Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

All-University Recipients

Friend of the University Award

Mary Wolf Henke

Milwaukee and Boca Raton, Fla.

Before Mary’s husband, Gordon, died in 1995, he warned Mary that a lot of people would probably call on her with various requests. “I want you to think about what’s important to you and what you want to spend your time on,” he said.

Mary decided that one of those things was Marquette, and her influence has been felt across campus ever since.

She served on the Board of Trustees for 12 years, the maximum one can serve, and is now a trustee emerita. She is the incoming chair of Marquette’s Women’s Council and a member of the Les Aspin Center for Government’s Board of Visitors, and she previously served on the Centennial of Women Honorary Committee and Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee. She is a longtime member of the Friends of the Haggerty Museum and supports a wide range of Marquette causes, including the Gordon Henke Family Scholarship for the College of Business Administration and Mary E. Henke Scholarship for Athletics. It’s not uncommon for her to attend a dozen or so Marquette events a year, and that doesn’t include basketball games — she’s a huge Golden Eagles fan.

“I think Marquette has done far more for me than I could ever do for Marquette,” Mary says. “Marquette gave me confidence and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I’ve been blessed to call so many wonderful people at Marquette friends.”

The Henkes didn’t have Marquette ties initially, but they met the then-university president, Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J., during one of his visits to Florida in the mid-1980s and immediately hit it off. Soon, they were regulars at Marquette events and generous supporters of campus improvements. The Henke Lounge in the Alumni Memorial Union and Henke Courtyard outside the Al McGuire Center are named for their family.

Although their own educational careers ended earlier than planned — Gordon dropped out of high school to support his family and Mary left college after two years to work at an accounting firm — they made it their life’s goal to provide educational opportunities to others. In addition to Marquette, they have been generous supporters of Marquette University High School, Nativity Jesuit Middle School and Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Mary is also committed to other causes that benefit local young people, including her longtime role as a board member of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation.

“I just love the energy of the youth today,” Mary says.