Burke Foundation commits $4.6 million to Marquette to extend two service-driven scholarship programs

Marquette’s Trinity Fellows, top, and Burke Scholars.

President Michael R. Lovell announced a major gift today that will grow two signature, longstanding scholarship programs at Marquette University — the Burke Scholars program for undergraduates and the Trinity Fellows program for graduate students.

The Burke Foundation, a Marquette partner for more than three decades, has committed to a $4.6 million gift that will extend the two programs that were founded by Richard A. Burke. Both the Burke Scholars and Trinity Fellows are dedicated to serving others, a key component of Jesuit higher education.

“These signature offerings merge academics with intentional service and are at the heart of the university’s mission to shape women and men for and with others,” President Lovell said. “We are humbled by this gift from the Burke Foundation, whose shared values make such premier programs possible. Truly, both programs have become foundational to who we are at Marquette at the undergraduate and graduate student levels.”

Burke, founder and former president of Trek Corp., was a 1956 graduate of Marquette’s College of Business Administration. He served on the university’s Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2005, and in 2005 he was elected trustee emeritus for life in recognition of his service to Marquette.

“We are proud to continue to build upon these meaningful programs that draw students who are passionate about social justice, leadership and serving the most vulnerable in society,” said Kathleen Burke of the Burke Foundation. “We continue to witness students grow into changemakers and active citizens, making a difference in our communities and state.”

Service spanning three decades

Marquette’s Burke Scholars, who undergo an intensive application process, begin as first-year, full-time undergraduate students and receive a four-year scholarship. The award is given annually to 10 new, academically talented Wisconsin high school seniors exhibiting leadership, demonstrating exceptional commitment to community and aspiring to pursue careers that benefit the public good.

Annually, 40 Burke Scholars attend Marquette across four undergraduate class cohorts. A significant part of program is the commitment to provide 10 hours of community service per week at a principal service site.

Since the Burke Scholars began, 180 alumni have conducted more than 200,000 hours of community service. Beyond the core program goal of student transformation, Burke Scholars have served more than 95 community organizations in Milwaukee.

Since 2000, the university’s Trinity Fellows program has offered service-minded graduate students full-tuition scholarships for its 21-month program. Trinity Fellows also receive a monthly stipend, as well as supplemental professional development funds and opportunities.

The majority of the Trinity Fellows 210 alumni have nonprofit or public sector leadership positions, with 36% currently working in Milwaukee and 83% employed in the nonprofit or public sectors. The program has partnered with more than 100 area agencies, and like the Burke Scholars, the Trinity Fellows is considered a model of excellence at Marquette and in the community. Applicants must meet graduate admission requirements and have completed the Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or other comparable full-time service commitment or two-plus years of full-time employment with a nonprofit organization.

“When we look at scholarship programs that embody academic excellence, the Burke Scholars and Trinity Fellows programs stand out for their tremendous impact across our communities,” said Vice President for University Advancement Tim McMahon. “We are thankful to the Burke Foundation for providing access to higher education while at the same time addressing pressing societal challenges.”

About the Burke Foundation:

The Burke Foundation is named in honor of Richard Burke, former Chairman of Trek Bicycle Corporation headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Dick Burke dedicated his life to investing in others. The Burke Foundation is committed to enhancing and improving the character, quality and access to education, the personal, social and intellectual development of children and youth, and the educational and social quality of community life. For more information, please visit: www.theburkefoundation.org.