DAVENPORT — A memorial scholarship established to honor a longtime St. Ambrose University faculty member and coach has received sufficient donations to achieve endowment status in less than two years.
The Michael Orfitelli Memorial Scholarship fund has grown to more than $50,000 as a result of donations by friends, colleagues, former players and students. Orfitelli passed away unexpectedly in October 2009.
“Dr. Orfitelli was a beloved member of our community and I am not surprised that we came together so quickly to honor his memory,” says President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ. “A tribute to his impact on the lives of many, this memorial scholarship will continue to enrich the lives of countless St. Ambrose students in the future.”
Established in November 2009, the Michael A. Orfitelli Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide an annual scholarship to a full-time student majoring in exercise science, human fitness and performance, sports management, physical education or physical education teaching, or who is participating in varsity sports. In addition, applicants must demonstrate community leadership, activism and involvement. The recipient must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
A faculty member for more than 32 years, Orfitelli served many different roles in the athletic and kinesiology departments including 16 years as chair of the kinesiology department. The first head coach for the St. Ambrose women’s soccer team, Orfitelli served in that role from 1994-2000. He was named Midwest Classic Conference Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 1999, and NAIA Region VII Coach of the Year in 2000. Orfitelli was in his fifth year as the women’s golf coach. Nominated four times for Faculty Member of the Year, he was inducted into the St. Ambrose Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Orfitelli helped bring the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) to the St. Ambrose campus in 1978. Serving thousands of Quad-Cities youth over a 30-year span, NYSP provided exposure to career and educational opportunities while improving physical fitness and health habits. As a result of his work with the NYSP program, Orfitelli became a program evaluator at the national level and received the prestigious Silvia O. Conte award. He also was a regular visitor to local nursing homes, along with his trained therapy dog, Sam.
For more information or to make a donation toward the scholarship fund, contact the Advancement Office at (563) 333-6290.