Anne Gannaway has come home.
Virtually raised on the St. Ambrose campus-her father, Ed Henkhaus, was the university's vice president of finance throughout her childhood-Gannaway left for college and a career that took her from Minnesota to Missouri to Iowa City. Now, she has returned to St. Ambrose as director of alumni relations.
Q. You had a great job as director of scholar recruitment at the University of Iowa. Why did you apply for the Ambrose job?
A. I always thought I'd come back home. So when I found out about it (husband Ethan, who teaches art history at SAU, had forwarded an email announcing the position was open), I couldn't get it out of my mind. I decided to give it a shot and was hired.
I love St. Ambrose. I feel like I'm a part of a family and community here. I know my kids and husband will, too.
Q. You say you grew up on campus.
A. I sure did. One of the things I remember best was going to the women's basketball games with my dad. Coach Bluder asked if I wanted to be water girl for the team. I even got to be in their posters. Later on, I worked in the business office and took summer school classes. It was a great experience.
Q. You've worked at a number of universities in student services, recruitment, advising, alumni relations and development. What did you learn from those experiences?
A. I've learned how important it is to maintain relationships. To connect students with the university in a meaningful way right from the beginning, and maintain that connection, is critical. Students need to know that as soon as they arrive here, they are alums. This is their family, their community.
Q. You talk a lot about family.
A. It's my top priority. I'm excited to be coming into an environment that supports that. Let me give you an example. My mom had some health issues and needed to use a wheelchair. We were up at Mayo Clinic wondering how we'd get her into the house when we came home. When we got here, some St. Ambrose staff members had already built her a ramp. This is my family. I'm thrilled to be home.