Marquette receives $2 million gift from Helfaer Foundation to continue fundraising momentum for reimagined Wellness + Recreation facility

Dec. 8, 2022

Rendering of Wellness + Recreation facilityMILWAUKEE — Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell announced today that the Evan and Marion Helfaer Foundation has committed a $2 million gift to continue fundraising momentum for a reimagined Wellness + Recreation facility on campus.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Helfaer Foundation gave $2 million to build the existing Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center, dramatically improving the student experience at the time. Their gift today drives Marquette closer to a complete renovation of the 180,000-square-foot building that will bring fitness, recreation, medical and counseling services under one roof.

The Helfaer Foundation Trustees said, “We witnessed the impact of our gift so many years ago, and we are proud to help set a new standard of excellence and shape an innovative culture of wellness in the same location.”

University leaders continue to invite the Marquette community to consider giving in support of the overall project as well as in honor of Mike and Amy Lovell for their inspirational leadership. Marquette alumni, parents and friends have contributed $19.9 million to date.

The reimagined facility will result in a 25-percent increase in recreational space and nearly double the wellness and medical space offered on campus today. A new 30,000-square-foot, centralized three-story wellness tower will integrate the university’s student health, wellness and recreation services. The facility will foster community, inclusiveness and engagement, and provide a destination on campus that supports the physical and mental health needs of the Marquette community.

“We are grateful to the Helfaer Foundation for its sustained role in advancing student health and wellness and providing an environment where students will thrive,” President Lovell said. “Their passionate support of this new facility is the embodiment of the Jesuit tenet of cura personalis.”

Marquette alumni, parents and friends have responded generously toward the reimagined Wellness + Recreation facility — the signature capital project of Time to Rise, said Vice President for University Advancement Tim McMahon. “We have seen a groundswell of philanthropic energy from our Marquette community, resulting in gifts that will impact today’s students and position Marquette well for the future,” McMahon said.

Building off recent successes

In September 2022, Marquette University Board of Trustees Chair Robert J. Eck made a major announcement honoring President Lovell and Amy Lovell. The Board of Trustees named the third and fourth floors within the university’s planned wellness tower in the Lovells’ honor — the Lovell Center for Student Well-Being.

For many years, the Lovells have worked to address mental health across Milwaukee and the region. When the university announced the new Lovell Center, Eck said, “Mike and Amy have been trailblazers when it comes to directly addressing our region’s mental health issues. Together, they continue to devote countless hours of energy to reimagine a community of care and silence the stigma that too often surrounds mental illness.”

The reimagined Wellness + Recreation  facility project took root in December 2021 when President Lovell announced that an anonymous alumni couple launched a $10 million giving challenge to transform and integrate the university’s student health, wellness and recreation services. The major gift propelled the university’s vision and long-stated priority. In his 8th presidential address in March 2022, President Lovell shared renderings of the project, emphasizing that, “This is a transformational project for our campus and students, and it is truly about building a culture of wellness at Marquette.”

Time to Rise campaign progresses

Marquette’s historic Time to Rise campaign continues to drive the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission forward, surpassing $628 million toward its $750 million goal. The campaign has secured more than 59,000 donors with more than 28,000 (47%) of these donors making their first-ever gift to Marquette. Building on its founding mission to provide an accessible education, Marquette has raised $258 million in scholarship funds. In addition, nearly 700 donors have given $100,000 or more in commitments, and 125 donors have given $1 million or greater.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or