The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

STAFF EDITORIAL: Philanthropist honors his roots

Members of Marquette’s extended family share the utmost respect and gratitude for Zilber, who passed away last Friday, as he has helped revitalize Milwaukee.

Expanding beyond simple monetary contributions, Zilber’s efforts have provided a foundation for Marquette to build upon.

Since the 1930s, Zilber has continually encouraged growth and prosperity in Milwaukee. The philanthropist’s contributions can also be seen throughout our own campus, especially in the Law School.

As part of his 2007 initiative, “New Potential for Milwaukee,” Zilber donated $30 million to Marquette.

Of that, $5 million was put toward the construction of Eckstein Hall — the heart of which will bear the name Zilber Forum.

The remaining $25 million went to fund scholarships for law students. In honor of these generous donations, the university named its new administrative building Joseph and Vera Zilber Hall.

The $25 million endowment complements his pre-existing scholarship program, Zilber Scholars, enabling students to pursue an education and career in law that they may not have had access to otherwise.

Contributions like Zilber’s have helped to propel the Law School to become an esteemed institution — in fact, Marquette Law School is among the top 100 law schools in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Reports.

In response to Zilber’s 2007 gift, University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild said, “He is a wonderful example of what we strive to instill in Marquette graduates: leadership through service to others.”

However, Zilber’s contributions were by no means bound to Marquette.

The man cherished his hometown of Milwaukee. Among his many real estate endeavors, Zilber was actively involved in the renovation of Pabst Brewery.

Additionally, in summer of 2008, Zilber, established the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, in one of his most notable acts of generosity

Over a 10-year period, the Zilber Family Foundation will implement grants totaling $50 million — the largest gift of its kind in Milwaukee history — to benefit impoverished areas in the city.

Though his grant is sizable, Zilber knew it wouldn’t fulfill all the needs of Milwaukee’s neglected neighborhoods.

Zilber made the donation with hope that the initiative would prompt other philanthropists to contribute additional funds and efforts.

Zilber’s constant support for Marquette and Milwaukee is immeasurable.

He made a difference in the lives of many, to which a simple “Thank you” will never suffice.

Rather, the foundation built by his contributions can and should be amplified. Zilber is a role model. Others should be encouraged to be the difference, just as he was.

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