Alumna gifts $2 million to Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government

Marquette University has received a $2 million gift from alumna Jackie Lewis to support its Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C.

More than 30 years ago, Lewis and her late husband, Robert, gifted Marquette the six-unit, three-story building near Capitol Hill where students stay when they enroll in the Les Aspin Center. Lewis also has funded recent renovations to the historic brownstone home where classes are held.

The Les Aspin Center offers a semester-long political science program featuring classes on both foreign and domestic public policy. The center is led by founder and director Rev. Timothy J. O’Brien.

The $2 million gift will name and endow the Rev. Timothy J. O’Brien Endowed Directorship for the Les Aspin Center for Government. Funds will support the director’s research, equipment and professional development travel opportunities for students to attend conferences. It will also support curriculum offerings to enhance the experience of students at the Les Aspin Center, the university said.

“More than 30 years ago, when Marquette first launched the Les Aspin Center for Government, Jackie was a trailblazer who helped turn a dream into a reality,” said Marquette University president Michael Lovell. “Today, we are so grateful that she is preserving this legacy program for future generations who will serve in successful public service careers around the world.”

Lewis graduated in 1960 from Marquette’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences.

“I was the first in my family to attend a college, and I’m forever grateful for my Marquette University scholarship,” Lewis said. “Marquette is the place where I learned how to think and reason, while studying logic and ethics. For many years, we have witnessed the impact of the Les Aspin Center and the transformation of countless leaders who complete the internship program.”

Last year, Marquette went public with its $750 million “Time to Rise” campaign goal, for which it has been raising funds since 2016. To date, it has raised more than $560 million.

“Jackie’s Time to Rise leadership gift to our Les Aspin Center for Government is especially inspiring because she is honoring a longstanding Marquette leader, while ensuring world-class leadership far into the future,” said vice president for university advancement Tim McMahon. “For decades, Jackie has generously supported our distinctive center and shaped the lives of Jesuit-educated leaders who study in the shadows of Capitol Hill.”

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