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February 16, 2017
MILWAUKEE — Marquette University and alumnus Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC's The Profit and The Partner, are teaming up to launch a new $3 million dollar giving challenge.
Beginning on Friday, Feb. 17, in conjunction with the National Marquette Day pep rally, the challenge will run for two months. Lemonis will donate up to $1.5 million of his own funds, matching gifts made by donors during the challenge with the goal of starting a student-run business program. The program, called the Marcus Lemonis Pay The Profit Forward Program, will be housed within Marquette's College of Business Administration and provide initial funding for students to pursue their business ideas.
"I am eternally grateful for the guidance and development that Marquette University provided to me as I embarked on my journey," Lemonis said. "It is my honor to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders on the same campus where it all began for me."
Lemonis said he was inspired to help students launch their businesses so that they, too, will become successful and support Marquette and future generations of students to launch their dreams.
Lemonis and Marquette hope the challenge attracts members of the Marquette community who don't normally give to the university. There is no minimum or maximum donation for individuals who contribute to the challenge, and alumni can direct their donation to any fund within the university.
"Last year, we took a big step forward in engaging Marquette alumni across the world, and we are excited to take our message of giving back to the next level this year," Lemonis said.
Marquette President Michael R. Lovell expressed his gratitude for Lemonis and the many alumni who have provided support for the next generation of Marquette students.
"We have incredibly passionate alumni and are confident they will rise to this new inspirational challenge from Marcus Lemonis," President Michael R. Lovell said. "Marcus is leading the way by supporting his own passion at Marquette, and we encourage all of our alumni to do the same, through gifts small and large."
The Marquette University community responded enthusiastically to the 2016 giving challenge as 3,072 donors combined to raise a total of $1,301,029 for student scholarships and other university initiatives.
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.