St. Ambrose fieldhouse named after O’Rourkes


For The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University has named the largest feature of the new Wellness and Recreation Center in honor of Joe (’72) and Joyce O’Rourke for their generous support.

Joe O’Rourke has been a member of the university’s Board of Trustees since 2011 and has supported his alma mater in multiple ways throughout his professional career.

Pictured are, from left, Building Our Future campaign co-chairs Mike and Barbara Johnson, St. Ambrose University President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, and Joyce and Joe O’Rourke.

Joe and Joyce O’Rourke made the largest donation to the Building Our Future campaign, which is expected to surpass its $18.5 million goal when it officially concludes on June 30. Dedicated in September 2017, the Wellness and Recreation Center is the largest-single capital project in university history and was the priority focus of the Building Our Future campaign.


In his role as a trustee, Joe O’Rourke was a strong advocate for accelerating construction of the 80,000-square-foot center on the north end of the campus. “Like many alumni and fellow trustees, I simply believed it was essential that we begin providing this important amenity to our students and student-athletes sooner rather than later,” he said.

The O’Rourke Fieldhouse covers 56,000 square feet of the new facility and includes a 200-meter track, four basketball/volleyball courts, a pole-vaulting area, and pits for the long and triple jumps.

“Joe O’Rourke has been a tremendous friend to this university,” said its president, Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ. “St. Ambrose grows and improves through the initiative and direction of good people like Joe and Joyce.”

“Our support for the Building Our Future campaign and our family’s ongoing support of St. Ambrose University grows from an understanding of the value of a St. Ambrose education, as evidenced by its impact on my life,” Joe O’Rourke said.

Joe earned his bachelor of arts degree in accounting, with a minor in business, in 1972 from St. Ambrose College. In 1965, he and his brothers — Jim, John, Jerry (’76), Jeff (’77) and Jay — opened O’Rourke Brothers Distributing, now known as O’Rourke Sales Co.

Joyce was raised in Arizona and graduated from the Art Institute in Atlanta. Joyce’s past work experience had been interior designer, furniture sales and management. The O’Rourkes have four children.

As a university trustee, Joe has served on multiple committees. Joe and Joyce O’Rourke, as well as Julie (’96) and Alex Zaveral, Joe Jr. and Ashley O’Rourke and Jeff and Cindy O’Rourke were key supporters of SAU’s Assisted Technology showcase house. Dedicated as Jim’s Place in honor of Joe’s oldest brother, Jim, the facility serves as an education tool through which occupational therapy students can provide assisted technology solutions to the community and the world.

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