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Thankful Ambrosians

Front of Ambrose Hall in autumn

Did you have a staff member who mentored you at SAU?  Was there a professor who always made you try a little harder?  Do you remember the coach that taught you lessons on and off the court?

Join other Ambrosians in thanking our amazing faculty and staff for the work they do on campus.  There are a number of ways to participate:

  • Send your note of thanks to Wendy Pondell at PondellWendyA@sau.edu.  It will be posted on this web page (see below).
  • Check out the A-Z Index or use the Search function to find the contact information for current faculty or staff member you want to thank, and then send them a private message.  Still can't find their contact info?  Contact the Alumni Office for assistance.
  • Post your own note of thanks on social media.  Don't forget to tag us - @stambrosealumni (Facebook) or @ambrosealumni (Twitter).

Even if your favorite faculty, staff, or coach has retired or moved on from St. Ambrose, please send us your note of thanks!



Thanks to you...

Thank you to Joe McCaffrey for displaying how important the ability to think independently is. In addition the powerful impact your teaching, including challenging of students to form an opinion and defend it, is something I look back on and appreciate still today. You've embodied the Ambrose spirit in the investment made in each of your students.
- Alana (Kunz) Carroll ‘05

To Fr. Dawson, Dr. Madsen, and Dr. Orfitelli,
Although you aren't with us any longer, I often think of you and the impact you had on me while at Ambrose. I am so glad that I took your courses and got to learn from three very passionate, kind, and genuine men. You made me truly feel like I belonged at Ambrose!
- Madeline Grothus '08, '11

Thanks Fr. Bud Grant for being a hip priest who shined a light for "on the fringe" Catholics. I think it's pretty cool that we started the first-ever recycling system at SAU. This was back in the day before curbside recycling, so a first for many students and faculty.
- Jen (Boyle) Walker '99

Working in higher education, I am always impressed with faculty who take the time to develop individual relationships with each of their students to help them grow. My first course on my first day of class at St. Ambrose University was ENGL 101 with Dr. Nancy Hayes. I remember all of the critical feedback that she provided to me, first written in long responses on each paper I submitted, and then in discussions after class. I did not know that this was the first course that she had taught at St. Ambrose until 13 years later when I was giving the keynote address at the College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference. Nancy gave my introduction, talking about our learning together as if it were just the year before, and brought with her the original grade book from our ENGL 101 that began my educational career and her teaching career at SAU. Thank you, Nancy, for preparing me for a lifetime of learning with the gift of great writing.
- Justin Ball '03, '05

A special thank you to my first Hall Director and friend Abby Van Anden (McLaughlin). You were like a mother to so many of us in Bechtel Hall over the years. You provided me the opportunity to grow into a better version of myself. I credit much of my Ambrose success to your kind guidance.
- Kemper Rusteberg '14

Warm memories and special thanks to Mrs. Lois Larrabee and Dr. Charles DCamp for caring much more about me as a person than as a student and for teaching me to be a musician and not just a music major. I always knew you personally had my back and I'm forever grateful for the knowledge, experience and friendship you provided.
- Kelly Pratt Garrett ‘83

While it seems almost ancient history (I am a Class of '76 grad), I have fond memories of two professors who helped me tremendously in gaining acceptance to law school. Sister Rita Mary Bradley (my literature major advisor) and Dr. Matthew McMahon (my political science major advisor) were both instrumental in guiding me through the law school admission process, writing letters of recommendations for me, and supporting my consideration of options that led to my accepting the St. Louis University School of Law offer. Their personal attention to my goals of a legal career have never been forgotten and I often recall the wonderful memories of their classroom lectures and many one-on-one conferences and conversations. Both truly represented all that has been and always will be the mission of Saint Ambrose and the university we all love.
- David G. Asmus, Esq. '76

For us truly senior (age 90 or more) alumni members, the influential professors in our life at St. Ambrose are likely deceased. Still, memory of the manner in which they enriched our life endures. The Rev. Francis E. Marlin tops my list. I wrote about him in Voices (a publication of/by The Seabury Retirement Community were I reside). Here's an excerpt: "He was a pioneer in the communications field, ahead of his time developing communications excellence in all media...Through Fr. Marlin's proficiency as an instructor and inspirational leader, I vastly exceeded my near to the ground expectations by firmly acquiring communication skills I didn't know existed within me...As my life unfolded, forensic skills opened the door to now realized opportunities that enriched my life and enabled me to enrich the lives of others beyond a level I ever imagined. Indeed, Fr. Marlin was and continues to be instrumental in my life's achievements."
- Joe H. Walton '50

Thank you Kris Eitrheim for all the time and dedication you give to your students every day. You pushed me when needed, encouraged me to aim higher, and gave so much of your time to make sure I succeeded. Today, I proudly tell others that it is possible to have a career in theater and I owe much of my accomplishments to you.
- Kristy (Heithoff) Owens '07

To Dan Tomlin, Dan Zeimet, and Ryan Saddler,
As a student-athlete, there are no better teachers. You instilled values in me, ones that are integral to how I have shaped my life and develop my children's lives. You taught me respect, integrity, character in adversity, sportsmanship. Always the model of a true Ambrosian, our team took on your personalities- goofy, confident, and character-driven. I learned my most important lesson in management from you- servant leadership. You constantly worked in service of others, learning alongside them, leading them through development- academically, athletically, personally. You have been fantastic friends and role models, thank you for offering me an opportunity to represent my University athletically and as a champion. You guys are the real MVP.
- Sean Whitten '09

So thankful for the excellent facilitators and staff of ACCEL! They really made earning my SAU degree, while working full-time, possible. They understood the challenges of the non-traditional student and the facilitators kept coursework interesting and relevant! Two stand-out ACCEL staff at that time, Jamie Loftus and Kathy Anderson, got ACCEL off the ground and provided the solid foundation it needed to be the successful program it is today. Thank you for providing this valuable option for the working student! I love SAU ACCEL!
- Laura Curtis '99

Dr. Corrine Johnson had/has a major influence in my life. She is the person whom I thank for giving me guidance, support and goals. She is the person and teacher I strive to be everyday as I face a classroom full of children or a cast of actors and actresses. She is one of the most intelligent, down to earth, sassy, sarcastic and inspirational woman I have the pleasure of knowing and learning from. She inspires students every day to be better and pushes you to take the extra steps needed to be amazing. I know I would not be where I am today if it was not for her and her support. She is a true friend, mentor and hero to not only me but so many countless others as well. I cherish the time I had with her and look forward to knowing and learning from her even in our distance from each other.
- (Frumah) Sarah (Zoller) Romanowski, '98

I would like to thank Regina Matheson who was one of the professor who stuck with me throughout my career. She was my Intro to Sociology professor my first semester freshman year. She then turned into my advisor and counselor and friend. Even though I changed my major mid- way through my sophomore semester she still stuck with me. I would find any opportunity to take any class possible with Regina. I did not care it it was at 8 a.m. or a Wednesday night class going until 9 p.m. Thus why I have a sociology minor. Without many of those open door conversation we had in her office in the basement of Davis Hall, I am not sure the first couple semesters would have been as memorable as they are today. She has always been as true and genuine as the first day I met her. She wanted the best for me as a person and a student. Regina, I thank you for all the encouraging words over the years. You shared with me knowledge that will take me farther than I could have imagined. But most importantly you showed me how to be best Ambrosian possible and to never settle for nothing than the best.
- Miranda Nelp, '05

There are so many people who impacted my life during my time at Ambrose but in this season of thanks I always think of Father Dunn. He taught me so much over my four years about social justice and service. Thank you Father Dunn for sharing your cheerful attitude and teaching me how to have a sense of gratitude every day, no matter my circumstances, for the many blessings I have.
- Lindsay Crane Vargas '04

Kathy Kilen is in the department of nursing and was one of the most caring people that I had the opportunity to be around while at Ambrose. She was always available and encouraging when I needed it the most. I continue to have interaction with her in the role that I have and she continues to be a great representation of St. Ambrose University!
- Adam Haut '08

And who would I love to show gratitude? Ed Rogalski. I mean there were lots of other profs to whom I owe mountains of gratitude, but oh, boy, Ed! Everything I soaked up from him didn't come from preaching. He led by example. He promoted fairness. He was level-headed and honest. He was loving. He disciplined without guilt. He taught me, by example, how to treat my family once I had one. He taught me to laugh at myself. He believed in me. He taught me how to be a fearless leader. Ed's the one person who I think of with such gratitude, and such honor. Thanksgiving wishes to the dear Rogalski clan.
- Nancy Koharko Huschen '77

To Dr. Carl Herzig and Dr. Pat Connelly
My sincere gratitude for putting out and overseeing Quercus each year. Not only that, but the great leadership opportunities you offer to students to serve on the review committees. My time with you in Quercus and in poetry classes are some of my favorite memories from my time at Ambrose.
- Eric Anderson '00

Thanks to Alan Sivell for showing me a journalism degree doesn't always mean a newsroom career. You took the time to show me how my education could be adapted to fit a multitude of opportunities. Thanks to you, I have a job I love using my skills and talents each day. #ThanksAmbrosians
-Wendy Pondell '05

To Dr. Tom Carpenter,
Thank you for always being the positive, humorous, and helpful mentor I needed. Your advice and words of wisdom gave a lot of guidance I'll never forget. You taught me what it takes to be the best educator out there, modeling each day the energy and passion for learning we want our students and communities to possess. Our conversations weren't always about classrooms and students, but there were lessons in each I try and teach my 6th graders each day. You provided the experience I was look for when I transferred to Ambrose; so, thank you, Tom!
-Erik Johnson '14

Thanks to Calvin Cooper and Roseanna Steward for showing me how to always keep moving forward in life and in my career and dreams. They both always taught me how to balance fun and studies and keep my eyes on my future !! Thanks you two snappers!
-Danielle Puls '15

I am thankful for St. Ambrose and particularly for retired professor Dr. William Hitchings. First, St. Ambrose offered a graduate-certificate program in Postsecondary Disability Services. Then, once I completed that, they agreed to tailor an M.Ed. in the field, for me. Dr. Hitchings worked closely with me to ensure I took classes relevant to the field and that I was able to apply everything I learned directly to my employment as a service provider in postsecondary disability services. Under his professional guidance, I was able to have presentation proposals approved and presented at the University of Connecticut's Postsecondary Training Institute several years in a row. The program qualified me to become a Director in the field. I have since moved to another institution and am daily benefiting from the background I acquired through my Ambrosian experience. If the world knew how great the program was, it would not have been discontinued due to lack of interest.
- Tina E. Vires '12

I can't thank the Admissions office enough for welcoming me not only into SAU but in their department as a student worker. They became my home away from home and because of them I decided to become an admissions counselor myself. Thank you for your hugs when I was homesick and for the laughs to brighten my day. Merrdyth McManus, you are one of the best things to happen to me at SAU. Because of you, I stayed to become a fighting bee. Thank you for everything.
- Bridget LeMaire '12

The Communications Department: Alan Sivell, Jim Baumann, Eileen Eitrheim, Ann Preston and Carla Stevens. You all are rock stars. The entire department are rock stars. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for pushing me to become the person I am today. Your encouragement and dedication to your students makes all the difference in the world. Who would have thought that the girl that was so scared to give presentations in high school and college that her mom had to call the teachers in advance, is now giving presentations as a living? Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm proud to be a fighting bee!
- Bridget LeMaire '12

I want to thank all the marvelous staff of the English department! Bea Jacobson, Carl Herzig, Michael Hustedde and Nancy Hayes all contributed greatly to my education and my writing and provided me with an opportunity to attend the Winterim in Ecuador. I also want to thank Father Bud Grant for his marvelous courses on the early history of Christianity and environmental ethics. Very thought provoking! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at St. Ambrose that helped make my time there so enriching.
- Catt Foy '06

Thank you, Dr. Correa Kaiser, for teaching a most complex and voluminous amount of information in counseling theories class. You exemplified through expert and impressive pedagogical teaching elements of the various theories in one semester. Your class was interesting, intriguing, and thought-provoking. Our discussions were helpful and you provided many glimpses through your teaching and lectures into aspects, subtle and profound, of various nuances present in the counseling environment. You and your teaching are unforgettable to me. I especially enjoyed the video on Victor Frankl and our ensuing class discussions. Your use of the combination of text, PowerPoint, and in-class group activities was most enlightening and helpful to grasp components of group therapy, as well as the theoretical and proven concepts of counseling. As a woman, you gave me an excellent role model of what it means to be a counselor, teacher, and mentor.
- Jennifer Ahearn '15

Dr. Dan LaCorte made every single second of class interesting and had the gift of humor to keep the students alert and interacting. Beyond that, he truly cares about his students' lives outside of their studies and makes the effort to get to know each and every one of them. I only had him for one class, but there is nothing better than seeing his smiling face around campus and having him remember exactly who I am. I am always thankful for professors who go above and beyond like Dan LaCorte.
- Melanie Feilen '17

I would not be where I am today without having the pleasure of learning from and working alongside Deb Brownson from the Children's Campus. I didn't realize it at the time, but the lessons Deb taught me continue to influence my career as an Early Childhood/Special Education teacher. Thank you, Deb for being sensitive and thoughtful as you molded me into the teacher I am. Thank you for being tough on the (Ambrose) students at Children's Campus. That tough love taught me many valuable lessons. I remember being in your office one day and you said, "Sometimes the most basic qualities in an effective teacher get forgotten about with all the other demands placed on us. Don't let that happen to you."  Another big idea I learned because of Deb is one that doesn't just apply to my life as a teacher but also in life, as a human being. It is the notion that providing people with "unconditional positive regard" will undoubtedly facilitate how we respond to challenging situations. "A fancier strategy for giving people the benefit of the doubt" she said. Deb showed me a child's behavior means something, it's not just because. They're overtired and not complying is making a tough day for you. But maybe he was up all night with his new baby sister. Maybe he didn't have time to eat before school and we haven't had snack yet, so he's most likely starving. In the same way, we can apply this as adults. Sure, it's annoying when someone cuts us off but what if it's a husband with his wife in labor in the seat next to him? A co-worker just yelled at you for something that was out of your control, but how would it change your reaction if you knew she was secretly waiting on a phone call to confirm or deny her cancer had come back, and she's extremely anxious and out of sorts? This was a completely new way of thinking, but it truly, 1,000% changed me for the better.  Thank you for instilling such remarkable traits in me. I have fond memories of training to be an Early Childhod/Special Education teacher largely because of you, Deb. I have the patience to get me through frustrating moments because you showed me a new way of approaching patience. I am always told by my superiors that my passion for teaching is my biggest asset. And to that I say I also owe to you, because I was fortunate enough to have you mentor me to be confident in my abilities.
Thank you Deb. I'm proud to be a bee!
~Sheryl Lorenz, '07

Thank you to Dr. Elisa Huff for so many things but mostly for having confidence in me throughout graduate school! Thank you for being a person-first, student-second professor. I always felt like you truly cared about me as a person and genuinely wanted me succeed. Thank you for opening my eyes to a new career and for guiding me in finding my current job. I appreciate you more than you know!
- Madeline Grothus, '08, '11

Thanks for Dr. Dan LaCorte for being a great teacher. I have always loved history and your class was no exception. Thank you for making us work hard and for having high expectations for your students. You taught me to have high expectations for myself!
- Madeline Grothus '08, '11

Thank you to Merredyth (Beno) McManus for loving me like your own child! You confidence in me helped me succeed and grow. Thank you for wrapping all your students in your arms and making Ambrose feel like home!
- Madeline Grothus '08, '11

To Drs. Bea & Paul Jacobson,
By the time I came to your classrooms, I thought I had mastered the art of being an Ambrosian, the ins and outs of being a proper learner, and being an engaged individual. You two completely popped that bubble. Bea, you taught me more about being engaged in the discussion more than anyone. You instilled confidence in your students and challenged them to think beyond the divide. I wouldn't have known how to be creative and actively listen, if not for your courses and mentorship. And to Paul, in the Spring 2012 Scene Magazine, the one of your retirement, you were quoted, ""I am still finding things I didn't see before. And I try to communicate that excitement of discovering meaning to my classes." Mission Accomplished. Paul, you kindled a fire for discovery in my time with St. Ambrose, you offered such great insight to my thoughts on philosophy, on pursuing doctoral study, on everything! It is because of you I added a minor in history of philosophy and knew that my curiosity didn't cease with your courses. I am forever indebted to you, your amazing wife, and both of your passion and approachability, thank you.
- Sean Whitten '09

To Dr. Dan LaCorte,
I came to SAU from Indiana as a History major and didn't know many people or my path within my major choice. I was taking a trip to the unknown. I wore a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt to your course, my freshman year, one of my very first classes. I was one of the first people to come in to the class. You had music playing as you set up and I thought, " what an amazing Professor." Class began and the ride only got better! You commented on my shirt, spinning it from a tangent on good rock music to early civilizations in the pagan world. You made the material fun and you made students, like myself, feel like they matter. You became a reason to stay on campus, even when I was homesick and transferring back to Indiana seemed like a better option. You helped me develop into the lifelong learner I am today and I cannot thank you enough for the friendship and camaraderie you showed from the start; gratias tibi ago.
- Sean Whitten '09

To Dr. Nancy Hayes,
You were one of the first to really delve into my writing with me. I came in to Ambrose as such a crude poet and writer. You opened my mind to different expressions and turn of focus to structure. You demonstrated that English and its associate literature spoke volumes beyond word on page, that it was living, breathing and parts of us. Your Medieval Literature course helped me see more of the humor in writing and that what seemed stuffy was truly funny. Every class was an adventure and I greatly appreciate that you showcased my work in Love Lyrics class and that I was afforded the opportunity to be in your class, because that is truly a privilege i'll never forget.
- Sean Whitten '09

To Dr. Cori Johnson, Kris Eitrheim, and Michael Kennedy
A huge thank you from Uff Da for the dedication, commitment, and countless hours you all put in to give us a lasting and lifelong education in theatre. You all put in a crazy amount of hours in the classroom, on stage and in production, and in the scene shop that gave us a really in-depth and unique educational experience, and it has been truly helpful to my career. You guided and pushed us to be the best we can be. As a college career advisor I often tell my colleagues how my theatre degree has made me a better advisor. I also really appreciated the Alum Networking Panel you did for us, where we got to learn about what other SAU theatre alums were doing with their degrees, and how their time at Ambrose helped their careers. Also, thank you for taking us to ACTF each year. Not only was it great to see what other college theatre departments were doing, but it was maybe one of my favorite memories from my time at SAU. A huge testament to your impact, many of us who have friends that studied theater at other colleges have realized that very few of them got anywhere near the amount or depth of experience that we all gained from our time with you. Please know how grateful I am and Ambrose is so lucky to have you.
- Eric Anderson '00

To Father ‘Bud' Grant
A sincere thank you for your passion and dedication to environmental and natural resources issues, especially tallgrass prairie ecology and restoration. It was so great to have a prairie remnant on campus, and any student that took one of your classes gained so much. I also appreciate that you held us to a high standard academically. There was a time in Environmental Ethics were you called me out (and rightfully so) for not doing the best job I could have done on a paper, and made me redo that. You knew I didn't do my best and was capable of doing more. While some students may not have liked that, it was very meaningful to me and I appreciated that you pushed me to apply myself.
Thank you too for all the retreats you held for students out at the farm, I learned so much about myself during these.
I also appreciate that you helped bring service-learning to SAU. My service-learning experience with your classes was crucial to my interest in wanting to do AmeriCorps after college, and it is so fitting with the mission of Ambrose to encourage service learning.
- Eric Anderson '00

To Dr. Richards, Dr. Jacobson, Dr. Swift and Dr. McCaffrey
My sincere thanks appreciation for the education I received studying Philosophy under you all. The knowledge and practical skills I gained in the major have been very applicable to my professional development and career. I appreciate too the diversity of classes offered through the major, and really appreciated that you had students do a senior thesis.
- Eric Anderson '00

To Dr. Bea Jacobson
A huge thank you for being the faculty sponsor for Inside Down There. Who knew that it would last as long as it did, and we are truly grateful that you not only sponsored us doing this, but supported us by coming to so many of our events in the Beehive.  A huge thank you as well for your leadership of the Women's Studies program and classes.
- Eric Anderson '00

To Ruth Soedt, Neala McCarthy and all the wonderful ACCEL Program and Staff
A huge thank you to all the work you did. The ACCEL program was such a great opportunity for so many working adults and very needed in the Quad Cities. Students truly gained a tremendous education under your leadership and guidance.  I also want to thank you for giving me a work study job throughout college (starting out at the old Northwest Bank location and then to the 53rd St. Campus). Not only did you employ me during college, but you allowed me to develop my skills and take on new responsibilities with each year. I gained a lot of tremendous administrative, mentoring, and leadership skills during my time with you all. It was a great experience that made a lasting impact on me, and partly is why I chose to work in higher education. I will never forget my time with you all, particularly with the binding machine putting course materials together, typing up course evaluations, and all the fun we had.
- Eric Anderson '00

To Dr. Carol Lyons
I wanted to thank you for all the initiative and leadership you offered in serving as the advisor for the Multicultural Club, and all the amazing involvement and leadership opportunities you offered to students who were a part of the club. It was so important to have this club back in the late 90s, and I am really happy to see now that there are multiple multicultural clubs on campus. You were an amazing advisor and I appreciate the foresight you had for making sure Ambrose had a club like this on campus.
- Eric Anderson '00