All-University Award Recipients
Service to Marquette Award
MICHAEL D. FARRELL, ENG, '70, AND DONNA BEHM FARRELL, ARTS '70
When it comes to contributing time, talent and treasure — especially to one’s alma mater and most especially when that alma mater is Marquette — two are always better than one. Case in point: the Farrells, Mike and Donna, who don’t merely give because they’re generous alumni. They give because of the lessons they learned at Marquette.
“Our volunteering habits were formed while we were students at Marquette,” Donna says. “We’ve been volunteering for 35 years and have never stopped because it keeps us growing and learning from others.”
Speaking of growing, the couple established a namesake scholarship, the Michael and Donna Farrell Scholarship Fund, for College of Engineering students. Ideally, the students who benefit from the Farrells’ generosity will, in turn, become successful alumni who aspire to make the same sort of impact on future students.
“I take particular joy in seeing others succeed,” Mike says. “People have always helped me when I needed it, so it feels good to give back.”
Mike is chairman and CEO of Sentry Equipment Corp., a leading manufacturer of power and process plant sampling and conditioning systems and components, which are sold in more than 55 countries. The 2009 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year supports Marquette in its own way, continuously employing four College of Engineering Co-op Program students who receive university credit for working there. A former officer in the U.S. Navy, Mike — who holds three patents — worked in engineering and technical sales at several multinational corporations before joining Sentry in 1989.
Additionally, Mike is the former College of Engineering Advisory Council chair, a position he held from 2002-09, and has served Marquette in many ways: as part of an alumni recruiting group in La Crosse, Wis.; the Engineering Alumni Association, including a term as president; a CIRCLES host committee; the class of 1970 reunion committees; the Strategic Planning Task Group; and the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board of Directors.
Like Mike, Donna — who was a reading specialist for 30 years and is now a volunteer reading tutor — has been a Marquette mainstay. She was co-chair of the 2009–10 Centennial Celebration of Women at Marquette; a national board director for MUAA; president of MUAA and the Association of Marquette University Women; and served on two reunion committees. She was also the alumni representative for Marquette’s 125th anniversary planning committee.
Epitomizing the character of a strong woman of action, Donna was integral in the development of initiatives that recognize outstanding women, particularly the Nora Finnigan Werra Faculty Achievement Award and Director Emeritus Program, which encourages past AMUW directors to work on behalf of students and alumnae. She is chair of the Marquette’s Women's Council and AMUW book club, which she co-founded. A member of the Jesuit Partnership Board, Donna played an active role in developing the Waukesha County Women’s Leadership Council for Marquette.
“We strongly feel that we have received more back from Marquette than what we have given,” Donna says.
Fun fact: Despite what you may think, the Farrells aren’t all work! They regularly attend Marquette events in Naples, Fla., and have been men’s basketball season ticket holders since 1966.