Saturday, July 21, 2007

Front Page News

The celebration by the Marquette University High School community of the institution's 150th anniversary made the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday. Tomorrow is the "great homecoming," followed by a Mass at the Al McGuire Center and a huge party at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin.

In the Journal Sentinel article, correspondent Alan J. Borsuk writes:

Some things do change at Marquette High. But look at all the things that haven't changed over the past 150 years - it's still in the heart of the city, still all-boys, still Jesuit, still producing a generous portion of the political, judicial, corporate and civic leaders of the city.

The school will celebrate its 150th birthday Saturday; its roots go back nearly to the founding of Milwaukee.

Borsuk continues:

Among the things that have changed at Marquette High is the student body. It remains predominantly white, but the diversity has grown to resemble the Milwaukee area as a whole - 21% of the students were minority group members this past year, including 90 Hispanic students and 70 African-Americans. There were 93 students - about 9% of the total - who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch and 25 students who attended using publicly funded vouchers available to low-income families in the city.

Tuition in 2006-'07 was $8,040, and 31% of the students received financial aid, averaging $3,900 per student.

Sazama said 85% of the students were Catholic and 95% Christian.

The academics are ambitious, and only a handful of students do not go to college. And there is an institutional expectation that these students are going to be leaders of the community.

Gurda added that a downside to that is a sense of elitism among students. In his class, he said, some graduated "with a little higher opinion of themselves than might have been warranted."

But, he said, "If you look at the leadership of most Milwaukee institutions, you'll find someone from Marquette High not too far from the center of influence."

One of the leaders of note to emerge from Marquette High is Milwaukee Mayor (and former Congressman) Tom Barrett (Class of 1972). Others mentioned in a sidebar are Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (Class of 1974) and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm (Class of 1981).

An article marking the anniversary also appeared earlier this week in In it, senior editor Drew Olson writes:

In recent weeks, asked several Marquette High graduates to list the most memorable moments from their time at the school and to talk about the impact it had on their adult lives. Almost universally, the responses touched upon friendship, the Jesuit education and the public service awareness fostered by the Shared Life program that requires students to volunteer for two weeks at 75 different schools and other agencies.

"Marquette teaches its students to be 'men for others,'" said Dan Smyczek, director of public relations for the Bucks. "When I look back to that instruction, along with the terrific example from my parents, I think it provided a solid foundation."

Jon Greenberg, president of the Admirals hockey team, agreed. "I believe that Marquette really helped me to reinforce the morals and values that my parents tried to teach me growing up," Greenberg said. "Between the Jesuit faculty and the lay teachers, it was very evident that I was learning from people of a high-moral caliber.

"My advisor, Father Don Driscoll, passed away recently and we had a memorial service for him at the high school and the amount of students from many eras of Marquette High that came to pay tribute reconfirmed to me that I learned from a special person in a building full of special people.

"Marquette has long had a history of supporting the Merrill Park neighborhood, as well as the rest of the city. The students get out and make an impact in the city in the Senior Shared Life project. Many of us have gone on to bigger things... The things we all learned at Marquette are things that help us every day in how we think and act."

Barrett called the school "a place that nurtures leadership and service as well."

"The teachers expected a lot from you," Barrett said. "I would say on a personal note, what it did for me is it gave me confidence.

"It was, I think, a really good education that allowed me to do better in college than I did in high school. I think that's an experience for a lot of students there."

Later, Olson lists some notable MUHS alumni:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke; Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his predecessor, E. Michael McCann; multiple municipal and circuit court judges; Peter Bonerz, actor and director on "The Bob Newhart Show" and others; Terry Brennan, University of Notre Dame running back and coach; Rick Majerus, head basketball coach at St. Louis University; Spencer Tracy, Oscar winning actor (attended but did not graduate); Harry Quadracci, founder of Quad/Graphics Inc. in Sussex; James T. Barry III, president and chief executive officer of Colliers Barry, Milwaukee; John Cary, executive director of the MACC Fund, Milwaukee; Ward and Lincoln Fowler, founders of Alterra Coffee Roasters; Bill Bertha, president of U.S. Bank's Wisconsin division; John Shiely, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton Corp.; Michael Dunn, senior vice president and dean of Medical College of Wisconsin; Jon Greenberg, president of the Admirals; Dan Meyer, publisher of Small Business Times; Pat Dunphy, attorney at Cannon & Dunphy S.C.; Dan Smyczek, public relations director for the Bucks. John Stollenwerk, chairman of Allen-Edmonds; Paul Piaskoski, news anchor for the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts for CBS 58; John Horning, executive vice president of Shorewest Realtors.
On Friday evening, I had a chance to reconnect with several old friends from the Class of 1977, who had gathered for an advance opportunity to catch up before the bigger events planned for Saturday. If last night's rush of conversation is any indication, I had better rest my voice for the next 12 hours or so -- it will be needed, and it will be used up by the time the Festa Italiana fireworks punctuate the anniversary celebration.

Update: Somehow I missed this rather interesting article in Friday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the chalice to be used at Saturday's Mass at the Al McGuire Center. The chalice is reputed to have belonged to Father Jacques Marquette, the namesake of MUHS. The provenance of the chalice is in dispute, however. Tom Heinen reports.

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