Marquette University to build new home for Marquette Business and innovation leadership programs

Jan. 29, 2020


President Michael R. Lovell makes several key announcements at sixth Presidential Address

MILWAUKEE — During his sixth annual Presidential Address on Jan. 29, 2020, Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell announced that the university will build a new home for the College of Business Administration and innovation leadership programs at the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, the former site of McCormick Hall, which was demolished last fall.

“Marquette Business has a long history of developing ethical, Jesuit-educated leaders who live and work in Milwaukee and the top financial hubs across the world,” President Lovell said. “Through innovative design features and flexible learning spaces, our newest academic facility will help foster creative thinking for students from all disciplines.”

In making the announcement to more than 400 people at his President’s Address, President Lovell lauded Marquette’s alumni, parents and friends for their passion and generosity. Led by Vice President for University Advancement Tim McMahon and Keyes Dean of Business Administration Dr. Joseph Daniels, Marquette’s fundraising team raised more than $44 million for the project in less than 18 months, including 12 gifts over $1 million. The $70-million building is being funded primarily through generous philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends. Broad-based fundraising for this project will continue, with the desire to break ground in fall 2021.

Marquette’s newest academic building will anchor the west gateway to the heart of its urban campus, bringing together world-class faculty, students and industry leaders to build a talent pipeline for the region’s business community and advance economic development.

“Marquette Business is home to three of the university’s top 10 undergraduate majors, reflecting the growing demand for business leaders in our region,” Daniels said. “Our curriculum is infused with experiential learning opportunities, which is what our students and employers demand. This new facility will mirror our collaborative applied learning style and position us as a convener of important conversations on the future of business in our region.”

The facility will also house interdisciplinary innovation leadership programs that help develop leaders who mobilize others to think creatively, act boldly and deliver solutions. This dedicated innovation space builds on recent efforts to develop an inclusive culture of innovation across campus through research and programming in the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship in the 707 Hub (home of the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Marquette Social Innovation Initiative), the Women’s Innovation Network, the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, and many colleges.

One such innovation leadership program is the nationally acclaimed, interdisciplinary “Excellence in Leadership” (E-LEAD) program, created by Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering. Students who take part in the three-year program learn how to lead oneself, lead with others and lead innovation.

Marquette Business faculty, staff, students and alumni will take part in an inclusive design process to ensure the new building addresses the needs of tomorrow’s students, educators and businesses, according to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Lora Strigens. In addition to dedicated innovation leadership space, the building is expected to include several unique components that will transform Marquette’s business education, including:

  • Wrap-around advising and career guidance, with centers for student success and career development on the ground floor.
  • A new multi-functional special event space where top executives and recruiters will meet and interact with the next generation of leaders.
  • Upgraded signature labs and classrooms, including a pitch stage where business students will competitively share their ideas with industry, investors and the larger community.

The College of Business Administration has been housed in Straz Hall for the past 35 years. It is home to three top-25 U.S. News & World Report ranked programs: real estate, executive MBA and supply chain. Over 90% of Marquette Business students are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.

Visit marquette.edu/future-of-business for more information.

Additional announcements made at the Presidential Address include:

$8 million gift committed to address student mental health needs
President Lovell announced an $8 million anonymous gift to the university to grow the pipeline of mental health providers in Wisconsin. The gift will endow a scholarship that will support Marquette Graduate School students in mental health coming from partner universities; create an endowed fund to support a distinguished professor in psychology; and fund doctoral student training and graduate fellowships in mental health.

Second $250,000 President’s Challenge announced
Marquette will once again host a $250,000 President’s Challenge, funded in part by Johnson Controls Foundation. Last year’s President’s Challenge winner was the Next Step Clinic, which brings mental health services to inner-city neighborhoods and was funded in part by Johnson Controls Foundation.

“Our second President’s Challenge will provide a $250,000, two-year grant for one interdisciplinary, collaborative proposal that seeks to change the trajectory of lives in our community by addressing one or more of the critical areas in which neighborhood inequities exist, including health, education, safety, housing, transportation and economic prosperity,” President Lovell said. The process will begin this semester and applications are expected to be reviewed this fall.

2020 political convention planning
In advance of Milwaukee hosting the Democratic National Convention in July 2020, President Lovell announced that revenues from renting residence hall and event spaces on campus will go to the university’s greatest need – student scholarships.

Addressing the headwinds of higher education   
Continuing the university’s cost-saving measures in the face of changing demographics, President Lovell shared that this semester, the university will be identifying efficiencies across campus and studying space utilization. A space optimization study will determine how to maximize current space and more holistically manage Marquette’s 60 campus buildings. In the spirit of continuous improvement, every unit on campus will be given an overview of its current cost structure and will be asked to generate and implement cost-saving ideas.

Difference Maker Awards
President Lovell also spoke about progress toward implementing Marquette’s strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries, and presented four Difference Maker Awards to faculty, staff and students who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to positively impact an individual, group or community organization:

  • Joya Crear, assistant vice president of student affairs, for her work to develop and implement the award-winning RISE program, an orientation for multicultural and underrepresented students.
  • Stacy Mitz, senior associate vice president in University Advancement, for her innovative fundraising ideas surrounding bidding farewell to McCormick Hall, which raised nearly $100,000 for the Marquette Backpack Program, which aids with student food insecurity.
  • The Marquette University School of Dentistry, for organizing the annual “Give Kids a Smile Day,” in which thousands of dollars in free dental work is performed on children from disadvantaged Milwaukee neighborhoods.
  • Ally Rising, a Marquette junior, for participating in the cross country 2019 Ulman Foundation 4K for cancer run – a 49-day, 4,000 mile run from San Francisco to Boston to raise funds for cancer research.

Marquette Business exterior

Marquette Business event space

Marquette Business lobbyMarquette Business pitch stage


About Christopher Stolarski


Christopher Stolarski

Chris is an associate director of university communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Chris at (414) 288-1988 or christopher.stolarski@marquette.edu