Marquette honors Wild with sendoff celebration

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Marquette University will honor former president Rev. Robert Wild S.J., at a sendoff event tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee.
The celebration of Wild’s 15 year career at Marquette will culminate with the announcement of the fundraising total raised by trustees in Wild’s name over the past year.
According to Julie Tolan, vice president for university advancement, she expects the total amount raised to exceed the $30 million goal set by the trustees.
“It is not uncommon for the trustees to make a gift to the University in honor of a president,” Tolan said. “The trustees knew that, more than anything, the most important goal for Father Wild was improving access for students to receive a Marquette education.”
More than 2,300 individuals have contributed to scholarships in honor of Father Wild. The grand total for endowed and current use scholarships, which includes 10 seven-figure gifts, will be announced at the event.
Wild, 71, will officially retire on June 31. Nearly 800 alumni, community leaders, and faculty are expected to attend the event at the Bradley Center.
The program will include a video presentation of Wild’s life which will be narrated by sportscaster Dick Enberg.
According to Tolan, in the past 15 years Wild has raised more than $800 million for the university, including more than $200 million for scholarships and several eight-figure gifts that have accelerated campus construction projects, including new law and engineering buildings.
The university will have completed more than $375 million of construction, renovation and beautification projects on buildings including the Al McGuire Center, Raynor Library, School of Dentistry and Zilber Hall during Wild’s presidency.
Undergraduate applications to Marquette quadrupled, from approximately 5,000 applications to nearly 22,000 for fall 2011. At the same time, he stressed the importance of access to higher education, significantly increasing funding for student financial aid and creating scholarship programs specifically targeted at underserved populations, Tolan said.
Wild will be succeeded by Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., who most recently served as president of the University of Scranton.
Tickets to the sendoff are still available for $250 a person and can be obtained by calling Marquette’s special events office at 414-288-7431.

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