2018 Winter Commencement
The 2018 Winter Commencement exercises are Saturday, December 15 at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport.
Further details will be released soon.
Celebrate Your Graduate!
We have two locations for graduation ceremonies.
In winter, we conduct commencement exercises at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport.
In the spring, commencement exercises are conducted at the TaxSlayer Center (formerly iWireless Center) in Moline.
Winter Commencement Ceremony
RiverCenter, 136 East Third St., in downtown Davenport, Iowa, 563-326-8500
Parking is available at the RiverCenter parking ramp on Brady Street between 2nd and 3rd streets, under the Mid-American Energy building. Parking is complimentary between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Graduation guests leaving the parking ramp after 3 p.m. will need to provide payment with one of the garage payment kiosks. On-street parking is free on weekends.
Spring Commencement Ceremony
TaxSlayer Center (formerly the iWireless Center), 1201 River Drive, Moline, Ill., 309-764-2001
The TaxSlayer Center parking lot has 937 parking spaces, 43 handicapped spaces on-site, and 1,400 nearby off-site parking spaces. The MetroLINK parking ramp has 250 spots. Guests can access the arena concourse directly from that ramp via the skywalk. There is a drop-off lane in front of the building.
At times, the I-74 Bridge from Iowa to Illinois can back up due to construction work. We encourage you to check the bridge traffic cameras prior to using I-74.
By Interstate 74 West (from Illinois):
Exit I-74 at 7th Avenue, exit 2, turning left/west, and continuing straight to 15th Street. At 15th Street, turn right/north to River Drive, then turn left/west to the TaxSlayer Center. The TaxSlayer Center parking lot will be on the far side of the venue.
By Interstate 74 East and River Drive (from Iowa):
Exit I-74 at 7th Avenue, exit 2, turning right/west and merge onto 7th Avenue. Take right at 19th Street to River Drive and turn left continuing to the TaxSlayer Center. The TaxSlayer Center parking lot is on the far side of the facility.
Information to order photos:
St. Ambrose University contracts with GradImages to have photos taken of graduates as they receive their diploma and as they walk off the graduation stage.
Graduates can pre-register prior to the event and receive a coupon code for 20% off an order of $50 or more at www.gradimages.com/preregistration. After the ceremony, graduates will receive the photo proofs via email and mailing address.
If you do not receive your proofs or have any additional questions, you may contact the GradImages Customer Service Department at 800- 261-2576, online at www.gradimages.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Ambrose does not receive photo proofs or order forms from GradImages.
Information to order flowers:
Family and friends wishing to purchase roses for graduates can go online to https://www.thecommencementgroup.com/stambroseu/. Roses will also be sold the morning before the commencement ceremony from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the TaxSlayer Center. Pre-ordered flowers will be available for pickup in the TaxSlayer Center lobby until 1:30 p.m.
Information to order St. Ambrose diploma frames:
Frames for St. Ambrose University bachelor's and master's degree diplomas may be ordered through the St. Ambrose Campus Bookstore, at https://www.bkstr.com/stambrosestore/home.
Frames for doctoral degrees received May 2017 or after may be ordered through FramingSuccess.com. Search for St. Ambrose University and select the option at the bottom of the page for "Frame Creator," which will allow you to customize the frame size.
Dimensions for St. Ambrose diplomas issued since May 2017 are:
Bachelor's diplomas: 11 inches wide x 8-½ inches high
Master's diplomas: 11 inches wide x 8-½ inches high
Doctoral diplomas: 14 inches wide x 11 inches high
PLEASE NOTE: St. Ambrose diplomas issued prior to May 2017 were 10 inches wide x 8 inches high.
Communications and Marketing Office, 563-333-6295
Our honorary degree recipients will be announced in late fall.
Good afternoon! And congratulations, Class of 2018!
At the beginning of a speech given last fall to the U.S. bishops, the apostolic nuncio, the ambassador of the Pope, said:
• More talk, more mistakes
• Less talk, less mistakes
• No talk, no mistakes
Well, I am going to talk, but not too much!
One of my sisters, Diane, who is three years older than me graduated from St. Ambrose, as well as a brother, Ken, who is three years younger than me.
So I suppose it was inevitable that someday I would be connected with St. Ambrose University in one way or another!
All I remember about my sister's time at St. Ambrose is that the commencement address was given by the late comedian, Bob Hope. I can even remember where my family stood during the ceremony under the oaks. I guarantee you that my talk won't be as funny as his was!
And all I remember about my brother's time at St. Ambrose is Whitey's Ice Cream, which by that time had made its way across the river.
Rather than give you, the Class of 2018, advice, I simply would like to share with you three things that I have learned along the way. Feel free to take them or leave them. In any case, hopefully they are worth at least a little thought and reflection.
First, commencement speakers sometimes tell graduates that they can be and do whatever they want to be and do. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. If you work hard enough, you can be and do anything.
This sentiment bespeaks the American Dream and I have found that it does have a certain ring of truth to it. But it isn't totally true. I can assure you that no matter how hard I might have tried, I would never have been able to become a male ballet dancer or an opera singer!
I have found that a good way to approach and live life is from the perspective of stewardship. Although none of us can be all and do all, each of us does have certain talents and gifts, due to either nature or nurture, or a combination thereof.
With regard to stewardship, I like to think of it as the big G and the four little g's.
Believers view life itself - and one's time, talent and treasure - as gifts from God, the big G. But one also can view these gifts as coming from and nurtured by parents, families, neighborhoods, parishes and schools. So, to begin with, our lives and everything in our lives are gifts, the first little g.
The second little g stands for gratitude. It is essential that we be thankful for these gifts, which we don't deserve and haven't earned. To humbly receive and cherish them. To have an attitude of gratitude.
Next, we should strive to grow, the third little g, the gifts we have been given. You, the Class of 2018, have been doing this the past two or three or four years, or however-the-heck-long it took you to make your way through St. Ambrose! Hopefully, the development of our gifts is a lifelong endeavor.
And finally, the fourth little g is generosity. Good stewards share with others, lovingly and generously, the gifts that have been entrusted to them. It is our responsibility to do this.
I have found that a life of stewardship is an incredibly joyful, meaningful and satisfying manner in which to live one's life. St. John Paul II often said that the human heart will not be content unless it is self-giving. Similarly, Senator John Holmes once said, "No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to lift up another person." Ironically, the more of ourselves and what we have that we give away, the more we are and have.
A second thing that I have learned along the way is that it is helpful to approach life from the perspective of team or family.
I have observed that in commencement addresses, graduates often are told: follow your passions, chart your own course, march to the beat of your own drummer, follow your dreams and find yourself. Such advice focuses on the individual graduate himself or herself. And yet, spiritual leaders throughout history and across the globe have emphasized that the purpose of life is not to find yourself, but to lose yourself.
I have learned that it is not all about you or me. None of us is alone as we make our way through this life, and none of us is as independent as we might think we are.
Many of you graduates were student-athletes and therefore have experienced team unity, teamwork, and team spirit. And all of us are members of families in which we experience give and take, and interdependence, on a daily basis.
In the Christian tradition, there is a wonderful belief and doctrine called the Communion of Saints, which highlights the importance of community and interdependence. We are all in this together, living and dead. Being a lone ranger is not only lonely and scary; it also isn't very satisfying or productive. I have found that there are always people who are willing to lend a hand, give a word of comfort and encouragement, and show us how.
When we operate as a team or a family, and everyone makes a contribution, whether it be remarkable or ordinary, we can do amazing things together. When we share our gifts and efforts, the outcome is always much greater than the sum of our individual contributions.
But what do we do when we develop and use our individual gifts, work together as a team, and nonetheless fail? What then?
With that in mind, I would like to share with you one last thing that I have learned along the way. A year or two ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a commencement address to his son's graduation class. He said commencement speakers typically wish graduates good luck and extend good wishes to them. Instead, he told the graduates this: "From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don't take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.... I hope you'll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn from compassion."
As difficult as it is to have to deal with failure, thank God all of us fail from time to time. We don't have to go looking for failure; it will find us. Difficulties and failures keep us humble, build character, and provide us with opportunities to grow in resilience, virtue, and depth.
Pope Francis sometimes tells young people not to be afraid to take risks and to fail. It isn't the end of the world if we make a mistake or a bad decision. This is true even in a utilitarian sense. Someone found that the average entrepreneur fails almost four times before succeeding.
Most of us no doubt are familiar with the Humpty Dumpty story. After falling off a wall, Humpty Dumpty could not be put back together again, not even by all the king's horses and all the king's men. But is the egg really smashed or is it hatching? Might a chick be emerging from the broken pieces?
We are near the end of our annual celebration of the Easter mystery. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus' agonizing and humiliating death on a cross appeared to be a failure. But it certainly wasn't the end of his incredible story!
THIS, however, IS the end of my commencement address!
May God bless you and keep you always.