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St. Ambrose University Touts its Economic Impact

May 2013 | by Barb Arland-Fye


(Story courtesy of The Catholic Messenger)

A newly released economic impact study finds that St. Ambrose University in Davenport significantly impacts the Quad-Cities region economically and socially. Quad-City business and civic leaders attested to the university's importance in the region during an April 24 news conference at the Rogalski Center on campus.

Strategic Economics Group of Des Moines was commissioned to conduct the comprehensive, independent study, said St. Ambrose Uni­ver­sity Presi­dent Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ. She also serves on the board of directors of Quad Cities First, an economic development group which was "looking at how to demonstrate to the wider community the strength of the Quad Cities," she explained. The study was one way in which to help make that case.

Among the study's highlights:

• In 2012, St. Ambrose Uni­versity had an overall impact on the Quad Cities of $188 million in business spending, $73 million in personal income and 1,913 jobs. "Six hundred jobs come from SAU and 1,300 jobs are in existence because of our operations, construction, student spending and visitor spending," said Mike Poster, the university's vice president for finance.

• $117 million of business spending was the result of St. Ambrose operations.

• Over the past 10 years, $89 million has been invested by St. Ambrose in new construction and renovations. As a result, the region saw an average yearly bump of nearly $15 million in new business spending.

• Directly and indirectly, the university generated approximately $356,000 in local option sales tax in the Quad-Cities region in 2012 through St. Ambrose operations, students, visitors and construction activity.

• Annual student spending results in $46.5 million of overall business spending.

• Nearly 82,000 visitors attended sports, arts, cultural and special events at St. Ambrose in 2012, spending about $5.9 million.

• 61,425 hours of community service were performed during the 2011-12 academic year by St. Ambrose students. As a result, the university made the Presi­dent's Higher Education Com­munity Service Honor Roll for the fourth straight year.

• By 2017, increase in business activity will create $206 million in business spending, $75 million in personal income and 2,082 jobs.

"The very positive results of St. Ambrose's Economic Impact Study come as no surprise to the people of Davenport. It is an economic engine," said Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, a St. Ambrose alumnus. "As Davenport's 11th largest employer, St. Ambrose attracts a well-trained workforce of professionals and nonprofessionals who contribute greatly to the rich dynamic diversity of life in the Quad-Cities."

The mayor noted that the university has educated thousands of highly skilled professionals over the years who have contributed to the economic, social and cultural well-being of the Quad-Cities. "St. Ambrose continues to serve the needs of the residents of Davenport and the broader community," Gluba added.

"St. Ambrose University has all the elements of a great economic development project," noted Bill Martin, president of Quad Cities First and senior vice president of economic development, Quad Cities Chamber. The study provides information that will be attractive to employers and employees evaluating the region as a place to live and do business in. The university's other qualities include its administration and faculty. "St. Ambrose University is a tremendous asset to the region," Martin said.

Bishop Martin Amos, chair of St. Ambrose University's Board of Trustees, found it interesting that the study's authors included in their final report the 61,425 hours of community service that students provided during the 2011-12 academic year and the university's placement on the Pres­ident's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth straight year.

"The first bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, Bishop John McMullen, had a vision for a diocesan college that would provide a well-rounded education. He envisioned a college that would prepare its graduates to meet the challenge of modern times; that would provide a foundation of religious, mental and physical education and the pursuit of the arts and sciences; instill a value for life-long learning; and inspire engagement with their world as moral, faith-filled people." That vision continues to be carried out more than 130 years later, Bishop Amos said.

Health sciences center to expand 

Construction on a 13,000-square foot addition to the St. Ambrose University Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis in Davenport is scheduled to begin this summer.

The $3.75 million price tag includes construction costs, furniture and fixtures and is needed to accommodate the fu­ture Master of Physician Assistant Degree program, said Mike Poster, St. Ambrose University's director for finance. The university expects to learn this fall about its accreditation for the program.

The health sciences facility is a collaborative effort between St. Ambrose and Genesis Health System to help prepare highly qualified health-care professionals to serve the community.

Poster noted at a St. Am­brose news conference April 24 that construction of the health sciences facility in 2009 provided a boost to the community during the height of the economic recession. Dedicated in August 2010, the project cost $11.5 million.

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