Amy Novak, EdD

President of St. Ambrose University

Amy Novak, EdD, became the 14th president of St. Ambrose University on Aug. 7, 2021.

Under Dr. Novak's leadership, St. Ambrose has implemented innovative technology in the classroom through augmented and virtual learning; has reimagined learning across one's lifespan, adding a host of certificate and online program opportunities; and has invested in partnerships with local and regional businesses to ensure students are equipped with the skills they need to be successful when entering the workplace upon graduation.

Her career in higher education began at Dakota Wesleyan University in her native Mitchell, South Dakota, in 2003. Before entering higher education, she worked in the private sector as she, her husband Ken, and their growing family traveled the country and the world during Ken's career in the U.S. Air Force. The Novaks both are graduates of the University of Notre Dame.

amy novak with students

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Novak

Please contact Kim Raap by email or call 563-333-6213.

About the President


Amy C. Novak, EdD, became the 14th president of St. Ambrose University on Aug. 7, 2021, and was inaugurated on Oct. 1, 2021, accepting her charge with a focus on inclusivity and collaboration under the invitational theme, Come To The Table.

At St. Ambrose, Dr. Novak has prioritized finding new and innovative models of teaching and learning as we enter a new era of work. She is partnering with community leaders to address employer needs, and celebrating the university's historic commitment to Catholicity, social justice, and service.

Under her leadership, St. Ambrose launched a new strategic plan, Agile Ambrose, designed to prepare the university to meet the evolving needs of learners across their lifespan. Dr. Novak's efforts include collaborating with businesses to pilot XR technologies in classrooms, launching St. Ambrose University's Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing to support place-bound learners across America, and securing grants to support work-based learning initiatives. These achievements have helped the university ensure learning remains relentlessly relevant while honoring the importance of cultivating skills embedded within the traditional liberal arts disciplines.

The university's recent enrollment growth and success in retention is a testimony to the development of an agile culture on the campus that embraces change and best practices in student learning and engagement.

In January 2024, the university will open Higgins Hall for Innovation and Human-Centered Design. This learning laboratory will transform how we educate and deliver a customized experience for our students, creating a person-centered delivery model for higher education that prepares our learners for the next generation of work and community service.

Initiatives such as the Innovation Summit, where Dr. Novak convenes business and community leaders from across the Midwest, have helped guide her vision for the university's future. In the initial summit, St. Ambrose University sought input on how it can prepare its students to meet business, industry, and nonprofit needs in a new age of human work. The most recent summit focused on fostering a growth mindset around learning that is developed in the classroom and built for the workplace.

Novak earned a Doctor of Education degree in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University in 2014, a Master of Science in social and applied economics from Wright State University in 1997, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Notre Dame in 1993.

Dr. Novak is a passionate advocate for students and speaks frequently on issues of innovation, workforce development, leadership, and faith. She serves as the president of the NAIA Council of Presidents and is active in national, regional and local associations. She and her husband Ken are parents to eight children and delight in welcoming nearly 3,000 other students to the St. Ambrose table.

The President's Office

Board of Trustees

Officers of the Board
Renee Citera SAU 1981 - Interim Chair of the Board, Founder, RGC Consulting Services
Laura ‘Divot' Ekizian SAU 1992, 1997, Vice Chair of the Board, President, Quad City Bank & Trust
Paul Sachs SAU 1976, Vice Chair of the Board, Managing Director, Protiviti, Inc.
Amy C. Novak, EdD - President, St. Ambrose University

Members of the Board
Brian Bassier SAU 1991 - Vice President (CFO) and Treasurer, The Valley Group
John Bear SAU 1988, 1992 - Retired Chief Technical Officer-Manufacturing Americas, Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
Tom Berthel SAU 1974, 1993 - Chief Executive Officer, Berthel Fisher & Company
Ken Brune SAU 1967 - Lawyer, Brune Law Firm
Renee Citera SAU 1981 - Founder, RGC Consulting Services
Phil Doherty SAU 1978 - Retired SVP/General Manager and CFO, Chicago Tribune Media Group
Divot (Laura) Ekizian SAU 1992, 1997 - President, Quad City Bank & Trust
Tom Higgins SAU 1967 - Co-Founder and Director, Prosetta Corporation
Lyn Ketelsen SAU 1998 - Founder, KLK Leading Change, Inc.
Mark Kilmer - President & CEO, The Republic Companies
Sr. Vicky Larson - Vice President of the Presentation Sisters, Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Brian Lemek SAU 1986 - Owner/Managing Member, Lemek, LLC
Elizabeth Lemek SAU 1986 - Community Leader
Jerry Lyphout SAU 1983, 1991 - President and CEO, Modern Woodmen of America
Thomas Mason, IV SAU 1991 - Sr. Technical Sales Rep, RILCO Lubricants & Services
Fr. Robert McAleer SAU 1967 - Retired Priest
Amy Novak, EdD - President, St. Ambrose University
Joseph O'Rourke SAU 1972 - JRO Investments, LLC, O'Rourke Sales Co.
Paul Sachs SAU 1976 - Managing Director, Protiviti, Inc.
Patricia Snyder SAU 1981 - Vice President Divisional Merchandise Manager, Wal-Mart
Paul Thompson SAU 2002 - Division CFO, Caterpillar, Inc.
Breann Thompson SAU 2005 - Community Leader

Non-Voting Members 2021-2022:
Fr. Chuck Adam, Priest Representative
Kara Baker, President of Staff Assembly
Mark Brauweiler '13, '15, President of Alumni Association
Slade Dias, President of Student Government Association
Dr. Kevin Lillis, Chair of Faculty Assembly
Ireland Stewart, President of Graduate Student Government Association

President's Cabinet

Toby Arquette, PhDToby Arquette
Vice President, Strategic Growth, Marketing, and Digital Transformation

Dr. Arquette joined St. Ambrose in 2022 as the Vice President for Communications and Marketing after having served in multiple roles over 15-years at Aurora University including as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Business, Dean of the Dunham School of Business & Public Policy, Chair of the Department of Communication, and Director of the University Honors Program. As a tenured faculty member, Arquette served as the Faculty Senate Chair at Aurora. Arquette is a member of the Higher Learning Commission's institutional accreditation Peer Corp.

Arquette completed his BA in Economics at Wayne State University and MA in Communication Studies from Baylor University before earning a PhD in Communication from Northwestern University. Prior to entering higher education, Arquette worked in the private sector at a marketing agency in client and account management. Arquette's areas of expertise are enrollment management, strategic planning and growth, new academic program innovation, digital communication and technological infrastructure, integrated marketing communication, and consumer insights and analytics.  He also holds faculty rank as a professor.

anne gannawayAnne Gannaway
Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Anne Gannaway manages the university's advancement and development activities, including capital campaigns, annual fund, major gifts, planned estate giving, and alumni relations.

Gannaway began her career at SAU in 2012 serving Alumni and Advancement as the executive director. Long before that, however, Gannaway was already well familiar​ with the Ambrosian way: her father, Edward Henkhaus, was the university's vice president for finance for many years. Gannaway earned her Master of Arts in higher education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Gannaway is married to Ethan Gannaway who is a full professor-adjunct of history at SAU and the associate director of the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan. They have three boys.

Joe RoidtJoseph Roidt, PhD
Vice President, Academic Affairs

Joseph Roidt joins St. Ambrose University from Dakota Wesleyan University where he served as the chief academic officer for seven years. Prior to joining Dakota Wesleyan, Roidt held several academic leadership positions, including associate provost and vice president for academic affairs, at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia.

In his role as provost and vice president for academic affairs at St. Ambrose, Roidt oversees the university's academic programs, the library, and several other academic areas.

Roidt earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Kent State University and completed his PhD in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

mike posterMichael Poster '88
Vice President, Finance

Mike Poster is a Davenport native, who graduated from St. Ambrose University with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1988. His professional career experience includes three years with KPMG and 17 years with McGladrey and Pullen, working primarily in assurance and financial management consulting. During this time he worked with numerous higher education clients.

Poster joined the administrative staff of St. Ambrose in 2008. He manages the general accounting, human resources, physical plant, student accounts, and information technology offices. He also oversees the compliance area, the university's bookstore operations (through Follett Higher Education Group), and the food service (through Sodexo). He is on the board of Family Resources and the Downtown Davenport Partnership and serves as the chair of the finance committee for both organizations. Poster and his wife, Kelly, have a son and two daughters.

Chris WaughChristopher Waugh, PhD
Vice President, Student Engagement
Dean of Students

Christopher Waugh is St. Ambrose University's first vice president for Student Engagement. In his role, Waugh oversees student services, including housing and residence life, the counseling center, and student activities, among others. Working closely with the vice president for academic affairs, Waugh is responsible for fostering a holistic experience for all students.

Waugh joined SAU in 2019 as dean of students and associate vice president for academic and student affairs. Before joining St. Ambrose, he served as an associate dean in the Student Affairs Office at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

Waugh earned his bachelor's degree in English and visual communication and his Master of Arts in counseling from Northern Illinois University. In 2011, Waugh completed a PhD in higher education administration at Loyola University Chicago, where he also led graduate-level internship cohorts. His research and educational interests focus on engaging bystanders to help mitigate dangerous drinking situations. Waugh is married to Kristina, a health educator. Kristina and Christopher have one son, Simon.

Past Presidents

Rev. Aloysius Joseph Schulte, 1882-1891
Schulte was the first priest that Bishop McMullen ever ordained. After ordination, Schulte worked as a cathedral assistant for a few years before he was slated by McMullen to organize St. Ambrose College. The school had 40 high school students during the first year, and 85 students when he left. During Schulte's presidency, the central portion of Ambrose Hall with the tower was built, although Ambrose Hall was originally only two stories high. After leaving St. Ambrose college, Schulte took a pastorate in Iowa City.

Rev. John Thomas Aloysius Flannagan, 1891-1906
Flannagan was born in Haverville, Massachusetts, and was the second priest on faculty during Schulte's duration as pr