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Catching up with Dr. Rogalski

Dr. Rogalski coming into the Alumni House

This August, it will be a decade since Dr. Ed Rogalski officially retired as president of St. Ambrose University.

After a career stretching from 1968 to 2007, it's no wonder alumni still want to know what he's up to. We tracked him down (it wasn't too hard, he has an office in the Alumni House) to fill us in.

Let's start with an easy question. How's retirement?
It's provided me with more free time than I've had in the past 40 years, which has allowed me to spend more time with my wife and family, as well as provide more service to the community.

What keeps you busy?
Since retirement I've been involved in a number of organizations and projects, including:

  • Serving as the chair and then co-chair of the United Way campaign
  • Serving on the board, and at times serving as the chair, of Genesis Health Systems and the Scott County Family YMCA
  • Serving on the board of U.S. Bank
  • Led the Davenport Promise initiative for the city
  • Served as the founding executive director for the Quad Cities Cultural Trust
  • Served as a strategic planning consultant for Rivermont Collegiate
  • Asked by the governor to serve as the non-partisan member of the Iowa Higher Education Loan Authority, which provides capital loans to private colleges and universities. I now chair this board.
  • Recently appointed to Community Steering Committee for the Rock Island Arsenal.

When you aren't volunteering, what do you do for fun and to relax?
I enjoy daily morning workouts at the Y. I also enjoy having lunch out with family and friends, as well as weekend getaways to Galena with Bobbi. And just times of peace and quiet, and the occasional nap in my chair.

Where have you traveled recently?
As president, Bobbi and I were able to travel, but it was mostly business-related. Once and awhile we could get away for a family vacation. Since retiring, we've had the opportunity to visit a number of places, including:

  • Poland, the homeland of my parents
  • The capitals of eastern Europe
  • England, France, and Italy
  • Visiting our children and family residing in the Bay Area in California, Boulder, Colorado, as well as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

What was one of the most memorable trips?
The Italy trip was exceptional. Eight of us rented a farmhouse in Tuscany, about a mile away from the nearest small town. No English was spoken or understood in town, so there was a lot of improv at the local market and other places. One of the best memories was having Palm Sunday Mass out in the vineyard, under the olive trees. We used olive branches for palms, which is the custom in the area. Msgr. Drake Shafer was our presider.

What do you miss the most about working at St. Ambrose?
I miss the people, the faculty, staff and students. I spent most of my time with them. I also miss the challenges and opportunities of leading a dynamic institution like St. Ambrose.

And what's one thing you don't miss about working? We know there has to be at least one thing.
Having to work with those who were difficult to relate to as individuals.

What's one thing you want to tell Ambrosians?
Continue to be lifelong learners and stay true to our mission. Enrich your life, so you can in turn enrich the lives of others.

Final question: how do you remember everyone's name?
And what was your name again? ...In all seriousness, I don't know how or why, but I just have the ability to recall names.