Jim Stangle '82 had a sense that he was fated to be an Ambrosian.
St. Ambrose was the last of four colleges Stangle visited as a high school senior from Joliet, Ill., but it was the first where he didn't find himself dodging rain drops.
"People were just sort of running between classes with their heads down or their hoods up," he said of his lasting impression of those first three schools. "When I got to St. Ambrose, it was just one of those Chamber of Commerce days. People were out playing hacky sack and just were incredibly friendly."
Stangle never forgot what he called "by far the four best years of my life," and always wondered if a return to his alma mater might be a fitting way to complete his career in advancement.
This month, he became St. Ambrose Vice President of Advancement, returning to the department where he began his professional career as assistant director of development from 1982 to 1985.
"We are pleased to welcome Jim to our senior leadership team," said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose. "Through the years, Jim has been an active member of our alumni organization and his keen understanding of the St. Ambrose mission will be a significant asset as we move forward."
Stangle previously worked in advancement and development at Marquette and Duke universities as well as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Just over a year ago, he returned to the Chicago area as vice president for institutional advancement at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, Ill., and wasn't looking to move again.
The chance to come back to St. Ambrose changed his thinking.
"I guess maybe as I am getting older, I am getting a little more spiritual, too," he said. "I have tried to go with my heart as much as my head. Fortunately, my heart leads me in a better direction sometimes."
Stangle said an early priority for his team will be finding ways to better engage an alumni base that has grown younger as the university has expanded the past 15 to 20 years. He also said providing current students assistance in networking and searching for jobs could enhance their sense of loyalty to St. Ambrose in years to come.