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Wade’s jersey to be retired

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Wade, who attended Marquette from 2000-'03 and led the men's basketball team to a Final Four appearance in 2003, will see his jersey retired during halftime of the men's basketball game against Providence.,”

When Dwyane Wade's No. 3 is retired Saturday at the Bradley Center, the event will mark the first time in the program's 90-year history that a player will receive the honor prior to his graduation.

Wade, who attended Marquette from 2000-'03 and led the men's basketball team to a Final Four appearance in 2003, will see his jersey retired during halftime of the men's basketball game against Providence. He will be the ninth player to have his number hang from the rafters.

Although the nature of Wade's retirement is unprecedented, Marquette faculty members reached for comment did not object to the decision.

"I don't see it as a problem," said Chester Loeffler-Bell, adjunct assistant professor of performing arts and men's basketball season-ticket holder. "You look at everything he's done in the community, and with his ties to his church. I mean, obviously he was a worthy player. I think the time is right."

Wade is in his fourth NBA season with the Miami Heat, which will be in town to play the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night.

"If he was someone who I thought would never finish his degree, or someone who I thought didn't take his education seriously, then I would take issue with (the jersey retiring)," said Paula Gillespie, associate professor of English.

Gillespie, who also is the director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center, mentored Wade once a week when he was sidelined in 2000-'01 per NCAA Proposition 48, which establishes academic eligibility requirements for Division I student-athletes. His writing skills improved immensely due to a tenacious work ethic, she said.

"I can understand why (the administration) would retire his number early," Gillespie said. "And it's not just because of his celebrity. It's because of his character."

Wade is widely believed to have been a theatre major while at Marquette – a misconception. He never declared a theatre major, according to Department Chair Phylis Ravel.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 prohibited administrators from disclosing information regarding Wade's course of study. Most alumni are unaware of or choose not to exercise the right; Wade exercised the right, according to Gary Meyer, associate dean of the College of Communication.

In 65 games during the 2001-'02 and 2002-'03 seasons, Wade averaged 19.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks. He was named an Associated Press All-American in his junior season before being selected fifth by the Miami Heat in the 2003 NBA Draft. In June 2006, Wade led the Heat to an NBA title and was named NBA Finals MVP.

"I'm honored and humbled to be recognized in this way by Marquette University," Wade said in a press release. "To see my jersey hang in the rafters with all the other great players in Marquette basketball history is a tremendous honor."

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