By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University is celebrating what President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, calls a “remarkable philanthropic gift that will impact St. Ambrose University and our students for generations to come.”
The $2.6 million charitable gift will permanently endow and name an academic chair in the St. Ambrose University Nursing Department in honor of Ann E. Hinkhouse, a nurse and MBA alumna of St. Ambrose.
“We always are humbled by a gift of this magnitude, particularly coming from a member of our St. Ambrose alumni,” Sister Lescinski said at a press conference Jan. 21 on the Davenport campus.
Hinkhouse spent the majority of her career with Davenport-based Genesis Health Systems as a nurse auditor. In retirement, she returned to direct-care nursing, caring for residents of nursing homes throughout Muscatine and Cedar counties. A 1994 MBA graduate of St. Ambrose University, she had a close affinity with the university and worked with its officials in forming the original MBA in Health Care Administration in 2004. She was inducted into the Bishop McMullen Legacy Circle in 2007. She passed away May 5 at age 74.
Endowed chair positions signal a level of excellence and help build on the positive reputation of a program regionally and nationally, said Sandy Cassady, vice president of Strategic Initiatives and dean of the College of Health and Human Services at St. Ambrose.
Katrina Browning, chair of the nursing department, will serve as the first Ann Hinkhouse Endowed Chair of Nursing. “It’s an honor,” she said. “It demonstrates the excellence of St. Ambrose and the support alumni have in the program.” Nursing program representatives said the gift will allow Browning more opportunities to speak at conferences and other high-profile events.
Part of the gift will enhance the college’s ability to engage students in high fidelity simulation. These simulators help students get hands-on experience in a variety of difference scenarios, Browning said. “High fidelity simulation has become a hallmark of nursing education in recent years. Utilizing high fidelity manikins, nursing students are able to participate in patient care scenarios in a safe environment. The simulation environment is often considered a safe space for learning and for making mistakes. Nursing students learn from these mistakes in simulation as they grow and learn to become safe practicing registered nurses.”
This is the first endowed chair in the College of Health and Human Services and joins a growing number of academic endowments at St. Ambrose University. In September, St. Ambrose unveiled a $2.5 million charitable gift commitment to endow permanently the Agnes C. Renner Chair in History.
“Academic endowments position St. Ambrose for next-level success,” said Sister Lescinski. “These enhance our academic reputation and strengthen our brand. Philanthropic support from our alumni affirms the value of a St. Ambrose education and experience.”
Nursing faculty member Steve Kalber, who worked with Hinkhouse at Genesis, said “Ann” was a generous and humble individual. “Perhaps this chair will give her the recognition she quietly resisted while she was alive. I am happy for the university and Ann. It is a gift that will help people fully understand just how much she cared about the profession and the nursing program at St. Ambrose.”