Alumni Will Address "Community at the Margins" at Annual Ambrose Colloquium


Four alumni finely attuned to values modeled by our University's humble statesman, orator, and early leader of the Catholic Church will participate in the annual Ambrose of Milan Colloquium hosted by the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan (ASSAM) at SAU April 3-4.

Their keen understanding of the patron saint's words and deeds has helped them incorporate service, social justice, and faith into their lives, so much so that they will share their perspectives as panelists to answer the question, "Community at the Margins?" Their talk will begin at 5 p.m., April 4, in Ambrose Hall, Lewis Boardroom. This free, public event is part of a two-day academic inquiry into Saint Ambrose.

Monday's panel discussion will feature alumni Jordan Bowden '18, Program Manager for the Achieving Change Together Program through Safer Foundation; Luke Green '14, '18 MBA, Passenger Safety Analyst for KONE's Product Integrity Council and a community servant; Patrick Schmadeke '13, Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Davenport; and Ann Schwickerath '98, Executive Director for Project Renewal.

Each of these alumni are committed to community action, social justice, and service, the very values that drove Ambrose of Milan in his work as Bishop of Milan. Schmadeke said the opportunity to discuss the importance of social justice with fellow St. Ambrose alumni at a time when so many find themselves on the margins is humbling. "It is an honor to be invited back to campus and join the panel for this conversation," he said.

Schmadeke shared how the perspectives of Saint Ambrose of Milan have carried him beyond his college experience. 

"Ambrose demonstrates that we must be responsive to the needs on the ground, adapting as the context changes beneath our feet. Our context has changed dramatically in recent years," he said. "This calls for an equally momentous evolution in the life of the Church."

Additionally, Saint Ambrose's commitment to social justice and assisting the least fortunate are illustrated in this story about Saint Lawrence, a Roman deacon from the mid-200s: "For when the treasures of the Church were demanded from [Lawrence], he promised that he would show them. On the following day, he brought the poor together. When asked where the treasures were which he had promised, he pointed to the poor, saying: 'These are the treasures of the Church'" (De Officiis No. 140).

"Our proximity to those on the margins is in some real way bound up in the question of our proximity to God," Schmadeke said. "If you want to be close to God, be close to the marginalized."

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2023-24 Project Series

The previous day, Sunday, April 3, will feature international Ambrose scholar Camille Gerzaguet, PhD, Associate Professor at the Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier, Département de Langues et Littératures Anciennes (Department of Language and Ancient Literature). Dr. Gerzaguet will address the topic "Shaping Community Together: Saint Ambrose and the Songs of Songs." Join her lecture at 3 p.m. in the Rogalski Center Ballroom; free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Rogalski Center.

Both of these annual ASSAM events are sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences annual Project Series theme, "Re/Building Community."


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