Marquette Univ. receives $5M gift for priest residence

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Marquette University received a $5 million gift from Ray and Kay Eckstein through their charitable trust for a new on-campus residence for its community of Jesuit priests. The gift was revealed on Tuesday, March 18th.

In late January, Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., interim president, announced that an anonymous donor gave a lead gift of $10 million, with $7.5 million dedicated to the new Jesuit Residence and the remainder going to need-based scholarships. The $15 million fundraising effort for the Jesuit Residence project is being funded entirely from donations. Construction and work will include renovations to the center of campus and will begin once fundraising is completed.

The trustees for the Ray & Kay Eckstein Charitable Trust said the Ecksteins answered the call for funding of Marquette’s new Jesuit Residence because of Ray Eckstein’s lifelong attachment to the Jesuits. Ray attended Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wis., and he and his wife both attended Marquette University. Ray attributes his successful business ventures to the “solid cornerstone of education the Jesuits provided him.”

In May 2007, the Ecksteins donated $51 million to Marquette University toward construction of a new Law School facility. At the time, the gift was the largest ever made by individuals to a Wisconsin college or university, and is one of the largest ever to a law school in the United States.