What's In A Name?


SAU Alumni Pay Tribute With The Middle Name Ambrose

Giving middle names to children is a practice that crosses cultures and spans thousands of years. In ancient Rome, only the most important people were granted multiple names, like Gaius Julius Caesar, for example.

Today, a middle name doesn't equate to status and power, but can keep a family legacy alive, create a more distinguishable identity or provide a parental power boost. (Did you just hear your mom yelling your first and middle name?)

A middle name is also a way to pass along something you love and cherish to your child. For some, the name honors a person. For others, a place and/or a time.

The name Ambrose has become an increasingly popular middle name bestowed on the children of St. Ambrose alumni.

Doug '03, '04 MAcc and Kristin '04 (Kelchen) Neumann chose the middle name Ambrose for their second child before they ever decided on a first name.

"We had waited a long time for our son Elliot, so we wanted a middle name that meant a lot to us," Kristin said. "We tossed around naming him after family members but none of them seemed right. I ran across an article that talked about naming your child after a place or time that has meaning to you, and I instantly thought of St. Ambrose. I suggested it to Doug, and he thought it was perfect.

"St. Ambrose brought us together and is a huge part of our lives. Our family would not exist if it weren't for St. Ambrose," she said.

Patrick '13 and Rachel '11, '12 DPT (Niederer) Schmadeke chose Ambrose as a way to exemplify the person they want their son Matthew to be.

"We chose the middle name Ambrose because of what it could mean for Matthew in the future," said Patrick.

"Ambrose of Milan was accomplished and grounded, intellectual and spiritual, administrative and relational. He was both firm in his convictions and nimble enough to respond thoughtfully to turbulent historical circumstances. We hope Matthew can draw on the example of Ambrose throughout his life," he said.

Justin '13, '14 MAcc and Lauren '14 (Cash) Blondell hope their son Finn's middle name affects him positively as he grows.

"We chose the name Ambrose because it's where our foundation is," they said. "SAU was the perfect place for us to grow as individuals and as a couple. We hope someday Finn will truly understand the importance of his name and create a strong bond with it."

Trace Timmons was born in 1996 to John '91, '93 MBA and Dawn '92 (Strittmatter) Timmons. He has a deep understanding of what SAU means to his parents.

"My middle name has given me a sense of how important and meaningful my parent's college experience was," Trace said. "It was a way to pass down an important part of their history."

Dawn said John would sometimes just call their son Ambrose when he was younger. "He outgrew that a little bit," she said, "but Trace has also said he wishes his first name was Ambrose."

John and Dawn were engaged in 1992 and would often talk about their future. The couple knew the middle name Ambrose was set in stone. There was no question Ambrose was as important as any family name.

"It was a way to honor and symbolize the best times of our lives," Dawn said. "The connections we made at St. Ambrose have really resonated with us. There are good people everywhere, but there is truly something about St. Ambrose and the people that really make it feel like home."


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).

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Legacy families are not new to St. Ambrose University. There are many family trees whose branches are laden with proud Ambrosians, but the limbs of the Henkhaus and Gannaway trees are especially ripe with St. Ambrose history.

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So, what's next?

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