011 Dr. Thomas Bowen ’63, Solon, Iowa, Aug. 20, 2011 Mark Love ’64, Newton, NJ, Nov. 29, 2011 Joseph Brady ’65, Davenport, Nov. 7, 2011 Thomas Drew ’66, Dixon, Ill., Oct. 24, 2011 Richard Podlashes ’67, East Moline, Ill., Nov. 6, 2011 Robert Vescio ’72, Pewaukee, Wisc., April 15, 2011 Michael Randolph ’74, Anamosa, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2011 Idalia “Dally” Leese ’76, Bloomington, Ill., Dec. 15, 2010 Rev. Theodore “Ted” Borger ’79, Verona, Wis., Dec. 16, 2011

What’s New? Let us know what you’ve been up to! Drop us a note at Alumni Relations, St. Ambrose University, 518 W. Locust St., Davenport, Iowa 52803 or go online to share updates. Be sure to include your full name, class year and a phone number or email address where we can contact you to verify your information. online extra: tell us what’s new at

It was one of their legendary family reunions on Thanksgiving weekend, 2011. Gathered at a Wisconsin waterpark were the daughters of the late David Schlichting ’75, their mother, spouses, and all their children and grandchildren. “The whole time we were talking about rings,” said Michelle “Shelly” O’Brien, Schlichting’s oldest daughter. During the weekend, middle daughter Lisa had a moment of panic when she looked down at her ring-less left hand. “She laughed, remembering that she had left her wedding ring at home because she was afraid of losing it on the waterslide,” O’Brien said. “Throughout the weekend there were ring gifts too,” she added. “I bought Lisa a ring for her upcoming birthday and my sister Stacy brought my granddaughter Melissa a mood ring. It was uncanny.” But there was another ring waiting for the sisters, one that would bring unexpected comfort. When Lisa returned home to Batavia, Ill., she found a message about a 1975 St. Ambrose class ring that had been found in a sewer in Eldridge, Iowa. “Because of the initials inside the band, the university had traced it to our father and because he had “This was a sign from our dad, passed away, and suddenly the whole weekend they called my all tied together.” sister,” O’Brien said. Their father graduated from St. Ambrose at the age of 34. How his class ring ended up in a sewer baffled the sisters. Schlichting, who died in 2004, had been a 30-year employee of Iowa American Water Co., but had only worked at the plant. “I automatically started crying when Lisa called me with the news,” O’Brien said. “We’re Catholic and firm believers in signs. This was a sign from our dad, and suddenly the whole weekend all tied together. I believe my Dad is watching over us. “We lost him so young, but we will forever hold him in our thoughts, memories and hearts.” —Jane Kettering

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Thinking Pink The St. Ambrose Queen Bees basketball squad was among many decked out in pink on Feb. 4 at the PE Center. The team’s annual breast cancer awareness event became a celebration of Ray and Betsy Shovlain’s biggest win ever. In support of Betsy‘s successful battle vs. breast cancer, the SAU community raised $1,800 for the Kramer Society of the Quad-Cities. For a video interview with Betsy Shovlain and more “Pink Out’’ pictures, visit

Scene Magazine | Spring 2012  
Scene Magazine | Spring 2012  

Scene is published by the Communications and Marketing office for the alumni, students, parents, friends, faculty and staff of St. Ambrose U...