Above all, St. Ambrose University as a Catholic institution believes in the inherent God-given dignity and worth of every individual.
As stated in our Mission and Core Values, we affirm that St. Ambrose University seeks to enable all of its students to develop intellectually, spiritually, ethically, socially, artistically and physically to enrich their own lives and the lives of others.
We believe that in order to achieve the fullest measure of human potential, the University needs to develop a broad awareness of human cultures, achievements, capabilities and limitations, and to learn specific skills so that we might use our talents in the service of other people and the world in which we live. We believe that a diverse university community broadens and promotes the value of higher education at St. Ambrose University.
At St. Ambrose University, diversity means honoring and celebrating a multiplicity of voices along with a thoughtful exploration of different perspectives and ideas. Diversity generates multiple viewpoints that lead to creativity and effective problem solving, thus recognizing the contributions of a variety of individuals and groups. Further, exposure to diversity at St. Ambrose will enable members of the campus community to work and live successfully in our evolving, diverse world.
Our commitment to diversity is intentional; it is embodied in the ongoing development of a campus community that reflects the reality of a global society. Diversity further calls for the fair and equitable treatment of students, staff, faculty, and other constituents.
Toward these ends, St. Ambrose University embraces diversity in all aspects of its educational programming and organizing structures.
Director of Diversity
Paul Koch, PhD
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
The primary function of this work group is to create a strategic plan as it relates to diversity initiatives on the campus of St. Ambrose University.
Responding to the vision created by the Diversity statement, this working group has energized a focus on weaving diverse perspectives into the fabric of St. Ambrose.
The Diversity Work Group – comprised of faculty and staff – was developed out of the Diversity Task Force in 2006.
- Jim Collins, alumni
- Judy Correa Kaiser, PhD, Psychology
- Craig DeVrieze, staff
- Ed Finn, staff
- Steve Finn, Sodexo
- Sara Fredricksen, staff
- Paul Koch, PhD, Chair, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
- Thomas Mason, alumni
- Regina Matheson, PhD, faculty & staff
- Dick Robertson, EdD, faculty
- Tim Phillips, PhD, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
- Arun Pillutla, PhD, faculty
- Lisa Powell, PhD, faculty
- Caroline Rasmussen, Sodexo
- Ryan Saddler, staff
- Katy Strzepek, faculty
- Cathy Toohey, staff
Decade of Diversity
In the spring of 2010, alumnus Jim Collins developed the Decade of Diversity, a document to capture pragmatic steps to enhance the St. Ambrose University stated value of diversity. Using the Diversity Work Group (DWG) strategic priorities, 101 initiatives were generated to guide campus initiative for a 10-year period for the purpose of creating a vision for our efforts.
Here are highlights of what we have accomplished that address some of the 101 items in the Decade of Diversity:
- The second annual Freeman Pollard Scholarship Breakfast was March 21, 2013. Current fundraising to date has exceeded $50,000 (DD Goal #1).
- The sign project to recognize Marquette Boulevard, designated by the city as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Parkway, was completed in August 2012, with the installation of the final of 55 signs placed at each intersection.
- St. Ambrose provided a minority student orientation August 18-19, 2012, with 26 students committed to the 2-day program. Local alumni, faculty and staff supported what will become an annual event (DD Goal #4).
- DWG representatives are hosting student focus groups to better understand what the diverse student experience is and what initiatives might better support diverse student persistence to graduation.
- A DWG sub-committee is currently assessing the amount of diverse material infused in the curriculum to then consider recommendations for how to further shape the curriculum (DD Goals 7-11).
- The Alumni Association designated two individuals to serve in a liaison capacity with the DWG and donated $1,000 to the Freeman Pollard Scholarship Endowment Fund (DD Goals 5 and 6).
- St. Ambrose admissions staff has expanded focus into markets such as Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, and Puerto Rico with a focus on school districts that will yield a higher level of diverse student identities (DD Goal 16).
- The DWG and human resources staff are exploring and implementing current hiring practices that might yield a faculty and staff composite that is reflective of the Quad Cities Area diversity composite with respect to diverse identities (DD Goal #17).
- The College of Arts & Sciences annual theme for the 2012-13 academic year was Race Matters and was highlighted with a presentations by Cornel West, Joe Feagin, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Callie Crossley, and Bryan Massingale (DD Goal 28).
Charles W. Toney, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 1975
The first African American student to attend St. Ambrose in 1932, he spent his life preaching, practicing and enforcing the gospel of social justice, equality and civil rights. He rose from the first black welder in a John Deere factory to the first black John Deere senior executive as Director of Affirmative Action.
With too many recognitions and honors to be recorded here, however, he is recognized in a permanent exhibit at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids and was inducted into the Iowa African American Hall of Fame for his pioneering mission to raise a greater degree of inter-racial and inter-cultural understanding and appreciation, and that equal opportunity would become a reality for all people.
Gwendolyn Brooks, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities, 1990
One of the most prolific and respected of America's writers had proven herself a major force within the American artistic tradition, enriching black, white and other cultures with her revealing and challenging writings. She became the first black writer to receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize for her poetry writings of 1950. She was also Illinois' Poet Laureat in 1968.
Her 50+ year career includes numerous testimonials and recognitions on her behalf; perhaps the most significant being the Frost Medal, the highest honor the Poetry Society of America can bestow on one of its own.
Shen Tong, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 1991
As a 20-year-old, he was at the center of the student pro-democracy movement which culminated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre where he led a brilliant, passionate and unbending stance in behalf of freedom and democracy for the citizens of China.
As an ardent advocate of nonviolence and in an effort to keep alive the flame of hope, Shen wrote a book, Almost A Revolution, an insider's record of the ideals of the rebellion in his homeland.
Andrew Young, Jr., Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 1992
Mr. Young was awarded in recognition of a lifetime of dedication in helping others to better their own lives and to become involved in solving the world's problems.
Motivated by and well-educated in his Christian beliefs, Young has served many posts:
- Associate Director of the Department of Youth Work for the National Council of Churches
- top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- U.S. Congressman
- US Ambassador to the United Nations
- Mayor of the City of Atlanta
Too many recognitions and honors to account here, but he has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award. He has received more than 35 honorary degrees and the French Legion d'Honneur Award.
Lametta K. Wynn, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 1999
Wynn was the first female African American mayor in Clinton, Iowa. As a result, she has created a legacy of public service in her commitment to the citizens and especially the students of Iowa. Her positive and progressive leadership has made impact in many areas, but her commitment to learning is a high reason for her honorary recognition.
Her longtime involvement in school board work has helped make quality education a reality for all students. She has been a pioneer in Iowa educational and governmental leadership.
Michael Cervantes, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 2000
Awarded in recognition of his devotion to the enrichment of the people of the Quad Cites and the larger Midwest regional area.
Cervantes is a founding member of the Quad Cities Mexican American Organization and was also in leadership roles in various other civic, church and community organizations including, but not limited to the following: St. Mary's Parish Council, QC Times Plus 60 Club Board and earned recognition / distinction for his service during WW II with General Patton's Third Army.
Ida Johnson, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service, 2003
In recognition of her over 40 years of public service to those in need.
As the founder of the inner-city service program United Neighbors, she provided leadership and an unwavering commitment to individuals, families, civic, and community organizations toward realizing community betterment.
Leonard Cervantes, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law, 2005
Awarded in recognition of his many years of dedication to the cause of law and justice, youth development and civil rights.
He has provided able leadership in the Quad Cities and in his now-home base and law firm home of St. Louis.
He serves on many leadership boards and community initiatives including, but not limited to, the following: St. Ambrose University Board of Trustees and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis.
Clyde Mayfield, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, 2008
Awarded in recognition of his advocacy of education and youth in the Quad Cities.
Having served on the Davenport Community Schools District Board for several years, one of the first black firefighters of City of Davenport, small business owner in the central inner-city neighborhood, and serving on many civic and community service, development and civil rights organizations, shows his lifetime commitment to community and service.
Sr. Barbara J. Moore, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, 2013
In recognition of her remarkable life and career as a civil rights activist, nurse, and educator.
Sr. Barbara has spent her adult life working for the poor and disadvantaged while also advancing the causes of healthcare and healthcare education. She serves as director on numerous boards and organizations.