SAU Honors Three Outstanding Alumni with 2023 McMullen Award


St. Ambrose University proudly recognized the servant leadership and profound institutional impact of three outstanding alumni with the prestigious McMullen Award during a 4:30 p.m. Mass in Christ the King Chapel on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

Chris '04, '06 and Kristen '07, '08 MOT Mandle are volunteer leaders whose unwavering commitment to the Annual Wine Festival has helped raise millions in critical scholarship funds for SAU students. 

Rev. Charles Adam '82, also known as Fr. Chuck, served his alma mater between 1996 and 2017 in various Campus Ministry roles, including University Chaplain, and is remembered fondly by many of his students as the heart and soul of campus. 

Named in honor of the founder of St. Ambrose College, Rev. John J. McMullen, the McMullen Awards are presented annually to individuals who embody St. Ambrose University’s mission: “St. Ambrose University—independent, diocesan, and Catholic—enables its students to develop intellectually, spiritually, ethically, socially, artistically and physically to enrich their own lives and the lives of others.” The distinguished award was established on September 4, 2006 as St. Ambrose University began its celebration of 125 years of educational excellence in Davenport and the surrounding communities in Iowa and Illinois and continues today as the university's second highest honor. Fashioned from crosses that once hung in the sanctuary of Christ the King Chapel, the cross with the seal of the university recognizes the heritage of St. Ambrose and the relationship of each recipient with all who have come before, those who are with us now and those who will come in the future.

For full biographies of the 2023 McMullen Award honorees, read below:

The 2023 McMullen Award honorees are three outstanding alumni who exemplify what it means to be an Ambrosian. Chris '04, '06 and Kristen '07, '08 Mandle are alumni volunteer leaders whose unwavering commitment to the Annual Wine Festival has helped raise millions in critical scholarship funds for SAU students. Fr. Chuck Adam '82 served his alma mater between 1996 and 2017 in various Campus Ministry roles, including University Chaplain, and is remembered fondly by many of his students as the heart and soul of campus.

Rev. Charles “Chuck” Adam ‘82

Only a handful of alumni have served this institution in the same way as Fr. Chuck Adam. Fr. Chuck attended St. Ambrose as a seminarian and a history and philosophy major. After his ordination and assignments at parishes in Davenport, Iowa City, and Oskaloosa, he returned to his alma mater as the chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.

He commented in a Catholic Messenger article, “I loved my time working with students. They get involved, not just in campus ministry but in service to the poor and in the community. I hope that I have helped students take ownership of their faith. Working with them has been very satisfying.”

While at St. Ambrose, Fr. Chuck also served as diocesan vocation director and rector of the former college-level seminary at St. Ambrose. His personal experience of being a “regular” college student while attending the seminary helped him to connect with thousands of students, regardless of their faith tradition. Because of his personal nature, compassion and consistent enthusiasm, scores of alumni returned to campus to be married and later have their children baptized in Christ the King Chapel. His name to many is synonymous with being an Ambrosian.

This type of student-staff relationship is not forged by all faculty and staff. Instead, it speaks to an unending and unwavering devotion to engage the students on this campus in faith, social justice and a lifelong relationship with God.

Christopher ’04, ’06 MPS and Kristen ’07, ’08 MOT Mandle

Chris Mandle has served on the St. Ambrose University Wine Festival Committee for over twenty years, starting as a student, eventually became the longstanding Event Management Chair. Chris and his wife Kristen served as chairs of the event in the 2017-19 seasons, and are integral to the success of the events, helping to raise over $1.7 million dollars for student scholarships.

Chris was an active student while attending St. Ambrose and has remained active with local community and church organizations since he graduated, serving on numerous boards and commissions including Seton Catholic School, Rock Island Community Foundation, Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Heritage Documentaries, and Arrowhead Youth and Family Services.

Both Chris and Kristen are very active in practicing their faith at Sacred Heart Parish in Rock Island, as they model what it means to serve others for their children - Blake, Grant, Jude, Stella and Quinn. Kristen recently co-coordinated the Christmas Gifts program and special needs sacraments at the parish. In addition to being a mother of five, Kristen also serves others through her role as a pediatric occupational therapist at Genesis Health Systems.

Chris and Kristen continue to see the impact St. Ambrose has had and continues to have on their lives. As Chris described, he “feels that in most cases, the work he is involved in, personally, professionally, and spiritually, ties back to his connection with the university.”

Past McMullen Award Recipients
2006 - Donald '51, MD, and Mary Jo Heming, William '49, MD, and Eda '81 Hofmann, Leo Kilfoy '51, PhD, I. Weir and Pat Sears, Joseph Walton '50, Rev. Edward Catich '34, '77 (Hon.) (posthumously)
2007 - Jane Folwell '01 (Hon.), Robert "Bob" Kelly '57, Rev. George McDaniel, PhD, '86, Rev. Msgr. Marvin Mottet `52 and Walter Neiswanger `48 (posthumously)
2008 - Don and Jerri Moeller and James `59 and Elaine Malay
2010 - James `56 and Mary Hagen, Ray `53 and Jill McLaughlin and the Most Rev William Franklin
2011 - Rev. William Dawson `50, Rev. Edmund Dunn `58 and Dimitri and Kathy `94 Papageorgiou
2012 - John and Patricia Bush and Richard Geiger
2013 - Edward '64 and Lynne (posthumously) Henkhaus and Mary Joy Allert Feeney
2014 - Joe '72 and Joyce O'Rourke and John '58 & Helen '57 Morrissey
2015 - Msgr. John Hyland '64, Karen and Jim Collins '69, '16 (Hon.)
2016 - Bernie Hardiek and Dr. Thomas and Mary Ann Stoffel
2017 - Daniel Broderick '82 and Thomas J. Mnich and Rev. Drake R. Shafer ‘69
2018 - Joanne and Jef '70 Heckinger and Drs. Bea and Paul Jacobson
2019 - Rev. Robert McAleer '67 and Thomas A. Sunderbruch ‘61
2020 - Richard "Dick" Bittner and Tom Higgins '67
2021/2022 – Beth ’86 and Brian ’86 Lemek


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