The Marquette University community mourns the loss of Michael Cudahy, a longtime friend and benefactor of the university, and a prominent Milwaukee entrepreneur, business leader and philanthropist. Cudahy was the founder of Marquette Medical Systems, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment that is now part of GE Healthcare.
“Michael Cudahy was a pillar of the Milwaukee community through his work and his philanthropy,” said Marquette President Michael R. Lovell. “On behalf of the Marquette University community, I extend deepest condolences to his family, his friends and those he touched through contributions to education, local institutions and the arts. Mike was a great friend of Marquette and of mine. He shared Marquette’s commitment to keeping higher education accessible, and his gifts to the university were transformational for the students they impacted. His support of our mission and guiding values will forever be a part of his legacy, and the invaluable guidance and wisdom Mike shared will stay with me throughout my career. His support has been a true blessing in all of our lives.”
Cudahy was the lead donor on the $12 million Katharine Reed Cudahy Hall. Built in 1994, Cudahy Hall is Marquette’s main computing facility. The five-level building is organized around a spacious central atrium that extends to all floors, lending an open atmosphere to all 103,000 square feet of the building. The facility is named for Michael’s mother, Katharine Reed Cudahy.
In 2017, Cudahy gave $1 million to support five full scholarships, including room-and-board, for first-generation students attending Marquette University’s Opus College of Engineering. Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering, first met Cudahy in her undergraduate days at Marquette while working as an intern for his company, Marquette Electronics, Inc.
Ropella said she always appreciated that Cudahy was “a self-made entrepreneur who trusted his employees to do their work and do it well.” She also noted that Cudahy made a major move several decades ago, bringing more women into the workforce by starting one of the first corporate child care programs in the nation.
At the time of his 2017 scholarship gift, Cudahy said: “I have a deep fondness for the school. I have always felt that guys like me should, somehow, pay back society for success. Perhaps, we can help make it happen again with a young potential entrepreneur.”
Cudahy also noted that he hoped the surprise gift of an education might help spark success similar to his own for one of the young students receiving scholarship aid.
Cudahy was honored at the 2002 Marquette University Alumni National Awards celebration. He received the “Friend of the University Award.”
Please remember Michael, his family and friends in prayer.