- Marquette Law School receives $51 million gift
- Father Wild outlines campaign priorities
- Three faculty members honored for teaching excellence
1. Marquette Law School receives $51 million gift
An alumni couple will donate $51 million to Marquette University toward construction of a new Law School facility, Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J. announced. The donation is the largest gift ever made by individuals to a Wisconsin college or university and is one of the largest ever to a law school in the United States.
Raymond A. and Kathryn A. Eckstein of Cassville, Wis., and Boca Raton, Fla., made the gift as an “expression of gratitude” to the university. Ray Eckstein is a 1949 graduate of the Law School and a transportation entrepreneur. Kay Eckstein received her bachelor’s degree in speech from Marquette in 1949.
Ray Eckstein founded Marquette Transportation in 1978 and continues to serve as a member of the board of the business which carries bulk commodities from port to port along the Mississippi River. The company’s 38 tugboats and nearly 600 dry cargo barges serve some of the world’s largest suppliers of food and commodities.
Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney said the Ecksteins’ “magnificent gift” will accelerate the timetable for fundraising and construction of the new facility. He said there will be discussions with faculty, students and administrators throughout the summer regarding the building’s design. “A new Law School will provide space that nurtures faculty and student discussion and research, that incorporates the best technology, that supports our extensive program of conferences, lectures and symposia, and that permits the flourishing of our dynamic programs in areas such as dispute resolution and litigation, intellectual property, health law, sports law, and restorative justice,” Kearney said.
The location of the new Law School facility is expected to be at the corner of 11th Street and Clybourn Street, in an area known as Tory Hill. Preliminary drawings for the new Law School depict a four-story, 180,000 square foot structure. Central to the design is a ground floor forum that will serve as an inviting gathering place and will connect the teaching, research, conference and social spaces within the building. A three-story garage with 450 parking spaces will be constructed below the Law School; the entrance to the garage will be at 13th and Clybourn. The conceptual design will be on the Board of Trustees agenda for approval in September.
Father Wild said the Ecksteins’ gift, along with a $25 million donation from an anonymous couple for the College of Engineering announced in December, will allow the university to “advance our master plan.” Fundraising for both law and engineering, along with building the endowment for financial aid, will be key components of the university’s next campaign.
2. Father Wild outlines campaign priorities
Financial aid for students — both undergraduates and graduate students — will be “the centerpiece” of a new fundraising campaign, Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., told faculty and administrators in his annual Pere Marquette speech Thursday night.
“We are seeking to include in our Marquette community both a more diverse and a more gifted group of students while at the same time continuing to make Marquette affordable to the children of families of ordinary means,” Father Wild said. “We know that for many of our applicants financial aid is a key determinant in whether they can choose a Marquette education or not. In addition, we want our students to graduate with less debt. Students' choices must be broader as they leave Marquette, less burdened by what they owe, more driven by what they can become.”
Father Wild said other key components of the campaign would be transforming the university’s law and engineering programs. He said the vision for law includes “building a modern facility large enough to foster a true community of learning, to accommodate an enriched curriculum and the growth of programs and services and to expand public service initiatives that help build and strengthen our civil society.” He noted the support already generated for the new Law School facility, including a $1 million gift from the Bradley Foundation announced last month and a “magnificent lead gift” that was not made public until Friday morning (see story above).
The vision for engineering includes a Discovery Learning Complex, as well as endowed faculty chairs and more endowed scholarships. Father Wild noted recent gifts to engineering, including the $25 million donation from an anonymous couple, with a promise of an additional $1 million in perpetuity and a gift of $5 million from Jim and Kelly McShane for a second endowed faculty chair in the college.
“We are exploring very actively several space options for the Department of Biological Sciences,” Father Wild said. In addition, he said a bond issue approved by trustees Wednesday will enable the university to complete renovation work in the Todd Wehr Chemistry Building and the Varsity Theatre, to install state-mandated sprinkler systems in residence halls and to construct a new student services/external relations building.
In his speech, Father Wild also discussed the importance of assessment, pointing out the progress made through the identification of learning outcomes and the development of assessment instruments.
Father Wild said he was pleased with the progress made “in improving and clarifying the role of our faculty in academic shared governance.” The (proposed) University Academic Senate, which will be voted upon by the Academic Senate and the Committee on Faculty this month, “will be a deliberative body whose responsibilities will include academic planning, review and evaluation of academic programs and formulation and appraisal of initiatives and policies relevant to the faculty and the academic mission of the university,” he said.
“We are enjoying steady upward growth in the quality and strength of this institution,” Father Wild said, thanking faculty and staff “for all you do both on behalf of our students and their education as well as in advancing the knowledge and even the wisdom of our human community.”