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Marquette University Alumni Association

All-University Recipients

Alumnus of the Year Award


Anyone who knows him will tell you that Don lives the Marquette mission. Whether it’s the pursuit of excellence in his professional life — he’s a partner at Quarles & Brady and an operating partner with Baird Venture Partners — or how he and his wife, Mary Jo, Arts ’80, deepened their spirituality as members of the Ignatian Associates community or his leadership on a diverse group of nonprofit boards from here to the Philippines, Don builds relationships and makes connections that encourage the best in people.

DONALD W. LAYDEN, ARTS '79, LAW '82"Having a job and being productive is important to people," he says. "I enjoy helping people discover their talents and overcome their fears to be the best they can be in the jobs they have."

After majoring in economics and political science at Marquette, Don went on to Marquette University Law School, where he received his juris doctor with honors and served as an editor of the Law Review. He then began his career at Quarles & Brady, where he concentrated his practice in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions and remains a partner. He also has 20 years of operating experience in managing technology-enabled service businesses and held senior management positions at Fiserv, Marshall & llsley Corp., and Metavante.

“Most of what I do relates to my role as a business person involved in providing leadership to growing businesses and setting strategy for growth,” he says.

At Metavante, Don was president of the international group and senior executive vice president of corporate development and strategy, general counsel and secretary. He was instrumental in structuring the spin-off of Metavante from M&I in 2007. Don entered the private equity world in October 2010 after successfully negotiating the merger of Metavante Technologies into Fidelity National Information Services. He served as an adviser to Warburg Pincus, LLC, for two years and then joined Baird’s private equity group.

Service is also a key part of Don’s life. In addition to sitting on numerous corporate boards, he serves on the boards of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Summerfest and Schools That Can Milwaukee, among others. He even travels yearly to the Philippines to serve on the Consuelo Foundation, which supports women and children. And we can’t forget his service to his alma mater, most recently through his role as the chair of the Law School Advisory Board.

Don has been recognized for his leadership with several awards, including the
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vatican II Award for Service in Administration, “A Person for Others” Award from Marquette’s Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, and the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Danihy Chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society.

“My Marquette education helped shape my view of my work as service and vocation,” he says. “In a nutshell, it’s serving God by serving others.”