Endowed Gifts Build Opportunity, Purpose, Pathways


Scene Magazine | Spring 2021

It's impressive to measure the growth in the St. Ambrose endowment over the past 14 years, and inspiring to witness the long-lasting impact that growth has had on students.

When they join Model United Nations, they learn about the world's strengths, inequities and potential, and discover the powerful role they can play in elevating human rights.

When they spend the summer immersed in undergraduate research, perhaps seeking and testing methods to remove pollutants from sediment in rivers and lakes, they can uncover in the process a purpose and a path to graduate school.

When they open their long-awaited gift letter, they can realize that yes, it is true: a St. Ambrose education is affordable and definitely in their future.

Through endowed gifts, generous donors strengthen the educational experience and create opportunity for St. Ambrose students and alumni, now and throughout life, said Sally Crino '01 MBA, Associate Vice President for Advancement.

"Endowed gifts allow us to give students those enhanced high-touch academic experiences. It is not just studying the books or attending lectures, but it is the experiential learning that happens," she said. "A scholarship will do the same kind of thing in terms of supporting a student, really allowing them to live a grand life as a result of being able to go to college."

During the 14-year presidential tenure of Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, the university's endowment has grown from $52 million to $170 million. It now includes 128 current and future endowed scholarships- more than double the number in 2007. Also, four of the five endowed chairs funded at $1 million or more have been received in the past 14 years.

The most recent of those, the Ann Elaine Hinkhouse Endowed Chair in Nursing, was established with a $2.6 million legacy gift that also will provide the Nursing Department additional resources and equipment, such as high fidelity patient simulators.

"An Endowed Chair helps fund an existing position at the university and frees up dollars for the university to direct to other high priority areas. At the same time, our academic chairs have the opportunity to expand their learning and scholarship," Crino said.

Endowed gifts allow the university to invite prominent scholars to lecture on campus, events that often spark discussion and challenge students to re-examine beliefs. "We can bring in and share different ideas and thought processes that maybe aren't necessarily ours, but are reflective," said Vice President for Advancement Jim Stangle '82. "The ability to bring new thinkers and new thoughts into the community, there is great value in that."


Endowed scholarships allow the university to award institutional aid to more students. Stangle and his Advancement team take every opportunity to educate donors on why an endowed gift to St. Ambrose makes a significantly larger difference in the life of a student than money given to much larger universities.

"We can make a dollar more impactful and make it go a lot further and have greater results," he said.

Donors get to witness that impact first-hand when they meet a scholarship recipient and learn about their studies, life and dreams, and are thanked by the student who sincerely appreciates the education and opportunities they have at St. Ambrose.

"Our donors become very personally involved because a significant gift here has such a large impact for our students, faculty and community," Stangle said. "It is just very, very powerful."

–Dawn Neuses '94


Addy Nelson ’23 was born with an entrepreneur’s spirit. With her parents owning the bowling alley in her hometown of Gregory, South Dakota—the same place she perfected her game to earn a scholarship to St. Ambrose University—she learned early to be innovative, customer-focused and business-minded.

Read More About Innovative App-lication...

Maggie (Verdun) Bohnert '15, '16 MOT

At SAU, hard work = recognition. Here is a list of full-time students who were named to the St. Ambrose University Dean's List for the Fall 2023 term. These students earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

Read More About Fall 2023...

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.