St. Ambrose University

St. Ambrose University — independent, diocesan, and Catholic — enables its students to develop intellectually, spiritually, ethically, socially, artistically and physically to enrich their own lives and the lives of others.

St. Ambrose University has come a long way since it began as a seminary and school of commerce for young men in 1882. Over more than a century, countless students destined to influence the world have walked our halls. Long-time traditions took root and live on today. The campus grew, and with it the services to ensure our students, faculty and staff have the best environment in which to learn, live and work. And somewhere along the way, the St. Ambrose statue was both painted green and lost a hand. Here’s your chance to brush up on Ambrose’s history.

St. Ambrose is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,, 800-621-7440.

1984-Present: The University Era 1984 Computers make their debut on campus as 12 Apple 2e machines are installed in a “lab.” A 25-minute video is produced to explain how to use the computers, which have only word-processing capabilities. Phones are installed in student rooms and the campus gets an ATM machine. 1985 On the rocks…or not. The legal drinking age is raised to 21 years of age, much to the chagrin of underclassmen. 1987 Drumroll, please! Ambrose officially becomes a university. Edward Rogalski is named the university’s 12th president. Hear ye, hear ye! Oprah Winfrey and U.S. Senator Bob Dole visit campus as speakers. Dole comes in March to discuss his senatorial experience, while Winfrey addresses attendees of the Quad Cities Women’s Day Conference at the Galvin Fine Arts Center in April. 1993 The hip bone’s connected to the leg bone. Biology at Ambrose is taken to a new level as the cadaver lab opens with 18 bodies for anatomy students to examine. 1994 Ambrose hops on the information super-highway by providing all students, faculty and staff with e-mail accounts. The university won’t develop its Web site until the following October. 1996 The old library moves from McMullen Hall to the newly constructed library building, with 350 students, faculty and staff lining up to pass part of the collection across campus. The 114 books passed represent each year of Ambrose’s existence. Housing, we have a problem. “Residence Row,” as it will be dubbed in 2005, begins with the construction of Tiedemann Hall. Hagen Hall follows in 2000, and bookends Bechtel and Franklin are created in 2004 and 2005, respectively. 1997 Somebody call the doctor! Classes start for the Doctor of Business Administration program, the first doctoral program offered at SAU. The Master of Physical Therapy program will be converted to a doctoral program in 2002. 2004 The completion of the Rogalski Center upgrades life on campus with amenities that include a food court, wireless capabilities and spacious facilities to play games, study or even have student dances! 2005 Franklin Hall opens to complete “residence row.” 2007 Fondest farewells! President Ed Rogalski retires after spending the past 20 years as president. He makes the record book as the longest serving president at a private university in the state of Iowa. Warmest welcome! Sister Joan Lescinski becomes the 13th president. 2008 Ambrose successfully secures unconditional reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission for 10 years—the maximum term granted. A new combined use academic and residential building, with 11 classrooms and suite-style living space for 96 students, is finished just in time for Ambrose to welcome its largest enrollment ever. It was dedicated in August 2013 as McCarthy Hall. 2010 The $11.5 million Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis opens with generous support from its Health Services Foundation. This building serves as a brand-new home to our growing health services programs. 2012 North Hall was built on the northeast corner of Lombard and Harrison streets. It has 204 beds. 2017 The largest single capital campaign in University history, nearly $18 million was raised to build a state-of-the-art, 80,000-square-foot Wellness and Recreation Center.


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