Making Dreams Possible: Jenn's Story

For Ph.D. student Jenn, the doors to higher education weren’t always open. As one of six children — and the only one to graduate high school — college was a pipe dream. The Colorado native achieved it, working full-time to afford community college and receiving a Pell Grant that helped her earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from a local state school.

But her educational dream was not over. Accepted into Marquette’s graduate program in philosophy, Jenn took a leap of faith, enthusiastically taking the offer without figuring out moving and living expenses. Her faith was rewarded and dream fulfilled when she learned that a funded fellowship opened up for her three weeks before she was set to begin classes.

Because of donor support, Jenn moved to Milwaukee and flourished as a leader in the Marquette graduate community. She is now a doctoral student lecturer, opening doors for others — particularly women who aspire to become philosophers.

Jenn will tell you that the grace of her benefactors and Marquette made her pipe dream a reality. We can tell you that, in turn, she is fostering the dreams and potential of others.

"I hope to stand as an example for others, to bring attention to women as both cultural and academic contributors, talented and worthwhile scholars, leaders and educators," Jenn said. Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Changing Worlds: Djdade's Story

"I always knew I wanted to be an engineer. I grew up in the inner city and tried to make the best of my situation and show others from my neighborhood that there is a way to better oneself legitimately. While we never really had much, there was always room for opportunity.

Engineering really took off for me in high school when I met one of my teachers who worked on satellites and mechanical systems. He introduced me to how you can manipulate things to make better products and be more efficient. Now I see the whole world in a different context and see the needs of the world and the future needs of the world.

Scholarships gave me an opportunity to explore the field of engineering, and now I'm studying environmental engineering and specializing in water. These scholarships have allowed me to give back to the community that helped raise me. I've volunteered at schools, I've done talks, I coach. I come from a very underprivileged neighborhood,and I want kids to understand that if opportunity knocks, you should go after it. And never give up."

For Djdade and students like him, scholarship support means the opportunity to pursue what they never thought possible. Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Scholarship recipient Jazzmine

A Step Toward the Future: Jazzmine's Story

"For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to work in our justice system as a judge, particularly with kids.

I want to be a role model and let them know they can become something great. I feel incredibly lucky to be on the path to live out my dream thanks to the scholarships I receive. It’s what motivates me to do good in life and pushes me to work hard to prove the investment made in me is worth it.

Many of tomorrow’s leaders will be formed bytoday’s scholarship support. Join us in helping students like Jazzmine. Give today.

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Dr. Joan Bathon: It’s That Simple

“I support scholarship to help others accomplish their professional goals.”

That’s Dr. Joan Bathon’s simple explanation for supporting different Marquette scholarships over the years, which includes creating an endowed scholarship in her name. For generations to come, students who otherwise could not afford Marquette will be able to grow personally and professionally because of Joan’s simple desire to help them do so.

Her desire to help is equally simple: it’s about paying it forward. If not for scholarship support, the Maryland native who yearned to spread her wings and attend a Catholic university with a high-caliber science program would not have been able to earn her biology degree from Marquette in 1974. “Marquette is as good a place as I imagined, providing me with a great education that made it possible for me to earn my medical degree back in Maryland. I will always be grateful for my Marquette experience, which significantly shaped who I am today.”

As the director of the Division of Rheumatology and professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, Joan has accomplished much. As an endowed scholarship donor, she is making it possible for others to accomplish their own goals.

It’s that simple for Joan Bathon; it’s simply invaluable for future Marquette graduates. Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Scholarship recipient Drew

Computing the Possibilities: Drew's Story

Drew Williams wasn’t interested in research. At least, that’s what she told herself when she applied to Marquette’s graduate program in Computational Sciences. “I thought I’d do my Master’s and leave,” she joked. “I just needed that extra bit of schooling and then I’d get an industry job.”

Now, she’s completing her dissertation and working on representing data for non-data scientists. “Basically, how do we create methods for people to take data and digitalize it in a way that makes sense,” Drew said.

She’d always been interested in computers and worked as technical support for family and friends during high school. That role lent itself to noticing a lot of design flaws in software, so Drew sought out programming classes for her bachelor’s at University of Chicago.

Growing up near Sherman Park in Milwaukee, Drew always loved Milwaukee and Marquette’s great personal values and lively campus. But it was the professors who finally changed her mind about research. “When I started taking classes here, I realized the professors were really amazing. They’re available and easy to understand. I met my future PhD advisor who asked if I’d ever considered research. It ended up hitting every skill and interest area I have,” she said.

Looking forward, she’s considering both the teaching-and-research route and the programming route. “I’m really interested in user interfaces,” she explained. Drew also champions Marquette’s COSMIC program, where people with bachelor’s degrees in any area can earn their Masters in Computation and Programming. She became the program’s first TA.

Marquette’s partnership with Northwestern Mutual and UWM is also right up her alley. “The new Data Sciences Institute is really exciting and beneficial,” she said.

As a scholarship recipient, Drew knows the value of donor support. “I had debt from undergrad and wasn’t looking forward to taking on more,” she said. “Without Marquette’s ability to offer research assistantship and stipends, I wouldn’t have been able to do the PHd.” Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Scholarship recipient Emanuel

Pushing Boundaries: Emanuel's Story

Emanuel has always pushed himself. In academic competitions. In a cross-country move from Texas to attend Marquette on scholarship. Now, he’s pushing boundaries of nebulizer science.

Working with Biomedical Engineering Professor Lars Olson, Emanuel and fellow undergraduates are developing a hand-powered nebulizer to deliver aerosolized measles vaccines to people in rural or third-world areas where typical vaccines aren’t available.

“I’m focused on the impact our research will create,” Emanuel said. “It helps people see engineers as more than computers with faces.”

Emanuel’s time at Marquette began with an Opus Scholarship — one of several full-tuition scholarship programs within the college. His opportunity alleviated the cost burden for his parents and solidified his decision to attend Marquette. “It afforded me a chance to live my dreams and give back to my hometown, the parish I grew up in, and so many others through my education,” he said. “You can’t put a price on this.” Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Students in Marquette's Nursing sim lab

Dreams of Nursing: Kasey's Story

Growing up, Kasey was a happy participant in sports of all kinds – even when they led to injuries requiring medical attention. Her interactions with nurses during those times sparked a dream of becoming a nurse herself. Marquette is helping this dream come true. 

As an out-of-state student wanting to attend Marquette for its stellar nursing program, Kasey knew she would have some hurdles to jump to get here. The two scholarships she received helped her say yes to a Marquette education without financial stress. “Scholarships allow me to gain an education and prepare me for my future,” says Kasey.

Now in the College of Nursing, Kasey utilizes assets like the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation, which allows students to perfect nursing skills in real world situations. “The Sim Lab is such a great resource, and professors are so passionate about what they do,” says Kasey. “They make me more excited and eager to learn.”

One semester, she worked with fellow nursing students to create a teaching plan for a hypothetical patient. After treating the patient, students were required to film themselves advising their patient on follow-up steps. The Sim Lab strengthens both the biological, bodily concentration of nursing while also solidifying the foundation of a Marquette nurse: empathetic human interaction. 

Without her scholarships, Kasey may not have had opportunities like the Sim Lab. “Scholarships have done so much for me,” says Kasey. “I almost can’t put it into words. Being able to receive a scholarship changes my world.” Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Drawn to Service: Zoya's Story

Imagine delivering life-saving dental care in Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil as a Marquette junior. For pre-dental student Zoya, these experiences are part of why she fell in love with service at Marquette.

“This was a type of service I had never experienced,” she says. “Where the focus is on connecting with and working with the community and each other. I’ve been able to help so many people along their journeys.”

Applying her skills in developing countries merges Zoya’s passions for public health and dentistry — a dream she’s pursued since completing dental assistant classes at her community college while still in high school. “I wanted to get the experience, make sure I truly loved dentistry, and save money for college,” she jokes.

Now, she’s looking forward to grad school. “I never thought coming here as a freshman that I’d have the dean of my college write my grad school recommendation letter based on a service trip we took together in another country. But that’s Marquette!” she says.

Building student community and service also inspired Zoya to launch Marquette’s first-ever Pakistani student organization, of which she is now president. The organization hosts co-events with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to help Pakistani students get to know each other over game nights and other activities.

“As students, we can get locked into a bubble within our major or college,” Zoya says. “Service and campus jobs can help you see other student experiences. I like seeing the visibility of cura personalis on campus from so many different angles. This school has changed my life.” Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Murawski in Engineering Hall

Recipient to Benefactor: Steve's Story

After walking the stage as part of Marquette’s first Biomedical Engineering class in 1978 and returning for a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering, Steve Murawski joked that he suddenly became a highly recruitable job candidate.

That skillset continued to serve him well during his diverse 40-year career path within GE. And it’s one he hopes to provide future grad students through his $50,000 gift to scholarship in the Opus College of Engineering.

“How students work in the environment today versus the classroom teaching of years ago is night and day,” he said. “Marquette offers opportunities to work alongside people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, so students begin to understand what’s important to colleagues across teams in addition to their own interests. They learn to find the cooperation between the two.”

Steve remembers how his experience as a Grad School TA allowed him to interface with a variety of students, which helped immensely as he entered the business world.

“I really wanted my gift to help students explore the aspects of their engineering education or career goals that spoke most to them, and then position them to build on the robust network they’ll develop at Marquette,” he said.

He and his wife, Carol, considered giving via their estate but were drawn to the idea of seeing results in real time. They decided on establishing the Murawski Family Endowed Scholarship for Graduate Engineering Students.

“The help I got went to an individual student — me,” Steve said. “So I wanted to do the same and open doors that today’s students may not have thought would open for them.” 

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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MARDI GRAS: Students Fill Their Hunger for Service

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, student organizations like MARDI GRAS (Making a Real Difference in the Gulf Region and Areas Surrounding) are more relevant than ever. MARDI GRAS was started by a Marquette College of Health Sciences student displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and it continues to aid hurricane victims in the Gulf Region and beyond.

Student volunteers like Roberto Varela, now an alumnus from the College of Health Sciences, roll up their sleeves to repair homes, lay flooring, hang drywall, and more. “Our physical acts of rebuilding are helpful,” he said. “But our greatest impact is letting homeowners know they matter. By joining MARDI GRAS, I not only found a family on campus but also in the areas we visited. The people of New Orleans are resilient, and it is truly a gift to spend time with and learn from them. The spirit of MARDI GRAS persists long after the trip and helps you love those around you so much more,” he said.

A beautiful, rare alignment
During her four years as a Marquette undergrad, Hilary Braseth, a 2011 graduate of the Klinger College of Arts and Sciences, participated in MARDI GRAS 13 times.

“Those moments were so much more than ‘a service trip’ for me. MARDI GRAS catapulted me on this lifelong quest to dig into the roots of what it means to be human, to belong, to be in a community.”

Hilary’s time in MARDI GRAS motivated her to do her own research on the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and other communities. “Because of MARDI GRAS, I’m now building a technology company for small business growth in West Africa. I traveled to Guinea for three years while in the Peace Corps, lived in a mountaintop yurt outside of Los Angeles, and am studying for my Ph.D. in depth psychology.”

Like Roberto, she credits MARDI GRAS with fostering dear friendships and broader perspectives. “It granted me the opportunity to step outside the bubble of privilege I was raised in. To me, MARDI GRAS wasn’t just about the manual labor of gutting and drywalling. It was about the relationships. It was about opening the eyes of Marquette kids, planting the seeds inside each of us of what it means to not only serve for others but to enter into relationship with others. There was a beautiful, rare alignment between heart’s longing and world’s need.” 

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Building Moral Robots

Imagine you’re on the road with a fully robotic self-driving car, and an accident suddenly unfolds ahead. The car’s system needs to make an instant decision—should it save its own driver and passengers, save the other car’s driver and passengers, or save itself?

If Professor Joseph Schimmels and his mechanical engineering and robotics students have a say, the system will choose solidly based on ethics.  

Dr. Schimmels’ research focuses on the design of multidimensional mechanical behavior to achieve desired dynamic behavior during physical interaction. Essentially, he teaches students how to engineer the sensors, data analytics, mathematical modeling and simulations that make up a system’s “digital thread.”

“As we develop these core technologies, there are a lot of ethical questions that come into play,” said Opus College of Engineering Dean Ropella. “Marquette teaches students the need to develop an Ignatian mindset, not just an entrepreneurial one. We want our engineers to always be thinking about the human impact. Are there ethical implications to what you’re doing? Someone has to make these tough calls, and since engineers are designing the systems, we feel a responsibility to be at the forefront of determining the approach and guiding principles.”

Marquette’s E-Lead program lays that foundation. The three-year undergraduate curriculum prepares students to lead, not only through innovation and technical expertise, but also through their character and ability to motivate, engage and guide within an ethical framework.

“Our graduates are world-class engineers, and they’re also world-class ethical leaders who serve the world in the Jesuit tradition,” said Dean Ropella.

Now expanded beyond Engineering majors, the first and second years of E-Lead focus on leading oneself and others with authenticity, active listening and collaboration. Year 3 culminates in leading technology and innovation.

“When it comes to engineering the type of life-saving decision mechanisms in the car example, in robotic healthcare applications, or in humanoid robotics, people want engineers with the ethics and morals found at Marquette,” Dean Ropella added. “Our field is a good illustration of how innovation and values come together and why it matters so much when they do.”

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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'Within the Life of God:' Cecille's Story

With support from scholarship, Theology doctoral student Cecille is learning “what it means to really live life within the life of God” at Marquette.

“As a PhD student in theology, I feel a tremendous amount of joy and purpose in what I do. Being able to study theology at the doctoral level has allowed me to write and read more, focus my interests, and share my work with others in conferences. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be at Marquette,” she said.

Through her roles as a teaching assistant for three courses, Cecille has connected with professors and students alike about theological pedagogy. In the unique position of student and teacher, she is learning how best to draw students to the mysteries of God, and she hopes to carry these lessons on to her own, future students by becoming a professor in theology.

Using her scholarship fund, Cecille’s main goal is to help Marquette’s Institute on Method in Theology by working with Fr. Joseph Ogbonnaya, S.J., and Fr. Robert Doran. Marquette’s Jesuit values allow her to study theology systematically and thoroughly and to share the significance of theological study, especially in this time in which many people are losing faith.

Cecille believes that, through scholarship, “we are able to reach many people and expand our understanding of the faith, leading us all closer to God.”

 

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Dental students on campus

Creating future smiles through dental scholarship

Marquette Dentistry alumnus Jeff Carpenter (Dent ‘86) is part of a dental legacy bridging from 1924—the graduation year of fellow Marquette alumnus Dr. Willard VerMeulen, whose practice Jeff first bought—to future generations of dental students thanks to his recently documented $1 million estate gift to scholarship.

“I’m concerned about the cost of education and wanted to help students,” Jeff said. Since Marquette had prepared him so well for his own dental career, he wanted to create a similar path for future Marquette dentists.

After reading one of our previous issues of Explorer, Jeff reached out to learn more and discovered that a planned giving approach allowed him to structure his support at a level that accomplished his desired impact.

The scholarship will provide tuition for one future dental student each year, with the recipient receiving support until graduation. In addition, Jeff’s commitment also honors his parents through the establishment of the named Dr. Herbert and Susan Carpenter Scholarship Fund. Jeff bought his father’s practice later in his career, and the two worked alongside until Herbert retired.

I’m very pleased with what Jeff is doing,” Herbert said of his son’s charitable choices. “It makes me very proud.”

Jeff explained his gratitude about his parents’ ability to help with his own schooling costs. “I was fortunate,” he said. “With this gift, I’d like to provide a boost for students that empowers them to lower their debt so they can graduate and make a little money. My hope is that it inspires recipients to give back too and continue to pay it forward.”

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Marquette students on sign

Scholarship and University Support: A Winning Pair

For Marquette alumna Joanne Topham (BUS AD ’70), education is a source of positive change for many of the world’s challenges — from overcoming poverty to supporting future families. She recently doubled down on helping people access Marquette’s life-changing education through planned gift commitments that provide both scholarship for students and unrestricted support for the university.

“Students are our future leaders,” she said. “Education gives them the tools to develop their leadership and contribute to society, yet it’s hard to afford without help. Philanthropy is my way of making a difference for them.”

Joanne particularly recognizes the difficulties of today’s tuition landscape, with the pandemic causing additional economic hardship and underscoring the costs of maintaining technology equity for students now learning online.

“Marquette was a wonderful experience for me,” she recalled. “It’s allowed me to have a fulfilling career and life, and I personally appreciated the Jesuit aspect of my education and how it guided my growth. I hope my scholarship will help students meet the challenge of tuition so they can access similar experiences.”

In addition to supporting students directly, Joanne also committed unrestricted funds to the university to provide Marquette with latitude to address emerging needs into the future.

“While I can’t know everything about the university’s long-term goals or critical needs of tomorrow, I see the value of giving Marquette’s administration the ability to react to those needs,” she said. She cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a great example of how this kind of support may allow Marquette to pivot quickly, enact safety measures and address other related needs.

“I strongly believe in the importance of education, and my planned gifts allow me to have an impact on students, the university and society,” Joanne said. “I’d encourage others to consider how they can make a difference in the world in areas they feel are important to them.”

“I hope my gift plays a small part in inspiring students to inspire others in turn.
To encourage them to look at their dream life path and say, ‘I can do that!’” – Joanne Topham

 

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Students in communications lab

 

Penning the future for communications students

Sylvia Wallace, Jour ’77, first considered Marquette because she longed to study journalism under then-J School Dean and Former White House Press Secretary George Reedy. Her decision came somewhat last minute, meaning less financial support from family and limited access to large scholarships, so Sylvia applied for dozens of small community scholarships to fund her education, working full time during school to make ends meet. 

“I wanted to take advantage of every possible opportunity to follow my dreams,” she recalls. “Tell me I can’t do something and watch me go. The financial challenges made getting there even sweeter.”

Now, through a $1 million estate pledge toward scholarship, Sylvia—along with her husband, Lon—hopes to alleviate that burden for future communication students.

“If I can make the financial struggle a bit easier for the next student who wants to take on the world through a bedrock Marquette education, then I’m giving back what the university gave me,” she says.

She and her husband have actively volunteered throughout their married lives and decided to pledge substantial gifts to each of their alma maters.

“I believed in ‘Be The Difference’ before it was a motto,” Sylvia jokes. “Our family has been so blessed, and I attribute the basis for it to my years at Marquette. We wanted to make an impact for others.”

Making that impact at a Jesuit school was also a draw for Sylvia, whose best friend went on to become a Jesuit priest.

“Marquette was a deeply meaningful place for me. Those four years taught me not only who I wanted to be, but how to get there. It was the beginning of the life I wanted and made everything in my life possible,” she says.

When Sylvia’s grandchildren were thinking about colleges, she and her husband advised them to consider a university that taught three things: how to focus, how to think critically about the world, and how to conduct themselves as young men or women. For her, those life lessons aligned at Marquette.

“When I graduated, I was ready to take it on!” she remembers. “I had the ability to do whatever I wanted with my life. It changed my world.”

To those considering similar gifts, Sylvia offers words of encouragement. “If you had a wonderful experience at Marquette and it set you on a life path, then why not give that same opportunity to someone else? Part of being the difference is reaching out to help the next generations,” she says. “It gives them the beginning of the rest of their lives. I will forever be grateful for my time at Marquette.”

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Black Alumni Association broadens student access with milestone gift

Black Alumni Association President Nkozi “Jay” Knight has a special place in his heart for Marquette’s Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. Scholarship. After all, he was a recipient of the scholarship when he attended Marquette, and he’s also the inspiration behind the scholarship’s recent $10,000 gift — the largest in its history since the gift that established its endowment.

“The scholarship helped out with books and went a long way for me as a student,” Nkozi says. “It was important for me to be able to pay it forward, and I’ve contributed ever since.”

The Black Alumni Association Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. Scholarship has been helping students since 2003 and currently provides two annual scholarship awards — one to support a student in Marquette’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and one to support a non-EOP student. Over the years, the scholarship has benefited 35 students, including Nkozi.

So when his company, Northwestern Mutual, offered employees the opportunity to submit essays about their chosen nonprofit organizations as part of a Days of Sharing charitable grant process, Nkozi jumped at the chance to build on his personal philanthropy and submitted Marquette and the Metcalfe Scholarship as his cause of choice. His application was selected, and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation contributed a $10,000 gift to the scholarship in his name.

“It’s so important for today’s students to see that we’re invested in their futures the way someone was invested in mine,” says Nkozi, who recently accepted a promotion to assistant director of contract, licensing and registration for Northwestern Mutual. “There are a lot of struggles right now, but it’s not the first time we’ve overcome. Rather than complaining from our couches, let’s build something together. Give back to your university, your high schools and middle schools and build a different world,” he encourages.

Supporting scholarship can make it easier for kids who are experiencing their first time away from home at Marquette, giving them the confidence and resources to persevere through the first-year challenges of university.

“I loved being a part of Marquette,” Nkozi recalls. “The teachers who poured interest into me are some of my favorite memories. They invested in me, filled me with the Jesuit servant leadership skillset, and made me a better student and person.”

Paying forward that investment is part of why Nkozi stays deeply involved in the alumni association and as a member of Marquette’s Annual Giving Campaign Committee.

“I’m involved as a way to give back to the community and build the future leaders of tomorrow,” he says. Those future leaders include his nephew — now a current student at Marquette.

“It’s a way of saying thank you to the university for giving me the opportunity to flourish and become the man I am today,” Nkozi says. “I hope to grow the scholarship and offer it to more people. If there’s ever a time to step up, it’s now as we come out of 2020. I really hope this gift inspires additional alumni giving – I want someone to beat my gift!” he jokes.

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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Dental students in a lab

Bringing dental values into the field

Marquette alumnus Daniel Cook, D.D.S., M.S., owned a private pediatric dental practice for 50 years before transitioning to teach pediatric dental residents at the University of Washington, where his current chief resident, Tessa Holmes, D.D.S., Dent ’19, is a Marquette alumna. He has a particular affinity for helping first-generation dental students and residents from around the world whose hard work can set them on successful life paths.

“Working with dental residents gives me an opportunity to help close the gap for them between learning dentistry and doing dentistry,” said Dan, Dent ’66, Grad ‘72. “To truly prepare people for being in the field, actively doing dentistry beyond the classroom.”

Dan’s passion for teaching and mentoring in pediatric dentistry inspired his recent planned gift to Marquette’s School of Dentistry, which will help provide upgrades in the pediatric dental clinic, enhancing students’ opportunity to learn in real-world spaces.

“I received an excellent education at Marquette, and much of what I have is due to that,” explained Dan. “I’ve been blessed. Providing this support will help perpetuate some of the things I believe in and create a reservoir of goodwill for graduating dental students.”

Beyond his most recent gift, Dan supports Marquette through an endowed scholarship. He also supported construction of the current dental school, making a gift in honor of his parents that is recognized on a special plaque within the facility.

“There are no words for how powerful that moment was for my parents to realize the gift had been made in their honor and to be present at the 2001 dedication of the dental school,” he said. “My parents taught me the value of work and the value of thinking. Marquette perpetuated that value system, and I believe values are transcendent. They bind us together.”

Your gift can Be The Difference. Give today.

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