Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Alumna Reacts to Bergstrom Talk

There are a lot of badly disappointed alumni out there, and several of them have written to us. We will most certainly let them have their say, since they are people whose loyalty has been given to Marquette for years -- often decades -- and who have been badly shaken. The following letter was sent in identical form to each of the trustees, with the one to John Madden reproduced here:

John P. Madden
Madden Communications, Inc.
901 Mittel Dr.
Wood Dale, IL 60191

Dear Mr.Madden,

I am a Marquette graduate class of 1980. My family has a very strong Marquette tradition. My father, five siblings, niece, husband and son have all graduated from MU or are currently attending. My son chose Marquette over Notre Dame despite many friends and advisors strongly urging him to Notre Dame. Our family pride in Marquette is strong and deep.

This was all shaken to its core last week when the Board of Trustees made its announcement concerning the nickname Gold. The past repeated itself as the Board failed to learn from history and forced a nickname without tradition or connection to MU upon its students and alums.

My anger and dismay was only fueled after attending a meeting with Board chair John Bergstrom Saturday. He likened Marquette to Nike, trying to find a “brand” which could be nationally marketed. He stated Nike was a brand that few knew what it meant and it offended no one. So this is what it has come to. Marquette has been reduced to something to be marketed, something with an identity that is meaningless and unoffensive. Marquette is much more to me, to my family and the many proud men and women who are students and alums

Mr. Bergstrom went on to minimize the importance of the small donor and the effect that this would have on giving by the Marquette community. For years I did not donate to Marquette after the Warriors debacle. In the past several years my husband and I had decided to put some of our limited funds for charitable contributions towards Marquette. While we can not give millions or even thousands, I thought our donations were valued by Marquette. I no longer believe that and my funds will be going elsewhere. I will also be boycotting any business of the Board of Trustees.

The Board failed not only in the choosing of the nickname but in its cavalier attitude toward the dismay and disgust the Marquette community expressed in the days following the decision. The wise men of this world realize when they have made a mistake and reevaluate, the fools continue on their way confident in their omnipotence.

Do the right thing Mr. Madden be a wise man.

Patty Desing O’Connell ‘80


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