CNBC television star Lemonis, Marquette University exceed $3 Million Challenge fundraising goal

April 7, 2017

MILWAUKEE — The Marquette University community more than doubled down in this year's giving challenge issued by alumnus Marcus Lemonis, CNBC's star of The Profit, combining to raise a total of $3,292,748.

The challenge was met in less than two months by 2,769 donors who raised a total of $1,792,748. Lemonis added $1.5 million of his own funds and Marquette's College of Business Administration will now start a student-run business program called the Marcus Lemonis Pay The Profit Forward Program, providing initial funding for students to pursue their business ideas.

"Marcus has inspired our alumni from across the United States and the world, and we are incredibly grateful for his generosity," said President Michael R. Lovell. "We couldn't be more proud to launch this new student-run business program to honor his legacy."

Lemonis donated $300,000 last year to Marquette when he started a $1 million challenge and was so encouraged by the results that he tripled the goal this year.

"It is amazing to think that Marquette will now shape the dreams of tomorrow's entrepreneurs and business leaders through a program bearing my name," Lemonis said. "It is extra rewarding for all of this to happen on the same campus where I sparked my passion."

This year's $3 million dollar giving challenge began on Friday, Feb. 17, in conjunction with the National Marquette Day pep rally and finished more than a week early when the Marquette alumni community surpassed its goal.

"We're delighted that Marcus Lemonis chose to invest in the College of Business Administration in this way," said Keyes Dean of Business Administration Brian D. Till. "This student-run business program aligns perfectly with the college's emphasis on experiential learning, and I'm excited to see the ventures our students will propose, develop and manage. It will most certainly be a popular and important learning experience for students for years to come, and a distinguishing feature of a Marquette business education."

Lemonis, a 1995 Marquette alumnus of the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, is the chairman and CEO of Camping World, the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer, and Good Sam, the world's largest RV owner's organization.