Fr. George McDaniel '66, PhD, literally lives his love for Ambrosian history.
A history professor emeritus, Fr. McDaniel resides in the last of four apartments that once provided homes for priests who were members of the SAU faculty.
Recently, his donation assisted the renovation of the historic (and history-telling) stained glass windows in the Lewis Boardroom of Ambrose Hall.
The project included the creation of plaques explaining the saints and history depicted in each window, as well as information about the supporters whose donations facilitated the original installation of the stained glass windows in the what formerly was the campus chapel.
A plaque honoring Fr. McDaniel's contribution to archiving that history as well as to assisting the restoration was unveiled at a luncheon in his honor on Dec. 6. It reads:
Father George McDaniel's life and professional career epitomize what it means to be an Ambrosian: graduate of the St. Ambrose College Class of 1966, faithful priest, inspiring teacher, distinguished historian, loyal colleague, true friend. His life's story is part of St. Ambrose history, and his life's work has enriched all Ambrosians.
A native of Washington, Iowa, Father McDaniel came to St. Ambrose College in 1963, earned his bachelor's degree in Philosophy and History in 1966, attended seminary and was ordained by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport in 1970. He returned to St. Ambrose as Dean of Students in 1974. He joined the history faculty in 1977, was promoted to the rank of Professor of History in 1993, and served in that role until his retirement in 2007.
Father McDaniel's reputation as a noted historian extends far beyond campus, and, at the same time, he has chronicled more than 125 years of St. Ambrose history. His many honors include recognition as a Hoover Scholar and earning Benjamin F. Shambaugh Outstanding Book in Iowa History honors, as well as the State Historical Society of Iowa Shambaugh Award of Merit.
In 2007, he completed his seminal work on the University's history: A Great and Lasting Beginning: The First 125 Years of St. Ambrose University. Today, as a Professor Emeritus of History, Father McDaniel continues his tireless work of preserving his alma mater's story.