Patrick and Karen Fitzsimmons - Walton Scholarship for St. Ambrose



Philanthropy was deeply ingrained in the lives of Patrick and Karen Fitzsimmons-Walton.  As actively engaged Quad Citians, Pat and Karen had a shared passion for politics, and for helping youth and the many local organizations that benefitted from their time, talents and treasure over the years.

Both Patrick Walton and Karen Fitzsimmons-Walton were born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. They met in 1976 through local politics, and later married in 1982. Karen served as the Scott County Auditor from 1977 until her death in 2008. Her 31 years of service was the longest period of service for a female elected official in the state of Iowa.

In 2012, her loving husband Pat wanted to pay tribute to Karen and honor the institution that played a strong role in the education of many family members.  The Patrick and Karen Fitzsimmons-Walton Scholarship for St. Ambrose University was established at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend so that students needing financial assistance would have a chance to attend the college that meant so much to Pat and his family.

“Financial need is one of the major criteria that I identified for this scholarship,” Mr. Walton explained. “I want to give students that chance to successfully advance towards a degree, and that’s why I chose to make the scholarship renewable (annually) for up to four years – provided certain criteria are met.”    

Patrick, his father, and several of his cousins are all graduates of St. Ambrose University. Pat’s father and cousins were the first in their family to obtain a college degree, and he believes it is important to pass that opportunity onto others.

Karen’s memory will live on through The Patrick and Karen Fitzsimmons-Walton Scholarship for St. Ambrose University as many young people benefit from this scholarship.  Pat spoke about Karen’s interest in young people and talked about her joy in visiting Davenport Schools to participate in mock elections and debates. It was not uncommon for her to take a portable voting booth and create a “polling” place for students. He also shared that one of Karen’s favorite activities was registering new voters, especially students turning 18. She enjoyed hearing their views on politics and assisting them with the voting process.

Patrick currently remains active in the Quad Cities, serving on the Board of Directors for Deere Harvester Credit Union (now DHCU Community Credit Union), the United Neighbors Board, the YMCA fund distribution panel for family counseling and youth services, and the United Way distribution panel for family counseling. He is also President and Board Chair for Midas Auto System Experts, Inc. – an employee owned and operated business with 38 shops in 6 states across the Midwest.


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