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EDUCATION: St. Ambrose and corporate community grow in partnership

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We gained many important insights from the more than 100 area business leaders who joined President Amy Novak and St. Ambrose University faculty and staff on April 7 for a wide-ranging discussion on how St. Ambrose can best prepare the next generation of business leaders.

We will spend the next several months building and implementing a strategic plan that will heavily incorporate the invaluable input the business community shared at the St. Ambrose University Innovation Summit: Building the Next-Generation Workforce.

The summit’s most gratifying revelation, however, was the obvious passion the corporate community has for engaging and partnering with our university.

So many of you invested valuable hours from your workdays and trusted this university to deliver a return on investment in the form of a new generation of students prepared to meet your future workforce needs. That’s a level of trust you can be assured St. Ambrose will honor, and one that takes community partnership to the next level.

Of course, we have long been aware of our own essential role as a community partner and asset. For going on 140 years now, St. Ambrose has grown and flourished not just as an institution located in the Quad-Cities, but instead as an active member of this uniquely connected, bi-state community.

In that sense, we work for you.

In my role within the University’s Advancement Office, I have the privilege of leading the St. Ambrose Corporate Engagement Committee (CEC), a growing group of university department leaders whose work calls for consistent outreach and partnerships with members of the regional business sector.

The CEC currently consists of Professional Development Center Director Megan Tarasi, Career Center Director Lindsay Adolphs, Graduate Admissions Director Karen Eden, Advancement Director of Corporate Engagement Brodie Ambrose, and myself. We came together in 2019 when we realized we could better serve the corporate business community’s needs as a cohesive and unified group.

Everyone at St. Ambrose — our students, included — recognizes the many ways the corporate community and its leaders help our University thrive:

  • Some of the most impassioned and successful individuals in the region have brought their business acumen and vision to our Board of Trustees, now and in the past.
  • Corporate contributions, meanwhile, were essential to the Building Our Future Campaign that funded the largest, single capital project in University history, our beautiful Wellness and Recreation Center. And, of course, the business community also helped significantly in our more recent renovation and extension of McMullen Hall. Today, that modern learning space serves as a dedicated home to the Patricia VanBruwaene College of Business.
  • And, finally, we never will take for granted the essential and invaluable ways the corporate and business community helps prepare our students for their future professions through internships and other experiential learning opportunities.

We couldn’t be more grateful for the many ways you help advance our mission of preparing good people to lead productive lives and build rewarding careers.

But, again, our goal is to make sure we are serving you because only then can our students grow, find great work in your organizations and continue to make this community vibrant.

Thanks to Dr. Amy Novak’s strong and visionary leadership and the generous participation of so many, this year’s Innovation Summit was another important step in that mission. Through the CEC and ongoing engagements and partnerships, St. Ambrose University will continue to grow in partnership with the corporate community.

Anne Gannaway is the acting vice president for advancement at St. Ambrose University. If you were unable to attend the Innovation Summit but have thoughts about how St. Ambrose can better prepare students for the work of the future, contact Anne at



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