St. Ambrose sets up scholarship in late professor’s honor

Mike Orfitelli

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT – St. Ambrose University has established a scholarship in honor of Michael Orfitelli, Department of Kinesiology professor and chair who died last month.

The longtime staff member served as a teacher and coach and was known for his “sense of inclusion” of everyone, said Jamie Loftus, vice president of enrollment management and student services.

Each year the Michael A. Orfitelli Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide a scholarship to a student majoring in exercise science, human fitness and performance, sports management, physical education or physical education teaching, or who participates in varsity sports, Loftus said. Applicants must demonstrate community activism and involvement.

“Mike Orfitelli embodied the very best of the Ambrose spirit — dedication to the university, the community and most especially, the students he served,” said Loftus. “Our shock and deep sadness at the loss of a beloved Ambrose family member has turned into this fitting tribute, to establish a student scholarship in his name.”


The seed money of $16,000 has been raised for the scholarship, Loftus noted.

Orfitelli served more than 32 years at St. Ambrose in a variety of  roles in the athletic and kinesiology departments, including 16 years as chair of the kinesiology department. The first head coach for the St. Ambrose women’s soccer team, Orfitelli served in that role from 1994-2000. He was named Midwest Classic Conference Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 1999, and NAIA Region VII Coach of the Year in 2000. He coached St. Ambrose to top 25 finishes in 1999 and 2000. Nominated four times for Faculty Member of the Year, he was inducted into the St. Ambrose Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Orfitelli brought the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) to the St. Ambrose campus in 1978.

For more information or to make a donation toward the scholarship fund, contact P.J. Foley in the Advancement Office at (563) 333-6025.  

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