Today, it was announced that Steven Bahls will retire as president of Augustana College effective July 1, 2022, after a notable 19-year career leading the private Rock Island school. And, on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, the head of the other major private university in the

Sister Joan Lescinski will retire as St. Ambrose president this August.

Quad-Cities, is also retiring. St. Ambrose University president Sister Joan Lescinski announced last summer she will retire effective August of 2021.

A national search for the 14th president in the university’s 138-year history has been underway. Trustee alumni John Anderson ’87 and Renee Citera ’81 were appointed to co-chair a Presidential Search Committee by the Most Rev. Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport and Chair of the SAU Board of Trustees.

The Presidential Search Committee included six additional members of the Board of Trustees and seven representatives from among the University’s faculty, staff, students and alumni.

WittKieffer, a global executive search firm, has been assisting in the search, which is expected to conclude in February. WittKieffer also assisted in the selection of Sister Joan to succeed Edward Rogalski as St. Ambrose president in 2007.

Upon retirement, Sister Joan will conclude nearly a half-century of service to Catholic higher education, including 14 years as president of St. Ambrose. Under her leadership, SAU has experienced significant growth in its curriculum and major expansion of its academic, residential and athletics facilities.


Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.