Frank Mallerdino ’84
Not every St. Ambrose alumnus can say they've swung from the rafters of Lee Lohman Arena.
Frank Mallerdino '84 can.
And if he ever does it again, he'll remember to wear gloves.
Mallerdino's enthusiasm for his alma mater is large and sustained. And that's notwithstanding the time when, dressed as Barney the Bee, he climbed over the rail of the running track above the arena, grabbed a rope attached to the rafters, started swinging, and only then realized he'd forgotten to put on Barney's gloves.
"I slid down the rope, got horrible rope-burn and almost broke my back," Mallerdino said, laughing as loudly on the tale's 1,000th telling as he did on its first.
Mallerdino's Ambrosian memories also include being Homecoming king; president and treasurer of the Student Government Association; waking at 5 a.m. every morning as a first-year student to mop the floor of the student union and pub; and, then, a year later, becoming the first sophomore to manage that very same pub.
"That was basically because of my dedication to mopping that floor," he said of his promotion.
Mallerdino's enduring support for St. Ambrose is delivered with that same up-at-5 a.m.-to-mop-the-floors kind of passion. He poured that passion into serving as Admissions recruiter immediately following his graduation, but, even now, as a long-established salesman in Wisconsin, his dedication is unwavering.
"Frank does it all," said Anne Gannaway, director of alumni engagement and special events. "He has hosted Bee Happy Hours in Milwaukee, where he lives, and he has welcomed admitted SAU students from Milwaukee to his house for gatherings. He also served on the alumni board. He still has the school spirit he had when he was Barney the Bee."
Mallerdino also found a way to pay his memorable experiences forward when his fellow alum and former Q-C area roommate Jim Stangle ‘82, now vice president for Advancement at SAU, asked for his help with the Building Our Future campaign.
As a widower raising three sons, Mallerdino doesn't have the means just yet to write a five-figure check, but on a payment plan, he was able to commit to a $25,000 donation to help build the new Wellness and Recreation Center. He was honored to be able to dedicate the gift to his late wife, Stacy.
As the Building Our Future campaign moves toward its June conclusion, Mallerdino urges any Ambrose alumni with a checkbook and great memories to pay their own experience forward.
Those Lee Lohman Arena rafters he swung from were basically brand new when he arrived on campus, he noted.
"I knew alumni helped build that building and helped me make great memories," he said. "Where do you get to do all the things I was able to do at St. Ambrose and be a leader and learn? I really believe I became who I am today because of St. Ambrose."