The Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan
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About Us


The Mission of the Academy for the Study of Saint Ambrose of Milan is to promote the study and story of St. Ambrose of Milan at St. Ambrose University, both domestically and internationally, by encouraging and supporting educational programs, research and scholarship, and creative work.

The Vision of ASSAM is to become a leading research center for the study of St. Ambrose and, through the promotion of its patron, to advance the Liberal Arts and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.


Origin story

One early spring morning in 2010 Fr. Bud woke to the crow of a rooster with a simple thought in his head: we are the only Catholic university in the world named for St. Ambrose of Milan.  We should have an academy to celebrate this ‘santo nascosto’ (forgotten father) of the Church.  He took the idea to the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, who deemed it ‘obvious’ and sent him to the president of the university, whose response was ‘why wasn’t that done 100 years ago?’  Everything from that moment on has been a whirlwind, albeit one with a great deal of work involved!  The first step was bringing Dr. Ethan Gannaway to campus to ensure academic rigor, long term viability, creativity, and organization.

We began a fundraising drive that has garnered more than $250,000 so far, much of it from young alumni and first-time donors.  We invite internationally known Ambrose scholars on campus.  A new theology course—Ambrose of Milan—was approved.  A biannual alumni ‘study trip’ of Ambrose’s Italy was rolled out.  Students have received something like $12,000 in financial aid to study abroad.  We’ve published articles in journals such as the Studia Ambrosiana (Milan) and presented at places like Iowa City and Oxford (England).  We have produced two editions of our ‘primer’ on St. Ambrose and translated an important biography of Ambrose into the English language.  The SAU library has been building its collection of primary and secondary texts on Ambrose for scholars.

We are blessed by the astonishing commitment of a number of people including our board of directors: Karen and Matt Brenot, Matt Ehlman, Ed Henkhaus, Chris Mandle, Craig and Taylor Marvin, Ted Stephens, Breanne and Paul Thompson, Mike and Marla Valiere, & Donna Young.  Institutionally our support comes from VPAA/VPSA Paul Koch and Asst. Dean Tracy Schuster.  We have received donations from dozens of generous folks from the newly graduated to ‘honorary’ Ambrosians who support our efforts.

Donations include a 500 year old Opera Omnia (complete works) of Ambrose by Terry and Ann Bender, a rare Roman coin collection of our period (4th century c.e.) by Mr. Tory Failmezger, works of art by Patricia Bereskin, John Wray, and Donna Young, and elegant graphic design work by Chris Mandle.  Students have donated countless hours of volunteer work to ensure that our two annual events are organized, professional, and interesting.

Each year on (or near) the feast of St. Ambrose we host an internationally recognized Ambrose scholar.  Past lecturers include Dr. Marcia Colish of Yale,  Mnsgr. Cesare Pasini (Prefect of the Vatican Library), Dr. Cristiana Sogno (Fordham), Mnsgr. Francesco Braschi (Venerable Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan), Dr. Paola Moretti (State University of Milan), Mr. Brian Berni (independent  paleographer), and Rev. David Volprada (Prague).  In 2016 we are hosting Sr. Maria Kiely O.S. B. (Catholic University of America).

Each spring we host a colloquium, featuring our own SAU scholars, including students and recent graduates.  Topics have included ‘Ambrose and the Liberal Arts,’ ‘Ambrose in an Age of Toleration,’ ‘Feeding the Poor,’ (featuring Matt Ehlman, ‘02 and Troy Johnson, ‘00) ‘Tradition and Innovation in the images of St. Ambrose,’ (John Wray, ’17) and ‘Virtuous Hospitality’ (Joe Norris, ’12 & Kristin Upah, ’15).


Learn more about our Director, Fr. Bud Grant

Learn more about our co-director, Dr. Ethan Gannaway, Ph.D.

Listen to Veni, Redemptor (Come, Redeemer) by the St. Ambrose University Chorus

Check out our ASSAM brochure for 2016. Click here!