More than 300 people will gather on St. Ambrose University’s campus next week at a unique conference to celebrate the 10-year papacy of Pope Francis.

The three-day event, “Francis at 10: A Papacy of Possibilities,” will kick off on Thursday, March 16, with a Vespers service presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, Archbishop of Newark. Guests are then invited to enjoy an opening reception and dinner with a keynote address from Thomas Higgins, the event’s major sponsor. He is a 1967 graduate and member of the Board of Trustees of St. Ambrose.

St. Ambrose University’s Christ the King Chapel, Davenport, in the snow late Saturday. (photo by Linda Cook)

During the meal, The St. Ambrose Chamber Singers will debut an original composition by William Campbell, PhD, titled “Venite Exultemus“. His piece, inspired by Psalm 95, was commissioned by the university specifically for this event.

“I chose this particular Latin version of the text in part because it is the version according to the Ambrosian Rite in Milan, and also because it felt to me that it allowed for a more jubilant, rhythmic setting,” said Campbell, award-winning professor of music at St. Ambrose.

Friday and Saturday agendas include a wide variety of keynote presentations and concurrent breakout sessions. Topics will range from the environment and economics to social justice, world religions and inclusion. Included in the impressive lineup of featured guests is Dr. Anthony, Annett, Dr. Massimo Faggioli, Dr. Austen Ivereigh, Kerry Alys Robinson, Dr. Phyllis Zagano and Joshua McElwee.

The event will conclude with a closing mass on Saturday, March 18, hosted by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, His Excellency Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Titular Archbishop of Gunela.

“Founded by Bishop John McMullen in 1882, St. Ambrose began with two humble rooms in parish grade school and has grown into an excellent coeducational Catholic university with nearly 3,000 students,” shared Paul Koch, PhD, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at SAU. “With Catholic tradition at the core of the school’s mission and vision, we are delighted to bring this international conference to campus to honor the papacy of Pope Francis and foster discussion about life and ministry of the church.”

Registration is open to scholars, students and community members who are interested in attending the spring 2023 papal celebration. Cost to attend the full conference in person is $75. An option to view select presentations via livestream will also be available for $50. For more information, visit or contact

About St. Ambrose University

Founded in 1882 by the Diocese of Davenport, St. Ambrose University’s commitment to academic excellence, the liberal arts, social justice and service is rooted in its Catholic intellectual tradition. The leading, private university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, 11 master’s degrees and three doctoral programs. For more about St. Ambrose University, visit here.