Marquette University mourns the loss of Sen. Herb Kohl 

Marquette University mourns the loss of public servant and Friend of the University Award recipient Sen. Herb Kohl, who died on Wednesday, Dec. 27; he was 88. Kohl led the way on federal appropriations for the construction of a new facility for Marquette’s School of Dentistry, and his efforts to make education more accessible paved the way for more students to attend Marquette. 

Kohl additionally made contributions to the Al McGuire Center and the Marquette University and Medical College of Wisconsin Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, in addition to gifts to the Haggerty Museum of Art. 

“Sen. Kohl was a humble servant leader who lifted everyone around him up,” said Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell. “He worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help so many community organizations thrive, especially those that served Milwaukee’s youth. Marquette will forever be grateful for his support, advocacy and many philanthropic contributions.”

Kohl became Wisconsin’s 25th U.S. senator in 1988 and went on to serve four terms in office. Having decided not to seek re-election, he completed 24 years of public service at the end of 2012. 

A Milwaukee native who grew up in the Sherman Park neighborhood, Kohl maintained a lifetime commitment to his home city and state. From 1959–69, he served in many capacities with the then-family-owned Kohl Corp., operators of grocery and department stores. Kohl purchased the NBA’s Bucks in 1985, ensuring that the team would remain in Milwaukee. 

In 2014, Kohl agreed to sell the Bucks to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry with the assurance the team would stay in the city. He contributed heavily to the construction of Fiserv Forum, the home of the Bucks and Marquette men’s basketball. 

In remarks upon receiving the Friend of the University Award, Kohl said, “For more than a century, Marquette University has not only prepared and challenged students to ‘Be The Difference,’ but it has led by example with high standards, strong values and commitment to service here in the heart of our city. Their students, faculty, employees, alumni, partners and neighbors are all part of the Marquette tradition of transformation that surrounds us — in city blocks and rural communities, board rooms and classrooms, individual lives, as well as newfound families, and ultimately all the hearts and minds they touch.” 

A public memorial service will be held on Friday, Jan. 12, at noon at Fiserv Forum. Attendees are asked to enter through the main atrium entrance located off Herb Kohl Way.

A full obituary is available in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Please remember Kohl, his family and friends in prayer.