Large gift to Marquette has Janesville connection
MILWAUKEE A Minneapolis couple has donated $8.3 million to Marquette University for a journalism fellowship.
The gift has a connection to a journalist who worked for the Janesville Gazette and WCLO radio in the 1940s and '50s.
Peter and Patricia Frechette of Minneapolis made the gift in honor of Patricia's parents, Perry and Alicia O'Brien.
Perry and Alicia graduated from Marquette in 1936 and 1935 with degrees in journalism and liberal arts. Perry was a longtime reporter in Janesville.
The gift will help launch of The Perry and Alicia O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.
The fellowship is set to begin this fall. It will bring three journalists to Marquette for each academic year to produce an in-depth public service journalism project.
The fellowship is open to journalists from local, regional, national and international media outlets. It includes a partnership with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which will offer fellows access to its journalists, staff, data and other investigative resources.
Students from the Diederich College of Communication will assist the journalists on the projects.
"This remarkable contribution will allow us to enhance our commitment to innovative academic excellence," said President The Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., in a news release.
"As a Catholic and Jesuit university, Marquette has a special responsibility to contribute to solutions that solve the problems most troubling to our world today.
"This new fellowship in public service journalism will benefit our community and broaden our strategic partnerships," Pilarz said.
The O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism is the second-largest gift in the Diederich College of Communication's history.
In May 2005, William and Mary Diederich gave $28 million to establish the college as one of the nation's top communication schools, according to the news release.