St. Ambrose University

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St. Ambrose University
St. Ambrose University seal.png
Motto Faith Learning Justice
Type Private, Roman Catholic
Coeducational liberal arts
Established 1882[1]
Affiliation Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport
President Sr. Joan Lescinski, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 3,607
Undergraduates 2,743[1]
Postgraduates 864[1]
Location Davenport, Iowa, United States
41°32′N 90°35′W / 41.54°N 90.58°W / 41.54; -90.58
Campus Small city[2]
Colors Navy blue and white          
Nickname Fighting Bees/Queen Bees
Affiliations National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

St. Ambrose University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport. It is located in a residential area of Davenport, Iowa, United States.



St. Ambrose was founded as a seminary and school of commerce for young men in 1882. It owes its beginning to the first bishop of Davenport, The Most Reverend John McMullen, DD, who founded it under the auspices of the Diocese of Davenport. The affiliation remains strong today.

For its first three years, classes were held in two rooms of the old St. Marguerite’s School, located on the grounds of what is now Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Bishop McMullen died in 1883, and Reverend "A.J." Aloysius Schulte, a mere 23 years old, was named St. Ambrose’s first president.

The school was moved to the Locust Street campus in 1885, when the central part of the present Ambrose Hall was built. Located in a secluded grove of oak trees, the site was far removed from the city itself. That same year, St. Ambrose was incorporated as “a literary, scientific and religious institution.” The articles of incorporation stated, “No particular religious faith shall be required of any person to entitle him to admission to said seminary.”

By the start of the 20th century, a clearer division was being made between the high school program, or the “academy,” and the college program. In 1908, the name of the institution was officially changed to “St. Ambrose College” to more clearly reflect the institution's mission. Night school classes were inaugurated in 1924, and the first session of summer school was held in 1931.

During World War II, the United States Navy chose St. Ambrose College as a location for the training of many of its officers. For a short time, regular classes ceased, and the campus became a training ground for the Navy’s V-12 squads.[3]

St. Ambrose Academy[edit]

The high school program, St. Ambrose Academy, was founded at the same time as the college and housed in the college's buildings. From 1886-1931 some of the academy students were boarded on the campus.[4] The Rev. Ambrose Burke, who would become the college's president in 1940, was named the academy's first principal in 1929. In 1955 it was determined that Davenport should have a central Catholic high school and that St. Ambrose and Immaculate Conception academies should be merged. They moved to their new quarters at Assumption High School in 1958. This move provided additional space on campus for continued growth.


In 1968, St. Ambrose became fully coeducational, although women had been taking classes on campus ever since the 1930s.

St. Ambrose began offering graduate classes in 1977 with the Master of Business Administration program. Its graduate offerings have since expanded to 14 programs.

On April 23, 1987, St. Ambrose College became St. Ambrose University at the direction of the Board of Directors. The university was organized into the colleges of Business, Human Services (now Health and Human Services) and Arts and Sciences.

In 1997 St. Ambrose began offering its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA).

Students and faculty[edit]

Rogalski Center

The university enrolls 3,607 students, as of Fall 2013.[1] 2,743 of these students were undergraduates and 864 were graduate students. The student body is approximately 60 percent female, and 78 percent are full-time students. Over 13 percent of students identify themselves as belonging to a minority group.

The university employs 350 faculty members and 314 staff. The student-faculty ratio is approximately 11 to 1 with an average class size of 20 students.

Sr. Joan Lescinski, CSJ replaced Dr. Edward Rogalski as president in 2007, becoming the first woman to hold that office.


For a university of its size, St. Ambrose boasts a strong variety of undergraduate[5] and graduate[5] academic programs. With a strong emphasis on the liberal arts, undergraduate students must take a wide variety of general education courses in philosophy, theology, arts/humanities, and the sciences.

Notable programs include one of the only Master of Occupational Therapy programs leading to a registered occupational therapist degree in the state of Iowa.[6] Additionally, pass rates on the National Physical Therapy Examination are consistently high; over the last three years the average rate was 99%.[7]

There are 12 master's degree programs[8] and two doctoral programs: physical therapy[9] and business administration.[10]


St. Ambrose University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In its review of 2008, the Association recommended a 10-year approval for St. Ambrose.

Specialized Accreditations[11][edit]


College of Business[edit]

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs


Iowa Department of Education
Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)[12]
Children's Campus – National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Industrial Engineering[edit]

The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology[13]


Health Sciences Building

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)[14]
The Iowa Board of Nursing[15]

Occupational Therapy[edit]

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)[16]

Physical Therapy[edit]

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

Social Work[edit]

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Speech Language Pathology[edit]

Council on Academic Accreditation of American Speech-Language Hearing Association[17] (ASHA) 2009-2014

Lee Lohman Arena
Christ the King Chapel


St. Ambrose athletic teams[18] are known as the Fighting Bees. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC), while its football team competes in the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) and its men's volleyball team competes in the Mid-America Men's Volleyball Intercollegiate Conference (MAMVIC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field and volleyball. Women's sports include basketball, bowling, cheerleading, competitive dance, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.


  • Ambrose Hall, designed by Victor Huot, is the oldest building on campus and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Alumni House, located off campus on Brady Street and houses the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Rogalski Center, constructed in 2004, houses a food court, ball room, and administrative offices, among others. Its function is comparable to that of a student union.
  • Christ the King Chapel, designed by Cincinnati architect Edward J. Schulte, has a prominent tower of white brick and was built in 1952.[19]
  • The St. Ambrose University Library was designed in 1995 by Evans Woollen of Woollen, Molzan and Partners. The Library was opened in March 1996.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Dan Waddell Rocking Bass Guitarist Ron Jeremy, Adult film star

See also[edit]

Paul V. Galvin Fine Arts Center


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Quick Facts". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  2. ^ U.S. Department of Education (2010). "College Navigator". Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ "V-12 Naval Training, 1943-45". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  4. ^ Knights in Shining Armor: Assumption High School Silver Anniversary 1958-1983. Davenport: Assumption High School. 1983. 
  5. ^ a b "Academic Programs". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  6. ^ "Why St. Ambrose". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Our Outcomes". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  8. ^ "Graduate Programs". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  9. ^ "DPT". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  10. ^ "DBA". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  11. ^ "Accreditations". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  12. ^ "TEAC". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "CCNE Accreditation". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  15. ^ "Iowa Board of Nursing". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  16. ^ "AOTA". 
  17. ^ "ASHA". 
  18. ^ "Fighting Bees website". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  19. ^ [Historic Campus Architecture Project "Christ the King Chapel"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  20. ^ University Library website "Library History" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  21. ^ "Pageant Is Her Crowning Achievement". CBS News. April 10, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Drew McFedries MMA Bio". Retrieved 2014. 
  23. ^ "Hemesath Wins Emmy". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  24. ^ "Chris Hassel". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 

External links[edit]