By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — More than $150,000 has been raised for a Doctor of Business Administration Fellowship at St. Ambrose University. Most of those donations have come from DBA alumni.
For more than 130 years, St. Ambrose’s College of Business has been an institution of the Quad-City community, said Bill Lesch, dean of the College of Business. Since 1998, the Doctor of Business Administration has been a part of the program.
Dick Kleine, a retired John Deere vice president of global quality and general manager of Deere Harvester Works, said that enrolling in the DBA program at St. Ambrose “changed my life.” It opened up a whole new world for him concerning the business realm. He admires the DBA program and wants to help enhance it and make it more visible. So he proposed the idea of a fellowship.
An initial $50,000 anonymous donation kicked off the fund. All 47 graduates were contacted, many by Kleine. “We surpassed our goal,” he said.
The alumni he contacted work in a number of industries and are spread across and outside the U.S. “All have better jobs today because of their DBA.” He said he can’t think of anyone who has not been promoted since receiving the degree — other than him. “I’m still retired.”
The fellowship funds will be distributed over a 10-year period. Half of the yearly distribution will go for research and half for enhancements and to spread word of the program, Kleine said.
Monica Forret, a DBA professor, is the inaugural doctoral alumni research fellow. David O’Connell, also a professor in the department, will receive funds for support of classroom activities.
During a question and answer session, one audience member asked how the school plans to raise awareness about the DBA program. O’Connell said participation in conferences and working with other regional schools will help.
Another questioner asked about recent changes in the DBA curriculum. O’Connell said the school is looking at ways to better help students manage DBA studies with full-time jobs. Some classes have been consolidated, but the biggest change was introducing the dissertation process earlier in the program. “We have had good feedback from our students,” he said.