Stanek family gives $2 million to Marquette University

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Baird executive Mary Ellen Stanek and her husband, Dr. Scott Stanek, have pledged more than $2 million to Marquette University.

The gift supports multiple scholarship funds totaling $1.5 million, and includes endowed funds and Marquette’s Bridge to the Future Fund, which provides immediate support to students experiencing financial strain from the coronavirus.

Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and chief investment officer of Baird Advisors and president of Baird Funds, launched the Bridge to the Future Fund in 2008 while serving as chair of the university’s board of trustees to help students affected by the Great Recession.

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The gift will also support two academic initiatives: the new home for Marquette’s business and innovation leadership programs and a School of Dentistry program that will train future dentists in caring for patients with special needs.

“I am incredibly humbled and encouraged by the Stanek family for both investing in our future and stepping up for our students and community during a time when they need it most,” Marquette president Michael Lovell said. “Scott and Mary Ellen’s leadership and generosity to Marquette University over many decades have been truly inspiring.”

The Staneks’ gift puts the university close to its $60 million campaign goal for the planned new business building at 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. Leaders have raised nearly $59 million to date for the project.

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Mary Ellen and Scott Stanek, both Marquette alumni, are serving as national co-chairs for the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“Marquette is where it all came together. We received a great education and a call to use that gift in service to others,” Mary Ellen Stanek said. “In spite of today’s challenges, we see tremendous promise ahead and we are proud to support students as well as programs that embody academic excellence.”

The university said the Staneks’ gift to the Dentistry School will help address the need among special adult need patients who face challenges accessing oral health care. The donation will help develop special needs programming that will include observational rotations, clinical experiences and general practice residency opportunities.

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“This clinic will significantly change people’s lives for the better, and it fits so well with Marquette’s mission to serve,” said Scott Stanek, a graduate of Marquette’s School of Dentisry.

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