Page 1

The Magazine of St. Ambrose University | Spring 2014

Athletics at St. Ambrose: A Game Plan for Life ALSO INSIDE: Taking the Lead at PGA Tour Event

Scene The Magazine of St. Ambrose University Spring 2014 | Volume XXXX | Number 1 Managing Editor


Linda Hirsch Editor Craig DeVrieze


Staff Writer Jane Kettering Staff Assistant Darcy Duncalf ’12 Contributing Writers Sara Clifton ’13 Steven Lillybeck Dustin Renwick ’10 Emilee Renwick Ted Stephens III ’01, ’04 Designer Sally Paustian ’94 Photo and illustration credits Greg Boll: inside front cover, pages 13–15, 21, John Mohr Photography: inside front cover, pages 6, 9–11, back cover; Kevin Schmidt: page 24; Dan Videtich: page 4. 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.

2 Under the Oaks St. Ambrose students put their engineering acumen to work to build a better chicken coop; a Doctor of Physical Therapy student plans to turn a challenge into an advantage; and a well-traveled professor has brought a worldly perspective to the SAU classroom.

12 20 24 Features 12 A Sporting Chance at Success

Alumni Profile 24 ‘Divot’ Devoted to a Quad Cities Classic

St. Ambrose athletes play to win but they also keep

Laura “Divot” Ekizian ’92, ’97 MBA is the volunteer chair of

their eye on the ball in the classroom to build a game

the 2014 John Deere Classic, an event that ranks among the

plan for life.

PGA Tour leaders in enriching lives.

14 Winning Big in the Game of Life Former St. Ambrose athletes are hits in most every walk of life. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, bankers, college vice presidents, protectors of presidents, even rocket scientists. Meet some former Bees who really have hit it out of the park.

17 Coaching for Their Lives SAU’s roster of coaches includes a well-schooled core of veterans paired with a younger group of coaches, all

26 Alumni News A new alumni advisory council initiative is a way for St. Ambrose to tap the rich experience of its alums; life is a zoo for former biology student Marc Heinzman ’07; sponsors and participants at the Fighting Bee Classic help SAU athletes in countless ways; and St. Ambrose alumni are bringing news to the QC sports pages and airwaves.

30 Class Notes

eager to build programs that teach athletes how to win beyond their athletic careers.

22 Bees for the Books Meet a few Hall of Fame athletes whose names remain in the SAU record books and view our century-plus of athletic history through the prism of five epic eras.


under the OAKS


New Website Creating Fighting Bee Buzz Fans of St. Ambrose athletics are getting their Fighting

to the previous site. Adam Bickle, SAU’s director of

Bee news at a fresh new website.

online strategy in the Communications and Marketing

Sports Information Director Brian Thiessen ’96 said traffic to is growing by the day. “It has all been positive,” Thiessen said of reaction

office, worked with the Athletics Department to build a website that is mobile- and user-friendly. According to Bickle, the site has helped make the

to the new site, which packages news, statistics and

sharing of statistics, results, rosters and schedules more

information about all 23 SAU varsity sports behind

seamless among SAU and its mates in the Midwest

a home news page that is regularly updated with

Collegiate Conference.

information and a rotating series of pictures. “It’s fresh. Every day the page will look different.” Thiessen said most news items on the page regularly draw 100 or more views, a sizable increase over visits

Fans can access the website off of the SAU website home page. In conjunction with the new site, SAU coaches and support staff have stepped up efforts to convey “breaking” news via social media. Links to those feeds can be found on the new site’s banner.

under the OAKS

New Middle East Institute Launched From civil war in Syria to the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, almost no part of the world is more topical than the Middle East. Ryan Dye, PhD, coordinator of a new Middle East Institute being developed at St. Ambrose University, said such news from the region underscores his belief that “in order to understand the world in a global context, you must understand the Middle East. That is what makes this new institute so exciting and important.” The institute is the first of its kind devoted to this area of the world in the state of Iowa, said Dye. “This fits St. Ambrose. It fits with our history of engagement in peace and justice issues. And the university has demonstrated an ability to thoughtfully examine tough, complex issues through the annual Project Series program,” added Dye. The institute has already scheduled its first major event—a lecture by former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach—for April 10. “Congressman Leach’s visit to campus is emblematic of the institute’s mission to provide non-partisan public forums for the university and the community to engage thoughtfully about key issues impacting the Middle East,” said Dye. A member of the House Committee on International Relations for much of his 30-year political career, Leach will speak about America’s relationships with the Middle East. Dye said the address by Leach, who currently serves as chair in public affairs at the University of Iowa, will kick off an ambitious agenda for the institute. Among the major initiatives planned, the Middle East Institute will: > host Middle East scholars-in-residence for six to eight weeks each spring; > host a two-day symposium each spring, featuring presentations by regional and national experts and led by the scholars-in-residence;

Middle East Institute INAUGURAL LECTURE

What is Old, New and Unprecedented in America’s Relationships with the Middle East presented by

the Honorable Jim Leach 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10 Christ the King Chapel, SAU campus free and open to the public

> bring visiting artists to campus each fall to share Middle East culture; > provide funding for the creation of several classes relating to the Middle East in academic disciplines across the SAU curriculum; > and host a series of roundtable discussions regarding key issues in the region. The institute plans to work in collaboration with local organizations such as the World Affairs Council, the Jewish Federation, and the Islamic Center of the Quad Cities, said Dye. More information about the Middle East Institute is available on the SAU website at


under the OAKS

Grant Will Boost SAU Engineering Grads

New college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in engineering can expect to earn some of the highest starting salaries among their peers, according to the Wall Street

Journal. A $500,000 grant awarded last fall by the John Deere Foundation will help SAU’s Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs prepare St. Ambrose graduates to step into those jobs. “St. Ambrose University and Deere & Company have had a long and fruitful partnership, and more than 700 St. Ambrose alumni are employed with Deere worldwide,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose. “The university is deeply grateful to the foundation for its generous support of our efforts to provide a well-trained workforce with excellent career opportunities.” The grant will be used to make substantial enhancements to the learning environment for current and future engineering students. “Through discussions with our advisory board, we came to the conclusion that the best use of the grant


would be to combine virtual lab enhancements with expanded hands-on engineering lab experiences,” said Michael Opar, PhD, professor and chair of the Engineering and Physical Science Department. “These enhancements will help us continue to produce highly prepared engineering professionals.” Engineering graduates are in high demand. “The other day I had a company representative in my office, looking to hire,” said Opar. “If I’d had two students who wanted jobs, they would have had them.” There are more internship and job opportunities than available students, he added. “They all get jobs in the discipline, if that’s what they want.” Learn more about the Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs at St. Ambrose at

under the OAKS

What came first? The chicken or the portable, self-cleaning chicken coop? Well, the chicken, of course. The coop came from a suggestion made

level—mass production. Prosise couldn’t find something similar on the increasingly

by Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant ’80, PhD,

popular urban chicken-raising market, where

who is leading the Sustainability Project

the average cost of a plain, backyard, clean-

on campus this year. Luke Greene, an

it-yourself coop is $2,000.

engineering student and theology major, took the idea to his engineering professors. Then, members of an SAU mechatronics class went to work.

Could this coop find a home on the St. Ambrose campus? “Chickens are not as smelly as people think,” said Fr. Grant. “Their manure is a good

They considered a few self-cleaning

fertilizer, and the grubs and bugs they eat

concepts, but settled on a large brush,

translates into less chemicals on the lawn.

mechanically drawn back and forth across

“In the end,’’ he stressed, “this project’s

the floor by a winch. Chickens would step out

number one value is to remind us where our

during cleaning, to graze and take advantage

food comes from. Also, it’s just a really fun

of fresh air and sunshine.


In total, two engineering classes and nine students engaged in design, welding, framing, woodworking and millwork. Their

Learn more about engineering programs at St. Ambrose and about the Sustainability Project at

coop prototype emerged through good old-fashioned trial and error. Members of the Art Club will paint a mural on one side of the coop this spring. Jodi Prosise, PhD, an assistant professor of engineering and the mechatronics class instructor, thinks her students might be able to take their $500 coop to the next

Engineering a Better Chicken Coop




Professor of Education Dean Marple, EdD, remembers showing a senior how to tie a tie for an interview. He also recalls the student-teacher from Chicago who, when assigned to a remote, rural school, assumed there would be no street signs or stoplights there. He smiles about the football player who donned his grandma’s flowery apron and a hairnet to demonstrate how to make chocolate chip cookies as a class lesson. “I recall his hands being so large he had trouble with the small measuring spoons,” Marple said. A veteran of 25 years in St. Ambrose classrooms, Marple is among several longtime faculty members who will retire after spring semester classes conclude. “Campus was only about half as big as now when I started in 1984,” said Linda Brown, PhD, professor and chair of finance, economics and decision science. She has seen overhead projectors give way to an online Blackboard system, had a student become an ultimate fighter in Texas, and has enjoyed keeping in touch with international students over the years. For English Professor Bea Jacobson, PhD, a 2007 study abroad trip to Ecuador—and its service project to create terraces on a mountain hillside—made a lasting impression. As a new faculty member in 1986,


Retiring faculty share memories


Who Wouldn’t Love Teaching People Like This?


under the OAKS

Professor of English Owen Rogal, PhD, found that small gestures mattered. “As I left Ambrose Hall, Jim Mullins, who taught economics, put his left arm through my right, and walked next to me for a few yards, talking about this and that.” Rogal also remembers a student on the football team reading Moby Dick. “He couldn’t make sense of Melville’s strange, challenging, utterly beautiful novel but continued reading,” Rogal said. “One day in class, the light went on. He raised his arms—as if he’d just scored a touchdown —and said, ‘I get it now; I get it.’ “Who wouldn’t love teaching people like this?” Read more faculty reminiscences at

under the OAKS

Gifts Lift Gifted St. Ambrose Artist Molly Conrad came to St. Ambrose University intent on becoming an English teacher. That changed when the Christmas present of a guitar in 2010 revealed Conrad’s unique gift for writing and performing her own songs. Now, the talented senior from Bettendorf, Iowa, may be on her way to a career in music, thanks to another gift she was given by longtime friend Stephanie Seward ’13 on her birthday this past fall. “Stephanie surprised me with funding from family, friends and teachers to make an album,” Conrad said. “Steph is an incredible friend. This is definitely the best present I have ever received. I hope the finished product will turn out to be a gift for them too.” Conrad plans to begin recording shortly after

Johnson, Theatre Department chair. “She directs like a son-of-a-gun and that’s what I’m most impressed with. It

graduation and a concert tour of the Midwest with her

is unusual for a person who is so creative to be so good

close friend Seward will follow. First, though, she will

at directing.”

put a bow on a very busy collegiate experience. While majoring in theatre and public relations, Conrad has been a regular on the SAU stage. An actor from an early age in school and local theatre productions, Conrad’s SAU theatre credits include

For all her stage experience, that gift of a guitar helped Conrad find her own true voice. She describes her music as easy listening. The majority of the songs on her future album, to be titled One-Sided, will be new. “It’s not about the fame, but what you love,” Conrad

lead roles in Eurydice and last fall’s romp of a musical,

said of her pursuit of a career in music. “Every artist


takes a different path to get where they want to be.

“Molly has brought integrity, an incredible work ethic and intellect to this theatre program,” said Corinne

That’s the exciting part.” Learn more about Molly Conrad and the St. Ambrose Theatre Department at



“We say all the time how much we have each others’ back. This is absolute proof.”

DPT Student Knows Other Side of Therapy

As learning opportunities go, this is nothing Alyssa Curtis would recommend. Still, the St. Ambrose Doctor of Physical Therapy program student said the glass-half-full flipside to her ongoing fight to overcome a cancerous brain tumor is that she now has experienced physical therapy from a patient’s perspective. “It has given me empathy, no doubt,” said Curtis, who continues to regain strength and mobility after surgery to remove the tumor left her with minor paralysis to her leftside extremities. “I know how difficult therapy is. I know things to say to patients and I definitely know things not to say. “It is going to absolutely make me a better physical therapist,” she said. “And I will get back to being a physical therapist. It is going to take some time but I will get there.” Curtis was nearing the finish line of the rigorous DPT program when she experienced seizures while on her clinical assignment at a Peoria, Ill., hospital in late August. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., removed the bulk of the tumor in September. Curtis spent the rest of the fall undergoing radiation and chemotherapy along with physical therapy to overcome mobility issues.


The last of that initial phase of her therapies occurred in early December. A week later, she scaled a ramp to a stage to take part in Winter 2013 Commencement ceremonies at the Davenport RiverCenter. She was hooded along with 34 members of her graduating cohort. Curtis was undeterred by the brace on her left ankle but was mildly self-conscious about the tennis shoes the brace required her to wear with her cap and gown. Or she was, at least, until she arrived at the RiverCenter and found every other member of her cohort sporting colorful tennis shoes, too. It was a kind of group hug. With feet. “We say all the time how much we have each others’ back,” Curtis said. “This is absolute proof.” While she will still need to complete her clinical assignment before she is an official program graduate, Curtis said her walk across the commencement stage was another leg in a journey she fully intends to complete. “I know what it’s going to continue to take,” she said of her ongoing rehabilitation. “ I also know people have gone through what I am going through and they got through it. They got back.” Read more about the St. Ambrose Doctor of Physical Therapy program and view a Winter Commencement photo album at

Who is SAU? Dan Tomlin Dan Zeimet What happens when a university’s cross country and track and field coaches have the same first name? “It doesn’t help matters that we’re both Dan,” said Dan Tomlin ’05, ‘10 MBA, the men’s and women’s track and field coach. “Obviously I’m younger and better looking. I’ve never claimed to be the smarter one.” Cross Country Coach Dan Zeimet ’91, ’96 MBA laughs at this. And so it goes…

The Tornado that is Tomlin “I’m very high energy—loud,” said Tomlin, who serves as point person for recruiting in both programs. “By the time families spend time in Zeimet’s quiet office, it’s a bit of a yin-yang experience for them.”

The Zen of Zeimet An athlete through and through, the much-calmer Zeimet also serves as university registrar. “The registrar in me wants everything structured, details worked out,” he said.

But Seriously The Dans, who serve as one another’s assistant coach, have taken their programs to a whole new level. In six years, track and field has grown from 30 to 150 athletes, with 161 individual conference champions, 87 national qualifiers, 11 AllAmericans, and the distinction of the 2013 men’s indoor squad being



named the NAIA Champions of Character Team. Cross country teams have won nine conference titles in 10 years. In 2012, both the men’s and women’s teams won conference championships and advanced to the nationals. That same year the

men’s team had the highest grade point average in the NAIA.

Dan if You Do; Dan if You Don’t > Tomlin didn’t participate in track until college, and only then because he heard the team was going to Disney World. > Both credit their wives for providing love and support. And patience. > Zeimet: White Sox. Tomlin: Cubs. (And the latter married an ardent Cardinals fan.) > During one team road trip, both fell asleep eating giant bacon cheeseburgers. > Tweeting-and-texting machine Tomlin had to explain “LOL” to Zeimet. (LOL) > Both believe in recruiting character, attitude and the capacity to handle adversity.


by Steven Lillybeck

the wonder of wanderlust Wanderlust has taken Patrick O’Leary, PhD, from Europe to the Middle East, from Japan to the American West. Starting out in his native Ireland, O’Leary left the rural surroundings of his youth to explore exotic Asia, found his way to Manhattan, hitchhiked across the US, and managed to explore Europe and the Middle East as well. Through all his wandering, O’Leary somehow knew he was destined to settle in the United States. “I grew up on a farm,” he said. “Like most rural families, we had relatives in the States and they would come back to visit. They seemed so exotic. They smoked Camels and seemed so worldly. I suppose that was the seed. They opened my eyes and senses to the idea that there was something more out there, and I knew from an early age that I wanted to see the world.” In the midst of his travels, O’Leary managed to complete work on an undergraduate degree at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and then earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington.

What we try to teach, and what I try to bring to the classroom, is the ability to see what’s in front of you in all its complexity and analyze it creatively.” He joined the SAU faculty 16 years ago, and, while here, earned a Doctor of Planning, Policy and Leadership Studies degree from the University of Iowa. Wanderlust is not easily lost, but it has been St. Ambrose’s good fortune that O’Leary has 10

channeled his passion for travel to the classroom. O’Leary has a true worldview, and he combines the best of a liberal arts education, a business education and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. He then molds all of it into a well-rounded teaching philosophy. “Look,” he said. “It’s not that we strive to teach accounting better. It’s not that we strive to teach finance better. It’s not that we strive to teach marketing skills better. That doesn’t make us any different than any college down the road. What we try to teach, and what I try to bring to the classroom, is the ability to see what’s in front of you in all its complexity and analyze it creatively. Businesses today


want creativity in their managers.” For all of his travels, and all the vast and formative experience they have brought him, O’Leary believes a sense of the world can be gained without leaving the confines of a college campus in the middle of America—providing it is a campus that fosters a broader understanding of the world. “I encourage my students to travel overseas, but I understand their realities,” he said. “You can develop an international perspective and then put that perspective to work wherever you are. What an international perspective really means is the ability to really see and really understand the ‘other.’

“St. Ambrose creates an atmosphere that exposes students to the notion that they can be change agents,” O’Leary added. “It gets to the issue of question and answer. I think too often educators make the mistake of giving answers to questions that students don’t have. What we strive to do at St. Ambrose is nurture the question in the student’s mind. And by doing so, we give that student the confidence to go out, invest in themselves and make the world a better place.” Learn more about managerial studies and international business at St. Ambrose at


A Sporting Chance at Success

With medical school potentially in his future and a 3.6 grade point average on his résumé, Andrew Friederich cannot accurately be described as the typical St. Ambrose studentathlete. The two-time academic All-American and standout senior football player qualifies as extraordinary. On the other hand, every student-athlete at SAU is extraordinary in his or her own right. “We recruit good kids,” said fourth-year women’s head basketball coach Krista Van Hauen, who previously worked in NCAA Division I programs where some players viewed themselves athletes first and foremost. “That’s one of the reasons I like the NAIA level. These kids have perspective. They enjoy playing the game but they are students first.” School was not Friederich’s first love. “Football was all I cared about in high school,” he confessed. But a yearplus away from both school and football brought a revelation. “I wasn’t really doing anything with my life. I decided if I was going to go back to school, I was going to have to put all my effort into it.” He chose St. Ambrose because of its academic reputation. The fact there was good football being played here qualified merely as a happy coincidence. On arrival, Friederich said he needed to be taught how to be a serious student and there was ready help for that, both through the Student Success Center and tutoring from a football graduate assistant whose central assignment was coaching academics. While SAU programs with smaller rosters don’t have an academics tutor, the coaches insist that their athletes be strong students. “The coaches don’t just say they focus on students’ academic success,” said Ann Austin, director of reading and study skills at the Student Success Center, “they really mean it. They work closely with us.” That level of teamwork extends to student-to-student tutoring. Friederich made ample use of the student-run Student Instruction program early on, and now is pleased to say he is both a tutor and the student in charge of that program. This coming summer, Friederich will take time to reflect on his experience as a St. Ambrose student-athlete. Best four years of his life? “Definitely, the biggest four years of my life,” he said. The best part of being a St. Ambrose student-athlete is that, armed with a strong education and a fundamental grounding in enriching lives, their best years are yet to come.

These kids have perspective. They enjoy playing the game but they are students first.”





in the Game of Life


Lives of former Bees define athletic success

by Craig DeVrieze


You don’t need a St. Ambrose degree to know baseball isn’t rocket science. Or that the challenge of playing college football, significant as that might be, pales next to learning the law at night while upholding it by day. Or that playing basketball well enough to help launch a campus-wide passion for the women’s game is not nearly as rewarding as spending a career on the frontlines for US national security. Yet, it was under the oaks where Jeff Stebel ’07 played baseball and developed an imagination for engineering that has led him to a role in building what may be the next rocket ship the US sends into space. After playing football well enough at St. Ambrose to win the attention of the Chicago Bears, Mitchell Ware ’55 earned a law degree while working in drug enforcement on Chicago’s meanest streets. He next worked as a Chicago TV reporter, then led state and city-wide police agencies, then built Illinois’ largest minority-led law partnership, and then served as a justice of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Carleen Forler ’89, meanwhile, enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in basketball and softball. She still holds every school record for women’s basketball assists and was the floor leader for a Queen Bees squad that finished third in the nation. Forler also kept her eye on the ball in the classroom. The St. Ambrose criminal justice degree she earned has helped her carve a near quarter-centurylong career in the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Agency. Win. Win. And win again. In the scorebook that matters most, it is fully developed lives such as these that truly define success for athletic programs at St. Ambrose University.

The concept of the student-athlete has sometimes been muddied at large universities that too often serve as stopovers for professional athletes-inAt St. Ambrose, however, academics and athletics are “Just about everybody knew why they were here,” said Mike Poster ’88, a former Fighting Bees all-district

his alma mater’s vice president for finance. “They knew they were a step

Mandy Streu, an eight-time national qualifier in track graduated this past May with a 3.8 GPA. That’s more remarkable than it seems, considering she nearly failed to

the truest of teammates.

accounting degree to good use as

with the help of dedicated coaches, advisers and faculty. and field and the runner-up in the indoor shot put in 2012,


football lineman who is putting his

Such success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens

meet eligibility requirements one semester into her stay at SAU.

Success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens with the help of dedicated coaches, advisers and faculty.

slow or 20 pounds too light to play at a bigger school or

“I kind of had the ‘freshman excitement’ going that

even think of going on after that. Definitely, academics

first semester,” said Streu, who carried a 4.0 GPA over

was the first thing.”

her final six semesters and now is in her first year as

They continue to be. In the past 2½ years alone, 20 St.

a pre-school special education teacher in Davenport.

Ambrose athletes have been recognized as academic All-

“After talking to track coach Dan Tomlin ’05, ’10 mba and

Americans. Since 2008, 68 SAU teams and 258 individual

a couple of professors, I cracked the whip and got things

athletes have been honored as National Association of

under control.“

Intercollegiate Athletics Scholars. The graduation rate for Bees who complete their

Her story is not atypical. “I played with guys who might not have stuck it out

athletic eligibility here exceeds the national average, and

and gotten a degree,” Poster said. “But you could see

student-athletes are not just getting by; in 2012–13, SAU’s

that once they got to be part of the program and saw

student-athletes posted a composite 3.1 grade point

their friends not only spending a lot of time in the weight


room, but also on academics, that influenced them. “In a positive way, the peer pressure got to them.”


When opportunity knocks, you have to take advantage and try and enrich your life and see where it takes you.” among four commercially constructed spacecraft NASA will consider to replace the decommissioned space shuttle. It also is being considered by two foreign nations to carry their crews to the space station. Clearly, part of something wondrous, Stebel said he does wonder where he might be today were it not for the lure of playing baseball at St. Ambrose. “Without my educational experiences at SAU,” he said, “I would not have had the launching pad to get me to where I am today. When opportunity knocks, you have to take advantage and try and enrich your life and see where it takes you.”

Jeff Stebel did not struggle to make the grade. Told by his older brother at an early age that he would need good grades to compete in sports, Stebel decided not to settle for just good. “My competitive nature kicked in and I was like, ‘If I have to get good grades, I’m going to get A’s and B’s,’” said the Rock Island, Ill., native, who graduated from SAU with a 3.4 GPA. Stebel came to St. Ambrose to play first base. He contributed to a runner-up finish at the NAIA Nationals during his freshman campaign. As a junior, he compiled a .435 batting average. Not initially on his radar was the SAU industrial engineering degree that has led to his position as a systems engineer working on a potential replacement for NASA’s space shuttle. “I changed my major four or five times before I decided engineering was the best fit,” he said. Once he chose a career path, Stebel excelled. He earned a master’s degree at Oregon State University, and then got a job assisting on NASA’s Orion Project, which aims to build a vehicle capable of deep space exploration. Today, he is among 150 bright, young engineering minds working for the Sierra Nevada Corp., which is looking to take the Dream Chaser Project from blueprint to runway and then, potentially, to the International Space Station and beyond. Dream Chaser is the only vehicle capable of a runway landing


More than a third of St. Ambrose undergraduate students—and more than half of this year’s first-year class—participate in one of the school’s 23 varsity sports. Rosters this year include 20 international students and another 100 who come from beyond Iowa and Illinois. Meanwhile, nearly 19 percent of this year’s first-year athletes identify themselves as a minority, continuing an intentional growth in campus-wide ethnic diversity. “Athletics enhance and expand our campus culture through the multiplicity of experiences and backgrounds studentathletes bring to St. Ambrose,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of SAU. “These young men and women make this a better and stronger institution in ways that go far beyond athletic performance.” Athletic director and men’s basketball coach Ray Shovlain ’79, ’82 mba said many of the best lessons student-athletes take away from St. Ambrose are ones they inevitably teach to one another about their varied life stories. “Every team is a little different,” Shovlain said. “It is the group dynamics and interactions that provide life lessons, too. Some of these guys take teammates home. And it is a little different lesson going in either direction.”

Mitchell Ware became one of two black students on campus in the fall of 1951, when he eagerly accepted a scholarship to play football and basketball at St. Ambrose. Raised by adoptive working-class parents in Chicago, he still vividly remembers the racial taunts he and teammates from St. Elizabeth High School endured when they visited predominantly white opponents in the Chicago Catholic League. “One school, they started playing the song Old Black Joe when we came out,” Ware said. “Things like that have some kind of affect on you. And then I get to St. Ambrose and here is a school where everybody treats you like they want to be treated.” The retired judge still can recite the names of the St. Ambrose teammates, classmates, coaches and professors who readily welcomed him. He also can list in detail a lifelong résumé so extensive, it reads like the outline to a movie script. After a record-setting career as a St. Ambrose running back and linebacker, Ware was drafted not by the NFL Bears, but instead by the US Army. His twoyear stint in the military ended early, though, when Bears coach George Halas wrote the Army asking that Ware be allowed to attend summer training camp.

Ware did not make the regular-season roster, but did see action in a preseason game, lining up across from fellow St. Ambrose alum Art Michalik ’51. The end of Ware’s football career was the beginning of an accomplished Ambrosian life. He became a narcotics agent to pay his way through law school at the University of DePaul, taking classes at night. After graduating, he joined the DePaul law school faculty and worked simultaneously as a television news reporter. Ware worked only a year in TV news, but that year was 1968. He covered the Chicago Democratic convention, as well as the bloody confrontations between police and antiwar protestors outside the convention hall that came to epitomize the contentious ’60s. “I covered the Black Panthers and the Weathermen, too,” Ware said. “I was not afraid. I didn’t mind going into places and trying to get the truth.” Because Ware had been equally intrepid as a narcotics cop, Illinois Gov. Richard Ogilvie asked him in 1969 to take the helm of a start-up, statewide narcotics bureau, making Ware the first black man to lead a statewide law enforcement agency in the US. While still in that role, he served by appointment of President Richard Nixon on a national commission to study drug abuse. In 1972, he became the deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Six years later, Ware finally began to practice law full time. He was appointed to the Cook County bench in 1998 and served in that capacity until his retirement five years ago. Given all he has accomplished, you might think it obvious Ware would have gone on to do great things, even had a St. Ambrose football scholarship not been made available. That is not obvious to him, however. “St. Ambrose played a big role in my life,” Ware said. “It gave me a perspective on a lot of things I really had not been able to envision before going there.”

And then I get to St. Ambrose and here is a school where everybody treats you like they want to be treated.” 17

The athletics program at St. Ambrose has received a Five-Star Champions of Character rating every year since the NAIA began evaluating member schools on values-based criteria in 2000. “Our student-athletes annually earn this honor through commitment to service, spirituality, intellectual growth and ethical behavior,” Sr. Lescinski said. “Athletics exemplify our mission and vision.” In fact, thanks to lessons learned through sport, Poster said many student-athletes leave SAU uniquely prepared to enrich their own lives and the lives of others. “You definitely learn the value of hard work and that, to be successful, you have to do the work upfront,” Poster said. “You learn what it is like to work as a team and with a team. Leadership comes naturally. You find your voice. Some of the best people on this campus are our athletes.” Finally, while St. Ambrose athletes and teams never will gain the headlines and fan passion that bigger collegiate programs receive, they do bring pride to the campus, something around which to rally on a Saturday afternoon. “There is an esprit des corps,” Poster noted. “I was here during the Lisa Bluder years of women’s basketball, and I remember we would all go buy body paint for the post-season games and have a lot of fun.”


Carleen Forler sparked Bluder’s early Queen Bees to a pair of Elite Eight appearances and a third-place national trophy in 1989. But she never felt like the star those burly boys in body paint were cheering for from the stands. Steadfast, unassuming leadership was Forler’s forte then. It remains that today. As a Secret Service agent in the early ’90s, Forler traveled the world and stood guard for a pair of presidents, several foreign heads of state, and, once, for the pope. She also investigated whitecollar fraud. When she moved to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency 17 years ago, she took on major crimes like narcotics and weapons smuggling. Two years after 9/11, Homeland Security became a division of ICE. As a special agent for the Homeland Security Investigations International Operations Division, Forler now conducts domestic and international criminal investigations. Agency protocol limits what she can share about her work, but Forler’s commitment is resolute. “It is very much a passion and a way of life,” she said. At SAU, the Dubuque, Iowa native chose a criminal justice major largely because that was the degree her brother Dan Forler ’87 was pursuing. From an athlete’s perspective, she now can see the natural fit. “Law enforcement is the ultimate team endeavor,” she said. “You set goals, you have vision and you are placed in leadership positions. Being a student-athlete, you have to balance a lot of things. It’s the same with law enforcement. “In my experience at St. Ambrose and in law enforcement, the team is an extension of your family. You develop close relationships. You go through ups and downs. You share successes. You play a role.” Forler hasn’t lost track of her teammates, and is particularly tickled that a former SAU teammate now is her nephew’s secondgrade teacher. “We had a lot of great girls on the team and they were all dialed into school,” she said. “A lot of them went on to have really great careers as teachers, public servants. Well-rounded people.”

That is true, of course, of the vast majority of former Fighting Bees. They now are lawyers, bankers, teachers, nurses and doctors. They are businessmen and businesswomen, college vice presidents, coaches, law enforcement agents, even builders of rocket ships. About that last one. Proud as he is of the Dream Chaser, Jeff Stebel makes it clear that his current career never was his ultimate dream. The athlete still lurks within, and if he can find a path to coaching or some kind of later-in-life career in sports, Stebel swears he will. Athletics are a lifelong passion, after all. And you don’t need a St. Ambrose degree to know that rocket science isn’t baseball.

“Being a student-athlete, you have to balance a lot of things. It’s the same with law enforcement.


The pace

Coaching for Their Lives

SAU Coaches Focus on Athletes’ Futures

by Craig DeVrieze

of St. Ambrose men’s volleyball practice has ratcheted up two

notches, and occasionally three, this year. Balls are spiked with more vigor. The standard practice chatter comes with more volume and carries more of an edge. The players who practice best, who practice hardest, will start the next contest.

This is a “pay-to-play” approach, and the only currency accepted is sweat equity. “It has brought more life to our practices because the upperclassmen can’t coast,” eighth-year head coach Bill Gleeson ’05, ’10 MBA said of the newest wrinkle he has injected into the program. “And it just makes sense if you really want to get better. We practice a lot more often than we play games.”

“I think you can do both—prepare them to be athletes on the field, but also to carry a lot of character that will be very valuable in their adult lives.”

Gleeson is one of several bright young program leaders adding fresh ideas and balance to a St. Ambrose roster of coaches that also boasts the benefit of substantial experience. Athletic director and men’s basketball coach Ray Shovlain ’79, ’82 MBA, men’s golf coach Jeff Griebel ’76, women’s volleyball coach Bruce Billingsley and men’s baseball coach Jim Callahan ’92 bring the advantage of nearly a century of combined on-thejob experience. They offer counsel to 14 other coaches whose combined tenures at St. Ambrose total a year shy of 80. In turn, younger coaches such as Gleeson, women’s basketball head coach Krista Van Hauen and head football coach Mike Magistrelli offer fresh perspectives and a new brand of energy. At the core of every coach’s concern is the student-athlete, and each team leader is as keenly focused on developing good people as he or she is on building winning programs. Recruits and, particularly, their parents tend to value the former ahead of the latter, said Van Hauen. “That’s one of our drawing cards—we’re going to get your daughter a great education,” she said. A four-year Fighting Bees starter who still ranks fourth on the school’s career kills chart, Gleeson is ever ready to learn on the job—this year’s heavier emphasis on practice performance is proof of that. Among the earliest lessons he absorbed was that, even for collegiate volleyball players, life doesn’t come with a net. “My first couple of years, I was just trying to prepare guys to be good players and not really helping them prepare for life after college,” he said. “As I developed on the job, I learned it was best for me, our program and the traditions we want to develop





to do our best to help them graduate, be employable and successful.”

Magistrelli’s gridders, meanwhile, have been to the NAIA playoffs

Gleeson encourages his players to create life plans in 5-, 10- and

five times in his seven seasons. He is proudest, however, of the way his

15-year increments. He points them to the St. Ambrose Career Center

football players have embraced the Road to Rome off-season program.

to investigate internships, gain resume-building skills and learn the

The intra-squad competition allows groups of teammates to gain

many ways they can build a future while enjoying their student-athlete

practice privileges based on service projects and other values-based



“Volleyball is an activity,” he said. “It’s really not what they are here

“There is a certain amount of success that is measured by wins and

for, so I have to make sure they have their academics and their futures

losses,” Magistrelli said. “But I also think we are in the business of

at the forefront.”

developing young men and preparing them for graduation and life after

It is not that athletic success doesn’t matter. Gleeson’s Bees already have won nearly 200 games in his young career, twice finishing as national runners-up. He was national coach of the year in 2011. The other members of the SAU staff of coaches are equally successful. Among them: > Billingsley, who also coached the men’s volleyball squad for several

football—being a father, a husband, a provider. “I think you can do both—prepare them to be athletes on the field, but also to carry a lot of character that will be very valuable in their adult lives.” Building character is the essence of requirements put in place by Athletic Director Shovlain, who has made service projects and

seasons, has won more than 500 games in his career, coached eight

attendance at twice yearly leadership lectures requirements for every

All-Americans and led Bees squads to nine league titles and four

SAU student-athlete.

national tournaments. > Callahan’s baseball crews have featured 15 All-American players,

On the first day of holiday break this past December, for instance, Shovlain and every member of a Fighting Bees basketball team that had

won nine league titles and brought home second- and third-place

lost a heated contest the night before got out of bed early to assemble

trophies from the NAIA World Series.

food baskets for the needy. That same Saturday afternoon, they tipped

> Griebel is a 19-time Region IV coach of the year and has led squads to the NAIA Nationals 23 times while coaching eight first-team AllAmericans. > Jon Mannall’s women’s soccer teams have won the conference five out of the past six years and advanced to the national tournament three times. > Felicia Miles’ competitive co-ed cheerleading squad has won

off another game. “Was I thrilled about getting up at 6 a.m. after we lost? Not really,” Shovlain said. “And I know my players and coaches weren’t either. But that’s not the discussion. That reflects what we’re trying to do. That’s a life lesson.” “If you ask our alumni about their time here, there might be one or two athletic memories,” Shovlain added. “Most will remember the

multiple national trophies, and this year boasts what is believed to

overall experience and that Mike Magistrelli or Bill Gleeson or Krista

be the largest cheerleading roster in the history of the NAIA.

Van Hauen emphasized, ‘Here is what you want to be.’

> Danelle Stanger ’06 led the women’s dance team to the first national team championship in school history in 2012.

“We compete, but the other lessons are more valuable.” Meet the SAU staff of head coaches at

> Shovlain is closing in on 600 career wins and has led his Bees to 10 national tourney appearances, and four Sweet 16 finishes. 21

Bees for the Books

by Dustin Renwick ’10

More than 275 individuals and six teams have been inducted into the St. Ambrose University Athletic Hall of Fame. That represents barely a cross-section of the many thousands of athletes who have worn a St. Ambrose uniform over a century-plus. All of them were most valuable players in many and varied ways. Here are five who helped create St. Ambrose athletic history and whose names still occupy the record books.

Albert Williams ’78 You won’t find Albert Williams’ name in many places in the men’s basketball record book, but it sits atop two lists—thanks to one unforgettable night in 1975. Williams netted single-game records with 56 points and 22 field goals, and that was before the 3-point shot was introduced. He remembers more than that one

Art Michalik ‘51 The last of eight St. Ambrose alums to play in the National Football League, Art Michalik was part of a golden age of St. Ambrose football. He played for teams that won 37 games and multiple conference titles. Michalik went on to play middle linebacker and offensive guard for the San Francisco 49ers, and he went to the Pro Bowl in 1953. “I can’t explain how good it felt to be playing in the pros,” he said. “At that time there were no multiple contracts—one year and a second year under option. Money was different then.” After two seasons with the 49ers, he was traded to Pittsburgh and played there for two years. The former collegiate wrestler then returned to California as a part of a professional wrestling tag team with a former 49ers teammate. “Ninety percent of guys who wrestled were ex-college wrestlers,” he said. “It wasn’t the big showmanship they’re doing now.” Retired in California, he remembers his time on campus. “At St. Ambrose, you’re a regular community right there,” he said. “It rounded me out in my personal life.”


night, however. “I look back at that time period—it was quality, it was good,” he said of his experience at St. Ambrose. “It set the foundation for where I am right now.” Williams has spent 33 years working for the US Department of Agriculture. He lives in Chicago, where he founded an organization that works to fight childhood obesity and build future leaders. “We have so many childhood health problems,” he said. “That has been my passion.”

Stephani (Vander Horn) Nader ’95 Stephani (Vander Horn) Nader was a cross country conference champion in 1992. Two years later, she ran for conference crowns on the track in the 800-, 1500-, and 3000-meter runs. She remains a part of two record track relay runs. “All those meets, it was a lot of work,” said Nader, who now directs marketing and public relations at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. “There were days when I thought it was too much, but I’m certainly glad I stuck with it.”

Five Epic Eras in SAU Sports 1893–94 With mixed administrative enthusiasm due to its “roughneck” nature, football is introduced in the fall of ’93. The team loses 18-0 in its inaugural outing vs. Augustana but rebounds to beat Davenport College 12-0. Football is not officially played again until 1906. The pastoral national pastime of baseball is a more welcome extracurricular activity in the spring of ’94. An 8-2 first-year record includes a 23-19 win over Augustana. 1909–11 LeClaire Hall opens as a state-of-the-art athletic facility in ’09, leading to the start of bowling and handball teams. In December, eight young men launch the sport of basketball. Their lone win in eight games is a 26-24 overtime thriller over Moline High. Two years

Kim Clarke ’91 Sandwiched around an SAU career that included basketball and softball, Kim Clarke spent 14 years on the US national handball team and competed in the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics. “I had never even heard of team handball, which is similar to water polo played on land,” said Clarke, who grew up in Muscatine, Iowa. “It was right up my alley from playing basketball and softball.” Clarke, who lives in Atlanta and works for Blue Cross Blue Shield, fondly remembers playing for powerhouse SAU basketball teams that reached two Final Fours. “St. Ambrose turned out to be a perfect fit for me,” she said. “A competitive team, but a small college where you know everybody. When you look back, that makes for some great memories.”

Lionel Porter ’97

later, track and field joins the roster when property on the west edge of campus is graded to accommodate athletic fields. 1931–50 Two decades of football dominance includes the coaching stints of Dukes Duford and Larry “Moon” Mullins, who post a composite record of 100-17-6. The first crew coached by Mullins, who played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, finishes unbeaten and unscored upon in ’40. 1983–84 The PE Center opens during a banner sports year. Nine years after women’s sports are introduced at St. Ambrose, the women’s volleyball team rises to a No. 5 national ranking and the women’s basketball team goes 26-3. Meanwhile, alum Ray Shovlain debuts as men’s basketball coach; third-year men’s golf coach Jeff Griebel is national coach of the year; and a men’s

Lionel Porter holds the SAU career rushing record with 5,437 yards, and in 1995, he ran for a single-game record 301 yards, a total that helped make him the season’s leading rusher in NAIA

tennis team coached by the legendary Shelly Weiner

Division II. “My linemen wanted that record,” he said. “They were saying, ‘If you have to run the ball 50 times, you’re going to get the record.’” The two-time All-American works in the Quad Cities for John Deere, and said what he learned on the football field translates to his job today. “A team sport can shape a person,” he said. “It teaches you how to trust people, how you can work with people

becomes athletic director and his first hire is a women’s

from all over and work toward a common goal.” See who is in the St. Ambrose Sports Hall of Fame and peruse the SAU sports record books at

advances to the national tourney for a seventh straight year. Two significant Summer of ’84 arrivals: Jim Fox basketball coach named Lisa Bluder. April 13–14, 2012 In what might be the most epic 27 hours in SAU sports history, the women’s dance team wins the first national team title in school history on a Friday afternoon in Daytona, Fla. The following night, the men’s volleyball squad settles for a second straight NAIA Nationals runner-up finish in front of a frenzied crowd in the PE Center. Much of the above is from Rev. George McDaniel’s A Great and Lasting Beginning: The First 125 Years of St. Ambrose University.


‘Divot’ Devoted to a Quad Cities Classic

by Craig DeVrieze



Laura Ekizian ’92, ’97 mba has a tee time in July with Jordan Spieth, the 2013 PGA Tour rookie of the year. In July of 2015, the former St. Ambrose golfer and women’s golf coach will board a charter flight to St. Andrews, Scotland, where she will attend the British Open at the birthplace of golf. Considering Ekizian routinely answers to the golfcentric nickname “Divot,” you might think such perks are the most rewarding parts of her role as chair of the 2014 John Deere Classic (JDC). Not so. “Divot” can cite about six million better reasons for her dedication to this cause. Staged for 43 years in the community Ekizian adopted after being “formed” at St. Ambrose, the JDC has ranked among the pro golf circuit’s top five tournaments in charitable giving in each of the past eight years. Last year’s event generated $6.32 million for some 460 non-profit organizations in the QC region, easily besting charity totals raised by events in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. Since its inception in 1971, the QC tourney has generated more the $56.12 million in charitable contributions. That’s a brand of “enriching the lives of others” that Ekizian learned to value at St. Ambrose. “When I graduated, I knew I had been part of something pretty special,” said the native of Chicago’s north suburbs. “I think that’s why I stayed in the Quad Cities. I didn’t want it to end.” After a post-graduation trial run as the eastern Iowa and western Illinois sales representative for the family printing business—“I was beyond awful at it,” she said—Ekizian became alumni director at her alma mater, where she already was serving as women’s golf coach. She spent seven years working with fellow Ambrosians, establishing lasting traditions like the annual Homecoming Weekend Killer Bee 5K and Children’s Bumble Rumble.

In 2000, Ekizian joined Quad City Bank and Trust, where she is senior vice president. Building on her love for the game of golf, and as part of QCBT’s strong commitment to employees’ community engagement, she volunteered to serve on the JDC Board of Directors in 2006, and became a member of the JDC’s Executive Committee in 2009. Over the past five years, Ekizian has worked tirelessly to assist and promote the tourney. As anyone can attest who has worked beside or run past her at the Killer Bee 5K—an event she still chairs— the words “tireless” and “work “ very much apply. JDC tournament director Clair Peterson said Ekizian’s work ethic has earned the respect of even the most demanding of the tourney’s 1,000-plus army of volunteers. “It’s hard to get the respect of the ‘Grunts’ unless you prove yourself worthy and she did,” Peterson said of the tourney’s volunteer muscle, the folks who do much of the on-course dirty work that paid crews won’t. “In work boots, a T-shirt and baseball cap, she jumped right in.” Ekizian’s role as tourney chair comes with a spotlight pairing in the tourney’s pro-am, playing with the defending tourney champ—that’s rising star Spieth. The following July, she will serve as host on the tourney-sponsored charter jet that flies golfers from the JDC to the British Open. But “Divot” clearly isn’t in this for the glamour. She is in it, instead, for the most Ambrosian of reasons. “To me, it is pay it forward times 100,” Ekizian said of the significant support the tournament lends to causes that enrich the community and uplift the unfortunate. “We can’t tell that story enough.” To learn more about the John Deere Classic, visit



Helping Alumni Serve Their Alma Mater Participating on an advisory council is one of several new and exciting ways alumni can get involved in helping to build a better St. Ambrose. Vice President for Advancement Jim Stangle ’82 is developing several programs intended to enlist the talents and active

Giving Voice to the Wine Festival

Vino. Wein. When it comes to the St. Ambrose Wine

Festival, Tom Vaccaro ’76 speaks all languages. “I do publicity for the event,” said Vaccaro. “We come up with different twists and angles to keep the media interested in donating support.” Vaccaro can’t remember exactly when he became media chair for the annual event. “It’s gone by in a blur,” he said. Vaccaro makes sure all the newspapers, TV channels and radio stations in the QC and beyond are informed about the festival, the available wine and the scholarships the event helps to fund. “He gives the festival a wider reach,” said Director of Alumni Engagement Anne Gannaway. “It’s nice how I can always depend on him. He works hard but is the least likely to receive a lot of recognition.” Vacarro said working on the festival is his way of giving back to his alma mater. “I loved my years at Ambrose,” said Vaccaro. “It’s so exciting to be back on campus and to give back to the campus. It’s a source of pride to know I’m a part of it.” This year’s events will also mark Dimitri Papageorgiou’s 30th year of selling wine in the QC. The annual preview dinner is April 12 in the Rogalski Ballroom. The main event is May 17 outside on the lawn between Davis and Ambrose halls. For more information on the Wine Festival, visit

support of the university’s most enthusiastic spokespersons. “The most important extensions of St. Ambrose are its alumni, and we have not done nearly a good enough job of taking advantage of their willingness to help us,” Stangle said. “We want to present basically a shopping list of volunteer opportunities they can choose from.” Alumni volunteer opportunities already include: serving as class ambassadors for Homecoming reunion planning; membership on the national board of the Ambrose Fund; and participating in the recruitment of future St. Ambrose students. Vice President for Enrollment Management John Cooper believes alumni can be especially valuable in talking with prospective SAU students. He is working to ensure that they have up-to-date information that will help them respond to questions most likely to be asked by recruits and their parents. Alumni interested in helping with recruitment should contact Director of Alumni Engagement Anne Gannaway to learn more. But Cooper also advised: “First and foremost, hone your personal St. Ambrose story because that is the best thing you can share.” For more information on how to assist St. Ambrose in a volunteer capacity, visit



t. Ambrose University graduates will have an opportunity to play a larger role in shaping the education the institution provides through a new alumni advisory council program. “We know our alumni are making a uniquely Ambrosian imprint in the communities in which they live and work,” said Jim Stangle ’82, vice president for advancement. “We have heard their stories time and time again—and wanted to find a way to bring those stories to the table, and collaborate with them, to make St. Ambrose better. “Our alumni understand what students need to study today to help them realize their vision for success,” he continued. “That’s why we are developing these new advisory groups—to enhance the education we offer and strengthen our relationship with our alumni.” Ryan Brant ’02 mcj, senior director for individual giving, has been working with Stangle to get the program off the ground. He said academic deans and other administrative leaders also are active in determining the mission for the councils. They share input as to who might serve on the committees and how often groups will meet. To start, councils have been made up of about 10 alumni who live in Iowa and Illinois, making it easier for them to travel to campus. The goal is to expand the size and geographic make-up in the future. The initiative kicked off last November with the meeting of an alumni advisory council for the College of Arts and Sciences. An Athletics Department council met in December. The university is in the beginning stages of developing councils for Student Life and Campus Ministry. The program builds on the success of the advisory groups for the College of Business and

planned giving that have been around for years. For Teresa Brinati ’82, the opportunity to be of service to her alma mater is reason enough to be part of the College of Arts and Sciences council. “I think councils like this have the potential to be beneficial because the students can see how the academic degrees they are working toward translate career-wise,” she said. Brinati graduated with a degree in English, and went on to earn a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Northwestern University. Today, she is the director of publishing at the Society of American Archivists in Chicago. There, she oversees the print and digital media operation. She said the first council meeting allowed her to “see the school’s evolution and to be reminded that I am a part of that continuum. “It’s also instructive to interact with the faculty and students,” she said. “There are initiatives and programs at the school which already have given me ideas for consideration within my own organization.” Brinati walked away from the first meeting energized at the possibilities and encouraged by what she is already seeing at St. Ambrose. “I was impressed with the number of students who are double majors—they are hedging their bets by pursuing something of strong personal interest in the liberal arts with something perhaps more applied,” she said. “I am an unabashed advocate for the liberal arts. You get a broad knowledge base, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and enrichment to last a lifetime. This makes you infinitely employable, not to mention qualified to succeed in an assortment of professional pursuits.”

Alumni Advisory Councils Tap Rich Resource




he miniature red steam train at Niabi Zoo that thrilled Marc Heinzman ’07 when he was 7 years old still greets him every working morning. That little engine is a reminder of the childhood trip around the park that first infused his passion for animals. Now in his third year leading the zoo in Coal Valley, Ill., Heinzman is one of the

youngest zoo directors in the United States. “As a student at St. Ambrose University, I was able to take courses in the

Biology Department that were focused on zoology,” he said from his office at the 40-acre park that is home to more than 330 animals. Heinzman originally planned to become a veterinarian, but an internship posted through the SAU Career Center led him to Niabi—and altered the trajectory of his career. “Here I was, a college kid, spending time with animals nearly every day— monkeys and tigers and giraffes and elephants, getting to know them on a personal level, ensuring that they were taken care,” Heinzman said. “It was a great way to break into the field.”

Anything But Monkey Business for Zoo Director

After college, Heinzman had an opportunity to work with gorillas at the Kansas City (Mo.) Zoo, and experience how a bigger operation was run. But after six months, he returned to the Quad Cities and Niabi. His climb to the zoo’s top spot was quick—from animal handler to assistant director and now director. It is something he attributes to “being in the right place at the right time,” but also, he added, “to the support of our community at Niabi and a lot of hard work.” Today, Heinzman is doing more than just caring for the primates, reptiles and amphibians that a record 270,000 zoo visitors viewed last year. He also is overseeing the construction of new and remodeled exhibits, and working with his staff to make tough decisions that ultimately put the well-being of the animals ahead of anything else. “This past year, we decided to move our elephants to another zoo because our facilities—and our frigid winters—weren’t allowing us to care for them the way they needed to be,” he said. “The quality of life for our animals is our number one concern at Niabi. The decision to move them down to Arkansas was absolutely the right decision. It is something that all of us at the zoo are proud of.” He is also working with his team to offer more programming—from summer classes for kids to events for adults, like the beer tasting they held last year. “As we get older, we sometimes forget the joy that visiting the zoo brought us as a child,” Heinzman said. “All of us at Niabi hope to rekindle the same excitement we experienced as kids with every adult who steps foot in our park.” Learn more about Niabi Zoo and biology studies at St. Ambrose, at



The Gift of Giving Classic Sponsors Aid Athletics and More The Fighting Bee Golf Classic has raised $165,000 for SAU athletic programs since 2010. Donors such as Steve Layer, founder of Rock Valley Physical Therapy, make that happen. Rock Valley connects with St. Ambrose on many levels. Layer began RVPT in 1984 at the same time Mark Levsen founded his practice, Blackhawk Orthopaedic Sports and Physical Therapy. “We merged within three months of opening,” Layer recalled. “It was something we discussed over burgers and beers. We used his office and my name. We had common goals of patient care and how we think physical therapy should be provided.” At the time, they mentored University of Iowa students. One of the first was Kevin Farrell ’84, PhD. Levsen and Farrell now teach at Ambrose, while Layer is a member of the PT Department’s advisory board. RVPT also employed Dean Beauchamp before he joined the Bees as head athletic trainer. “It was a natural transition for us to be with the Athletic Department,” Layer said.

Rock Valley also stays active with the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at St. Ambrose. Program director Michael Puthoff, PT, PhD, said Rock Valley therapists serve as guest instructors and mentor doctoral students in the clinics. Rock Valley is one of the top placement sites for student clinical rotations and also ranks among the top employers for program graduates. Beyond those hands-on academic connections, the support for the Fighting Bee Golf Classic provided by Rock Valley and other donors and participants benefits the nearly 800 Fighting Bee student-athletes. Athletic Director Ray Shovlain said the golf outing also is a way to thank the businesses St. Ambrose works with throughout the year. He said the original golf day started as a small gathering. “Coaches cooked brats and hamburgers,” he said. “Just a total thank you.” Shovlain golfed the first few years, but he now picks a tee box and thanks everyone in person as they play through. “The money raised goes to a whole host of things that benefit virtually all of our sports,” Shovlain said. “It complements the different things we do to help the university accomplish projects—improvements to the Ambrose Dome, the weight room, the Lee Lohman scoreboard.” The 20th anniversary Fighting Bee Classic will take place Friday, May 30 at Emeis Golf Course in Davenport. Other major sponsors for the event include Burlington Trailways, ORA Orthopedics, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, Ryan & Associates, Davenport Electric Contract Company and Hornbuckle Heating & Air Conditioning. Read more about The Fighting Bee Classic at





The Quad-City Times named Larry d’Autremont ’66 Letter Writer of 2013 for his work on five letters published in the newspaper.

Sue Justin ’92, ’00 received the certified advertising specialist award at the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) trade show in Las Vegas. PPAI is the trade association for more than 10,000 members of the promotional products industry. Justin owns Your Name Here Specialties in Davenport.

The Sixties


The Seventies

The Swiss Valley Nature Center, Peosta, Iowa, is displaying a photo collection by Michael Schwenker ’73, who used a digital camera to shoot nature images, often at close range, and digitally enhanced the work. Schwenker is an exhibit designer at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa. Ed McCollough ’77 recently retired as a member of the PGA of America. He was part of three Fighting Bees national golf tournament appearances from 1975 to 1977. He currently lives in Green Bay, Wis.


The Eighties

The Ashland (Neb.) Police Department has named Joe Baudler ’86 as the department’s lieutenant. Baudler’s work in Nebraska law enforcement has included 20 years with the Omaha Police Department. Dan Dunn ’87 is the dean of students at Carl Traeger Middle School in Oshkosh, Wis. The Orion (Ill.) Times has a new editor-in-chief, Mike Landis ’87. He has been with the newspaper for 26 years as assistant and associate editor.


The Nineties

The Greater Des Moines (Iowa) Partnership promoted Amy (Palmer) Baker ’94 to the new position of vice president of marketing and public relations. Baker has worked at the partnership since 2006 as director of marketing and public relations for the Downtown Community Alliance. Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, promoted Nicky (Miedema) Cline ’95 to Dean of Allied Health. She has been the director for the occupational therapy assistant program for a number of years. Sana Joudeh Harb ’95 MBA, ’11 DBA accepted the position of senior manager of global quality training and curriculum at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Apple Canyon Lake Property Owners Association, Apple River, Ill., announced the promotion of Timothy Ridder ’95 to operations director, managing the staff and facilities of the organization. Stephen Rigney ’98 took on a new job as strategic account manager in the institutional sector for JA Sexsauer, a division of Interline

Brand. Stephen and his wife, Catherine, live in Chicago. Sue Hatler ’99 MBA retired after 36 years of service with the federal government, working for the Rock Island Arsenal. She served as the chief, medium caliber division, commodity directorate, for the Joint Munitions Command at the Arsenal. Hatler was presented the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service.


The Zeros

John Bowser ’02 earned his doctorate in population health sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison this past summer. Matthew Cox ’04 is the senior solutions architect for Rolta International. He and his wife, Megan, reside in Bettendorf, Iowa. Anthony Reistroffer ’04 is a licensed and certified polygraph examiner at J&I PolygraphInvestigation. He serves as the secretary and treasurer of the Iowa Polygraph Society as well as a full member of the American Polygraph Association. He also serves in the Illinois National Guard. Jim Stephens ’04 is currently working for the 3M Company as an electrical utility sales representative. He and his wife, Erin, reside in Papillon, Neb. Kent Corporation, Muscatine, Iowa, promoted Carter Van Hemert ’04 MBA to vice president of financial shared services. He joined the company in 1994 as accounting

supervisor holding various roles in the company, most recently GPC vice president and controller. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Penn., hired Matt Veto ’04 as a professor of practice in journalism. He will teach digital media courses and advise The Brown and White student newspaper. Jacob Miller ’05 is an inside sales manager for Altorfer Lift Truck in the Quad Cities. Keith McAlpine ’07 joined Kent Corporation, Muscatine, Iowa, as an application developer. Lucas Murray ’08 joined the New Belgium Brewing Company as their Chicago Beer Ranger. His territory includes the Western suburbs of Chicago. Flexsteel Industries announced the promotion of Blaine Bertsch ’09 to retail development coordinator at the global headquarters in Dubuque, Iowa. He had been a sales expediter with the company since 2012.


The Teens

Matthew Brumfield ’10 MAcc joined the Davenport firm of Doyle and Keenan, PC in their audit practice. He manages financial statement engagements for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Cartegraph Systems, Dubuque, Iowa, announced Brian Coopman ’10 joined the company as a subject matter expert. He has worked in multiple areas of municipal government for the past nine years.


Katherine McGann ’10 is an account coordinator for She resides in Chicago. The University of Iowa hired Katherine Duffus ’11, ’12 MOL as a division administrator. Matt Dunn ’11, ’12 MAcc earned his CPA and completed his first year as an auditor at Selden Fox in Oak Brook, Ill. Freeport State Bank announced Kelsey Lehman ’12 earned the business services associate distinction. She is a member of the customer service group at the bank. She lives in Freeport, Ill. Matt Golden ’13 is the global incident analyst at Deere & Company’s world headquarters for Allied Barton, the world’s largest American-owned security company. He assesses the potential impact of various political, social and operational incidents on Deere’s business locations worldwide. Samantha (Sass) Jarosz ’13 is a producer at KSHB-TV in Kansas City. She previously was a news producer at WHBF-TV in Rock Island, Ill. Cody Koeppen ’13 is a multimedia marketing graduate assistant at Western Illinois University. Niles Media Group hired Sam Peterlin ’13 for graphics work. The Kansas City, Mo., company specializes in remote sports production and media content creation.

A Lifetime of St. Ambrose Athletics Since he first took the field as a 180-pound offensive lineman for the St. Ambrose football squad, Leo Kilfoy ’51, PhD, has lived through nearly half of the school’s rich athletic history. He has made some history, too. Kilfoy blocked alongside future NFL lineman Art Michalik ’51 for four seasons, as their Bees teams compiled a 32-7 overall record under the direction of the legendary coach Paul “Moon” Mullins. That included a perfect season in 1949. After a few years away as a high school gym teacher, Kilfoy returned to his alma mater in 1954 and spent the next 48 years as the jack-of-all-trades foundation of SAU athletics. By the time he retired in 2002, the man who answered most frequently to “Coach” had held the titles of athletic director, director of recreation and intramurals (for 48 years) and chairman of the Physical Education Department (for 23 years). He was a head coach in football, basketball, tennis and track, and an assistant coach in each of those sports as well. He also carried a full teaching load much of his career, and said he couldn’t have done nearly as much without the patient support of Shirley, his wife of 56 years. Kilfoy has slowed only a little in retirement. He ushers at 5 p.m. mass every Saturday, walks the 2-mile Quad-City Times Bix 7 short course each July, and, this past June, biked 10 miles on the QC riverfront, continuing a Father’s Day tradition with his family. He remains an avid supporter of Fighting Bees athletics and annually serves as an SAU ambassador at alumni golf events in the Quad Cities and Chicago. “My best memories are without a doubt the friendships I developed with all of my Ambrose people,” he said. “The guys I lived with. The guys I coached. The people I taught. They are all good, good people.” To see a photo album of Breakfast with Leo, visit

Jessica Ward ’13 is the promotions coordinator at WJMK-FM, CBS radio, in Chicago.


QC Media Outlets ‘Sport’ SAU grads Athletics is a passion for more than just the studentathletes who perform on the field or court. Countless SAU graduates have made careers in sports media, and their impact is particularly notable close to home. Matt Randazzo ’01 and Steve Campbell ’10 are part of the on-air sports team at WQAD-TV in Moline, Ill., while Steve Tappa ’91 (at left in photo) and Chris Steele ’09 cover sports for sister publications, The Daily Dispatch in Moline and Rock Island (Ill.) Argus. On any given Friday night in the fall, the broadcasters and scribes are likely to encounter Bryan Bobb ’90, Mike Ortiz ’87 and Nick Bull ’02 wielding cameras on the Quad Cities sidelines, Bobb for WHBF in Rock Island and Ortiz and Bull for KWQC in Davenport. Another large group of St. Ambrose Communications Department graduates are involved in producing local sports telecasts for the MC22 cable television network, including Pete Ivanic ’96, Tara Wellman ’10, Sara Clifton ’12 and Kyle Porter ’13. Until recently, the QC newspaper sports roster also included Tim Leibold ’97 and Doug Green ’07 (at right in photo) at the Quad-City Times, and Matt Veto ’04 and Dan Tomlin ’05, ’10 mba at the Dispatch-Argus. Tappa said the large number of sports media graduates is owed to the numerous opportunities to broadcast, produce and/or write about athletics for SAUtv, KALA radio and the student newspaper, The Buzz. “You don’t have to wait to take a radio class to get on the radio,” said Tappa. “You don’t have to wait to take a TV class to get on television. Just put your hand up. Show up. They will put you to work.” Read more about the St. Ambrose Communications Department at


Christine Carson ’99, ’08 MBA and Steven Thornton, Buffalo, Iowa Jim Stephens ’04 and Erin Moe, Billings, Mont. Maggie Dirksen ’09, ’10 MOT and Alex Rechkemmer, Davenport Amber Levetzow ’09 and Kyle Grunder, Davenport Rachel Sarafin ’11 and Ian Merrill ’11, Rock Island, Ill. Lauren Waiflein ’11 and Jeff LaPietra, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Kalyn Carstens ’12 and Jordan Delp ’12, Davenport Brandy McCroskey ’13 and Paul Hovonick III, Rock Island, Ill. Courtnie Rigg ’13 and William Wyant, Rock Island, Ill. Lacey Schmoll ’13 and Joshua Billiet, Davenport


Joelle (Livermore) Lantz ’00 and her husband, Rawly, welcomed their daughter, Hadley Reese, on Aug. 27, 2013. She joins big brother Beckett in the family. Adam ’02, ’04 MOL and Mimi (Krupke) Clark ’04 celebrated the birth of a second son, Kai, on Sept. 19, 2013. Kai was welcomed home by his big brother Caden. Megan (O’Connell) ’03 and Matthew Cox ’04 welcomed daughter Eleanor on June 17, 2013. Eleanor is little sister to William.


Anthony Reistroffer ’04 and his wife, Sarah, added a daughter, Annabella, to their family on July 26, 2013. She joins siblings Collin, James and Kylee. Jennifer (Freeman) Law ’05, ’12 MEA and her husband Matt ’05, ’08 MBA are the proud parents of daughter Quinn, born Aug. 21, 2013. She was welcomed home by big brother Ethan. Jacob ’05 and Laura (Boever) Miller ’06 celebrated the birth of their son, Elijah, on March 24, 2012. Christel (Williams) ’05 and Benjamin Tatro ’05 are proud to announce the birth of their first child, daughter Aria Kaylee, born Oct. 8, 2013. Becky (Spears) ’06, ’08 DPT and David Burke ’06 welcomed daughter Kennedy on April 28, 2013. David Atkinson ’08 and his wife, Amanda, celebrated the birth of daughter Avery on July 6, 2013. Teresa (DeSplinter) Green ’08 and her husband, Todd, welcomed son Cory to their family on Nov. 19, 2013.


Mark McGivern ’33, Waterloo, Iowa, Aug. 14, 2013 Glenn Cunningham Sr. ’34, MD, West Chicago, Ill., Feb. 3, 2014 Joseph Heitzler ’35, Rockford, Ill., Jan. 29, 2011 Jesse Wright ’35, Fairfield Glade, Tenn., Sept. 15, 2012 Edward Condon ’43, Arlington Heights, Ill., Nov. 2, 2013


George “Dick” Swanwick ’43, Las Vegas, Sept. 27, 2013

Chuck Marcucci ’59, Aurora, Ill., July 12, 2013

Dean McCarthy ’99 MSW, Rock Island, Ill., Oct. 8, 2013

Thomas Duffy Jr. ’48, Davenport, Nov. 22, 2013

Frank McGowan ’59, Missoula, Mont., Dec. 15, 2012

Jimmy Burrows ’04 MBA, Central City, Iowa, Dec. 25, 2013

Rev. Daniel Mannhardt ’49 Academy, ’53, Davenport, Oct. 6, 2013

Herbert Noble Jr. ’59, Fairfield Glade, Tenn., Oct. 1, 2013

Ingrid Livingston ’12 MBA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2014

Mathew Brozovich ’60, Oconomowoc, Wis., Sept. 21, 2013

Robert “Bobby” Myers ’13 MCJ, Moline, Ill., Jan. 7, 2014

Daniel Fay ’62, Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 15, 2013

Former Faculty and Staff

Rev. E. Robert Petersen ’50, Morton, Ill., Sept. 1, 2012 Stanley Gotfryd ’52, Oakbrook, Ill., Aug. 22, 2013 Charles Smith ’52, Bettendorf, Iowa, Oct. 11, 2013 Robert Henneberry ’53, West Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 29, 2013 Rev. Msgr. Paul Willis Sheridan ’53, Alton, Ill., Jan. 12, 2014 Charles Burke ’55, DeWitt, Iowa, Dec. 5, 2013 Julian Burn Jr. ’56, Clinton, Iowa, Sept. 25, 2013 Mark Gould ’56, Bettendorf, Iowa, Dec. 4, 2013 James “Jim” Blessing ’57, Davenport, Dec. 19, 2013 William “Bud” Byrne ’57, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 18, 2013 Robert Toohill ’57, MD, Elm Grove, Wis., Dec. 29, 2013 Duane Duyck ’58, Davenport, Jan. 13, 2014 Hugh McAleer ’58, DeWitt, Iowa, Oct. 11, 2013 Leon Full ’59, Galesburg, Ill., Oct. 26, 2013 Mary (Walsh) Glenn ’59, Naperville, Ill., Jan. 26, 2014

Bruce Gerth ’63, ’81 MBA, LeClaire, Iowa, Oct. 4, 2013 Raymond Baladad ’64, Austin, Texas, Aug. 10, 2013 Paul Weisenhorn ’64, Aurora, Ill., Aug. 6, 2012 Rev. John Whalen ’65, Burlington, Iowa, Nov. 24, 2013 John Swander ’67, Carroll, Iowa, Nov. 15, 2013 Rev. Lawrence Williams ’67, PhD, Drexel Hill, Pa., Sept. 19, 2013

Ted Eskildsen, Davenport, Dec. 23, 2013 Julie Jensen McDonald ’72 (Hon), ’80, Davenport, Nov. 25, 2013

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

John Frerkes ’68, Rio, Ill., Oct. 28, 2013


Lee Catlin ’70, Bettendorf, Iowa, Nov. 13, 2013, or visit

Contact us at 800-SAU-ALUM,

Sr. Cabrini Rael, OSB ’71, Rock Island, Ill., Oct. 14, 2013 Merle Cooper ’74, Davenport, Jan. 8, 2014 Suzanne Outzen ’77, Oxnard, Calif., Oct. 1, 2013 Kevin Petersen ’79, Davenport, Dec. 18, 2013 Joan Henry ’81, Bettendorf, Iowa, Oct. 22, 2013 Bradley Verdon ’92, ’98 MBA, ’05, Davenport, Dec. 27, 2013


Non-Profit Organization US Postage PAID Rock Island, IL Permit No. 85

518 West Locust Street Davenport, Iowa 52803

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. online extra: tell us what’s new at

All Things in Good Time… A clock tower should have a clock, and after 129 years the most visible part of St. Ambrose’s most enduring structure does. Extensive renovations to the exterior of Ambrose Hall were completed in January, and along with refurbished brickwork and energy-saving new windows, the updated building includes a clock with a 52-inch diameter face that is illuminated at night to help Ambrosians and passersby keep time.

Scene Magazine Spring 2014  

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

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you