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The Magazine of St. Ambrose University | Fall 2013

Endowed Gifts: Keeping Our Roots Strong ALSO INSIDE: Legacy Scholarship Will Help Alumni Children



The Magazine of St. Ambrose University Fall 2013 | Volume XXXIX | Number 3 Managing Editor

Contributing Writers

Linda Hirsch

Kate Anderson

Editor Craig DeVrieze Staff Writer Jane Kettering Staff Assistant Darcy Duncalf ’12

Susan Flansburg Steven Lillybeck Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04 Designer Sally Paustian ’94

Photo and illustration credits John Mohr Photography: front cover, inside front cover, pages 4–5, 8, 14–15, 22; Dan Videtich: front cover, pages 6–7, 10–13, 16–19, 21, 24. 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 28,000. 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

3 2 Under the Oaks The life of Munir Sayegh ’11 has come full circle as he circles the globe for his alma mater; the award-winning SAU Dance Marathon gears up for another year; and a professor’s chemistry with St. Ambrose extends well beyond the classroom.

12 20


Alumni Profile


12 Lighting the Way

24 Dedicated to Diversity

Keeping the light of educational opportunity burning

Thomas Mason IV ’91 felt welcomed at St. Ambrose, an

at St. Ambrose is a mission for endowment donors like

experience he remembers still “as the best thing that ever

Daniel Broderick ’82, MD.

happened to me.” He is working to help future Ambrosians

14 Rooted to the Future The St. Ambrose endowment fund and the generous donors who help it grow will keep the university financially secure and ready to share its mission with generations of Ambrosians yet to come.

17 Reaching Back Many of the donors who endow scholarships at St. Ambrose remember the hand they were extended when they were students. Now, it is their turn to give a hand up to students in need.

22 Jane’s Gift

feel that way now.

26 Alumni News Meet three St. Ambrose graduates who became college presidents; see how a positive attitude produced a positive life for Jennifer (Vaughan) Kennedy ’03, ’04 DPT; learn how a scholarship awaits every child of SAU alumni who enrolls here beginning next year; and read how love grew through basketball for two Fighting Bees couples.

30 Class Notes

About the Ambrosian…

For much of her adult life, the late Jane Folwell

If you wondered if your September copy of the Ambrosian

worked in Washington DC. As a noted QC

was lost in the mail, wonder no more. We have discontinued

philanthropist in the second chapter of her life, she endowed the first academic chair in SAU history.

publication of the newsletter you had been receiving three times each year in favor of focusing on more regular means of communicating news about St. Ambrose. If you don’t subscribe to the monthly AmbroseZine e-newsletter via email, we encourage you to do so. Also check out our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. To find links to SAU e-media, visit


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NAACP Student Chapter Wins Community Support

In a matter of minutes at the Davenport NAACP’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet in September, members stepped up to support a new St. Ambrose NAACP campus chapter. “They raised $920 on the spot,” said Ryan Saddler ’95, ’06 MEd, the recently appointed SAU director of diversity. “In five minutes. It was really, really neat.” Banquet attendees were responding to a request by speaker Kameron Middlebrooks, who noted the ongoing battle for equal rights won’t be won by an aging older guard. “One of the main things this speaker emphasized is that many of the struggles through the years were fought by college-aged youth,” Saddler said. “I think that’s what they’re looking at. Who has the voice and the energy? It’s the youth.” The creation of the first NAACP campus chapter in several years will continue an intentional effort to increase diversity at St. Ambrose. Saddler said starting a campus chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) also is under consideration.

Read more about diversity at St. Ambrose at

When Pope John Paul II visited Iowa’s Living History Farms in 1979, Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant ’80, PhD, then

‘Fr. Bud’ Brings Sustainable Living to Forefront

a St. Ambrose student, served as an acolyte for the outdoor Mass. It was during that visit that Fr. Grant—and the world— heard the first articulation of environmental theology by a pope. “Catholic environmental theology was born,” said Fr. Grant. Fast-forward to 2013, when, despite the efforts of many individuals, “We live in a society that is unsustainable,” according to Fr. Grant. One of the organizers of the 2013–14 St. Ambrose project series on Sustainability, Fr. Grant sees the lectures, concerts, projects and discussions as having


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Around-the-World Assignment Brings Recruiter Full Circle

f not for the good work of an international recruiter, Munir Sayegh ’11 wouldn’t be here. An international recruiter brought Sayegh’s father, Atallah, from his native Palestine to Hesston College in Kansas in 1979. Two years later, Atallah transferred to Kansas State in nearby Manhattan, where he met his future wife, Gwen. Munir was born in Wichita, Kan., a few years later, starting down a path that led to an undergraduate career at St. Ambrose. Now, a serendipitous twist in that path has led him back to SAU as his alma mater’s first full-time international recruiter. “It’s kind of funny how things have come full circle for my family,” Sayegh said. “I always knew I wanted to do something to be a bridge between the United States and the Middle East.” Sayegh spent a year in Egypt as a US Fulbright student between his junior and

senior years at St. Ambrose. His busy passport already included numerous stamps from the Middle East. Growing up, he frequently visited his father’s family in Jordan. As an SAU undergrad, he also spent a study abroad semester in Morocco. Now, he will travel the world in search of new Ambrosians as SAU builds on recent efforts to grow its international student population. John Cooper, St. Ambrose vice president for enrollment management, said Sayegh was a perfect fit for the position. “His knowledge and passion for St. Ambrose, combined with his experience internationally, make him the perfect person to get this important initiative launched,” Cooper said. The plan is to increase the number of international students to 120 within the next three years. Sayegh said the current total of 72 international students

represents just 1.3 percent of SAU’s total enrollment, while US colleges and universities average 3 percent. Sayegh, who traveled to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq in September and to China in October, speaks English and French—his SAU minor—as well as two dialects of Arabic. He is certain the value of the St. Ambrose experience will translate across the globe. And he is confident new and diverse student perspectives will prove valuable here at home. “It would be an enriching experience for our students,” he said. “International students bring different culture to campus. It is a good initiative allaround.” Read more about International Admissions at St. Ambrose at

one chief objective: to heighten awareness and,

lecture. Baecke Lecturer Wes Jackson will discuss his

hopefully, help bring about change.

research into native plants as food sources. There

“Environmental issues are so grave and so rapidly

even will be a “Sustainability Concert,” featuring a

advancing, the whole global community must be

new composition by Music Department Chair William

mobilized to address them on an infrastructure and

Campbell, PhD, said Fr. Grant.

governmental level,” he said. Among the topics that will be addressed during the project series are sustainable agriculture, a shift from

In the end, living in a more sustainable way— individually and collectively—fits the St. Ambrose mission to enrich lives, Fr. Grant said.

coal and oil to alternative energy sources, and the use

“We have an obligation to intentionally reduce our

of carbon trades and other examples of collective and

standard of living and to shift the burden from those

corporate sustainability initiatives.

suffering the most as a result of ecological damage,

This spring, theologian John Haught, widely

to we who have caused it,” he said. “Christ set a clear

recognized as a contributor to the dialogue about faith

example of this kind of ‘redistributive suffering.’”

and science, will give the Chair of Catholic Studies

Read more about the Sustainability project at


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Fulbright Scholar Paints Pictures with Numbers

The presence of Fulbright Scholar Ngan Hoe Lee, PhD, at St. Ambrose is providing a unique learning opportunity for students in the SAU School of Education. Lee was selected by the Fulbright program as one of only 800 foreign faculty and education professionals funded to teach or conduct research in the United States this year. “To be selected as a host school for a Visiting Fulbright Scholar in Residence is quite an honor,” said Tom Carpenter, PhD, director of the School of Education. “We are pleased to have Dr. Lee with us this year and our students are taking full advantage of his expertise.” Lee is from Singapore, where he serves as an assistant professor at the National Institute of Education. Besides teaching, Lee is involved in international comparative studies in

the fields of teacher education and mathematics curriculum development. He consults with curriculum planners and teachers from Bhutan to Chile, from the United Kingdom to China. Lee knows math. But it’s not just math—it is Singapore Math, a methodology increasingly being adopted by school districts across the United States. Among other distinctions, Singapore Math encourages a creative, interactive approach to problem solving. “Many people see math as a lonely, individual journey,” said Lee. “I see math as a social activity, a beautiful picture.” Lee’s time at St. Ambrose includes working with students in the teacher education program, collaborating with faculty, making community presentations and providing in-services to local k–12 schools. Lee also is quick to articulate his own desire to learn from his year as a Fulbright and from his experience at St. Ambrose. Among the things he most wants to impart to students is his passion for mathematics. “I want to excite them,” said Lee. “Every subject is a beautiful picture.” Learn more about Singapore Math at


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Associate Vice President for Advancement Ed Finn ’94 MBA remembers when the O’Rourke family offered its financial support for SAU’S assistive technology showcase house. Jim’s Place was dedicated in memory of the O’Rourke’s beloved brother and son. “That was an example of a very joyful giving experience,” Finn said. “Through their gift, they are impacting the lives of others in very meaningful ways.”

Finn on Philanthropy From the Greek: philos: loving + anthrōpos: man “In advancement, we get to witness philanthropy, love of humankind. Watching someone change lives by sharing what they have.”

What is Giving? “I believe that everything we have is from God, on loan to us,” Finn said. “We share what we have and help others.”

An Influential Read As a shy and introverted teenager, Finn discovered Dale Carnegie’s iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. “That was a life-changer,” he said. “My whole

Who is SAU? Ed Finn

outlook changed and I started to realize that I could make something of myself with God’s help.”

Getting ‘Batty’ at the Alumni House Finn, whose office is located in the historic Alumni House, reports he occasionally receives an unexpected visitor—and it’s not an alumnus. Confused bats are captured and then released.

Finn Facts > Early-on, worked at Marycrest College, “quite the rival of St. Ambrose at the time.” > Hired by SAU in 1991. > Works out every day—usually at 5 a.m. > Leads the children’s liturgy at his parish. > His brother Steve is general manager of Sodexo Food Service on campus. > He considers St. Ambrose not just an employer, but family.




St. Ambrose had a problem. Windows as old as Ambrose Hall itself

Ambrose Hall that is nearing completion.

needed replacing. The problem was, many

Among Menke’s many Ambrosian

of the building’s wooden-framed windows

memories are classroom hours in the

were rounded at the top, and new energy

wintertime, sitting near those same drafty,

efficient, aluminum-framed windows don’t

single-paned, century-old windows with his

meet those specifications.

heavy coat on.

Lucky for St. Ambrose, Jeff Menke ’99,

“The radiators ran all the time,” he said.

a senior engineering team leader for Pella

“That will go away with the product we are

Windows and Doors, was ready to put to

providing. These windows are definitely

work problem-solving skills he had learned

energy savers.”

as an engineering student while sitting beside those very same windows. Menke developed the process that helped Pella create an assembly line to build one-of-a-kind replacements that were rectangular on the interior, but with a custom-built curved exterior upper sash. The windows are being installed as part


of the extensive exterior renovation of

MOL Program Challenges and Inspires As a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team in the early 1980s, Greg Stokes learned a few things about leadership and teamwork. Stokes recently learned quite a bit more about both of those important topics through the St. Ambrose Master of Organizational Leadership program. The graduate-level degree program, begun in 2000, will graduate its 400th student at winter commencement. The program is designed to help students develop leadership and people skills that will help them succeed and advance in the workplace. Through once-per-week, nighttime classes and eight-week courses, the program also is built to

The substance surrounds the important distinctions between leadership and management, the value of strategic thinking, planning and communicating, and the power of teamwork in pursuit of agreed upon objectives. A global manager of marketing and sales for Deere and Co., Schwiebert found that focus applicable to her professional and personal life. “I felt I could not only develop myself but also develop the people who report to me,” she said. Jake Montague, a 29-year-old student on track to earn his MOL degree in December 2014, came to his job as a supply management specialist at Deere two

I felt I could not only develop myself but also develop the people who report to me. —Debbie Schwiebert ’07 MOL accommodate working adults. A unique partnership provides SAU classes at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is where Stokes earned his MOL degree in 2011. Debbie Schwiebert ’07 MOL was looking to cross an item off her bucket list when she enrolled in the program in her early 50s. Classroom discussions with fellow students 10, 20 and even 30 years younger were a highlight of her MOL experience. “The combination was stimulating, inspiring and substantive,” she said.

years ago, intent on never again holding a supervisory position. Now, having studied concepts such as conflict management, decision making and team building, he feels prepared to lead again in the workplace. “Because of what the MOL has taught me, challenged me with, forced me to look at within myself,” he said, “I believe I can not only do the job, but I can do the job well and effectively.” Learn more about the MOL degree program at

Best New Dance Marathon Award-winning Dance Marathon Thinking Big

Neon orange shirts and lime green shorts were a mark of Ambrosian distinction at the Quad City Marathon in September. That was the uniform of the day for 68 SAU students who ran the race to raise

awareness of the SAU Dance Marathon. In July, last year’s event was named the Best New Dance Marathon in the nation after raising $48,000 for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. “We were up against some giant schools,” Dance Marathon Executive Director and senior nursing student Amanda McClure said. “To be able to get that recognition at a conference with 300 other Dance Marathon groups in attendance was just wonderful.”

Now, get used to seeing the neon shirts and shorts. Involvement on campus is growing for the 2014 Dance Marathon, which will be held April 5. At Club Fest in September, more than 300 students signed up to learn more about the cause. The Dance Marathon group got started on achieving an ambitious goal of raising $60,000 with a “For The Kids Week” fundraising push in midNovember. “Last year our goal was $15,000 and we ended up with almost $50,000,” McClure noted. “So who knows what we’ll raise this year?” More about St. Ambrose Dance Marathon at


“I’m on your side and, together, we are going to master this stuff.”



by Craig DeVrieze


Impact Beyond the Classroom

ook this man lead billing on The Last Comical Chemist Standing. “Two sodium atoms are walking down the street,” Art Serianz, PhD, began with the dry, halting delivery that has been a staple in St. Ambrose chemistry classrooms since 1975. “One of them says to the other, ‘Oh my gosh. I’ve lost my electron.’ The first one says, ‘Are you sure?’ And the other one says, ‘Yes. I’m positive.’” The punch line might not immediately register with non-science types. (“When an atom loses its electron, it becomes positively charged,” Serianz readily explained.) But, trust this SAU classroom icon: that old standard positively kills in Chemistry 101 and it has for nearly 40 years. Because the years haven’t remotely dulled his passion for science, his dedication to his students, nor his devotion to St. Ambrose, Serianz said he will be mixing a small dose of cornball humor with large dashes of basic and advanced chemistry concepts for at least a couple more years. And that is great news for incoming SAU students. Serianz twice has been a nominee for Faculty Member of the Year, and he currently is serving his fifth multi-year term as chemistry department chair. His approach to teaching demands attention to detail in an admittedly complex subject, but he also said, “I try to communicate to the students: ‘I’m on your side and, together, we are going to master this stuff.’”

Serianz seemingly was bound for a career in the sciences since he immigrated to the United States with his parents six years after he was born in post-war Germany in 1946. “He blew up many things in his parents’ garage,” shared his wife, Rachel Serianz, PhD, a longtime professor of education at SAU. “He does have a strong passion for science.” That passion, however, is one among many. This prof’s personal chemistry includes a mix of roles as husband, father, chemist, educator, political party leader, fundraiser and avowed supporter of the liberal arts. Serianz’s imprint on St. Ambrose also goes far beyond the classroom. He has chaired or served on numerous SAU work groups, including a 10-year stint on the strategic planning committee. He currently is a member of both the institutional prioritization committee and the planning committee for the new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. The first MPAS cohort, which is expected to start this coming summer, will continue an impressive expansion of the St. Ambrose health sciences curriculum. That is something Serianz is pleased to note has helped raise the profile of the undergraduate science programs. True to his eclectic nature, however, he hopes such growth won’t come at the expense of other departments or programs. “I’m thinking about philosophy, English, music, art and theatre—those core liberal arts,” he said. “I would love to see more humanities and liberal arts majors than there are.”

Serianz routinely has helped put money where those sentiments lie, having served as a part-time grant writer for any number of university projects and programs virtually since his arrival in 1975. Significant successes include a $1.5 million Title III technology grant in 1994, a $1 million Kresge grant to assist construction of the Rogalski Center and countless grants for smaller but no less vital sums in support of academic programs and student scholarships. “You can’t go many places on this campus without seeing something that his grant writing brought us,” Rachel Serianz said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize that.” Barry Ferm, PhD, chemical hygiene officer and laboratory coordinator at Lewis Hall, said that lack of recognition likely is a byproduct of Art Serianz’s understated nature. “He is so low key,” Ferm said. “He kind of runs beneath the radar.” With a dry wit and wry comedic repertoire to match. “A patient comes to see a psychiatrist,” Serianz began again, wearing a mischievous grin. “He says, ‘I’m a teepee. I’m a wigwam. I’m a teepee. I’m a wigwam.’ The psychiatrist says, ‘Relax. You’re two tents.’” He’s here all week. Read more about the St. Ambrose Chemistry Department at



full academic scholarship at St. Ambrose allowed Daniel Broderick ’82, MD, to go on to medical school at the University of Illinois nearly debt-free. He left, instead, with a different sense of indebtedness. “St. Ambrose was really there for me when I needed them,”

said Broderick, now a staff neuroradiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and a member of the St. Ambrose Board of Trustees. “Since I am in a place now where I can afford to be charitable, I want to give my money where I know it is really going to matter. I want other students to have an opportunity for a St. Ambrose education.” Although endowed gifts can impact brick-and-mortar projects, academic programming and research, and, in some cases, even help to purchase books and computers, the essential truth is that every dollar loyal alumni and valued friends of St. Ambrose dedicate to the institution ultimately will impact students. The endowment fund at St. Ambrose has quintupled since 1999 and undergraduate enrollment has grown as well. From his seat on the board, Broderick can see how increasingly interdependent those two areas of growth have become. “Since I have been on the board, I read the news differently,” he said. “Before, I didn’t read about college admission rates or the cost of higher education or the increasing indebtedness of students. A college education is really becoming out of reach for a lot of American families. “And I really believe in the value of a college education.” That is why he is joining the growing number of friends of St. Ambrose who are endowing scholarships and helping grow the endowment fund — to ensure and assist future generations of Ambrosians. Well over half of St. Ambrose’s 80-plus endowed scholarships were added in the past five years, with another 20-plus estate-based endowed scholarships pending. For many students, scholarship assistance opens a door to opportunities they weren’t sure they could experience. Senior biology major Jennifer Rushton plans to follow Broderick into the medical profession as an applicant for the first cohort of SAU’s new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. She likened the scholarship help she received as an undergraduate to finding “light in a dark room.” Endowment donors such as Dan Broderick believe the opportunity to gain a St. Ambrose education is a light that never should be dimmed.


The Endowment: Investing in the Future


Endowed gifts

The Roots of Our Mission by Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04 14

You can grow an oak tree from an acorn. It just takes time.

m The oak is a slow growing tree, often needing three or more decades before it can begin to provide shade. Before it sprouts upward, the oak’s roots dig deep, as far as five feet in its first year alone.

m Today at St. Ambrose, mighty oaks stand that were mere saplings when Ambrose Hall was built 128 years ago. They tower now over our campus icon, held in place by roots that provide a foundation firm enough to stand up to a storm.

m As St. Ambrose University grows in ways its founders might never have imagined, it also must rely on roots that will keep it strong and able to withstand inevitable challenges.

m A healthy, well-supported and growing endowment fund can be the roots that keep a university growing into the future. 15

Wrapping your head around the concept of an endowment— what it actually is and what it can do for a university like St. Ambrose—can be difficult. “In many cases, an endowment is intangible— it’s not like a building you can see or touch after a successful capital campaign,” said Jim Stangle ’82, vice president for advancement. “But I think if we look closely, we do see the benefits of our endowment on the faces of the students who walk on our campus, in the faculty who teach in our classrooms, and in the alumni who live our mission throughout the world.” A strong endowment—built around other philanthropic support—is the foundation of the institution’s future, Stangle said. “Quite simply, our university’s viability depends on our supporters,” he said. “Whether it is the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised through the St. Ambrose Annual Fund each year, a campaign to build or renovate buildings, or one of our endowed scholarships and funds, each ensures that this great place will be here long after all of us are gone.” In strictly financial terms, a university’s endowment is made of a set of investment funds from which regular withdrawals from investment earnings —not typically the principal—can be used for board- or donor-designated purposes. Endowments are funded by donations, which may be tax deductible. For a university like St. Ambrose, a strong endowment also is an indication of strength and stature.


“A strong endowment says definitively that the alumni and friends who support St. Ambrose intend for this place of higher learning to be here permanently,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, president of St. Ambrose. “It means that our supporters believe that the education provided and the lives enriched here are so incredibly significant that they are ready to commit to future generations. They want students 50 or 100 years from now to receive our uniquely Ambrosian education.” A strong and growing endowment also adds value to graduates’ degrees, Stangle added.


The landscape today Figures published this summer in U.S. News and World Report listed the St. Ambrose University endowment at just over $105 million in 2012. That is well above other regional private colleges and universities but just below schools like Augustana College and Luther College (graph at right). Grinnell College in central Iowa, which ranks as the 52nd wealthiest educational institution of any size in the country, reported an endowment of more than $1.38 billion, thanks in part to billionaire Warren Buffet’s role managing finances as a former longtime member of the Board of Trustees. Buttressed by rising investment earnings in a strengthening economy, the St. Ambrose endowment rose to approximately $118 million by June of this year. But Mike Poster ’88, vice president for finance, cautioned that the number fluctuates with the market, “meaning these days it changes all of the time.”

College and university endowments nationwide, including SAU’s, recently have bounced back from the tumultuous economic downturns that rocked institutions of higher education in 2008 and again in 2011. Elite private institutions like Harvard University and Princeton University, which rely heavily on their endowments for operating funds and scholarships, were among those hardest hit, forcing serious cuts in personnel and building projects. St. Ambrose’s daily operations came out relatively unscathed, even with temporary investment losses. That is partly because the university has had a strategy in place for decades that did not rely upon the investment earnings from the endowment to pay for operations. Poster said SAU’s strategy is to determine what it can budget based mostly on enrollment projections, as well as contributions brought in through the St. Ambrose Annual Fund. Five percent of the earnings accrued from endowed scholarships, which make up roughly 10 percent of the institution’s total endowment, are used to fund scholarships that have been started by donors and friends. “We could spend a percentage of our total endowment, moving the investment earnings into resources that we can use,” said Poster. “But at St. Ambrose, we intentionally have not done that. Reinvesting the earnings back into the endowment has in turn grown it and strengthened the institution’s

Private Midwest College and University Endowments

* Source: U.S. News and World Report, 2014 Best Colleges

financial stability for the future.” Poster works with the president and the Finance and Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees—a group made up of financial advisers, entrepreneurs and accountants—to review the university’s financial position on a quarterly basis. 17


strong endowment says… our supporters believe that the education provided and the lives enriched here are so incredibly significant that they are ready to commit to future generations.” —Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD

The university’s money management firm, Goldman Sachs, meets with Poster even more often to discuss St. Ambrose’s investments and make recommendations on how to continue to diversify the portfolio. “Diversity really is the name of the game, as it is for any long-term investor,” Poster said. “We balance making investments that come with some risk with investments that continue to show a strong rate of return. This can soften the impact the fluctuating market has on our funds. One of the important roles of the finance committee is to make our investment policy sound—to ensure that we are appropriately aggressive without putting our strong financial position at risk.”


Nurturing philanthropy Growing the university’s endowment is a priority because not only does it signal to prospective students and parents the strength and sustainability of the institution, it also ensures that future Ambrosians will be able to receive the financial support they may need to realize their educational dreams—something to which most donors can relate. “In our Board of Trustee and Cabinet meetings, we are discussing how we can continue to bolster the academic support and extracurricular programs that we offer, retain and recruit innovative faculty members and welcome the best and brightest students to Ambrose,” Stangle explained. “Increasing our endowment makes possible all of these goals.” With intensified discussions nationwide about 18

access to higher education, Poster said, “affordability will also continue to be critical for St. Ambrose. Endowed scholarships mean that we can slow the rate of tuition increases, which means more students have an opportunity to earn a degree here.” Almost anything the university is currently doing— or wants to do in the future—can be endowed, Stangle said. Benefactors can choose to endow academic programs, faculty chairs and research, international programs or scholarships. When the annual cost to operate a program or hire a faculty position is endowed, it helps ensure the future viability of that program or position. It also frees up funds that can be used to improve other university programs. At St. Ambrose, a scholarship is considered endowed when it reaches $50,000 in cash gifts. Because the university can use 5 percent of the earnings of an endowed fund, some funds are endowed at a higher level based on what donors are hoping to fund out of the earnings. Academic chairs are considered endowed at $1.5 million, giving the university approximately $75,000 in cash to use each year in perpetuity (assuming a 5 percent annual return).


An opportunity for growth Alumni giving at St. Ambrose University currently is at 8 percent. That means that 92 percent of St. Ambrose alumni do not give back financially to the institution at this time. A 2012 survey published by the Council for Aid to Education reported alumni giving averaged 9.2 percent nationwide.

“It’s an opportunity for growth,” acknowledged Stangle, who just completed his first year as vice president for advancement. “What’s important to all of us at the university, first and foremost, is that we are reaching our alumni base more and responding to their needs and offering continued services that support them. “Secondly, we must continue to enhance the way we engage with our alumni philanthropically and through volunteer opportunities,” he added. “I sense that there is a mistaken idea that if you can’t give a large gift, then you shouldn’t give anything. Here, it isn’t all or nothing. Giving at any level makes a difference in our students’ lives. A gift of $1000 makes a difference, as does a gift of $10.” There are steps the university is taking to increase its alumni giving rate—not necessarily how much alumni give, but rather, ensuring that they understand the impact giving has and hoping they might participate in some way. Today, every single Advancement staff member works to re-engage, and in some cases, re-introduce alumni to St. Ambrose. Alumni are also joining forces to help, gathering together as Ambrosians in cities across the country through events like Bee Happy Hour. New approaches to class reunions are bringing more and more people back to the university during Homecoming and other times of the year. “It’s going to take some time, and a lot of effort,” Stangle noted. Which is also what it will take to ensure that the acorn buried in the ground will one day become an oak tree—and stand tall forever. 19

Ambrosians Who Had Helping Hand Reach Back To Offer One

Stan Coin ’51 rose to shake hands with a guest. It was a simple act, yet one that Coin waited years to be able to accomplish. In fact, he spent a large part of his boyhood unable to stand or walk. Osteomyelitis struck him at seven years of age. He didn’t walk again until he returned to school, on crutches, in the 10th grade. Missing ball games, parties and other adventures, Coin learned instead to read novels carefully thanks to a devoted private teacher, to tell great stories

and to value the kind of hard work he longed to be able to do. Today a successful banker, Coin not only has overcome his hard start, but now is reaching back to help those who, like him, just need a helping hand. Like so many others who endow scholarships at St. Ambrose or plan to, Stan Coin is extending that helping hand through higher education. “I was trained to share what I had,” Coin said from the other side of his massive desk at American Bank and Trust. Retired from his position as chairman of the board, he now works “only 40 hours a week.” He’s proud of his experience, which includes a stint following his graduation from SAU as president of his family’s bakery in downtown Rock Island. “My family had a rule at the bakery,” he said. “If anyone came in and was hungry, you had to give them a loaf of bread. We gave away a lot of bread.” But, he added, “I’m not too enthused about just giving free meals. My wife and I believe if you only give a man a fish, you give him a meal. But if you teach him to fish, you give him a livelihood. He can feed his family.” Coin has made a provision through his estate to endow a scholarship to St. Ambrose for future business majors in need. It is a way, the Coins believe, to teach those students how to “fish.” Like Coin, Karen (Clark) Brenot ’01, DO, credits some of her success to the generosity of others. Today a Quad City physician—she practices in obstetrics and gynecology at UnityPoint Clinic—Brenot also is reaching back to help SAU students. Why? Because she needed the help herself.


Brenot grew up near Knoxville, Iowa, in a closeknit family that ate, worked and played together. Few school friends lived nearby. So the Clarks made their own fun, riding bikes near their rural Iowa home, pulling weeds in the huge vegetable garden, piling into the family car for Mass on Sundays and enjoying brunch afterwards. Brenot’s love of science was beginning to grow, too, and she looked for any chance to learn more. SAU’s excellent science department was replete with a cadaver lab (“nobody else had one.”) It filled the bill for this budding doctor, but not without help. “I couldn’t have attended St. Ambrose without a scholarship,” she said. “And I worked three jobs.” Despite long hours working at three different jobs, Brenot couldn’t afford as a student to accompany her classmates on a study abroad trip to Italy led by Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant ’80, PhD. Through the Center for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan, the annual trip later became the focus of an endowment gift made by Brenot and her husband, Matt, along with four fellow St. Ambrose graduates—Dorothy Anello ’02, Deanna Bott ’01, Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04 and Matt Ehlman ’02. “We didn’t think it was right that only wealthy kids could go on that amazing trip,” Brenot said of the adventure she and Matt finally experienced as adults in 2011. “I learned more about my faith in those two weeks than I had in my entire life. We wanted to make sure other kids could do the same thing.” Craig ’98 MBA and Debbie Mrkvicka also were born into families that valued hard work. Taking full-time jobs in their hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as soon as they could—Debbie right out of high school, Craig after earning a two-year associate degree in engineering technology—the young people followed their expectations, if not their hearts. That would change when Debbie and Craig met 15 years later and discovered love—for each other, for academia and for the children they would mentor.

I couldn’t have attended St. Ambrose without a scholarship. And I worked three jobs.” —Karen (Clark) Brenot ’01, DO

by Susan Flansburg “We were non-traditional students,” Debbie said. They also were the first in their families to earn fouryear degrees. Although Craig completed his bachelor’s degree at 37 shortly before the couple met, Debbie earned hers at their kitchen table. As she studied there, Craig decided he wanted to study for yet another degree. “Dr. John Collis accepted me as an MBA student,” Craig said. “He was very encouraging and welcoming. He was very respectful of me and my time. It broadened my world. It got me out of the engineering box. It built my confidence.” Ultimately, it pushed him to leave an industry that never captured his heart. “That MBA changed the course of my life,” Craig said. “St. Ambrose made me feel I could be a leader. I retired from engineering and have been blossoming ever since.” Today, the Mrkvickas both teach at Kirkwood Community College. They sponsor five international children, helping rescue them from lives of poverty. They work with students who need extra help learning communications skills. And through their estate, they will provide an endowed St. Ambrose scholarship to help the non-traditional students they themselves once were. “Life has been rough for so many people,” Debbie said. “If we have a chance to change one student’s life, we want to try. Sometimes it’s a word of encouragement. Sometimes it’s financial. We feel so tremendously blessed to be able to help.” Lisa and David Bluder ’93 MBA remember

the generosity of others as being key to their connection to St. Ambrose and, ultimately, their success. To begin with, they needed help getting the job in 1984 that would launch Lisa into her current position as head women’s basketball coach for the University of Iowa. It was a tough order. Dave was already employed at Davenport Bank and Trust, but Lisa couldn’t get so much as an interview in her field. Although she had experience as a player—she was a three-year starter at the University of Northern Iowa—the new graduate had no experience as a coach. And that was the job she wanted. She just needed someone to take a chance on her. “I had applied at all the area schools,” Lisa remembered. “Nobody even replied to my applications. Then I found out that the head coach had resigned at the last minute from St. Ambrose. I sent off my resume and had interviews with Jim Fox and Ed Rogalski, who was vice president at the time. They hired me even though I was unproven. They took a risk on me, oh yeah.” Today, the Bluders take risks on other unproven students by way of their endowed scholarship for women basketball students who show leadership skills. “We’ve set some parameters for the endowment, but we typically don’t know the students who receive it,” said Lisa, who also has made provisions with her husband for an endowment gift through their estate. “That’s part of the joy of giving back. Taking a risk on someone who needs the help without knowing who they are or vice versa. Just giving for the joy of giving.” The Coins, Brenots, Mrkvickas and Bluders surely embody the Ambrosian values of academic excellence and social justice for all. They also provide an example for generations to come: despite— or perhaps because of—the challenges they faced as young people, they are reaching back to lend a hand up to others.


Quiet Champion of

Service Jane Folwell spent decades working behind the scenes

in the halls of the US Congress. She then devoted another 40 years to quietly serving her native Quad Cities as an active volunteer and earnest philanthropist.

by Craig DeVrieze


Those two very distinct chapters of a proud life of service seamlessly came together in 2001 when Jane Folwell generously endowed the first academic chair in St. Ambrose University history. Today, the Frank and Jane Folwell Chair in Political Science and Pre-Law at SAU is among 15 endowed funds targeted to enhance academic programs and study opportunities at St. Ambrose. And when Jane Folwell died in May at the age of 88, she left behind a perfect template for other dedicated and generous St. Ambrose donors to follow, said Bill Parsons, PhD, a professor of political science and leadership studies who has occupied the Folwell chair for the past nine years. “You couldn’t ask for a better example of what the perfect philanthropist would be for our university,” said Parsons. “The one thing I will miss the most is that our students from here on won’t have the opportunity to meet her.” Folwell stepped up quickly when Steve Goebel, former assistant to the president for planned and deferred giving at St. Ambrose, presented a plan to endow five academic chairs in ways that would honor the life of SAU’s namesake saint. “She said ‘Steve, I would like to be the first to endow one of these chairs and I would like to do it in political science because that is the one nearest to my heart,” Goebel recalled.

Folwell, who was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from St. Ambrose in May of 2001, began her life in public service as a legislative aide in Des Moines. She went to the nation’s capital in 1951 to work on the staff of Iowa Republican Sen. Bourke Hickenlooper. She subsequently worked for several legislators, before retiring in 1972 as the office manager for the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. While in Washington DC, Folwell met and married Robert Borth, a powerful lobbyist. They retired together to her native Davenport. Following Borth’s death, she married well-known QC retailer Frank Folwell, an active civic volunteer and philanthropist. The Folwells were annual donors to St. Ambrose for years, but Jane Folwell became more involved with the university following Frank’s death in 1997, Goebel said. She was a member of the Planned Giving Advisory Council when she came forward to endow the Folwell Chair. “She said, ‘Steve, I just feel St. Ambrose

is of a stature now that it should have an endowed chair,”’ Goebel recalled. Parsons said Folwell was an interested but unobtrusive partner in planning the programming her endowment funded. “It was collaborative but she was not one to say, ‘This is what you have to do,”’ he said. The endowment has funded the Mock Trial and Model UN teams at St. Ambrose and it has helped Parsons and other faculty build student internships through area law firms and political office holders. It also created the annual Folwell Lecture Series, which brings top speakers to campus to address relevant issues of the day. Jane Folwell attended each of the Folwell lectures, as well as a pre-event dinner with the speaker and a select group of students, until a few years ago, when her health began to decline. At the first such dinner in 2003, Jennifer (Kislia) Kincaid ’03 witnessed a memorable conversation between Folwell and the inaugural series speaker, former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice and SAU Board of Trustee emeritus Linda Neuman, JD. As the two women discussed the challenges of “trying to break through the glass ceiling” in male-centric professions, Kincaid sensed in Folwell a dignified pride in both her early professional accomplishments and her later efforts to enhance the community. “She just had a quiet poise about her,” said Kincaid, an attorney in Silvis, Ill. “I don’t think she lauded her accomplishments. She let them speak for themselves.”

Parsons said Folwell had a front-row seat to significant moments in history during her time in the nation’s capitol. “You’re going through the aftermath of World War II, the Cold War, the Sixties, Vietnam and Watergate,” he said. “She was part of all that and came through seeing the value of public service, genuinely and rightly so. “Truly, she was part of that Greatest Generation, for whom serving your country in these capacities was second nature. You’re supposed to do it, and I think her interest in this endowment was in hope that students would see the same value.” Many have, including Miles Chiotti ’11, who participated in the Mock Trial and Model UN programs. Chiotti went on to obtain his Master of Public Administration degree from American University in Washington DC, where he also spent 18 months working for John Deere Public Affairs Worldwide in their DC office. “As someone who went straight out of St. Ambrose into a master’s program at a top 10 school, I certainly was wellprepared,” he said. “The instruction and the resources provided by the Folwell endowment were certainly helpful in that.”

Endowed Academic Programs Some examples of endowed academic programs at SAU Baecke Endowment for the Humanties A gift from Albert and Rae Marie DeJonghe Baecke has supported education in the humanities since 1981. It provides annual grants for faculty research and supports an annual lecture series. Kokjohn Endowment for Catholic Peace and Justice Established in 2007 from a donation by Rev. Joseph E. Kokjohn ’50, PhD, the endowment supports visiting scholars, teaching, research and service activities committed to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and peace and justice. Hauber Endowment for Biology Established in 1975 in honor of Msgr. U.A. Hauber, SAU’s fifth president and a well-known teacher of biology, this endowment supports the annual Hauber Biology Lecture. Geiger Endowment for History The endowed lecture series was funded by alumni in honor of retiring history professor Richard E. Geiger in 2001. This endowment funds lectures, history activities and study abroad trips. Learn more about endowing programs at St. Ambrose at


by Steven Lillybeck

St. Ambrose always fostered diversity and tolerance. That was true

when I was a student and it still is today. That’s what makes it such a great place.” —Thomas Mason IV



Thomas Mason IV Works to Pay SAU Opportunity Forward As Thomas Mason IV ’91 joins an effort to enhance diversity on the St. Ambrose campus, he considers it a case of making a “great place” better. “Yes, St. Ambrose is making a conscious effort to increase diversity, but St. Ambrose always fostered diversity and tolerance,” he said. “That was true when I was a student and it still is today. That’s what makes it such a great place.” Diversity is more than a question of color, Mason said. Gender, ethnicity and culture also are key to understanding and promoting diversity and St. Ambrose continues to work toward enhancing its representation on all of those fronts. “We have a female president,” Mason said. “Diversity is understanding that everyone must be accepted and St. Ambrose is doing that. St. Ambrose welcomes everybody and everybody is treated with dignity and respect.” A successful sales representative for Rilco Inc., in Rock Island, Ill., Mason has been an active member of the SAU Alumni Association Board of Directors for the past decade. Last year, Mason was asked to focus his energy and commitment to helping a campaign to permanently endow the Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship. He readily accepted and was a key influence in the Alumni Association’s decision to support that effort by agreeing to commit $1,000 annually to the fund through 2020.

Founded in 1988 to honor SAU’s first AfricanAmerican professor, the scholarship fund has provided nearly $150,000 in tuition assistance to 500 minority students through the years, including 98 first-year or transfer students this fall. Jim Collins ’69 played a pivotal role in establishing the Diversity Work Group that is leading efforts to permanently endow the Pollard scholarship fund. He said Mason is a tireless ally in that effort. “I’m amazed at the time and energy Thomas puts into his work at SAU in addition to his leadership role in his workplace and the raising of his family,” said Collins. “It’s truly a labor of love.” Currently, the Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship is an unfunded endowment, meaning it receives support via annual budget considerations, in addition to outside fundraising efforts and donations. But perhaps not for long. Collins and Mason are leading the effort to solicit $1 million from alumni to permanently endow the Freeman Pollard Scholarship fund by 2020. For Mason, the commitment to diversity at St. Ambrose affirms his faith in his alma mater and its mission. “St. Ambrose was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Mason said. “It has spiritually guided me and changed my outlook on life. Yes, I received an excellent education while I was there, but it was also a great nurturing experience. As a result, I want to give back. I feel I have to do good. I not only have a duty to do that, but an obligation.” Read more about the Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship at



Presidential Impact:

Alumni leading colleges and universities

by Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04 As a young student growing up in Sterling, Ill., Kenneth Yowell ’69, EdD, consistently found himself surrounded by Ambrosians: teachers and coaches who were products of a St. Ambrose education. They also were the people Yowell most admired and with whom he most identified. “I thought that if I attended St. Ambrose, maybe I would come out at least half of the person they were,” he said. His years at St. Ambrose began a lifelong passion for higher education that spanned more than three decades, including 23 years as president of Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio. Higher education is a career path more and more St. Ambrose graduates are taking, with 485 of the alumni who have shared employment information with the Office of Alumni Engagement currently reporting that they work at colleges and universities. A select few have risen to the top. Yowell recently retired from his long career at the helm of Edison. Lori Sundberg ’03 DBA is president at Carl Sandburg 26

Community College in Galesburg, Ill. And, in March, Clay McDonald ’97 MBA, PhD, DC, was named president of Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Mo. For McDonald, the call to higher education administration evolved because he wanted more education—a realization that came while he was a chiropractor in a small, isolated town in Montana. “As a chiropractor, it became clear to me that I could make an impact on a number of people’s lives,” McDonald said. “But I could impact thousands more by becoming a faculty member. As a teacher, I quickly understood that I could alter how students learn by becoming an administrator.” So while working as the dean of clinics at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, McDonald turned to St. Ambrose for his master’s degree. “Up until that time, I would argue with the Chief Financial Officer on how to run things—I was blessedly ignorant,” he said. “I figured I’d earn an MBA so that I could finally explain all the reasons I

Lori Sundberg ’03 DBA

Clay McDonald ’97 MBA, PhD, DC

President, Carl Sandburg Community College

President, Logan College of Chiropractic

was right. Instead, I discovered that most of the time I was wrong. The MBA program showed me that I needed to think more broadly and laterally about what I was doing and to be inclusive.” It is something McDonald said he is using every day as president of Logan, where he said the organizational behavior coursework he had at St. Ambrose has molded his presidential approach. “Higher education is a culture that requires team behavior,” he said. “You work with people who are really bright—and many who have very strong opinions. You really need to be a servant leader and, if you are, you can get the institution to move with you fairly readily.” Sundberg understands that. Now in her fourth year as president of Carl Sandburg, she has become a leader well versed in the national agenda for community colleges. “Community colleges have a power and a reach that no other institution of higher education really has,” she said. “We are open door and not selective.

We take people wherever they are—whether 18, 45 or 64—and give them an opportunity at post-secondary education.” Sundberg said her tenure thus far has been nothing short of invigorating, especially as her college listens to the needs of the community and region and responds to industry’s needs. “Adapting to the changing educational landscape is something that has been a challenge,” she said, “but also incredibly fulfilling. It is something Carl Sandburg College can be very proud of.” As he reflects on his time at Edison, Yowell— who retired two years ago—said that his greatest contribution lives on through the school’s thousands of graduates. “More than anything else,” he said, “what I hope happened is that the education we offered was a conduit for personal change in our students’ lives.”



Alumni Events Calendar

2013 Sunday, Dec. 1 Feast of St. Ambrose and McMullen Awards

Saturday, Dec. 7 Children’s Christmas Party

Tuesday, Dec. 10 50s Holiday Luncheon

Wednesday, Dec. 11 60s Holiday Luncheon

Friday, Dec. 13 Hooding Ceremony

Saturday, Dec. 14 Winter Commencement

2014 Saturday, Feb. 22 Galvin Dinner Theatre

Saturday, March 1 Wine at the Warehouse


he 18-liter bottle of fine Cabernet donated by Jim and Cris Wendling and four other couples fetched a hefty price at the 2013 Wine Festival Dinner live auction last April. This, of course, pleased Jim and friends. Their support for the festival and its cause of building the St. Ambrose scholarship fund is unwavering. Still, they couldn’t help but yearn for just a taste of that specially created product from California vintner Joe Donelan. Jim Wendling, a Davenport financial adviser who has a

Saturday, Jan. 18 Winter Trivia Night

Big Bottle of Wine Fetches Big Donation

Friday, March 14 Southern California Alumni Golf and Dinner Outing Tuesday, March 25 Freeman Pollard Breakfast Saturday, March 29 Spring Trivia Night

longstanding friendship with the winemaker, was able to obtain the second of two such bottles Donelan created in 2008 at cost. An 18-liter bottle of wine is called a “melchior,” and is the equal of two cases, or 24 bottles. Because of its size, the wine likely will age better than standard-sized bottles of wine, Wendling said. Tom Mnich purchased the 2008 Donelan Cuvee Moriah for $2,700, all of which will be used for SAU scholarships.

Saturday, April 12 Wine Festival Preview Dinner

Saturday, May 10 Spring Commencement

Eisenlauer, Bill ’78 and Carol Brockway, Kevin and Gina Takacs, and

Saturday, May 17 Wine Festival Wine Tasting

Dave and Jana Steil.

The Wendlings were donors along with Dick ’87 MBA and Linda ’05

Among them, the couples have sent five children to SAU. “The neat thing is that all five couples have connections to SAU,” said Dick Eisenlauer, whose wife is the director of the Center for Instructional Design and Technology at St. Ambrose. St. Ambrose Alumni Director Anne Gannaway called the threepart festival “a model for volunteer engagement” at St. Ambrose, with a dedicated group of 30 alumni having helped raise more than $600,000 for SAU scholarships through the years. Planning for the 2014 festival—which begins with the March 1 Wine at the Warehouse—already is well underway, Gannaway said.



The Gift of Giving Scholarship Awaits Alumni Children Children of St. Ambrose University alumni who enroll as first-year or transfer students at SAU automatically will receive a Fr. Robert Welch Legacy Scholarship beginning in the fall of 2014. “We think this is the best thing we have done to acknowledge legacy status,” said Jim Stangle ’82, vice president for advancement. “If you are an alumnus and you have enough The Curran family, left to right: Meghan, Kevin, Brady, Karen, Kelly faith to trust us with your ultimate gift, your children, we want to recognize that.” Their father, Kevin Curran ’88, was a resident Legacy students made up more than adviser at Ambrose Hall and, later, he and his wife, Alumni are the 5 percent of the first-year and transfer Karen, were wed by Rev. George McDaniel ’66 in St. Ambrose mission students who enrolled at St. Ambrose this Christ the King Chapel. in action, out in fall, and John Cooper, vice president for The family’s feelings for SAU clearly run deep, but their communities enrollment management, wants to increase Kevin Curran said he didn’t have to actively encourage day to day, enriching that percentage in the years to come. his son to choose his alma mater. the lives of others. Awarding every such student $1,000 for “We had visited a few times over the course of the each year of their undergraduate career years, and we always stopped by the grotto,” he said. won’t be inexpensive, but Cooper said it is a small “I think Brady just felt at home there. He had heard price to reward loyal alumni. my stories on how there are so many good people “I always like to think of alumni as our mission there, and how there’s always someone looking out for in action,” he said. “They are the ones out in their you. It is kind of like an extended family.” communities day to day enriching the lives of others.” It is a family that grows through legacy families As a St. Ambrose graduate himself, Stangle is not like the Currans, but Kevin said it is much more than surprised fellow alumni trust their children’s education loyalty that gives him reason to trust his children to his to SAU. He is, though, impressed by the depth of the alma mater. commitment many Ambrosian families have to their He and Kelly looked at comparable schools in the alma mater. “It is not only generation to generation,” region this past fall, but he said they both saw no he said. “We have multiple siblings from the same reason to look further once they toured a campus that family at the same time.” almost has doubled in size since 1988. Brady Curran, a sophomore majoring in exercise “St. Ambrose is hands down better with everything science, followed his father to St. Ambrose—as well they are doing,” Kevin said. “Once you get there, you as an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather, a great uncle and think ‘This is as far as I want to go.’ It is peace of mind a cousin. for a parent.” His sister Kelly, a senior at Annawan (Ill.) And, as a legacy parent, he said the Fr. Robert High School, already is making plans to enroll at Welch Legacy Scholarship is welcome news as well. St. Ambrose next year. Another sister Meghan, a high “That’s fantastic,” he said. “That’s always music to school freshman, also has her sights set on SAU. a parent’s ears with a kid going off to school.” 29



The Sixties

James Martin ’69 wrote and published the final book in his trilogy of Poland. The Warsaw Conspiracy completes the stories based on the diary of a Polish countess in the 1790s.


The Eighties

Brett Lohman ’82 was appointed to the board of directors of Central Banc, Inc., the holding company of Central Bank Illinois, headquartered in Geneseo. Lohman is an owner of Lohman Companies Insurance as well as vice president of the company’s commercial insurance division. The company is a thirdgeneration family business. Ernst and Young LLP promoted Jeff Custer ’86 to partner in its Nashville, Tenn., location. Custer has more than 16 years of experience with the Atlanta-based company.


The Nineties

Bryan Hanson ’92 MBA was named chief operating officer and senior vice president of Exelon Generation’s 10 nuclear facilities. Steven Oswald ’95 MBA has relocated to Dallas as regional manager-southwest for Timken’s US industrial distribution business. Oswald has worked for the company since 1989 and leads regional sales teams.


Nick Mattis ’97 was named the 2012–13 Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year by California Community Colleges. Mattis is head track and cross-country coach at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif. Stephanie (Erickson) Woods ’99 joined Russell Construction, Davenport, as an accountant. Medford Therapy and Fitness, in Memorial Health Center, Medford, Wis., welcomed Corrie Searles ’99 MPT as director of therapy services. Ryan Soedt ’99 ’04 MBA joined DHCU Community Credit Union as mortgage operations manager. Soedt oversees the processing, underwriting and servicing operations of DHCU’s mortgage lending portfolio.


The Zeros

Smith Fertilizer and Grain named Chad Lynch ’01 marketing manager and lead graphic designer. The company is based in Knoxville, Iowa. Jim Putnam ’01 is an attorney at McCausland, Barrett & Bartalos, PC, located in Columbia, Mo. Jeremy Koch ’02 is a country representative for World Learning Corporation, representing Ethiopia. World Learning is a non-profit organization advancing leadership and offering educational programs at the high school, undergraduate, graduate and professional levels in more than 60 countries. The Corporation for National and Community Service named Jesse Hurley ’04 MOL deputy region director for unit leadership. The

company is located in Vinton, Iowa. Sarah (Silhan) Koehler ’04 earned her Master of Arts in English from Governors State University in 2012. She is entering her fourth year of teaching English at Grant Park High School in Grant Park, Ill. She and her husband, Tony, reside in Oak Lawn, Ill. Rev. Ross Parker ’07 MOL celebrated his first Mass as the main officiant in Indianola, Iowa, after he was ordained in June at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa. Ohio State University hired Christopher Spartz ’07, ’13 MOL as recruiting coordinator and assistant director of basketball operations. Farmers National Bank, in Geneseo, Ill., appointed Steve Taets ’07 assistant vice president of lending. Brandon Oldaker ’08 MACC was promoted to tax manager for Deloitte Accounting in Davenport. Oldaker specializes in providing federal and state tax services to public and middle market companies in the manufacturing industry. The United Way of Muscatine (Iowa) announced the promotion of life-long Muscatine resident Shane Orr ’09 MBA as the new chief professional officer.


The Teens

Mason Tangen ’10 was named assistant track and field coach at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Muscatine (Iowa) High School named Jonathan Ryan ’12 as director of vocal activities.

Kyle Morey ’12 is a fifth grade mathematics teacher at Millikin Elementary School in Geneseo, Ill. It will be his first year as a full-time teacher. He also will work with the freshman football team and high school girls track team. The City of Muscatine, Iowa, hired Hannah Wilke ’12 as director of the Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jessica Jacks ’13 joined DHCU Community Credit Union as a financial service officer at the Moline, Ill., member service center. Tim McNicholas ’13 is a reporter at Hoak Media of Nebraska-KHAS TV, in Hastings, Neb. The VagnHall Galleri in Bishop Hill, Ill., displayed the work of Catherine Moneysmith ’13. “Swedish Immigrants” is a collection of paintings of her family lineage.


Kristina Sellers ’08 and Shane Kern, Moline, Ill. Nick Palczynski ’09 and Jessica Kohn ’10, Bloomington, Ill. Dan Haverkamp ’10 and Lisa Wiggers ’10, ’12 DPT, Davenport Stacy Schivley ’10, ’12 MBA and Chris Banfield ’12, Long Grove, Iowa Lauren Waiflein ’11 and Jeff LaPietra, Cayman Islands Shiobhan Bausal ’12 and Jerry Burkhead, Davenport


Positive Outlook Yields a Positive Outcome


Calista (Heinz) Kelly ’98, ’01 MPT and her husband, Casey, celebrated the birth of daughter Aislin Elizabeth on Feb. 1, 2013. Aislin joins Declan in the Kelly family. Nathan Becker ’00 and his wife, Rothtida, welcomed their daughter Annalise on Aug. 21, 2012. Seth Kouba ’00 and his wife, Grace (Hardi) ’04, are proud to announce the birth of their twin daughters Savannah June and Marlowe Lillian on April 4, 2013. Katie (Heinzman) Kester ’01, ’02 MBA and her husband, Nick, added a son Alex “AJ” to their family on Nov. 27, 2011. Jack is little brother to Elisabeth. Gina (Ryan) Schlicksup ’02 and her husband, Tony ’04, welcomed daughter Maya on April 13, 2013. She joins siblings Noah, William and Josephine in the Schlicksup clan.


Glenn Brown ’29, Viola, Ill., Sept. 21, 2013 Richard Von Korff ’38, Minneapolis, June 11, 2013 James Spaeth ’43, Davenport, Aug. 23, 2013 Edward Otten ’45, Rock Island, Ill., July 13, 2013 Robert “Bob” Devine ’47, Lockport, Ill., May 21, 2013 Thomas Aiani ’48, Mesquite, Nev., May 18, 2013

Jennifer (Vaughan) Kennedy was a candidate for a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and an intern in Mississippi in the fall of 2004 when a handsome prosthetist attending to her patient caught her eye. And she caught his. When he inquired about the new intern, his informant replied, “You know she’s an amputee?” As it turned out the partnering prosthetist, Brad Kennedy, was, too. He soon became her gym partner, friend and kindred connection. Early on, Brad offered her a “free” pass to work out at his gym. A happy marriage and two daughters later, Jennifer knows that Brad actually paid for that gym pass. That’s appropriate, perhaps, because Jennifer Kennedy ’03, ’04 DPT certainly did not get a free pass to the happy life she is living. She earned it, instead, with an outlook so positive that SAU Assistant Vice President for Admissions Meg Halligan ’89 still remembers her as “an angel sent to St. Ambrose to live up to our mission.”

Ambrose teaches their students to think better.” Kennedy graduated high school a valedictorian, talented gymnast and cheerleader. She was bound for SAU on scholarship, with plans to enroll in the DPT program and eager to join the cheerleading team. During her senior year of high school, however, she developed a blood clot in the main artery behind her right knee. Complications the following summer led to amputation. She sought prayer, loving support, online education, and physical therapy to endure the darkest time of her life. But it wasn’t dark for long. Kennedy reported to St. Ambrose having missed only a semester. And she did indeed lead cheers, sporting a bee-decorated prosthetic leg and a contagious smile. She also earned her DPT degree, of course. Kevin Farrell, PhD, Kennedy’s DPT adviser, said she never considered what she “couldn’t do.” Instead, she always examined what she had already done, merely as a checklist for the things she hadn’t done yet. At age 13, Kennedy began researching the best colleges to study physical therapy. One physical therapist told her, “Ambrose teaches their students to think better.” But by the start of her senior year of high school, she had begun to wonder if she was committing to a career too soon. In her personal tragedy, Kennedy found her answer. “When I lost my leg,” she said, “it was like God flashing a neon sign that therapy is what He wanted me to do; helping others who were experiencing a life-altering experience as I had.” In return, she found a husband and a wonderful life.


Alum, Decorated Marine Highlights Military Appreciation Day Marine Lieutenant J.J. Konstant ’03 was third in command of an August 2005 campaign that neutralized a terrorist cell intent on disrupting parliamentary elections in Afghanistan the following month. He earned a Bronze Star and received a Purple Heart for his participation in a three-day battle pitting 60 Marines against an untold number of Taliban insurgents. Gravely wounded in that battle was Ahmad Shah, the insurgent leader who had been targeted a month earlier in a mission that led to the deaths of 19 US Special Forces members. Konstant is featured in a book about the two related battles in eastern Afghanistan, Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers — the Marine Corps’ Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan. He will return to his alma mater for SAU’s second annual Military Appreciation Day on Feb. 1, 2014, and will participate in a program at a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader that day. He will speak the night before with a message shaped toward athletes and the 115 post-9/11 veterans now enrolled at SAU. The weekend is being organized to honor all veterans by Office of Veterans Recruitment and Services Coordinator Andrew Gates ’11. Now an investment banker in suburban Chicago, Konstant had considered a military career before he enrolled at SAU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance and to play basketball for the Fighting Bees. “Then 9/11 took place my junior year,” he said. Konstant promised his parents in the aftermath of that tragic day that he would graduate. He did, and said his education served him well overseas, as he led men and planned missions. “At St. Ambrose, I learned about looking for the best way to figure things out,” he said. “That became important in the military because the best answer was always what we were looking for.” Learn more about St. Ambrose Veterans Recruitment and Services at


Edward Burke ’48, Bettendorf, Iowa, Sept. 8, 2013

Donald Riley ’54, Davenport, Sept. 9, 2013

Eugene Costello ’48, Dallas, June 29, 2013

Edward Wilkinson ’54, Bettendorf, Iowa, June 20, 2013

Peter DeDecker ’49, Geneseo, Ill., Aug. 22, 2013

Daniel Boyle ’55, Iowa City, Iowa, June 8, 2013

Donald Firer ’49, Charlottesville, Va., Sept. 5, 2012

Janice (Strathman) Stender ’56, Davenport, Aug. 13, 2013

John “Red” McManus ’49, Omaha, Neb., July 23, 2013

William Arnold ’57, Coal Valley, Ill., Oct. 27, 2012

Joseph Roels ’49, East Moline, Ill., May 29, 2013

Colleen McCaffrey ’57, Amboy, Ill., Aug. 25, 2013

William Romine Jr. ’49, Davenport, Aug. 5, 2013

Br. Matthew (James) O‘Meara ’57, OSB, Subiaco, Ark., June 3, 2013

Barry Foley ’50 Academy, Davenport, Sept. 14, 2013

Martin McMahon ’60, East Moline, Ill., June 17, 2013

James Grothusen ’50, Davenport, Aug. 25, 2013

Dennis “DJ” Murphy ’60, Boerne, Texas, April 20, 2013

William Lawrence ’50, Rock Island, Ill., Sept. 2, 2013

David Lundy Sr. ’62 Academy, Bettendorf, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2013

Richard Lenahan ’50, Normal, Ill., July 19, 2012

Mary “Jean” Boxwell ’63, Peoria, Ill., May 25, 2013

Clifford Squire Jr. ’51, Rockford, Ill., June 25, 2013

Richard d’Autremont ’63, Omaha, Neb., July 5, 2013

William Touhey Jr. ’51, Wilmington, Del., May 24, 2013

Raymond Linden ’63, Prince George, Va., April 15, 2013

Paul Wolfe ’51, St. Petersburg, Fla., Aug. 19, 2013

James Duda Jr. ’64, Austin, Texas, Mar. 27, 2013

Robert Lamprecht ’52, Jupiter, Fla., June 5, 2013

Henry Greiner ’64, Palo Alto, Calif., May 17, 2013

Eugene Zajdel ’52, Wharton, NJ, Aug. 29, 2013

Sr. Benita Reavy ’64 OSB, Rock Island, Ill., Aug. 20, 2013

John Giacomin ’53, LaVerne, Calif., Aug. 6, 2013

Charles Sheridan ’64, DeWitt, Iowa, June 29, 2013

Patrick May ’53, Mesa, Ariz., May 9, 2013

Thomas Tulley ’64, Sebring, Fla., June 18, 2013

Edward O’Donnell ’53, Davenport, Aug. 14, 2013

Daniel Kieler ’65, West Point, Iowa, Aug. 8, 2013


Hoops Lead to Altar for Ambrosian Quartet

Michael Duncan ’66, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 13, 2012

Jason Scriven ’05, Davenport, July 28, 2013

Nyle “Nick” Holdt ’66, Davenport, June 3, 2013

Laura (Brammeier) Yoho ’05, Grimes, Iowa, July 23, 2013

Robert “Bob” DeSmet ’66, Davenport, Aug. 30, 2013

Board of Trustees

Raymond Bustos III ’67, Morrison, Ill., July 26, 2013

Bernard J. “Jerry” Hank Jr., Moline, Ill., June 27, 2013

William “Bill” Barr ’69, East Moline, Ill., June 17, 2013

Sr. Phyllis McMurray ’71, OSB, Rock Island, Ill., Aug. 3, 2013

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

Robert Hauman ’72, East Moline, Ill., June 16, 2013

online extra: tell us what’s new at

David McDaniel ’70, New York City, June 29, 2013 Ronald Whitebread ’70, Chandler, Ariz., Aug. 11, 2012

Brian Martin ’74, Denver, Dec. 15, 2012 Robert “Bob” St. Clair ’75, Henderson, Nev., Feb. 21, 2013 Rev. Lawrence Morlan ’82, Streator, Ill., Aug. 31, 2013 John “JD” Steinhafel ’89, Oconomowac, Wis., Sept. 13, 2013 Wayne Zimmerman ’89, Bettendorf, Iowa, Sept. 6, 2013 Howard Litke ’92 EdS, Davenport, June 9, 2013 Claire Nemeth ’93 MBA, Bettendorf, Iowa, July 1, 2013 James “Sam” Kuehnel ’94, Rock Island, Ill., July 13, 2013 Larris Larsen ’95 MBA, Sandwich, Ill., July 27, 2013 Scott Teerlinck ’96, Geneseo, Ill., June 14, 2013

Justin Blondell ’13 is standing by his story. The future Mrs. Blondell—aka St. Ambrose senior women’s basketball player Lauren Cash—remains unconvinced. On their first official date two years ago, Blondell, then a starting guard for the Fighting Bees men’s hoops squad, invited Cash to select a movie from his collection of DVDs. When she declined, his story goes, it was only through a very random process of eenie-meenie-miney-mo that he settled on a flick. Yes. It was Love and Basketball. “I swear it was random,” he said. “She thinks I had to have had it planned.” Love and basketball will be a winning combination in 2014 as Justin and Lauren plan for their Aug. 30 wedding. Meanwhile, Lauren’s sister Megan Cash ’11, a former Queen Bees guard herself, will be readying for her May 31 marriage to Brett McGinnis ’12, her high school sweetheart and Blondell’s former SAU teammate. Both couples became engaged on Aug. 4 in a fairy-tale fashion that even Blondell won’t deny was scripted. The young men took the sisters by surprise, crashing a Cash family vacation in Orlando, Fla. Their proposals were made a mere 90 minutes apart and in virtually the same spot. “Disney World,” Lauren said. “Both right in front of the castle.” Father Bill Cash’s plea for a double wedding has been denied. But the couples will marry in the same Pekin, Ill., church and will host their receptions at the same hall. Initially, Megan wasn’t sure about Blondell dating her sister, but she warmed to the idea as the younger couple’s relationship grew. That growth was fostered by the common bond of basketball at St. Ambrose, where Lauren, who transferred to SAU as a sophomore, said the men’s and women’s programs are particularly supportive of one another. Megan and McGinnis first “dated” in fifth grade and then reconnected as high school seniors. She hadn’t planned to play basketball in college, but followed her heart and McGinnis to SAU and was a three-year Queen Bees starter. Love and basketball. Some things are meant to Bee. 33

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518 West Locust Street Davenport, Iowa 52803

Please help us reach you The St. Ambrose University Office of Alumni Engagement is eager to keep your contact information current. If you have a seasonal address in addition to the one we currently have on record, or if you have recently relocated, let us know. Contact us at 800-SAU-ALUM, email us at, or visit

Sunday, Dec. 1 Feast of Saint Ambrose and Presentation of McMullen Awards 6:30 p.m., Christ the King Chapel Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 7–8 CHILDREN’S MUSICAL Toy Camp

3 p.m., Galvin Fine Arts Center Saturday, Dec. 7 Alumni Family Christmas Party 5 p.m., Rogalski Center Sunday, Dec. 8 Christmas Showcase Concert 7 p.m., Adler Theater, Davenport More information and tickets at

Scene Magazine Fall 2013  

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

Scene Magazine Fall 2013  

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