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Meet the Future

Photo of Alexsandra Najda

Alexsandra Najda

June 2017


Alumni from the past four decades share reasons they support the Building Our Future campaign.

The Teens

Alexsandra Najda '17
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science
Current job title: Traveling in Europe before seeking work with the City of Chicago
Hometown: Chicago
What do you remember most fondly about your St. Ambrose experience?
"This is something that would only ever happen in a small school, but I would go to lunch and I'd end up spending three hours easily, from 11-2. My friends always called it table-hopping because, as friends walked in to eat lunch, I would just jump from table to table and eat Mandarin oranges at one table and an entrée at another. I loved doing that because I was able to see all my friends and talk to a different group every couple of minutes."
Were you aware of the impact philanthropy had on your SAU experience?
"I was involved in so many clubs, and we have a lot of loyal alumni who would tag money for specific clubs. I got scholarship assistance from the Folwell Endowment. The Folwells donated so students like me would have an easier time going to school. That's what really hits you — when you realize the smallest amount can make a difference."
What's one thing you would hope the future will include at St. Ambrose?
"I studied humanities, and something I really would hope for the future is that humanities and liberal arts continue to flourish at St. Ambrose."

The Oughts

Ashley (Kohn) Segal '02
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
Current job title: Co-owner and operator of A&N Electric and Controls, Inc., and a stay-at-home mom
Original hometown: Bloomington, Illinois
Current hometown: Bondurant, Iowa
Family: Two sons and a daughter with husband, Nick
Ashley Segal and familyWhat do you remember most fondly about your St. Ambrose experience?
"The friends I made during my time at Ambrose are still a huge part of my life. I am lucky to live close to some of them. It's so wonderful to see our kids growing up together, and we are working together to instill values in them that we learned during our time at Ambrose."
Where did you spend most of your time at St. Ambrose?
"My time was spent supporting SAU, whether it was a football game, baseball game or an event put on by CAB. I loved being a part of the Bee community."
Were you aware of the impact philanthropy had on your SAU experience?
"Absolutely. I was lucky I had parents who helped me with the cost of school, but I could see how hard they were working and, with a brother and two sisters also in Catholic education, I wanted to lessen the burden. So I went in and talked to my adviser and told her, as much as I loved SAU, I was looking at transferring. She did all she could to get me more financial aid, and it was because of generous donations to scholarship funds by former SAU Bees that I was able to stay. I also was there to see many housing additions and the start of the Rogalski Center. It was amazing how in four years the campus grew."


The Nineties

Dan Timmons '95,'97 MBA
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Master of Business Administration
Current job title: Financial advisor, Edward Jones
Hometown: Bettendorf, Iowa
Family: Six children with wife Kelly (Wiersema) Timmons '97Dan Timmons
What do you remember most fondly about your St. Ambrose experience?
"I played football for four years and also coached for a couple of years. I also earned my MBA while I was graduate assistant. Although the classes and teachers were great, it would have to be the friends and relationships that were built over the years with the people I played with."
What Ambrosian value do you find yourself enlisting most often?
"In my mind, that sense of community is a strong Ambrose value I take with me. Not an exclusive community, but an inclusive community - there is a family there that is tightknit but also sprinkled with a lot of great people from different religions, cultures and backgrounds, for sure."
Why have you stayed connected with St. Ambrose?
"St. Ambrose is where I met my wife, and both of our experiences were very good. We want that same kind of experience for not only our kids when they grow up but for other kids as well. Also having a local university is really important. I think a lot of times, Quad Cities kids look outside first. But, boy, they've got a good institution right here."


The Eighties

Dick '86 and Doug Valentine '86
Degrees: Both earned Bachelor of Arts in Business
Current job titles: Identical twins each own a State Farm insurance agency, Dick in Romeoville, Illinois, and Doug in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Original hometown: Dubuque, Iowa
Current hometown: Dick lives in Naperville, Illinois, Doug in Cedar Rapids
Family: Dick is married with three daughters (including a set of twins); Doug is married with three sons
What do you remember most fondly about your St. Ambrose experience?
Dick and Doug ValentineDick: "It was just such a close-knit school when we went there and the faculty was always there for you. They were rooting for you and doing whatever they needed to do to help you get through your classes and make sure you got that quality education. You knew so many people on campus, and it just felt like a family. I don't think we'll ever lose that."
Where did you spend most of your time?
Doug: "Some of the best memories are in the cafeteria. We'd sit there and harass the heck out of each other. Sit around the table and we just wouldn't leave. Just have a great time chatting. That's very simple, but I loved going to dinner and just shooting the breeze with the boys."
What's one thing you hope the future will include at St. Ambrose?
Doug: "For me, it's very spiritual. I'm proud to say I went through 16 years of Catholic school. In addition to all the other small-school advantages, I would hope St. Ambrose holds true to the core value of Catholicity."

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