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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Burke Foundation recently gives university $7 million gift

Photo by Claire Gallagher
The Burke Foundation gives about six to 10 million dollars in the Milwaukee community, with about 40 grant partners.

The Burke Foundation recently committed $7 million to Marquette University, according to an Aug. 19 news release.

The foundation seeks to make a difference in the lives of youth by investing in “creative, well-conceived and cost-effective educational opportunities”, according to its website.

1956 College of Business Administration alumnus Dick Burke founded the Burke Foundation. He started Trek Bicycle, now one of the United States’ largest bicycle manufacturers, in a barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Burke stepped down from CEO of Trek in 1998, turning over the operation to his son.

The Burke scholarship is a full-tuition award given to 10 “academically talented Wisconsin high school seniors who exhibit leadership, have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community, and aspire to pursue careers that benefit the public good”, the website states.

Based on financial needs, the scholarship recipients may also receive a stipend based on their financial need.

Burke has contributed tens of millions of dollars to community organizations in the greater Milwaukee area, according to the foundation’s website. Before he passed away in 2008, Burke left his money to the foundation.

Tina Quealy, the executive director of the Burke Foundation, said one of Burke’s favorite things was investing in Milwaukee, specifically in young people.

“Marquette had a special place for Dick. The First Scholars Program and the Trinity Fellows programs are the first ever programs Dick ever started,” Quealy said.

He started the programs about 20 years ago, Quealy said. Quealy said Burke emulated aspects of the two programs, such as their simple frameworks, elsewhere.

Today, the Burke Foundation has given about $6-10 million in the Milwaukee community, with about 40 grant partners. The recent gift is not the first donation to Marquette from the foundation.

“We really support organizations that are dedicated to providing access and opportunity to Milwaukee youth,” Quealy said.

Quealy has never met Burke, but she said he was a true visionary who had a passion for creating change.

“He really saw the potential in young people and what they can do to change their communities given the right resources and support,” Quealy said. “It’s a really simple idea, but it has a magnitude of impact.”

Joseph Daniels, acting dean of the College of Business Administration, said business alumni are really engaged with both the college and university.

“Even though they’re business alumni, they’ve had successful careers in money management or accounting,” Daniels said. “Whatever the case may be, they’re contributing back to Marquette because of the experience they’ve had at Marquette.”

Daniels said the business school emphasizes business ethics because of the core Jesuit values taught at Marquette. He said students should be able to reflect on their educational period, finding classes they do and do not enjoy.

“Finding a balance between pride and humility, I think is very consistent with our values as well,” Daniels said.


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