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A Local Impact

A Local Impact
Claire ’92 Flanagan’s heart belongs to the Quad Cities. This lifelong resident knows all this area has to offer. She understands the importance of education and is a proud alumnae of two area colleges. She obtained her first bachelor’s degree in history at Augustana College in 1974 and became an Ambrosian after receiving a second degree in chemistry. At the time, Claire was working full time in the research and development laboratory at Valspar Corporation, and St. Ambrose University was a perfect fit for her new academic venture.

“It took me six years to get my Chemistry degree by taking a few classes at a time, on nights and weekends,” Claire said. “What was important was that St. Ambrose offered a wide variety of classes to non-traditional students, like me, who were working during the day. They were willing to work with me and kept my work schedule in mind. That was an advantage.”

After graduation, Claire was never far away from other Ambrosians.

“Two of my lab partners during college also had successful careers at Valspar,” Claire said. “Together, we hired dozens of students majoring in chemistry or bio chemistry at St. Ambrose as interns for various projects at the company. The partnership was a mutual benefit. The local students provided a good, steady workforce, and the students got experience in their field.”

In May 2014, Claire retired from Valspar. Together, with her husband, John, they began making plans for the future, including traveling the world and creating an estate plan. As part of their plan, they established the Claire E. ’92 and John P. Flanagan Endowed Scholarship at St. Ambrose University in appreciation for the university’s personalized approach when working with non-traditional students and for the valuable education St. Ambrose provides.

The scholarship is designed to assist students from the Quad Cities area, preferably an Alleman High School graduate, John’s alma mater. The Flanagans’ scholarship will help students in financial need, including middle income students, and is renewable during a student’s college career if certain credit hour and GPA requirements are met.

“When we started doing our estate plan, we thought it would be nice to give back to the local community that we’ve been a part of our whole lives. We chose St. Ambrose because we feel education is important.”

The Flanagans made a provision in their will to endow the scholarship, but have the option to begin contributing earlier, if they are willing and able. By including a provision, Claire and John know future students will benefit from their generosity, even if there are unforeseen circumstances in the future.

“It’s important to think about your wishes while you are able,” Claire said. “It can be a leap because there are so many things you want to do. Planning early helps you think about what good you would like to do, not just selfish pursuits.”

Claire knows the scholarship will benefit many students in the future, but says she and John are also the recipient of some of those benefits.

“It feels good to be a part of St. Ambrose. I enjoyed my time there and it is nice to reconnect.”

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