Marquette campus in the spring.


Two students sitting

For Marquette alumna Joanne Topham (BUS AD ’70), education is a source of positive change for many of the world’s challenges—from overcoming poverty to supporting future families. She recently doubled down on helping people access Marquette’s life-changing education through planned gift commitments that provide both scholarship for students and unrestricted support for the university.

“Students are our future leaders,” she said. “Education gives them the tools to develop their leadership and contribute to society, yet it’s hard to afford without help. Philanthropy is my way of making a difference for them.”

Joanne particularly recognizes the difficulties of today’s tuition landscape, with the pandemic causing additional economic hardship and underscoring the costs of maintaining technology equity for students now learning online.

“Marquette was a wonderful experience for me,” she recalled. “It’s allowed me to have a fulfilling career and life, and I personally appreciated the Jesuit aspect of my education and how it guided my growth. I hope my scholarship will help students meet the challenge of tuition so they can access similar experiences.”

In addition to supporting students directly, Joanne also committed unrestricted funds to the university to provide Marquette with latitude to address emerging needs into the future.

“While I can’t know everything about the university’s long-term goals or critical needs of tomorrow, I see the value of giving Marquette’s administration the ability to react to those needs,” she said. She cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a great example of how this kind of support may allow Marquette to pivot quickly, enact safety measures, and address other related needs.

“I strongly believe in the importance of education, and my planned gifts allow me to have an impact on students, the university, and society,” Joanne said. “I’d encourage others to consider how they can make a difference in the world in areas they feel are important to them.”

“I hope my gift plays a small part in inspiring students to inspire others in turn. To encourage them to look at their dream life path and say, ‘I can do that!’ ” —Joanne Topham


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