1. History professor emeritus and his wife pledge $1 million for scholarships

Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., at his annual Pere Marquette address to faculty and staff Thursday night, announced a $1 million pledge from Dr. Ron Zupko, professor emeritus of history at Marquette, and Kay Zupko, a retired Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, to endow a scholarship fund for qualified MPS high school graduates.

The Zupkos expect the scholarship fund to grow with gifts from former students and a legacy gift they have planned. Their initial gift will be made over a five-year period.

“Ron says this is the most important thing he has done in his life because it will go on forever,” Father Wild said. “I am truly inspired by the extraordinary vision, generosity and commitment these two teachers are making to students.” He noted that he and Dr. Zupko were fellow faculty members in Coughlin Hall in the 1970s and early 80s. “I know that the thousands of alumni who took his courses over the years consider Ron a real Marquette treasure. And through the MPS grapevine, we hear that Kay similarly has been a beloved and respected teacher at Lloyd Street school,” he added.

After receiving his Ph.D. at UW-Madison, Zupko taught at Marquette from 1966 until his retirement in 2002 and then, at the university’s urging, for four additional years as a professor emeritus. With an academic background in medieval history, he is also an international expert on metrology, the science of measurement. Zupko was widely known for what students called his “rat lecture,” an explanation of the spread of the Bubonic plague and how it disrupted the trading systems in medieval times. He received Marquette’s Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 1977.

Combining his research interests, Zupko is the author of seven books on the history of weights and measures in European countries and dozens of articles on medieval history and measurement.

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2. Massingale, Foley and Shaw honored for teaching excellence

Three faculty were honored with Marquette’s Faculty Awards for Teaching Excellence at the annual Pere Marquette dinner Thursday night.

Rev. Bryan Massingale, Arts ’79, associate professor of theology, received the Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Christopher Foley, Eng ‘86 and Grad ‘89 and ’96, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Dr. Chris Shaw, Nurs '72, clinical associate professor of nursing, were awarded the John P. Raynor, S.J., Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Watch for more information in the May issue of Marquette Matters.

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3. Pere Marquette speech highlights year’s accomplishments

Buoyed by strong application and deposit numbers for the class of 2013, Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., Thursday celebrated the achievements of 2009-10 with faculty and staff at the 51st Annual Pere Marquette Dinner.

Father Wild reported that deposits for next year’s freshman class have topped 1,980, that registrations for returning students are modestly ahead of last year and that summer school enrollment is up. “These good enrollment and retention results do not happen by chance,” he said. “Strong academics, an overall inviting and professional university environment, adequate financial aid — these are all essential, but beyond that and crucial in so many positive admissions decisions by students and their families is generous personal care.”

Acknowledging the year’s difficult financial challenges, Father Wild noted that despite a more than 25-percent drop in endowment funds, “the university’s overall financial status continues at present to be good.” Yet he cautioned that contingency planning is critical in the event the economic downturn continues or worsens. He also cited the $40 million in new money raised in this year’s challenging fundraising environment. He thanked faculty and staff who have contributed to a new fundraising initiative, called Bridge to the Future, to raise $5 million in cash by June 30 for financial aid for current students.

With construction of Eckstein Hall, the new Law School facility, and Zilber Hall well underway, Father Wild said although two-thirds of the money needed for the College of Engineering’s Discovery Learning Center has been pledged, a phased approach to the project may be appropriate in the present economic environment.

Other accomplishments noted in the speech included Marquette’s “first-ever pharmaceutical start-up company” by faculty from the College of Health Sciences, increased stipends and the provision of health insurance for many doctoral students, the appointment of Dr. Lori Bergen as dean of the Diederich College of Communication, positive reports on assessment from the North Central Association review team, and a reduction in crime in the Marquette neighborhood.

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