Strategic planning: JAN. 27, 2014

Dear Marquette Colleagues:

As we begin 2014 and a new semester, we continue to navigate a time of significant change and challenge in American higher education. Since my return as Interim President, I have been reminded of the intelligence, passion, and resourcefulness of our university community. It’s no surprise to see these qualities represented in Marquette’s online 2013 Year in Review with its coverage of everything from the successful launch of this university’s first massive open online course (MOOC) to the introduction of a mobile legal clinic for those in our community who struggle with their legal needs. It was also gratifying to see Marquette recognized by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as a contributor of several Big Ideas to our region and the world.

Your talent and ingenuity as faculty and staff are among Marquette’s most valuable resources as we respond to the challenging financial realities that face higher education today. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the formation of the department and college-level financial review and budget reduction plans submitted in mid-December. The President’s Advisory Group, comprised of Interim Provost Margaret Callahan, Vice President for Finance Chuck Lamb, Vice President of Planning Tom Ganey, and me, have begun reviewing these plans in thorough fashion.   While we certainly appreciate that people are understandably anxious to learn in a timely manner the decisions resulting from this effort, we on the Advisory Group do need to be reflective and careful in conducting this review so as to serve well this great university and all the people associated with it. 

Let me underscore again why we are engaged in this process. We are not in crisis, we continue to run in the black as we have done for at least the last fifteen years, and our endowment is steadily growing, as is our fund raising. At the same time, we are clear that we cannot continue to increase our tuition at the rate we have in the past – the strain is becoming too great for our families. In addition, if we are to implement the excellent strategic plan that so many of you helped to craft, we will need to generate through our operations sufficient funds to accomplish that. On both counts our students, our families and, it seems to me, we ourselves expect no less.

Fortunately, from what I have seen to date, the plans to accomplish these results that were submitted by the various deans and vice presidents are detailed, thoughtful, and creative. I know they will serve us well in ensuring that Marquette becomes ever more efficient and effective in its administrative operations so that we can continue to offer our students an education that is both transformative and affordable and support well the research activities of our faculty.

There is much to be excited about at Marquette. To that end, I’m pleased to share with you that we have received a $10 million gift that will help both to fund a much-needed new Jesuit Residence to replace the present 1404 building which is plagued with an increasing array of major maintenance problems and to provide further scholarship support for talented students of limited financial means, always a high priority for the university. In addition, more than 24,000 students have applied for admittance to next fall’s freshman class, over $35 million has been raised to date by our advancement team, and our endowment funds currently hover around the half billion dollar mark. We are also just a few weeks away from this year’s Mission Week, our annual celebration of Marquette’s Catholic and Jesuit mission. This year’s activities will take place the week of February 2-7 and explore the theme, “The Art and Practice of Forgiveness.”  In mid-March, I look forward to delivering a state-of-the-university address. Reflecting our adoption of the “strong provost” model, Interim Provost Margaret Callahan will join me at that time in addressing the university community.

As we embark on this new semester, I thank you again for all the good work you have done and are continuing to do for Marquette University. I pray regularly that our loving and gracious God will bless our students, our alumni and benefactors, and all of us, and I am sure that many of you do the same. Thanks indeed!

Robert A. Wild, S.J.
Interim President
Marquette University

Strategic Planning image

Beyond Boundaries

Branded Strategic Plan Document CoverApproved by Marquette's Board of Trustees in
May 2013, Beyond Boundaries: Setting the Course for Marquette's Future builds on the bold spirit that has always blessed Marquette University. In seeking to carry forward this tradition today, the university community collectively developed a clear vision of the qualities that must distinguish the Marquette of tomorrow. This strategic plan website was established as a vehicle for the campus community to learn about the strategic plan development and implementation process.