June 16, 2011
Scholarship donations in honor of Marquette president total more than $43 million
MILWAUKEE – Marquette University on Thursday announced donations totaling $43,692,623 for endowed scholarships at an event honoring Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J., who will retire July 31.
Wild, 71, was recognized for his 15 years of service to Marquette and the Milwaukee community at a Legacy of Leadership event Thursday night, which raised more than $2 million for the scholarship initiative.
Mary Ladish Selander, co-chair of the trustee-led scholarship campaign and director of development for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, said current and past trustees of the university gave or pledged $31.4 million of the total and more than 2,300 individuals contributed. She pointed out that while the recent campaign focused on endowed scholarships, the university also raised $9,359,429 in the past 18 months to address the immediate needs of Marquette students. “This has been especially important – and helpful – during the recent economic downturn, as the financial circumstances of families changed,” she said.
“The generosity of our benefactors will provide – in perpetuity – more than $2 million of annual financial assistance for Marquette students,” Julie Tolan, vice president for university advancement, said.
Tolan said Wild made increasing the university’s endowment for scholarships a priority during the past three years. Today more than 90 percent of Marquette undergraduates receive financial aid. “Marquette was founded 130 years ago to provide access to higher education to the children of immigrants and to develop community leaders,” Wild said. “We want to extend that opportunity to those who desire a Marquette education today, including first generation students who may need greater financial assistance.”
John Stollenwerk, a Marquette alumnus who has served on the Board of Trustees throughout Wild’s presidency, said Wild’s commitment to students has included the development of scholarship programs for urban youth, and a partnership with the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Stollenwerk, retired chairman of the Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corp., was co-chair of the scholarship campaign honoring Wild and also served as co-chair of the Magis Campaign, which culminated in 2005 with donations totaling $357 million, well above the $250 million goal.
“These campaigns not only demonstrate the respect and admiration of our alumni and friends for Father Wild but also our heartfelt belief in the lifelong value of a Marquette education,” Stollenwerk said. “We want to continue to provide that opportunity.”
Robert Kemp, trustee emeritus, served as the third co-chair of the scholarship campaign. “Building our endowment for scholarships provides access to a Marquette education for generations to come,” he said. “It is a most fitting way to honor the contributions of Father Wild to the university and our students and alumni.”
In the past 15 years Wild has raised more than $800 million for the university, including more than $200 million for scholarships and several eight-figure gifts that have accelerated campus construction projects, including new law (Eckstein Hall) and engineering buildings. In total, the university will have completed more than $375 million of construction, renovation and beautification projects during Wild’s presidency; those projects, including the Al McGuire Center, Raynor Library, School of Dentistry and Zilber Hall, also spurred economic development in the university’s near west side neighborhood.
During Wild’s tenure, undergraduate applications to Marquette increased fourfold, from approximately 5,000 applications in 1996 to nearly 22,000 for fall 2011.
Wild will be succeeded Aug. 1 by Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., who most recently served as president of the University of Scranton.
Wild said he will take a year’s sabbatical following his retirement. He has a trip to Antarctica planned and will spend the spring 2012 semester in San Antonio participating in a theological, spiritual renewal program. After that, his plans are uncertain, although he assures those who ask that, “There’s no such thing as unemployment in the world of Jesuits.”
Wild is a native of Chicago. A biblical scholar, he holds a doctoral degree in New Testament and Christian origins from Harvard University. He has written two books and numerous scholarly articles. He is a member of the boards of the University of Detroit Mercy, St. Joseph’s University, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Big East Conference, the Wisconsin Association of Independent College and Universities, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce.