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Folwell Center Will Be Dedicated Oct. 1

Jane Folwell

Jane Folwell

September 2016


St. Ambrose University will dedicate the Frank and Dorothy "Jane" Folwell Center for Political Science, Pre-Law and Leadership Studies on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m.

The ceremony will take place during the university's Homecoming Weekend and is open to alumni and the public.

The Frank and Dorothy "Jane" Folwell Center will provide meeting and classroom space for students enrolled in Political Science and Leadership Studies classes at St. Ambrose. It will also serve as a place students can connect with alumni and the community during special events, said Bill Parsons, PhD, political science professor and department chair.

The Center, located in the free-standing house south of the Rogalski Center, features a 20-seat seminar/conference room, a student resource room devoted to promoting programs, a reception area for hosting special events, and faculty offices.

It will provide a headquarters for the SAU Mock Trial and Model United Nations teams, each of which were created through funding provided by the Frank and Dorothy "Jane" Folwell Chair in Political Science and Pre-Law. Extensive interior renovations to the Center were funded through the Folwell endowment.

The Folwell Chair was created through a generous gift from Jane Folwell in 2001, four years after the death of her husband Frank, a well-known Quad Cities retailer, civic volunteer and philanthropist.

Jane Folwell, who died in 2013 at the age of 88, also was a civic activist and philanthropist. Her interest in political science and leadership studies began when she worked as a young woman as a legislative aide at the statehouse in Des Moines and, then subsequently, in Washington DC as a Congressional staffer.

She was a member of the Planned Giving Advisory Council at St. Ambrose and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from St. Ambrose in 2001.

"The Folwell Center for Political Science, Pre-Law and Leadership Studies provides wonderful visibility for Jane's generosity to St. Ambrose University and provides a central location for our students and faculty to facilitate mentoring, coaching and networking with other faculty and alumni in the legal profession," Parsons said. "We believe the establishment of the Folwell Center will help to facilitate the goals Jane established when she initially funded the Folwell Chair back in 2001."

Those goals included bringing pre-eminent politicians and attorneys to campus to strengthen programming and enhance student interest in careers in the law and public service, something accomplished in large part through the annual Folwell Lecture series.

Additional goals included creating internships and experiential study opportunities in the law and public service, and in conducting conferences and providing activities such as Mock Trial and Model UN that can help students gain an understanding of the means available to study law.

The centerpiece room of the Folwell Center will be the Rand Wonio Conference room, which is furnished through a generous gift from the Lane & Waterman law firm in honor of Wonio, a 1973 St. Ambrose graduate. Wonio served as the first-ever Mock Trial coach at his alma mater and spent 38 years in law practice at Lane & Waterman prior to his death last fall.

The Folwell Center is located in a former residential home that has served multiple purposes since it was purchased by the university in 1990.

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