Amy Novak, EdD

President of St. Ambrose University

Amy Novak, EdD, is the 14th president of St. Ambrose University.

Dr. Novak comes to St. Ambrose with a proven vision for the future of higher education. Her eight years of remarkable and innovative leadership at Dakota Wesleyan University in her native Mitchell, South Dakota, are documented in the 2019 book, "Pivot: A Vision for the New University."

Dr. Novak began her career in higher education at DWU in 2003 after working in the private sector as she, her husband Ken, and their growing family travelled the country and the world during Ken's career in the U.S. Air Force. The Novaks both are graduates of the University of Notre Dame.

amy novak with students

Contacting the President's Office

President's Office Staff

Jana Seutter, MBA '20, Senior Assistant

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Novak
Please contact Jana Seutter by email or call 563-333-6344.


About the President

Biography

Amy C. Novak, EdD, became the 14th president of St. Ambrose University on August 7, 2021, and was inaugurated on Oct. 1, accepting her charge with a focus on inclusivity and collaboration under the invitational theme, "Come To The Table."

At St. Ambrose, Dr. Novak also has prioritized finding new and innovative models of teaching and learning as we enter a new era of work. She is partnering with community leaders to address employer needs, and celebrating the University's historic commitment to Catholicity, social justice, and service.

Within a week of her inauguration, Dr. Novak announced plans to renovate the University's second oldest building into the Higgins Hall for Innovation and Human-Centered Design. The newly renovated facility will debut in the fall of 2023 as a learning lab for creating a person-centered delivery model for higher education, healthcare and across the workplace.

In April, Novak will convene business and community leaders from across the Midwest for the first St. Ambrose University Innovation Summit: Building the Next-Generation Workforce, seeking input on how St. Ambrose best can prepare its students to meet business, industry and nonprofit needs in a new age of human work.

Dr. Novak previously served as president of Dakota Wesleyan University in her native Mitchell, South Dakota, from 2013 through May 2021. During her tenure, Dakota Wesleyan experienced record enrollment growth, surpassed all previous university fundraising records, made significant updates to the campus' infrastructure, formed a variety of partnerships with businesses in the region, bolstered spiritual engagement on the campus, and launched a variety of innovative academic programs and initiatives.

The unprecedented success led to DWU being profiled-along with three other U.S. colleges and universities-in the 2019 book Pivot: A Vision for the New University.

Dr. Novak rose to the rank of president only 10 years after entering the field of higher education by joining the Dakota Wesleyan staff as a grant administrator. Prior to her appointment as president, she served as DWU provost from 2007 to 2013 and vice president for enrollment management from 2004 to 2007. She previously worked in a variety of roles while traveling with her husband, Ken, while he served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force.

Dr. Novak earned a Doctor of Education degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University in 2014, a Master of Science in Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University in 1997, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Notre Dame in 1993.

The Novaks are parents to eight children who range in age from 13 to 26.

The President's Office

Board of Trustees

Officers of the Board
Bishop Thomas Zinkula, JD, JCL - Chair of the Board and Bishop, The Diocese of Davenport
Dr. Dan Broderick '82 - Neuroradiologist, Mayo Clinic Florida
Amy Novak, EdD - President, St. Ambrose University

Members of the Board
Brian Bassier '91 - Vice President (CFO) and Treasurer, The Valley Group
John Bear '88, '92 MBA - Chief Technical Officer-Manufacturing Americas,
Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
Tom Berthel '74, '93 - Chief Executive Officer, Berthel Fisher & Company
Ken Brune '67 - Owner, Brune Law Firm
Dr. Dan Broderick SAU '82 - Neuroradiologist, Mayo Clinic Florida
Ed Carroll - Senior Partner, Lane & Waterman, LLP
Renee Citera '81 - Founder, RGC Consulting Services
Phil Doherty '78 - Retired SVP/General Manager and CFO, Chicago Tribune Media Group
Laura "Divot" Ekizian '92, '97 - President, Quad City Bank & Trust
James M. Field - Retired President, Agriculture & Turf Division - Americas, Australia and the
Gobal Harvesting and Turf Platforms, Deere & Company
Jef Heckinger '70 - Attorney at Law, J.F. Heckinger, L.L.C.
Tom Higgins '67 - Co-Founder and Director, Prosetta Corporation
Lyn Ketelsen '98 -Founder of KLK Leading Change, Inc.
Mark Kilmer - President & CEO, The Republic Companies
Brian Joseph Lemek '86 - Owner/Managing Member, Lemek, LLC
Elizabeth F. Lemek '86 - Community Leader
Thomas Mason, IV '91 - Sr. Technical Sales Representative, RILCO Inc.
Fr. Robert McAleer '67 - Retired Priest
Amy Novak, EdD - President, St. Ambrose University
Joseph R. O'Rourke '72 - Retired Secretary-Treasurer, O'Rourke Sales Co.
Caroline Ruhl - President and Co-Owner, Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors
Paul Sachs '76 - Managing Director, Protiviti, Inc.
Patricia Snyder '81 - Vice President Divisional Merchandise Manager, Wal-Mart
Breann Thompson '05 - Retired Senior Staff Accountant, Caterpillar, Inc.
Paul Thompson '02 - Chief Financial Officer CAT Earth Moving Division, Caterpillar, Inc.
Bishop Thomas Zinkula, JD, JCL - Chair of the Board and Bishop, The Diocese of Davenport

Non-Voting Members 2021-2022:
Fr. Chuck Adam, Priest Representative
Mark Brauweiler '13, '15, President of Alumni Association
Zeek Cuellar, President of Student Government Association
Chase Neukam, President of Staff Assembly
Catie Schimmelpfenning, President of Graduate Student Government Association
Dr. Larry Skillin, Chair of Faculty Assembly

President's Cabinet

Toby ArquetteToby Arquette, PhD
Vice President, Communications and Marketing

Toby Arquette joins SAU from Aurora University, where he served in multiple roles during his 15-year tenure including as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Business, Dean of the Dunham School of Business & Public Policy, Chair of the Department of Communication, and Director of the University Honors Program. As a faculty member, Arquette served as the Faculty Senate Chair. Arquette is a member of the Higher Learning Commission's institutional accreditation Peer Corp.

Arquette completed his BA in Economics at Wayne State University and MA in Communication Studies from Baylor University before earning a PhD in Communication from Northwestern University. Prior to entering higher education, Arquette worked in the private sector at a marketing agency in client and account management. Arquette's areas of expertise are digital communication, integrated marketing communication, and consumer insights and analytics.

anne gannawayAnne Gannaway
Acting Vice President, Advancement

Anne Gannaway manages the University's advancement and development activities, including capital campaigns, annual fund, major gifts, planned estate giving, and alumni relations.

Gannaway began her career at SAU in 2012 serving Alumni and Advancement as the Executive Director. Long before that, however, Gannaway was already well familiar‚Äč with the Ambrosian way: her father, Edward Henkhaus, was the University's VP of Finance for many years. Gannaway earned her Master of Arts in Higher Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Gannaway is married to Ethan Gannaway who is a Full Professor-Adjunct of History at SAU and the Associate Director of the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan. They have three boys.

paul kochPaul Koch, PhD
Provost and Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs

Paul Koch began his St. Ambrose career as an assistant professor of psychology in 1988. He has since served as department chair, director of general education, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and associate vice president of academic affairs, assessment, and institutional research.

In his role as vice president for academic and student affairs, Koch oversees the academic colleges, student services, the library, and several other academic areas. He is a member of the board of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and the Robert Young Center. He was elected in June 2019 to the Board of the Higher Learning Commission.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Morningside College and his master's and doctoral degrees from Iowa State University. Paul and his wife, Sherree, have two daughters, a son, and eight grandchildren.

mike posterMichael Poster '88
Vice President, Finance

Mike Poster is a Davenport native, who graduated from St. Ambrose University with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1988. His professional career experience includes three years with KPMG and 17 years with McGladrey and Pullen, working primarily in assurance and financial management consulting. During this time he worked with numerous higher education clients.

Poster joined the administrative staff of St. Ambrose in 2008. He manages the general accounting, human resources, physical plant, student accounts, and information technology offices. He also oversees the compliance area, the university's bookstore operations (through Follett Higher Education Group), and the food service (through Sodexo). He is on the board of Family Resources and the Downtown Davenport Partnership, and serves as the chair of the finance committee for both organizations. Poster and his wife, Kelly, have a son and two daughters.

leshane saddlerLeShane Saddler
Vice President, Enrollment Management

LeShane Saddler comes to SAU from the University of California-San Diego where he was the Director of Undergraduate Admissions. His previous work was in admissions at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, where he was associate director, assistant director, and an admissions counselor. Saddler's post-graduate education was at the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a Master of Arts in Education.

Saddler grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, and is the brother of Ryan Saddler '96, '06 MEdT, SAU's Associate Vice President for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Director of the Accessibility Resource Center. 

Past Presidents

Rev. Aloysius Joseph Schulte, 1882-1891
Schulte was the first priest that Bishop McMullen ever ordained. After ordination, Schulte worked as a cathedral assistant for a few years before he was slated by McMullen to organize St. Ambrose College. The school had 40 high school students during the first year, and 85 students when he left. During Schulte's presidency, the central portion of Ambrose Hall with the tower was built, although Ambrose Hall was originally only two stories high. After leaving St. Ambrose college, Schulte took a pastorate in Iowa City.

Rev. John Thomas Aloysius Flannagan, 1891-1906
Flannagan was born in Haverville, Massachusetts, and was the second priest on faculty during Schulte's duration as president. While being president of the school, Flannagan's sister Editha ran the Immaculate Conception Academy. The two worked together on many events between schools together. Flannagan promoted boys choir and Latin on campus, and went to the Sacred Heart parish after his term as president. He died January 26, 1926.

Rev. William Shannahan, 1906-1915
Born February 2, 1870, Shannahan, referred to as "Big Bill," was raised in Williamsburg, Iowa. He was the college's first captain of the football team, and graduated from the institution in 1896. He worked in the philosophy department before taking his role as the third president. During his term, the east wing of Ambrose Hall was built, which contained an auditorium, classrooms, and living quarters. After leaving St. Ambrose, Shannahan pastored in Iowa City, until he was named Sacred Heart pastor and Vicar General of the Diocese of Davenport in 1932. He died October 22, 1937.

Rev. William Hannon, 1915-1926
William Hannon was born March 21, 1879. He graduated from St. Ambrose College in 1901. He was ordained in June of 1903 and taught English and history at the school from 1904 until 1912. In 1912 he was named vice president, which he served until 1915 when he took over the presidency. Hannon led the first endowment drive for $200,000, and oversaw the construction of the first gym.

Rev. Ulrich Hauber, 1926-1930
Born June 28, 1885 in Bavaria, Germany, Hauber graduated from St. Ambrose in 1905. After his ordination in 1908, Hauber joined the faculty, which he served as a member of for 48 years. A nationally known biologist, Hauber was the author of many textbooks, pamphlets and articles. At St. Ambrose College, Hauber was the chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences before becoming the fifth president. He died July 1, 1956, and was the first person to be laid to rest in the Chapel of Christ the King.

Rev. Martin Cone, 1930-1937
A Clinton, Iowa native, Cone was a social worker who taught social sciences at St. Ambrose for 16 years before becoming president. He is credited with building the faculty, taking over at a time when priests were paid $15 a month for teaching. Cone also instituted summer sessions on campus. After his presidency he was appointed to the Pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral, and Vicar General of the Diocese of Davenport.

Rev. Carl Meinberg, 1937-1940
Born January 11, 1889 in Keokuk, Iowa, Meinburg graduated from the college in 1911. He became a member of the St. Ambrose faculty after his ordination in 1914, holding a variety of positions on campus. In his early years, Meinburg served as the head of the library, and was also the director of the choir and the orchestra. He taught in the departments of religion and Spanish, and eventually became the head of the history department and the campus spiritual director before becoming the seventh president of the institution.

Rev. Ambrose Burke, 1940-1956
Ambrose Burke was an English scholar with a Yale doctorate. During his term as president, St. Ambrose built an administration building and Christ the King Chapel. Dealing with many issues surrounding the war, Burke was able to temporarily peak enrollment between 1500 and 1600 students. At one point, Burke also delivered a three-part series during the Catholic Hour on NBC entitled, "Sainthood, the Universal Vocation." He left St. Ambrose after being appointed to St. Mary's Parish in Clinton, Iowa.

Rev. William Collins, 1956-1963
Referred to as "Sailor Bill" since had served in the Navy, William Collins became St. Ambrose's ninth president. From Millersburg, Iowa, Collins graduated from St. Ambrose and had been at the college for 27 years before his appointment. He was chairman of the business and economics departments on campus before becoming president. Hoping to get the school back on track financially, Collins raised tuition and temporarily dropped the football program. During his term, East Hall (Rohlman) was constructed. Collins was active in the American Legion and helped found the Council of World Affairs.

Rev. Sebastian Menke, 1964-1973
Born December 21, 1910, Menke graduated from St. Ambrose in 1934. After his ordination in 1938, Menke returned to St. Ambrose and taught Latin, German, Greek, ancient history and astronomy on campus. He then became the rector for East Hall. Menke served as president during a time when struggles were high for private colleges. During his presidency, South Hall (Cosgrove), Hayes Hall, and the fine arts building were all constructed. After leaving the presidency Menke became the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. He died April 21, 2002.

Dr. William Bakrow, 1973-1987
William Bakrow was born in Kansas, but moved to Rochester, New York when he was one-month old. He received a doctorate in public administration and education from Indiana University at Bloomingtom. He was given the friendly nickname of "Dollar Bill," since he wiped out a $2 million debt, doubled enrollment, and balanced the budget for eight consecutive years. Under his presidency St. Ambrose ventured into graduate studies with the MBA program. Bakrow was the first layperson to serve as chief operating office at St. Ambrose. He died March 17, 2005.

Dr. Edward Rogalski, 1987-2007
Edward Rogalski came to St. Ambrose as dean of students in 1968. From 1974 to 1980, Rogalski was St. Ambrose's vice president for administration, and from 1981 to 1986, the institution's senior vice president. He served as executive vice president at the time of his appointment to the presidency in 1987. During Rogalski's tenure the university increased total enrollment by more than 70 percent, added nearly 40 additional academic programs, conferred more than 11,000 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, and completed 15 new construction or major renovation capital projects totaling more than $67 million.

Sister Joan Lescinski '21 Hon, CSJ, PhD, 2007-2021

Sister Joan Lescinski served the final 14 years of a half-century-long career in Catholic higher education as president of St. Ambrose University. Under her leadership, St. Ambrose added dozens of new academic programs, seven new or renovated academic buildings, two additional residence halls, and 11 varsity sports with new and enhanced facilities. The 80,000 square foot Wellness and Recreation Center is the most prominent of those brick-and-mortar projects and the largest capital project in University history. Also during her tenure, the University endowment tripled while endowed academic scholarships more than doubled. Sister Joan is an English professor at heart, and she taught at every career stop, St. Ambrose included. She is a native of Albany, N.Y., where she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet at age 18 and earned her undergraduate degree in English and a master’s in English Literature from the College of St. Rose. Sister Joan came to St. Ambrose in 2007 after serving as president of St. Mary’s of the Woods College in Indiana from 1998-2007.

Contact


President Amy Novak

Office of the President
Ambrose Hall
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6213
NovakAmy@sau.edu

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