Marquette Wire

Wild addresses good, bad issues

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When Wild talked about the Marquette sports move to the Big East conference, the audience interrupted with clapping.

“As far as the present goes, it has been a wonderful time for us.” Wild said at the opening of his address.

The completing and opening of the Raynor Library and the library’s popularity was also brought up. Wild said that in one semester last year, 40,000 students went through the turnstyles at the library entrance; this year 100,000 students went through in the month of September alone.

Wild said a long-time neighbor commented on the trees that stand in the middle of West Wisconsin Avenue and the brick portal entries at North 16th and North 11th streets as a result of the administration’s Marquette Beautification Project.

“‘You drive down the avenue and you’re proud to be here,'” Wild quoted the neighbor as saying.

“These have been good days, even great days for Marquette,” Wild said.

With all the positive accomplishments over the past year, Wild said “this is a special point in history that we can build on.” He asked the gathered crowd if the university should stick with what they have or move forward.

“We should celebrate the progress we have made so far, but not stop there,” said Marilyn Bugenhagen, director of the Alumni Memorial Union. “There is so much potential here at Marquette. We need to listen to all the voices of our community to continue to strive for excellence.”

Wild said “there is no way of knowing how to move from a truly good university to a great university,” but he outlined three areas that need to be focused on. Those areas were enrollment, endowments and gender equity issues.

Calling the student enrollment the bread and butter of the university, Wild said it shouldn’t be just a numbers game and cramming the classrooms and residence halls full is a disservice to the students. He called for a reduction in the class size for next year.

“I thought the president’s address was reflective of the progress of the last year, honest in the work we have before us and visionary for the future,” university provost Madeline Wake said. “The fact that Father Wild stated clearly that he would not ‘sugar coat’ our fall in minority students in the freshman class was important, as was his pledge to correct that.”

In addition to filling residence halls, Wild said the students did not benefit from attending a university that did not have a diverse student body. The freshmen class saw a decrease in the number of diverse students.

“We did not do so terrifically in this this year,” Wild said. “We are not doing right by our students if we keep them in a homogenous place.”

Wild said he was unsure why there was a decline in the number of diverse students, but mentioned that it might have to do with the fact that the application deadline was pushed up.

Bugenhagen said she sees Wild’s comments as a springboard.

“Strategic planning will help us to commit to the long term on how Marquette becomes an inclusive university,” she said. “It will require changes that will be exciting and challenging.”

When compared to other schools, “our endowment is not up to task,” Wild said. Marquette is ranked 177 for endowments among other universities.

“Frankly we don’t stack up that well,” Wild said.

Wild suggested several ways to increase the endowment including giving strategic scholarships to students, engaging more alumni and looking inward.

“We want to keep the (student) discount rate down,” so that the money can be available for other university projects, Wild said

The alumni are a large, virtually untapped source. Wild said less than 20 percent of alumni donate to the school.

“We need to tap the time, talent and treasure of the alumni,” Wild said.

Beyond the enrollment size and the low endowment figures, Wild talked about the advances that have been made over the year to ensure that all faculty and staff members have the same opportunities.

“We want the faculty to say, ‘Yes I have just as much opportunity as others, yes I am judged by my work … and yes I am treated as a person in the image and likeness of God,”‘ Wild said.

Wild ended his speech by saying that the effort to become a great university will be ongoing but worth it.

“The pressure to become more generic and secular will always be there,” Wild said. “It is much more ambitious to start with some good and make it even better.”

Wake said she felt Wild made the point “that while we strive to be an ever better university, we will do so in a manner true to Marquette. We do not aspire to be other — only more true.”

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