President’s message

When great challenges face Marquette University, it is the individuals who were formed by and have embraced their Ignatian-inspired education who inherently understand how to respond. Then they take action.

Ray, Law ’49, and Kay, Sp ’49, Eckstein, for decades, have demonstrated their love and appreciation for their Catholic, Jesuit education through their great support for Marquette. I’ve known them for just a few years. It’s easy to see their great devotion to Marquette, most prominently through their record-breaking gift that helped create Eckstein Hall.

We are again seeing their love and appreciation for Marquette through their willingness to provide us with yet another transformational gift for our urgently needed student residence development. When in conversation with them about the project, I was deeply moved both by their extraordinarily generous response and desire to recognize their dear friend, Rev. Robert Wild, S.J., by requesting that the project honor him.

By making their gift a challenge — the Ecksteins have committed $10 million to match the contributions of others who will join this tribute to Father Wild by giving another $10 million — more wonderful Marquette alumni are taking action. When I asked Emeritus Trustee John Bergstrom, Bus Ad ’67, what he thought of the Eckstein Challenge, he told me he wanted to lead it. Two days later, he told me he also wanted to make a significant donation. Mind you, John is in a continuing fight against cancer. Nonetheless, he finds time between treatments to text or email me challenge progress reports. I know it’s a great source of pride for John that his son, Tim, Bus Ad ’99, who currently serves on our Board of Trustees, is helping to manage pursuit of the challenge.

Through the challenge, the Ecksteins and the Bergstroms demonstrate their gratitude and appreciation for Marquette University in their lives. They confirm for me these words spoken by Rev. Ed Mathie, S.J., “Father Eddie” as he’s often called on campus: “Ignatian spirituality is so much about gratitude and thanksgiving. Everything we have, every gift and talent, we clearly say is from God. Not only that, but we look around the world and everything around us is created for us. It’s a whole, entire sense of gratitude.”

These appropriate words are even more inspiring when our alumni act on them. I know there are many more alumni who will reflect on their time at Marquette and want to join this movement. Learn more about the Eckstein Challenge online at or contact Associate Vice President James Hansen at (414) 288-4588 or

Dr. Michael R. Lovell

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