Marquette Athletics energizes new initiative, visibility for women’s athletics

Alumni gifts establish first full-tuition endowed scholarship for female student-athletes, the largest donation from a fund of excellence for women’s basketball

Marquette Athletics today announced the new Time to Rise: Elevating Excellence in Women’s Athletics initiative to champion women’s athletics and honor the upcoming 50th anniversary of Title IX. The initiative focuses on increasing scholarship support and excellence funding in Marquette’s seven NCAA-level women’s athletics programs.

“Marquette has a long history of excellence in women’s athletics, and this initiative will have a significant impact on our prestigious programs,” said President Michael R. Lovell. “Come to any of our women’s team events and you will see the love that our fans, alumni and students have for these great student-athletes and leaders.”

Marquette has a strong heritage of success in women’s athletics, beginning with tennis, volleyball, and basketball in 1975 and 1976. For Marquette student-athletes to continue to achieve success in the classroom, on the field, and in community, the Sport Excellence Funds are separate funds from normal operating budgets and are used to maintain and enhance the student-athlete experience. Excellence funds are essential for coaches so programs can remain competitive in recruiting, upgrade technology, travel abroad and provide leadership development opportunities for current and future female Golden Eagles.

“Our women’s athletics programs are a true beacon for the university, and our student-athletes and coaches become incredible role models for young women,” said Bill Scholl, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics.

Champion through scholarships

the elevating excellence Initiative is catalyzed by the creation of the first full-tuition endowed scholarship for women’s athletics thanks to an estate pledge from Marquette alumni couple Michael, Bus Ad ’74, Grad ’75, and Barbara, Bus Ad ’76 , Klein. The couple has also established an endowed women’s basketball scholarship and has provided annual support to the women’s basketball excellence fund.

“For the student-athlete recipient, the scholarship is an opportunity to live the Marquette experience. We hope our support will open doors and lay the groundwork for student-athletes to thrive during their time on campus, as part of a Marquette team, and after they graduate,” the Kleins said. “The women’s basketball program is on a very positive trajectory. Coach Duffy has done a great job developing our student-athletes and preparing them to be successful in the world beyond the court.”

Head women’s basketball coach Megan Duffy is off to the best start to two years of any coach in Marquette women’s basketball history, going 43-15 and 27-9 at BIG EAST. The Kleins hope her donation will provide the university with a powerful national recruiting tool and a base from which to build more support.

As 51-year-old season ticket holders for men’s basketball and first-time season ticket holders for women’s basketball, the Kleins are passionate about Marquette Athletics. They often donate their tickets to local Boys & Girls Clubs members, who can walk across campus and start imagining themselves in Marquette, especially while attending women’s basketball at the Al McGuire Center.

“The reputation of our women’s teams speaks to the tremendous enthusiasm and support from the university, our fans and our entire Marquette family,” Duffy said. “For basketball and beyond, the idea of Elevating excellence in women’s athletics will give our student-athletes, and incoming student-athletes, even more opportunities as part of their time at Marquette.”

Expansion of resources for excellence

Alumnus Bob Sobczak, Ing ’71, Grad ’74, launched the elevating excellence even higher initiative through the donation of the university’s largest fund of excellence for women’s athletics.

“I am pleased to report to the Marquette Women’s Basketball Excellence Fund,” said Sobczak, who with his late wife Nancy, Ing ’70, Grad ’72, ’07, has supported a variety of scholarships at Marquette. “After watching these young women play basketball together year after year and getting to know them individually, it was clear that they are exemplars of what it means to be competitive in college athletics. They are building their own history and encouraging a growing fan base to come to the Marquette campus and watch women’s basketball.”

the Elevating excellence in women’s athletics The initiative reflects a groundswell of support for women’s athletics at Marquette, an energy and enthusiasm closely tied to the university. Time to wake up philanthropic campaign. To date in the campaign, Marquette has raised $3.6 million for women’s sports excellence funds and awarded scholarships for women’s sports.

Those inspired to invest in the development and success of Marquette student-athletes can learn more at give.marquette.edu/womens-excellence.

Time to wake up: The Marquette promise to be the difference

Marquette’s $750 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in Marquette’s 140-year history, is raising resources to advance the university’s mission and pillars of excellence, leadership, faith and service. The university has raised more than $582 million to date, which is 77% of its goal. More than 56,000 donors have already supported Time to Rise, including 44% of donors who make their first donation to the university.

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