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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Fr. Leonhardt an uplifting figure around campus

In addition to the usual mix of students and resident assistants filling up McCabe Hall, Marquette’s newest residence hall has another less traditional occupant. The Rev. Doug Leonhardt, McCabe’s hall minister, lives in the building to guide, listen to and provide religious support for its residents.

“He is really down to earth and a great listener,” said John Wright, a former resident of Abbottsford Hall, where Leonhardt served as hall minister in 2007. “He also can relate to students really well.”

Wright, a senior in the College of Business Administration, has known Leonhardt since his freshman year, and said he is very kind hearted and easy to talk to.

Even though Leonhardt might not always remember names, he always remembers faces and never hesitates to say hello, Wright said.

Wright recalled a time when he was on Orientation Staff and was giving a tour to a group of freshmen.

“Even though Leonhardt could not remember my name, he came up energetically and said hello, making the moment very welcoming for the freshmen,” Wright said.

Another former Abbottsford resident, Tom Nass, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said in an e-mail “you are always greeted with a warm smile and a hearty handshake, or in (my) case a very firm shoulder grab.”

“This is indicative of who he is on the inside, a man compelled by God to bring happiness to all,” Nass said. “He has helped me become a more loving person dedicated to Jesuit ideas.”

In addition to having served as hall minister of Abbottsford Hall, O’Donnell Hall and currently McCabe Hall, Leonhardt also works as the chaplain for the College of Education and associate vice president of Marquette’s Office of Mission and Ministry.

Having formerly worked as a teacher, principal and president at Marquette University High School, Leonhardt said he feels a personal connection to his position as chaplain for Marquette’s education majors and faculty.

“I understand what the College of Education is doing to create great teachers, administrators and counselors and enjoy being a pastoral resource for faculty,” Leonhardt said.

In the Office of Mission and Ministry, Leonhardt said he works with individuals and puts on programs for staff, faculty and administrators to help them understand Marquette’s mission.

“As Jesuit priests get fewer and fewer, we need make sure that staff and faculty know and help to carry out the mission,” Leonhardt said.

The Rev. Edward Mathie has known Leonhardt since 1956, when they met studying to become Jesuits.

Mathie said Leonhardt is a great role model.

“He has, along with the Office of Mission and Ministry, a tremendous gift that very few people have to set up programs to help people understand Marquette’s mission statement and how to live it out,” Mathie said.

Mathie’s most memorable experience with Leonhardt was his support when his father passed away.

“He was very helpful in making funeral arrangements, and it was nice just knowing he was by my side,” Mathie said.

Wright said Leonhardt is a great spokesperson for Marquette, and his leadership roles are very in tune with helping promote the university.

“He challenges people, but is very consoling and uplifting,” Wright said.

Mathie described Leonhardt as very compassionate, and compared his personality to that of the Energizer Bunny.

“He has enormous amounts of energy,” Mathie said. “He is up early at 5 a.m. every morning, and works until late at night, along with that he goes every weekend to help parishes around Milwaukee.”

Nass said Leonhardt is a father figure to many people including me, and not just in the priestly manner.

“He is always looking out for you, calling you to something better with his radiant smile and genuine love for all creation,” Nass said.

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