Frechette Family Foundation Makes $5M Gift to O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

As part of his annual address to the Marquette University community on February 4, 2021, Dr. Michael Lovell, Marquette University President, announced that the Frechette Family Foundation has given $5 million to the O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism. "With the generous support of the Frechette Family Foundation, the Diederich College can grow the O’Brien Fellowship, giving our students the unique opportunity to work alongside professional journalists as they report on the stories that make a difference in our community,” noted Dr. Sarah B. Feldner, Dean of the Diederich College of Communication. 

 Backed by the resources of Marquette University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O’Brien Fellows spend nine months researching, reporting and writing the stories they care most deeply about — stories with the potential to change policies and improve lives. This fully funded fellowship allows newsroom professionals to do the best work of their careers on issues of vital importance while they also mentor the next generation of journalists.

The program honors Marquette alumni Alicia and Perry O'Brien. Their daughter, Patricia Frechette, and her husband, Peter, donated $8.3 million in 2012 to create the fellowship. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a co-founder and partner. 

Dave Umhoefer, Director of the O'Brien Fellowship, further elaborated by saying, "This is great news for strengthening Marquette's commitment to high-impact, solutions-based reporting by professionals teamed with student journalists."