— January 30, 2007—


  1. President announces major gift in his annual address
  2. Chicago alumni donate $5 million for endowed chair in construction engineering management


1. President announces major gift in his annual address

In his annual Presidential Address, Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., Tuesday announced a $5 million gift to the College of Engineering from two Chicago-area alumni, Jim and Kelly McShane, to endow a chair in construction engineering management (see story below). Reflecting on the university’s 125-year history, Father Wild talked about how the school has depended “upon the support of our alumni and friends for our success.”

In a speech titled “What Would Bishop Henni Say,” Father Wild contrasted the conditions of the late 1800s with today’s aspirations for Marquette. Bishop John Martin Henni was a man of vision and ambition who made it his life’s work to establish a Catholic college in the emerging city of Milwaukee. In his speech Father Wild noted that Bishop Henni knew the importance of financial support; the bishop traveled to Europe and “got a commitment from a Belgian Catholic philanthropist, William DeBoey, for a gift of 75,000 francs (about $16,000)."

Numbers such as the McShane gift, last month’s anonymous $25 million donation to the College of Engineering, today’s tuition costs and the university’s operating budget of more than $302 million “would astonish Bishop Henni,” Father Wild said. He pointed out that the largest expenditures for Marquette are compensation for “the outstanding men and women who work to make Marquette a shining example of Catholic, Jesuit higher education” and financial aid for students.

Father Wild said the university outperforms its resources, ranking 81st among the nation’s top universities in performance but only 180th in endowment with $302 million. “That’s something to be proud of,” he said, “because it means we use our resources efficiently.” However, recalling his aspiration in last year’s Presidential Address to raise the university’s endowment to $1 billion, he illustrated the importance of endowment. He used the example of Texas Christian University, which ranks 62nd nationally with an endowment of more than $1 billion as of June 2006. Five percent return from each school’s endowment annually provides TCU with $50 million, compared to $15 million for Marquette. “The difference is an extra $35 million that Texas Christian has available every year for student scholarships, faculty chairs and all the rest,” he said.

Father Wild reflected on both the physical and enrollment growth of the university. “The original Marquette College building never enrolled more than 300 students in all, and these came only from Milwaukee and its surrounding towns,” he said. “Today we have 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students from every state and from some 80 countries.” Marquette opened with a single building and now has a “mile-long campus with 61 buildings,” Father Wild noted. And he said Bishop Henni “would listen with interest to our plans for a new building to accommodate our Law School and for a major new engineering building to foster a greater emphasis on ‘discovery learning.’” He also said planning continues for “new quarters for our Biology Department.”

The presence of women and first-generation students on campus is a fulfillment of Bishop Henni’s vision “to make higher education available to every segment of society,” Father Wild said. “An amazing 26 percent of our freshmen are first-generation college students — some 479 men and women who are the first in their families to have the opportunity to access higher education.”

Father Wild said Bishop Henni’s big idea resulted in a “great academic institution.” Now the challenge is “to live up to the standard he set for us — that we show the perseverance and the vision that can change the course of history for generations of students,” he said.

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2. Chicago alumni donate $5 million for endowed chair in construction engineering management

Jim and Kelly McShane, 1968 graduates of the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, respectively, are the donors of a $5 million chair in construction engineering management, President Robert A. Wild, S.J., announced today.

Jim McShane is a registered Professional Engineer who leads The McShane Companies, a diversified organization comprised of various real estate and development companies headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. The firm has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

The university recently approved a new program in construction management within the college’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “This program responds to the industry’s demand for highly trained professionals and ethical leaders,” said Dean Stan Jaskolski. “Construction is one of the largest industries in the United States. More than five million people are involved in over $800 billion in project sites throughout the nation.”

Michael Switzenbaum, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, praised McShane’s “visionary leadership” and support. “Jim McShane exemplifies what we call our graduates to be — a person for others,” Switzenbaum said. “In addition to building a company known for its excellence in project management, he is a leader in serving his community, profession and alma mater.”

McShane serves on the College of Engineering’s National Advisory Board and is a member of The 1881 Society of the Marquette University President’s Council. He received the Professional Achievement Award from the College of Engineering in 2003 and is also a recipient of the Don T. McNeill Spirit Award from the Marquette Club of Chicago.

Father Wild said the McShane gift will continue the momentum in the College of Engineering “to improve the way our students are educated. We recognize that tomorrow’s engineers will require skills beyond the technical training demanded by their profession. Our goal is that Marquette graduates will be excellent engineers committed to ethical values with strong business, leadership and communication skills.” Last month the College of Engineering received a $25 million gift from an alumnus and his wife as the first part of a legacy grant that could provide the university with an additional future $1 million a year in perpetuity.

The McShane Chair is the third $5 million endowment for the College of Engineering in the past four years. In May 2006 Robert C. Greenheck, chairman of the board of the Greenheck Fan Corp., in Schofield, Wis., America’s leading manufacturer of ventilation equipment, endowed the Greenheck Chair in Engineering Design. The Opus Corporation, a Minnesota company providing architectural, construction and real estate development services in 40 markets nationwide, previously endowed the chair held by Jaskolski.

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