Longtime MPS teacher gives $2 million estate gift for scholarship aid

Released: 6/16/14

A Marquette University alumna who spent her entire career teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools bequeathed a $2 million estate gift to the university for endowed scholarship aid. The gift, which will be split between the College of Education and Law School, is the largest donation in the College of Education's history. 

Bernadette Steep, who died May 4, 2014, at age 92 in Gurnee, Ill., graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944 and a master's degree in education in 1967. Steep began teaching elementary school in 1958 and retired in 1987 from Milwaukee Public Schools' Maple Tree Elementary School on Milwaukee's far northwest side. Steep's gift includes funds she first received from the estate of her sister, Mary Ann, who graduated from Marquette with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953 and a law degree in 1990. 

"This is a remarkable example of an alumna who dedicated her life to teaching and has now ensured her legacy will continue to live on in classrooms for generations to come," said Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., interim president. 

The $2 million gift is the second major gift toward scholarship aid in the past six months. In January, an anonymous benefactor gave $2.5 million to support need-based scholarships.



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