Marquette to offer 40 full-tuition scholarships for Milwaukee high school grads

Leaders commit to increasing diversity and improving the experience of Black students

Marquette University has begun fundraising for a new initiative that will provide full-tuition scholarships to 40 graduating high school seniors from the city of Milwaukee.

It’s one of several recently announced investments that the university will make in an effort to increase the diversity of its student body and improve the experience of Black students on campus.

In a letter to the university community, president Michael Lovell and provost Kimo Ah Yun said the new four-year scholarships for Milwaukee students will be offered annually beginning the fall of 2021. The university will also develop a strategy related to “pipeline programs,” Lovell and Ah Yun said.

The university also plans to raise funds for a new on-campus cultural center for Black students, which will provide mentoring and tutoring. It also plans to hold fundraising campaigns for Black student housing and emergency funds, to help cover books, food and other education-related expenses.

As students participated in a recent demonstration against racial injustice, Marquette senior leaders met with the Black Student Council and other students about specific action steps the university can take to address racism on campus.

“Their stories made vividly clear that racism — both systemic racism and racist, discriminatory actions — are part of our campus life,” Lovell and Ah Yun said in their letter. “Sadly, the stories they shared are not new, especially for our Black students. They were highlighted in our climate study in 2015 and have been spoken about by our students, alumni, staff and faculty for many years.”

In addition to the new scholarship program, cultural center and additional financial support for Black students, the student representative and administrators agreed on several other action steps. They include:

  • Reviewing and revising current policies regarding hate speech and racist behavior, along with working toward creating a Black Living Learning Community in a residence hall.
  • Hiring a Black student liaison responsible for tracking progress of initiatives and programs aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of Black students and improving the campus climate.
  • Developing a training program that will be mandatory for all faculty, staff and students dedicated to raising awareness of bias, harassment and discrimination faced by Black students and other student populations.
  • Creating a standing committee to address, discuss and implement initiatives and programs designed to increase the recruitment, retention and success of Black students at Marquette, and to improve the climate for Black students at Marquette.
  • Continued support for the Race, Ethnic and Indigenous Studies faculty hiring initiative, and recruitment of Black resident assistants for its residence halls.
  • Exploring bringing Black-owned businesses to campus and expanding the number of Black-owned businesses that supply goods and services to Marquette.

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