It runs in the family:
Dennis, Arts '64, Law '67, and Mary Pat, Arts '64 Sage
There are many ways to honor one's family legacy. Dennis Sage, Arts '64, Law '67 and Mary Pat Sage, Arts '64, found a way to honor theirs that also helps Marquette student-athletes launch legacies of their own.
They established the Mary P. and Dennis Sage Endowed Track and Field Scholarship Fund in 2011 and intend to increase the scholarship's impact by transferring future required minimum distributions from a charitable IRA they established into their scholarship fund.
"We can avoid the tax liability and help the charity of our choice," says Dennis. "I'd like to see our scholarship fund grow and grow and grow!"
It runs in the family
"We have a family history in track and field," explains Dennis. In 1936 his father, Joe Sage, set a Minnesota state high school record for the half-mile that wasn't broken until 1958. That same year, Dennis was an undefeated state champion at his high school. When his father was transferred and moved the family to Oklahoma, Dennis ran for his new high school and won the state championship there. "I was state champion in two states in one year," he laughs.
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Dennis and Mary's four sons were all high school track powerhouses, in particular, their youngest, Tom, who was a two-time state champion at Catholic Memorial in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Tom later came to Marquette and ran for the Golden Eagles, turning in outstanding performances in the decathlon.
That's when Dennis and Mary learned that while Marquette track had more members than any other university team, there was only one scholarship dedicated for track student athletes.
"So we set up a scholarship for the track team," says Dennis. "A lot of these kids are extraordinary students. They train 25 to 30 hours a week and still get good grades. They really don't have time for jobs. They need a little help along the way."
Wisdom of the Jesuits
Dennis started at Marquette in 1959 then left to explore a possible vocation as a priest or a brother. He spent some time with the St. John Baptist de LaSalle Christian Brothers, an order primarily devoted to education of the poor and disadvantaged. When he returned to Marquette, he was required to take a theology class even though he had taken quite a bit with the Brothers. In his theology class was a girl named Mary Pat.
"Every time I turned around I ran into her," recalls Dennis. "Later I found out she wanted to get to know me better." They got to know each other better. "We met because the Jesuits made me take theology!"
Dedication to Education
"We have a tremendous dedication to education," says Dennis. He cites this as among the reasons he was drawn to the ministry of the Christian Brothers. "Mary Pat taught fifth grade at a Catholic school. We like to support Catholic schools; kids who graduate from them seem to do really well in college," says Dennis. "What's that expression, 'Pay it forward?' We want to be able to help young men and women get an education. Maybe they'll do the same for somebody else someday."