The Marquette University community mourns the loss of one of its most illustrious alumni and significant benefactors, David A. Straz, Jr., who passed away peacefully. A Milwaukee native, Straz received his business degree from Marquette in 1965. In recognition of his generosity and leadership, in 1984 Marquette dedicated David A. Straz, Jr., Hall as the home of the College of Business Administration, and in 2002 dedicated David A. Straz, Jr., Tower as a premier residence hall.
“David had a generous spirit and a keen mind, which made him a successful businessman. But more than that, he truly lived the Jesuit ideals and Marquette’s pillars of faith, excellence, service and leadership. His innovative and generous spirit is something I always admired,” said Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell. “David was a proud Marquette graduate who served his alma mater in countless capacities, leaving an indelible mark on the Les Aspin Center for Government, the Haggerty Museum of Art, the College of Business Administration and our campus buildings, two of which bear his name. On behalf of the entire Marquette community, I extend my heartfelt prayers and sympathy to his wife, Catherine, and his entire family.”
The university has created a slide show in honor of Straz, with photos courtesy of Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives:
After graduating from Marquette University in 1965, Straz began a career in banking and finance. He built banking organizations in Wisconsin and Florida, which he sold to U.S. Bank, Bank of America and Fifth Third Bank. His success in these fields provided him the ability to create opportunity and advancement not only in the United States, but also in Africa and Central America.
“David was board chair for four years while I served as president of Marquette University, and I got to know him very well as an adviser, a leader and a friend,” said Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., chancellor and former president at Marquette. “There are very few Marquette alumni who have been as generous with their time, talent and treasure as David, and all of us at Marquette will forever be grateful. I will miss David’s energy, enthusiasm and friendship, and I especially want to offer my very great sympathy to his family as they mourn his passing.”
Straz served as a member of the Marquette University Board of Trustees from 1985 to 2007, and as chair of the board from 1997 to 2001. His leadership and support for the College of Business Administration, the Haggerty Museum of Art and other projects helped reshape the university over the past decades. He served for many years on the National Board of Visitors for Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government and was instrumental in its founding. He spearheaded the fundraising effort to establish the Aspin Center and promoted the vision of the program to others in the business and philanthropic community. His support, vision and counsel helped the Aspin Center grow into the preeminent program of its type in Washington, D.C., with a focus on educating public servants committed to ethics and integrity.
“For the entirety of my academic career, Straz Hall has been my home away from home, and every morning and night I walked past the portrait of its benefactor, David A. Straz, Jr,” said Dr. Joseph Daniels, acting Keyes Dean of the College of Business Administration. “Our campus community and the College of Business Administration, in particular, have lost an important partner who had a significant and lasting impact on all of us.”
In recognition of a distinguished career dedicated to philanthropy in support of higher education, the visual and performing arts, and a myriad of civic projects, in 2018, Marquette conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Straz.
Dec. 2, 2019
Update: WEDU shared a tribute to honor Straz, which aired on Thursday, Nov. 28.