Marquette University News Release

Marquette University to host October events to honor alumnus James Foley

September 15, 2015

James FoleyThree events will take place near slain journalist’s birthday

MILWAUKEE –Marquette University will host three events in mid-October to honor alumnus James Foley. A 1996 graduate of Marquette’s Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, Foley was kidnapped in Syria and later murdered by Islamic State militants while on assignment as a reporter covering the region.

John and Diane Foley, James’ parents, will begin the events with a Mass of Remembrance on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Church of the Gesu. The Mass will include a blessing of a painting of Foley, which was created during Marquette University’s Mission Week in February 2015.

The events will culminate with a Rosary for Peace on Oct. 18, which would have been Foley’s 42nd birthday. Foley prayed the rosary on his knuckles while in captivity, and Marquette University is inviting schools, parishes and organizations across the country and world to participate.

The Marquette community also invites students, faculty and staff to take part in a virtual 5K, which will be led by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Additional details and event registration are available online. All events are open to the public.

Summary of October events:

  • Mass of Remembrance with the Foley family
    Sunday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Church of the Gesu (Marquette University)
    Join John and Diane Foley, parents of James Foley, for a Mass of Remembrance to honor their son. A painting of James, which was created during Marquette University’s Mission Week in February 2015, will be blessed.
  • James Foley Rosary for Peace
    Sunday, Oct. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m., St. Joan of Arc Chapel (Marquette University)
    Marquette University is an anchor school participating in the James Foley Rosary for Peace on what would have been James Foley’s 42nd birthday. Marquette will provide up to 200 rosaries for those participating on campus. Catholic tradition dedicates the month of October to praying the Rosary, a contemplative prayer that is rooted in Scripture.James, who previously shared that “Marquette was perhaps never a bigger friend to me than when I was imprisoned as a journalist,” prayed the rosary and found that it “kept his mind focused” while in captivity. “I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.”

All are welcome:

Schools, Parishes and organizations across the country and world are invited to participate and can register through the James Foley Rosary for Peace page. In the spirit of unity, people of all faiths are welcome.

  • Foley Foundation Virtual 5K

Saturday, Oct. 17
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation will host its first annual Foley Foundation 5K in Rochester, New Hampshire, on October 17. The foundation will also host a virtual run to encourage participation from friends and supporters across the globe. For virtual runners, the foundation will mail participants a t-shirt that can be worn to demonstrate their support during the run on the day of the event.

Register: Runners for both the Rochester race and virtual run can register for the event online. If interested in forming a virtual Foley 5K running group in your local community, please reach out to

Remembering James Foley:
In August, Marquette University announced its first-ever James Foley Scholarship recipient on the one-year anniversary of Foley’s tragic death. Jacob Zelinski, who just began his freshman year at Marquette, graduated this spring from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.

Zelinski recently published a first-person account of what it means to honor the legacy of James Foley as the first scholarship recipient. His story is titled, “Why James Foley is my hero.” Zelinski plans to major in theatre arts and digital media at Marquette.

Marquette received an outpouring of support in the wake of Foley’s death, with 1,373 donors from around the world contributing more than $320,000 to the James Foley Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Media from around the world reached out to Marquette University after Foley’s death on Aug. 19, 2014. The university dedicated a web page in his memory, which includes a moving letter from Foley to the Marquette community when he was first captured and held in a military detention center in Tripoli, Libya. In the letter, Foley started by writing, “Marquette University has always been a friend to me. The kind who challenges you to do more and be better and ultimately shapes who you become.”

“James Foley embodied so many of our Jesuit, Catholic ideals and today marks a day that we can all be proud to shine a positive light on his remarkable legacy,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “James was a man for others who sought the truth in everything he encountered, and he and his family and friends will always be members of our Marquette family.”

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About Brian Dorrington

Brian Dorrington

Brian is the senior director of university communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Brian at (414) 288-4719 or View all posts by .