Marquette University received a $10 million gift from an anonymous benefactor to build a new on-campus residence for its community of Jesuit priests and to support need-based scholarships, Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., interim president, announced today.
Wild said that $7.5 million of the gift marks the beginning of a university effort to build a new Jesuit Residence and renovate the center of campus. The project will total $15 million and will be funded entirely from donations. Construction and work will begin after an additional $7.5 million is raised.
The remaining $2.5 million of the gift will be dedicated to support need-based scholarships, a key priority identified in the university’s strategic plan that was unveiled in May of 2013.
“This significant gift is a tremendous investment in the future of our members of the Society of Jesus who make such profound academic and spiritual contributions to life at Marquette,” Wild said. He shared the news in a letter to faculty and staff today. “And equally as important, this generous contribution to support scholarships will help us to continue to provide a world-class, transformative education that is both accessible and affordable.”
The anonymous donor indicated a strong desire to provide a future home to the members of Marquette’s community of Catholic, Jesuit priests who have dedicated their lives to serving others.
Plans for the new Jesuit Residence
According to Rev. Jeffrey LaBelle, S.J., the rector of the Jesuit community on campus, the new facility will emphasize the Jesuit commitment to higher education, will be environmentally friendly and will remain at the center of campus, underscoring the university’s identity and tradition as a Catholic, Jesuit institution. It will also reflect their contemplative way of life and communal approach to daily living and will include a chapel at its center, along with additional worship and meeting spaces.
“Pope Francis has led by example in remarkable ways when it comes to connecting with the people, and our new, more visible and more accessible residence at the center of campus will help us to follow this same leadership style,” Father LaBelle said.
Marquette’s Jesuit community is engaged in public works of service to the university and additional ministries in Milwaukee, including teaching, research and administration. Marquette’s current Jesuit Residence, endearingly known by students, faculty and staff as the “Jes Res,” is located on the 1400 block of West Wisconsin Avenue, across the street from Raynor Memorial Libraries. The residence currently houses 44 members of the Jesuit community at Marquette University and was built in 1916, originally as the Stratford Arms Hotel.
The current Jesuit Residence will eventually be torn down to increase green space and reduce surface level parking, and the new facility will be located a block north in the 1400 block of Wells Street. The new Jesuit Residence will be flanked by the Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall and fits the long-term vision of the university to reimagine and renovate the center of campus between Wisconsin Avenue and Wells Street. Marquette has hired Kubala Washatko Architects to design the project.
Significant boost to need-based scholarship aid
Throughout Father Wild’s 15-year tenure as president and now interim president, he has stressed the importance of access to higher education, significantly increasing funding for student scholarship aid and creating scholarship programs specifically targeted at underserved populations. The $2.5 million dedicated to need-based scholarship aid will help ensure a Marquette education remains affordable and accessible to students.
“We are fortunate that our community has generous philanthropic supporters who ensure that a Marquette education will continue its longstanding tradition of providing an accessible education,” said Michael Vanderhoef, vice president for university advancement. “It is so gratifying to know we have many alumni, parents, friends and supporters who are deeply committed and devoted to Marquette’s future.”