St. Ambrose University

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St. Ambrose University
St. Ambrose University seal.png
MottoFaith Learning Justice
TypePrivate, Roman Catholic
Coeducational liberal arts
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport
PresidentJoan Lescinski
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States

41°32′N 90°35′W / 41.54°N 90.58°W / 41.54; -90.58
CampusSmall city[2]
ColorsNavy blue and white          
NicknameFighting Bees
AffiliationsNational Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

St. Ambrose University is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts university in Davenport, Iowa. It is affiliated with the Diocese of Davenport.



St. Ambrose was founded as a seminary and school of commerce for young men in 1882, known as St. Ambrose Academy, 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 was named the first president of St. Ambrose at the age of 23.

The school was moved to Locust Street in 1885, where the central part of the present-day Ambrose Hall was built. Located in a secluded grove of oak trees, the site was far removed from the city; 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.[3]

By the start of the 20th century, a clearer division was being made between the high school academy and the college program. In 1908, the name of the institution was officially changed to “St. Ambrose College” to express 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 officers. For a short time, regular classes ceased, and the campus became a training ground for the Navy’s V-12 squads.[4]

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;[5] the Rev. Ambrose Burke, who would become the college's president in 1940, was named the academy's first principal in 1929. In 1955 the diocese decided 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 of the college.


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 H.L. McLaughlin 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 3,118 students, as of Fall 2017.[1] 2,370 of these students were undergraduates and 748 were graduate students. The student body is approximately 60 percent female, and 86 percent are full-time students. More than 12 percent of students identify themselves as belonging to a minority group.

The university employs 335 faculty members and 270 staff; the student-faculty ratio is approximately 12 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[6] and graduate[6] 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.[7] Additionally, pass rates on the National Physical Therapy Examination are consistently high; the two-year average rate is 97%.[8]

There are 13 master's degree programs[9] and three doctoral programs: physical therapy,[10] occupational therapy[11] and business administration.[12]


St. Ambrose University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. In its 2017-18 review, the Commission recommended a 10-year approval for St. Ambrose.

Specialized Accreditations[edit]


College of Business[edit]

Through its accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the College of Business also has accredited undergraduate, graduate, and organizational leadership programs.[13]


Iowa Department of Education – Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)[14]
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[15][16]

Mechanical engineering[edit]

The Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology[15][16]


Health Sciences Building

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)[17]
The Iowa Board of Nursing[18]

Occupational therapy[edit]

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)[19]

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[20] (ASHA) 2014-2019.

Physician assistant studies[edit]

Accreditation-provision status by the ARC-PA[21]

Lee Lohman Arena
Christ the King Chapel


St. Ambrose athletic teams[22] are known as the Fighting Bees; the university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). The St. Ambrose Football team competes in the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League, men's volleyball team competes in the Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC), men's & women's lacrosse teams compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), and men's and women's Esports compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).

Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming/diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Women's sports include basketball, bowling, competitive dance, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track & field, lacrosse, and volleyball. Co-ed sports include cheerleading and esports.


Notable alumni[edit]

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. ^ McDaniel, George William (2006). A great and lasting beginning: The first 125 years of St. Ambrose University. Davenport, IA: St. Ambrose University. p. 17. ISBN 1-59152-036-3.
  4. ^ "V-12 Naval Training, 1943-45". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  5. ^ Knights in Shining Armor: Assumption High School Silver Anniversary 1958-1983. Davenport: Assumption High School. 1983.
  6. ^ a b "Academic Programs". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  7. ^ "Why St. Ambrose". St. Ambrose University. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  8. ^ "Our Outcomes". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  9. ^ "Master Programs". Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  10. ^ "DPT". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  11. ^ "Occupational Therapy". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  12. ^ "DBA". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  13. ^ "Accreditations". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  14. ^ "TEAC".
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ a b "SAU Engineering - Accreditation". Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  17. ^ "CCNE Accreditation". Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  18. ^ "Iowa Board of Nursing". Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  19. ^ "AOTA".
  20. ^ "ASHA".
  21. ^ "ARC-PA". Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  22. ^ "Fighting Bees website". St. Ambrose University. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  23. ^ ["Historic Campus Architecture Project". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  24. ^ ["Christ the King Chapel Renovation". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  25. ^ "Library History". Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  26. ^ "Pageant Is Her Crowning Achievement". CBS News. April 10, 2008.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Hemesath Wins Emmy". St. Ambrose University. Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  29. ^ "Chris Hassel". Archived from the original on 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  30. ^ "Kenneth J. Hartman Collection of Manned Space Flight". SAU Library. Retrieved 2016-12-21.

External links[edit]