Saying Farewell


Theatre Newsletter | February 2022

Ever since the St. Ambrose University Theatre and Communication departments took off, the program has been blessed with a marvelous staff. However, this semester will be the last time students see these familiar faces in the classrooms because our beloved professors, Dr. Corinne Johnson, Kristofer Eitrheim, and Donald "Duke" Schneider '76 will be retiring.

The news of their retirement is certainly difficult for past and present students to process. Each of these professors has put in a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication into their students' education and projects, and they have all built strong strong relationships. However, even though everyone is disappointed to see them leave, students and faculty alike are comforted by reminiscing about the time these individuals have spent at SAU.

Johnson actually was hired to create and build the Theatre Major. However, what originally drew her to St. Ambrose was its location.

"When I was finishing my degree at the University of Oregon I was applying at a lot of places," Johnson admitted. "However, in the midst of this, my father became gravely ill and he was in northern Minnesota. I got other offers, but I felt the need to be in a place where I could get in the car and drive [to him in a day]."

Since then she has grown to love St. Ambrose and the Quad Cities and she has spent 33 years teaching here.

"I took this job thinking I would just be here until my father was better or passed away," said Johnson. "But I stayed a little bit longer because I liked it, and a little longer because I liked it even more, and then I got married to someone who lives in the Quad Cities, and before you know it, 33 years have passed and I don't regret one moment of being here."

Now, she will be returning to Minnesota, but Johnson still hopes to find work in theatre since she is not ready to completely retire just yet.

We Don't Say Goodbye

We Say See You Later

Professors Kris Eitrheim, Duke Schneider, and Cory Johnson will join their former colleague, Dianne Dye, in retirement at the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

Eitrheim has also been with the Theatre Department for a while as the Technical Director and professor. This year marks his 30th year at SAU.

"I was working in Chicago at the Body Politic Theatre," shared Eitrheim. "I had decided to possibly look for a job in education because the theatre [Body Politic] was having financial problems and I had missed some paychecks. I went for an interview with Cory Johnson, Mike Kennedy, and a music faculty member. I remember liking the place and the people, but I figured that I would stay in Chicago. On the day I was offered the SAU position, Body Politic Theatre had laid me off, and so I decided that perhaps this was a sign and I made plans to become an Iowan."

Like Johnson, he also wants to find work elsewhere after retirement, but he also wants to better himself as a fisherman so Cory Johnson will associate with him. Perhaps these two will run into each other because he will be heading off to Minnesota as well since he has family there. We will absolutely miss him and his sense of humor on campus.

Schneider on the other hand, is technically in the Communication and Digital Media Department and is the SAUtv Operations Manager. However, he has lent his talents to the Theatre Department countless times since he first became a student here.

"​​I came to St. Ambrose as a student in Fall 1972," he said. "I was attracted to the strong Communication program that was here and I also got heavily involved in Theatre tech. I probably worked on every show during my four years of undergraduate study. I stayed in contact with everyone after graduation, even helping with sets and running shows while I was working full-time elsewhere and I became an SAU employee in August, 1979."

Schneider will still be keeping himself busy though as he prepares for his daughter's upcoming wedding next fall, and he hopes to still do freelance work in the television industry.

For those who want to send off our staff in a proper fashion, a formal celebration for those retiring from the Theatre Department will be held in early June, hosted by Kimberly Kurtenbach '96. Plus, in addition to Johnson and Eitrheim, Dianne Dye, the former Costume Designer, will also be celebrated.

Dye retired in 2020 after 22 years at St. Ambrose, and she was also an integral part of the department's success so a celebration of her work is absolutely due. Dye still keeps herself busy with costume work though at the Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse and spends time babysitting her 5-year-old grandson.

If you are interested in the retirement celebration, keep your eyes peeled for more information, and if you see one of these staff members around, make sure to wish them well.


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.

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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).

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