Arquette named VP at Ambrose


DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University will welcome veteran educator Toby Arquette as its first Vice President for Communications and Marketing on July 5. He will direct the Communications and Marketing Office staff; manage media outreach; and serve as the university’s chief spokesperson.


St. Ambrose University President Amy Novak has identified the need for integrating communications and marketing work into the highest level of university leadership. “This work is so integral to every aspect of university business and impacts every corner of our campus and academic communities,” she said in announcing Arquette’s selection following a national search. “Our Communications and Marketing Office has worked extremely hard to meet the needs of our three colleges and 60-plus graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as our many essential student and alumni service departments, including the Office of the President.”

Arquette most recently served Aurora University in Illinois as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Business. He managed the school’s marketing and communications efforts, leveraging digital opportunities to exceed revenue and enrollment targets each year. Leveraging similar opportunities will be a critical aspect of his leadership as St. Ambrose builds rebranding and messaging into its next strategic plan, he said.

“We need to meet our students where they are. If our prospective students are on digital and social media, understanding how to communicate in that space is critical to reaching our audience,” he said. “An entrepreneurial and agile approach to higher education is going to be important to support the university and its students as we transition to a post-pandemic world.”


Arquette said St. Ambrose’s “laser focus” on students and their aspirations appealed to him. “I am especially attracted to the opportunity to advance the university’s social justice mission, particularly as it relates to cultivating an inclusive community. As a first generation college student, I know first-hand the transformative power of a college education.” He earned a BA in economics from Wayne State University in Detroit, an MA in communications from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a Doctor of Philosophy in communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Prior to his work at Aurora University, Arquette served as an assistant professor of communication at DePaul University and a visiting lecturer at Loyola University, both in Chicago. He said he looks forward to returning to Catholic higher education.

Arquette believes his experience as an educator will make him a more effective administrator in the communications and marketing realm. “I think of communications and marketing first as storytelling,” he said. “Having worked in academic affairs for most of my career, I have a deep understanding and appreciation of how to promote and achieve student success. Student success at St. Ambrose is the story I want to help the university and the president tell in the coming years.”

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