— August 21, 2007—

Milwaukee businessman announces $30 million gift to Law School

Joseph J. Zilber, chairman of the board of Zilber Ltd., a Milwaukee real estate holding company, today announced a gift of $30 million to the Marquette University Law School.

Zilber, 89, said the gift was one of several he will make in the weeks ahead as part of his $50 million “New Potential for Milwaukee” initiative. “The city of Milwaukee has been very good to me, my company and my employees. These commitments are my attempt to return to the community of my birth the investment that it made in me,” he said.
Marquette President Robert A. Wild called the gift, which includes $5 million toward construction of a new Law School building and $25 million for scholarships, an extraordinary example of Zilber’s generosity and belief in the potential of both Milwaukee and Marquette. “Joe is a passionate advocate for this community,” he said. “His developments fuel economic growth, and his philanthropy has supported educational, religious and health care advances. He is a wonderful example of what we strive to instill in Marquette graduates: leadership through service to others.”
“Marquette is Milwaukee’s law school and my alma mater,” Zilber said. “My hope is that others will have the opportunity to take advantage of Marquette’s rigorous legal education, steeped in the tradition of the values of excellence, faith, service and leadership.”
Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney said the four-story atrium in the planned new Law School building will be called the Zilber Forum. “The Zilber Forum will be the heart of the building. We envision the forum as a place where important discussions concerning both legal and public policy issues occur, not just among law students and the faculty or with lawyers and judges but involving the entire community,” he said.
Kearney said the $25 million for scholarships is a “massive expansion” of the Zilber scholarship program that has provided financial aid for hundreds of law students at Marquette since 1984.

The focus on scholarships reflects Zilber’s own background. The son of Russian immigrants, he recalls working two jobs in order to afford the tuition for Law School. “Investing in education – and the young men and women who will be tomorrow’s legal, political and business leaders – is a commitment to our future. The building is important, but access to a Marquette education changes lives, not only for the students themselves but for their children and their children’s children,” said Zilber, who graduated from Law School in 1941 after studying business administration as an undergraduate.
This is the second eight-figure gift to Marquette’s Law School this year. In May an alumni couple, Raymond A. and Kathryn A. Eckstein, announced a gift of $51 million toward construction of a new Law School facility. To date, alumni and friends have contributed $60 million toward this project. Kearney said an additional $20 million needs to be raised for the building; he hopes to break ground in spring 2008.

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