Presidential Inauguration

Amy C. Novak, EdD


October 1-3, 2021

Amy C. Novak, EdD, will become the 14th President of St. Ambrose University this fall.

As plans develop for this exciting time in the University's life, this page will be updated. 

14th President

amy novak

Learn about Amy C. Novak, EdD, 14th President of St. Ambrose University

About Dr. Amy Novak


Oct. 1

Installation Ceremony

The Inauguration Installation Ceremony will be at the Galvin Fine Arts Center, Allaert Auditorium. The entire campus community is invited to attend.

Schedule of Events

History of SAU

fighting bee

As we enter a new chapter for the University, reflecting on the past can give us context for the future.

History of SAU

Celebrating Our 14th President

A native South Dakotan, Dr. Novak was president of DWU for eight years during which there was record enrollment growth, surpassed fundraising records, made significant updates to campus infrastructure, formed regional business partnerships, bolstered spiritual engagement, and launched a variety of innovative academic programs and initiatives.

About Dr. Amy Novak Schedule of Events

More Information

The Campus community is excited to welcome Dr. Amy Novak as our next president!

Check back this summer as more information gets added to this page.

About SAU

For Our Guests

General Information

Please visit the following pages for information on campus location, parking, and lodging:

Getting to Campus
Campus Map and driving directions

Maps with designated parking areas for guests will be available in late summer.

About the Quad Cities Area
Lodging and area attractions

Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Ceremony Meaning

Insignias of the University

The University Mace
For centuries, the mace has served as the most sacred symbol of the presidential office. In 12th century Rome, the mace would have doubled as a club carried by a bodyguard, whose job it was to protect the clergy. According to Canon law, priests were forbidden from shedding blood, so maces were used, since only blunt objects could serve as weapons. Made of wood, metal, or gems, the mace of today functions simply as a symbol of authority.

The St. Ambrose mace was crafted in the early 1980s by John Morrissey Sr., superintendent of buildings and grounds for 42 years. Morrissey was a woodcarver and made the mace from Brazilian rosewood. It is inset with slate carvings of a cross, a chalice and host, an oak leaf and an acorn, and the university seal.

Although the first St. Ambrose president to use the mace was William Bakrow, Morrissey carried it first – at President Bakrow's insistence – during the 1984 spring commencement ceremony.

In a regular ceremony of the university, the mace is carried either directly behind or in front of the president as part of the processional. At Dr. Novak's installation ceremony, the mace leads the processional. During the recessional, it is carried in front of the new president.

The Processional
The processional – first used at the Olympic games in ancient Greece – is the grand march into a formal ceremony that usually begins at the back of the seating area and ends near the front of the stage or dais.

The academic processional at an inauguration ceremony differs from commencement in that delegates from other colleges and representatives of academic societies are invited to march along with an institution's own faculty and staff.

Marshals usually will lead each division of the university and seat representatives in their appropriate order. Academic institutions and societies process in the order of the year their institutions were founded.

The Presidential Medallion
The first St. Ambrose presidential medallion was worn by President William Bakrow (1973-1987) and followed a trend in higher education of university presidents wearing such symbols of their office.

Today, the president wears the medallion as part of his or her academic regalia. Dr. Novak will be invested with the medallion of St. Ambrose University at the moment of her installation.

Academic Regalia
In the cold castles of the Middle Ages, academics wore hoods and long robes to keep warm as they taught their students in the liberal arts.

Today, that tradition continues to have a symbolic role for those in academia. Their robes signify academic accomplishments – elongated sleeves for a master's degree and three velvet-striped sleeves for doctorates – as well as their position among the ranks of their colleagues.

In keeping with guidelines first established in the 1800s by the American Council on Education, university faculty and staff wear garb with colors and decorations that correspond to their field of study, while the presence and length of hoods are determined by one's degree. At four feet, doctoral hoods are the longest.

Robes, hoods, and caps are always worn at higher education institutions' matriculation and baccalaureate ceremonies. Cords draped around the neck representing academic or other honors may accompany a graduating student's regalia.

Due to the infrequency of such an event, an inauguration has its own special protocols for incorporating academic regalia into the ceremony. Often a university president will wear the robes of his or her alma mater.

So, what's next?

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