1. Mission Week 2013 to honor Opus Prize recipients

The new year will bring newfound inspiration to campus as Marquette prepares for Mission Week 2013, which will honor recipients of the annual million-dollar Opus Prize for faith-based social entrepreneurship. Opus Prize recipients have been recognized for fighting global issues such as poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and violations of human rights. This year's Mission Week theme is "The World is our Home," and several Opus Prize recipients will visit campus to share their stories and bring their expertise to local issues.

Highlights of Mission Week, which will be held February 3–9, include:

  • Mission Week Mass: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m. at Church of the Gesu. President Scott Pilarz, S.J., will be principal celebrant, and Rev. Trevor Miranda, S.J., the 2005 Opus Prize recipient, will deliver the homily.

  • Keynote event: Thursday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m. at the Varsity Theatre. The event will feature a discussion with all visiting Opus Prize recipients. A reception will follow on the second floor of the AMU.

  • Dinner and evening program: Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the AMU, Monaghan Ballroom. Marguerite "Maggy" Barankitse, the 2008 Opus Prize recipient, will be the featured speaker.

A full schedule of events will be shared with the campus community in early January.

Each year, the university devotes Mission Week to the exploration of its Catholic and Jesuit mission. A series of academic, spiritual and social events provides an opportunity for members of the Marquette community to reconnect with the deeper purposes and mission that animate our work each and every day. Please join the events of Mission Week 2013 to enrich your own understanding and experience these wonderful events.

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2. Mid-year Commencement is this Sunday

Nearly 500 Marquette University graduates will be recognized at Mid-year Commencement Sunday, Dec. 16, at the U.S. Cellular Arena. The program will begin at 9.30 a.m. and will feature a keynote address by Dr. Lisa Hanson, associate professor of nursing, as well as remarks from Marquette President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., and featured student speaker Meghan Bachtel, who is graduating from the College of Education. Graduation events will also include a Baccalaureate Mass at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Church of the Gesu.

Hanson, whose address is titled "Answering the Call to be Men and Women for Others," is a certified nurse-midwife who helped establish Marquette's College of Nursing nurse-midwifery program 20 years ago, the only such program in Wisconsin.

Bachtel, an Ohio native, will graduate with a triple major in secondary education, French and English. One of the key reasons she chose Marquette was the opportunity to serve and volunteer in the community.

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3. Expiration of payroll tax cut, tuition remission tax break possible

A number of tax provisions are currently undergoing debate in Congress, which may have tax implications for Marquette employees. The two most timely items are the expiration of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (H.R. 3630) and the expiration of Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code, which governs how tuition remission income is taxed.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation act, also known as the "payroll tax cut," reduced the employee's share of the Social Security payroll tax by two percent (from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent) for calendar years 2011 and 2012. It is set to expire Dec. 31, 2012, unless Congress and the President can agree on an extension, and has the potential to impact nearly 160 million workers across America.

The Office of the Comptroller has developed an online payroll tax calculator that will help employees estimate by how much the possible expiration of the payroll tax cut would increase their payroll deduction for Social Security tax.

Tuition Remission Implications
Section 127, a temporary addition to the Internal Revenue Code that has been extended multiple times since its first expiration at the end of 1983, allows employees to exclude from income up to $5,250 per year in assistance for educational courses at the graduate level.

If Section 127 is not renewed prior to its expiration on Dec. 31, 2012, employees taking advantage of Marquette's tuition remission benefit for graduate-level courses will be taxed on the full dollar amount of tuition remission funds beginning in January 2013. Taxable tuition remission amounts are divided evenly over the pay periods of the applicable academic term and added to an employee's paycheck as Imputed Income. Employees currently utilizing Marquette's tuition remission benefit for graduate-level courses were sent an email earlier today explaining the impact of the potential expiration of Section 127 in greater detail.

Human Resources and the Office of the Comptroller are following the Congressional discussions regarding these tax decisions carefully, and will continue to keep employees updated on possible tax implications. For additional information, visit the Human Resources website or the Payroll website.

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4. Holiday hours in effect Dec. 24, 2012, through Jan. 1, 2013

The university will be closed Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, through Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, for the Christmas holiday. Limited campus services, including Public Safety, Facility Services and the Rec Plex, will remain open.

University Advancement and the Office of Finance will meet the needs of the university's benefactors by providing services for year-end giving during the university's Christmas break. The University Advancement's Gift Services and Donor Relations departments will be open on December 27, 28 and 31, providing coverage and specific processes to handle prompt processing of gifts and timely acknowledgements. The Office of Finance's Treasury Services area will also be available to ensure that gifts involving stock transfers and wire transfers can be expedited. For more information regarding year-end giving, contact Amanda Cose at 8-4467.

The university will re-open Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. Complete holiday and semester break hours can be found online.

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5. New audit deadline for students to take effect

Effective for the spring 2013 semester, the deadline for students to select the audit option for a class has changed to coincide with the last day to register for that class. Previously, this deadline coincided with the last day to withdraw, which occurred much later in the semester.

This change was necessitated by federal financial aid regulations that require inclusion of audited classes in students' attempted credits when the audit option is selected after the last day to register in the given session. This affects each student's full or part-time status and thus financial aid, loan deferments and satisfactory academic progress.

This decision was made in the best interest of the students and in consultation with the colleges, schools and Academic Senate Executive Committee. This change is also consistent with best practices at other universities. The new deadline will be reflected in the Academic Calendars and in registration communication sent to students throughout the term.

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6. Manresa for Faculty seminar to explore cultivating time for thinking

"No Time To Think—Technology, Balance and Academic Life: Exploring Faculty and Students' Need to Cultivate Time for Thinking and Appreciating" is the topic for the annual Manresa for Faculty and Arts and Science Faculty Conversations on Learning spring seminar. This day-long faculty event will take place Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Dr. David Levy, University of Washington, will provide the keynote and group facilitation for the day. Lunch and door prizes are included, and all faculty are welcome.

Details can be found of the Center for Teaching and Learning website. Register online by Thursday, Dec. 20. For additional information, contact Susan Mountin, director of Manresa for Faculty, at 8-3693.

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7. Women's basketball to host legendary coach Pat Summitt at fundraiser

The women's basketball team will host legendary women's college basketball coach Pat Summitt as the guest of honor for "We Back Pat" Night Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at the women's basketball game against Toledo at the Al McGuire Center. Wristbands will be sold to benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation as part of the fundraiser. Information about Alzheimer's and early onset dementia will be distributed, and Summitt's son Tyler, an assistant coach at Marquette, will address the crowd at halftime.

"We Back Pat" t-shirts are now being sold at the women's basketball games for $15, which includes a general admission ticket to the Dec. 15 game. Tickets can also be purchased online.

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