As a faculty member at St. Ambrose University and a resident living about eight blocks east of the St. Vincent’s property, I have been listening to both sides of the debate over the new football stadium. What seems to be missing in my conversations is a sense of urgency for change.
My father was a furniture salesman who believed that if you served your customers well, they would remain your customers for the rest of their lives. Most businesses – manufacturers, hospitals, hotels and retail stores – can maintain the business of their loyal customers for many years. This is not possible in the business of running a college.
The customer base at St. Ambrose University turns over every four years. With every graduating class comes the challenge of replacing those customers with another cohort of students who need to be recruited, admitted and enrolled in class. This challenge is constant.
In order to compete in this environment, colleges must continuously improve their programs, services and facilities. Look around. Colleges who compete with St. Ambrose are building state of the art facilities. In this business, if you are not growing, you are dying.
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Most of the neighbors understand and appreciate the need for change. This is helpful. But the leaders at St. Ambrose must act with a sense of urgency for change.
Dan R. Ebener