Marquette began as a dream of the Most Rev. John Martin Henni the first Catholic bishop
of Milwaukee, but it took a trip overseas to find an investor to make it a reality.
Belgian businessman Guillaume Joseph DeBoey promised $16,000 for the proposed "academy
of learning." It was hardly enough to fund the establishment of a college but just
enough to keep Bishop Henni's dream alive for the next eight years until he could
purchase a parcel of land on a hill topping today's North 10th and West State streets.
Nearly three decades passed before the doors of Marquette College, a small liberal
arts school for men named after Rev. Jacques Marquette, S.J., opened on Aug. 28, 1881.
Bishop Henni died just two days later, one might guess satisfied that his work was
Throughout the years, thousands of students have passed through Marquette's halls
and classrooms, aspiring to achieve academic success and a spiritual foundation to
last a lifetime.
Marquette was founded in the rich tradition of the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious
order established in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola. The university is named after Rev.
Jacques Marquette, S.J. (1637-75), a French missionary and explorer in North America.