Ceremonial McMullen Hall groundbreaking

Anne Marie Amacher
Work continues on a 15,600-square-foot addition to McMullen Hall at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

For The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Five supporters of St. Ambrose University and its business programs were recognized at a ceremonial groundbreaking Oct. 3 on campus. Construction continues on schedule toward a fall 2020 opening of an addition to McMullen Hall called “A Place for Business.”

St. Ambrose College of Business alumni Joe O’Rourke, ’72 and Steve Roell, ’71 and fellow board of trustees’ member Caroline Ruhl are co-chairing a capital fundraising initiative to assist with expansion and renovation of McMullen Hall. Emerita Trustee Jill McLaughlin, whose family has supported the H.L. McLaughlin Master of Business Administration program since 1977, will serve as an honorary chair for the initiative along with Father George McDaniel ’66, emeritus SAU professor of history.

According to a news release, the 15,600-square-foot addition with a distinctive atrium will provide a centralized home for the College of Business and its eight undergraduate majors and four graduate degree programs. Bush Construction of Davenport is the general contractor and the lead architect is Greg Gowey of Studio 483 Architects in Davenport.


The hallmark of the new construction is a two-story, light-filled atrium. Major design features include six classrooms to accommodate new methods of learning and teaching, two computer labs, a finance lab, a sales lab, a co-curricular lab, a tiered lecture hall, multi-functional classroom space and a student commons area.

Additional interior remodeling will provide an office suite for the College of Business dean and office space for faculty and staff.

St. Ambrose University President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, expressed gratitude for the continued support of O’Rourke, Roell, Ruhl, Fr. McDaniel and the McLaughlin family.

Roell and O’Rourke addressed the ways that the new central home for the College of Business programs will prepare SAU graduates for the demands of business in the 21st Century.

“Our students need to know how quickly change takes place and how much technology impacts the pace of that change,” Roell said. “And when that change comes, what will be required from the leadership perspective? How will they collaborate with other players and members of a team to overcome those challenges?”

As technology moves faster, the capacity to think critically and adapt is even more crucial, O’Rourke said. “I was fortunate, not too long after graduating, to join my brothers in a small, locally owned business. We sold CB radios,” he said. “Many of you may not remember, or maybe have not even ever heard of CB or Citizen Band radios. Our business would not have lasted over 50 years if we did not expand and adapt to the changing needs of our customers and technology, beyond CB radios. That’s why we are all here today.”

St. Ambrose maintains a “professional ethic of the entire campus community to ensure that every student succeeds. That’s what Steve and I know — that even with shiny new buildings and classes and majors that we never dreamed of, it’s still our St. Ambrose,” O’Rourke said.

“In today’s competitive environment, we must be sure that the College of Business stays relevant, not only with the curriculum we offer but the way we teach,” said Maritza Espina, PhD, the business college’s dean. “Moving the college to the renovated and expanded McMullen Hall will strengthen our brand, our programs and the learning experience. The new classroom formats will encourage active learning — allowing our students to engage with the material, participate in class and collaborate with each other.”

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