Marquette’s Catholic and Jesuit identity will be enriched for generations to come thanks to the vision and generosity of alumni Nancy and Bill Stemper. The Stempers have committed more than $1 million to fund the Bill and Nancy Stemper Endowment for Excellence in Catholic Faith Formation, which will expand programming and services to deepen Catholic, Jesuit faith development among Marquette students.
“With this gift, Nancy and Bill are profoundly infusing campus faith formation throughout Marquette,” said President Michael R. Lovell. “Our Catholic, Jesuit identity guides us forward and is foundational to our strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries. The Stempers’ remarkable generosity and vision will now broaden the opportunities for more and more students to experience our faith-based activities, retreats, sacred spaces and service trips.”
The Stempers have seen the impact of a Marquette education across four generations, including all four of their children. “Your degree conditions you for your career; faith becomes your guiding star forever,” said Bill, a 1977 graduate. “To have that anchor and fortification helps you better use the gifts you’ve been given. We hope these faith formation activities can strengthen the depths and hearts of Marquette students.”
Through their children’s experiences, the Stempers learned about a number of students who wanted to join in retreats or service but couldn’t because of finances.
“If there is one more student – or 10 more students – who might discover these experiences that touch them, it’ll have a life-changing impact not only on those individuals but on everyone they touch,” added Nancy, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1978 and her master’s a year later. “College is a fun, exciting, crazy time. We wanted to provide Marquette with resources to share faith in ways that encourage students to be together on the same journey.”
The gift comes shortly after Marquette dedicated a new Marian Grotto earlier this spring, and after President Lovell featured the campus’ Sacred Spaces at this summer’s annual President’s Picnic. President Lovell also talked recently with online Catholic news source Crux about what it means to be a Jesuit institution today.
“Our Catholic and Jesuit identity is Marquette’s highest priority,” said Rev. Frederick Zagone, S.J., acting vice president for mission and ministry. “The ability to offer dynamic, meaningful Catholic formation activities on campus keeps our mission and faith alive and relevant for students today. It is a blessing to have the Stempers’ generosity behind such an important effort.”
“We are very grateful for Bill and Nancy’s leadership support,” said Tim McMahon, vice president for university advancement. “Their significant gift has the power to inspire additional alumni, parents and friends to also invest in bolstering Catholic faith formation programs at Marquette. As we work towards our public campaign launch next fall, the Stempers’ gift is a humbling reminder of the powerful impact philanthropy can and does have to advance Marquette.”