The Black Death Pandemic of the Middle Ages

Dr. Ronald Zupko, professor emeritus of history, speaking at Marquette University

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After receiving his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Zupko taught at Marquette from 1966 until retiring 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 an international expert on metrology, the study of weights and measures. Zupko and his wife, Kay, generously donated $1 million toward a namesake perpetual endowment that, starting by 2015, will fund four-year full-tuition scholarships for high-performing Milwaukee Public School students with demonstrated financial need.

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At a recent event for Marquette administrators, Dr. Ronald Zupko delivered his famous lecture — widely known by students as the “Rat Lecture” — which details the spread of the Bubonic Plague and how it disrupted trading systems during medieval times.

Ron and Kay urge their former students, alumni, faculty and staff who would like to add gifts of any denomination to the Ronald E. and Kathleen M. Zupko Endowed Scholarship Fund to contact Corinthia Van Orsdol (414) 288-7270 or




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