As the Ambrose community struggled last fall to deal with the loss of Department of Kinesiology Professor and Chair Michael Orfitelli, his colleagues in the College of Education and Health Sciences proposed what Dean Robert Ristow calls "the ideal memorial for a man of his stature."
Ristow worked with Assistant Dean Sandy Cassady and other department heads to establish a memorial scholarship in Orfitelli's honor, which ultimately will be awarded annually 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. Among the other award criteria is demonstrated community activism and involvement.
In addition to chairing the kinesiology department, Orfitelli filled many other roles at St. Ambrose. Most notably, he served as the women's golf coach and was responsible for bringing the National Youth Sports Program to St. Ambrose more than 25 years ago.
While Orfitelli touched many lives on campus, he particularly inspired his golfers, many of whom have made personal contributions to the memorial fund. Senior Tori Bown recalls the late coach as being a father-like figure who made practice fun while pushing them to the highest standards possible.
"Whether we were volunteering our time sorting golf clubs to send to soldiers in the Middle East or teasing ‘Orf' for all the U-turns he made in the van, we always admired him," she says.
For more information or to make a donation toward the scholarship fund, contact the Advancement Office at 563/333-6025.