The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Three people will be honored with the McMullen Award during an Advent Mass to celebrate St. Ambrose University’s patron saint on Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel on campus. This year’s recipients are Bernie Hardiek and Thomas and Mary Ann Stoffel. The public is invited to the Mass and reception afterward.
The McMullen Award is named for the school’s founder, Bishop John McMullen, and its recipients are individuals who “embody the university’s mission of enriching the lives of others,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, the university’s president.
Hardiek has served the St. Ambrose community for 20 years. At a time of unprecedented growth, he inspired others at the university to pursue higher aspirations and consider what could be possible, according to the university. A senior executive with Deere & Co., he was appointed to St. Ambrose’s Board of Trustees in 1996 and served on the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. In 1999 he chaired the Vision 2020 Strategic Planning Initiative and became a Vision Team Leader for Graduate, Adults and Professional Programs. These efforts, the university said, set the stage for a campaign that raised more than $88 million in 11 years. After his retirement from the board, Hardiek agreed to continue to serve St. Ambrose as a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Bishop Martin Amos said Hardiek “has a way of synthesizing an issue, asking appropriate questions, stating concerns…. He is genuinely concerned about the organization of which he is a board member.”
The Stoffels are supporters of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Their generosity has had a substantial impact on STEM undergraduate students at St. Ambrose and opened the doors to local children exploring the concept and careers associated with the science field, according to the university. The couple’s support of STEM began with a gift in 2007 to fund the Kids in Chemistry camp. That camp and the Race into Engineering camps for grade school children have been funded each year since then. The couple also has supported other camps, such as the Health Careers Adventure camp. The Stoffels worked with St. Ambrose faculty to start a summer science research institute to encourage research activity at the undergraduate level.
In 2015, they enhanced their support of STEM by establishing the Stoffel Fund for Excellence in Scientific Inquiry. The initiative provides research money for St. Ambrose faculty to engage in research that will make a significant contribution to the field of study and includes an undergraduate research component.