Marquette finds innovation in corporate collaborations

Marquette University aims to create mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships by taking a holistic approach to corporate engagement. From corporations like Kohler Co. and Omron Automation to local craft brewing brands, Marquette continues to link organizations to the full breadth and depth of resources at a university level, connecting faculty, staff, students, facilities and programs.

Through the economic engagement team in the Office of University Relations, following are some of the ways that Marquette has added to its transformative educational experience through corporate partnerships, while helping these partners with innovation of their own.

Corporate connections

  • Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee deepened their commitment to Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI), by extending their partnership through 2028.
  • Marquette and Omron Automation Americas celebrated the grand opening of the Omron Advanced Automation Lab with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception on March 2. The Omron Advanced Automation Lab had been announced in June 2022 with Omron Automation Americas gifting the university over $1 million to establish the lab, support the mechanical engineering graduate program and endow a scholarship. Phil Voglewede, professor and the associate chair of mechanical engineering and director of the Omron Advanced Automation Lab in the Opus College of Engineering, talked to the media about advancing automation and projects connected to the lab
  • Marquette University signed a first-of-its-kind partnership agreement with Kohler Co. that paves the way to greatly enable collaborative research, talent development and more partnership opportunities. The formal agreement builds upon a working relationship that spans more than 102 years, creating additional research and internship opportunities for the Marquette community by establishing a mutual agreement around intellectual property, licensing, and other partnership terms.
  • Marmon Holdings Inc. partnered with the Opus College of Engineering and the Office of Economic Engagement to have the first ever Innovate-o-Thon at Marquette. This rapid event is where students find solutions to real-world challenges. It allows teams of engineering peers to solve an engineering challenge from one of the Marmon businesses. The teams then have 18 hours to develop a winning solution and then represent their ideas and solutions to the Marmon executives.   

Student engagement

  • Recently, Kohler and Marquette joined forces to offer entrepreneurial-minded students a chance to develop their own innovative ideas and compete in the first-ever M-Prize (Marquette Prize) Challenge. The M-Prize Challenge helps Marquette students learn about innovation through lectures with a front-row seat through the long-term partnership with Kohler Co.
  • Marquette’s 707 Hub is home to the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers programming to help students, faculty and staff with their entrepreneurial aspirations through mentoring, workshops, speaker series and funding. It was fitting, then, that the 707 Hub and Kohler invited students to take part in a bathroom design challenge — “Redo the Loo: 707 Hub’s Restroom Redesign Challenge” — which launched in January 2020. This challenge was a celebration of 100 years of partnership between the university and the kitchen and bath products company.
  • The 707 Hub Brewed Ideas Challenge is a Shark Tank-style pitch competition hosted annually by Marquette’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative in partnership with Brady Corporation. This year’s event awarded a record $25,000 in seed money to first and second-place winners.
  • Marquette University’s College of Nursing, Office of University Relations and Froedtert Hospital have joined together in a clinical training partnership titled “Froedtert Scholars” that develops graduate nurses who are “practice-ready” and reduce orientation time as they enter the workforce. 
  • Marquette’s interdisciplinary Product Realization course helps engineering and communication students have the unique opportunity to work together to develop real solutions to challenges brought forth by area businesses — and they do so under the guidance of a noted campus figure: President Michael R. Lovell.
  • A pilot program under the umbrella of Innovation Alley, Marquette’s cross-disciplinary innovation leadership initiative, the Interchange Project intends to foster closer relations between the university and industry partners, while also allowing students to gain experience in dynamic business environments. Through the Interchange Project, businesses can come to Marquette with a problem they need solved or an idea they want tested.
  • Blue & Gold Brewing LLC, a student-run business venture, released ’77 Golden Ale — a private label, Marquette-affiliated craft beer — on National Marquette Day 2023. Golden Ale ’77 was a unique collaboration with Marquette alumni brewing leaders from locally based Broken Bat Brewing Co., Gathering Place Brewing Company and Good City Brewing Co.
  • Blue & Gold Brewing is also expanding its product line in a partnership with Stone Creek Coffee — a local “farm to cup” coffee roastery for over 30 years — to develop a Marquette-affiliated coffee product to be released in fall 2023.