St. Ambrose University has established a scholarship in memory of Department of Kinesiology Professor and Chair Michael Orfitelli, who passed away unexpectedly Oct. 17, at the age of 63. The Michael A. Orfitelli Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide an annual scholarship to a student majoring in exercise science, human performance and fitness, sport management, physical education or physical education teaching, or who is participating in varsity sports. In addition, applicants must demonstrate community activism and involvement.
"Mike Orfitelli embodied the very best of the Ambrose spirit-dedication to the university, the community and most especially, the students whom he served," says James Loftus, vice-president of enrollment management and student services at St. Ambrose. "Our shock and deep sadness at the loss of a beloved Ambrose family member has turned into this fitting tribute, to establish a student scholarship in his name."
A faculty member for more than 32 years, Orfitelli served many different roles in the athletic and kinesiology departments including 16 years as chair of the kinesiology department. The first head coach for the St. Ambrose women's soccer team, Orfitelli served in that role from 1994-2000. He was named Midwest Classic Conference Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 1999, and NAIA Region VII Coach of the Year in 2000, while coaching St. Ambrose to top 25 finishes in 1999 and 2000. Orfitelli was in his fifth year as the women's golf coach. Nominated four times for Faculty Member of the Year, he was inducted into the St. Ambrose Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Orfitelli brought the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) to the St. Ambrose campus in 1978. Serving thousands of Quad Cities youth over a 30-year span, NYSP provided exposure to career and educational opportunities while improving physical fitness and health habits. As a result of his work with the NYSP program, Orfitelli became a program evaluator at the national level and received the prestigious Silvia O. Conte award. Past president of the Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and the Davenport Breakfast Lion's Club, he was a member of the Davenport Parks and Recreation board and a regular visitor to local nursing homes, along with his trained therapy dog, Sam.
Orfitelli earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, as well as a post-doctorate degree in education administration from the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
For more information or to make a donation toward the scholarship fund, contact P.J. Foley in the Advancement Office at 563/333-6025.