Each of the gracious letters discussed below included financial donations, but we share them because of what they say about St. Ambrose and Ambrosians. These letters touched our hearts and we hope they will yours, too.
The gift of gratitude is precious.
The small box arrived in the St. Ambrose mailroom last spring, just a few weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic had all but emptied campus. It contained a dozen children's books, a check to purchase more, and the kindest words from Margaret A. Quigley of Mill Creek, Washington.
In the Spring 2020 edition of Scene, she explained, "an article about Meghan Curran spoke to me, or should I say God winked at me."
Some years before, Margaret and her late husband, Michael, had returned to their native Quad Cities after attending college out of state and seeing the world through his career in the Navy. She taught and he sold real estate. John then served as business manager at Assumption High School and finally presided over the School Board at Sacred Heart Grade School in Davenport, which was next to the cathedral where the Quigleys were wed.
Along the way, Michael befriended Msgr. Marvin Mottet '52, '82 (Hon) and joined the monsignor in his "social justice dreams," Margaret wrote.
"In your article it was wonderful to learn that Father Mottet's legacy is alive and well," she continued. "That gives me great joy. Both Michael and Fr. Mottet now reside in God's loving hands and continue to interject their influence on me daily. Lots of winks. That is a joy, too."
Ultimately, the teacher in Margaret was moved by Meghan's plan to construct a library kiosk outside Davenport's Madison Elementary School. Meghan's participation in the Mottet Leadership Institute as detailed in the Scene article also seemed to be what the student described as a God wink, she said.
"Father Mottet and Michael were great believers in the power of loving our neighbors by caring, sharing and loving. May we all discover that love," Margaret wrote before concluding with the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: "It is in giving that we receive."
The letter arrived at the St. Ambrose Advancement Office just ahead of last spring's Annual Day of Giving and was signed by a parent who described herself as a "Proud Bee Mom."
As welcome as the generous donation included in the envelope was Kathleen Stevenson's effusive praise for the work done by the SAU Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) and the Engineering and Physics Department to help her son Logan Stevenson '20 earn a Mechanical Engineering degree. Because he contended with dyslexia during his school days in Oklahoma, college was something the Stevensons weren't sure was within Logan's reach a few years earlier.
"We visited 10 colleges and universities in an effort to find the best fit for him: small class sizes, an accredited engineering program and a robust support system for learning-differenced students," Kathleen said. "Thankfully, a counselor at a different university suggested we visit St. Ambrose."
That visit provided assurance that disability support providers like Carol McCoy '07, MEdT and Engineering professors such as Andrew Lutz, PhD, would do all they could to ensure Logan's challenge didn't stand in the way of his learning. Equally assuring was an encounter with a helpful student as they searched for their car at the end of their visit.
"A graduating engineering senior went out of his way not only to show us the way to the Rogalski Center but also to tell Logan all about the engineering program," Kathleen wrote. "When we finally found our car and asked Logan what he thought, he threw up his arms and declared, ‘I have found my people!'"
"All of this is to say we recognize what a unique and special place St. Ambrose University is, and we are truly grateful."