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Opening next year, Marquette’s new residence hall will honor former president

It has been more than a half-century since Marquette constructed a residence hall. Today the university is doubling down, constructing a two-tower, $108 million facility for first-year and sophomore students that will bear the name of a beloved former president.

The 890–bed Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., Commons is the first major development from the university’s newly adopted campus master plan. For the plan’s lead architect, the student-centric facility is a fitting start. “I’m personally so proud that our first master plan project is truly for our students,” Vice President for Planning and Strategy Lora Strigens told a crowd of students, faculty, and staff at the ground-breaking ceremony.

Marquette President Michael. R. Lovell agrees: “For Marquette University to be among the top Catholic and Jesuit institutions in the world, it all must start with the student experience. We have to think and act differently and embrace new ways of living and learning for our community.”

Currently under construction on the Milwaukee campus’ northwest corner, the facility will feature two resident towers connected through the lower levels by dining and campus community space. One of the towers will be named in honor of alumni couple Ray and Kay Eckstein who, in January, issued a $10 million fundraising challenge to name the facility after Father Wild, Marquette’s 22nd president who served from 1996 to 2011, and again as interim president from 2013 to 2014.

Set to open in August 2018, Wild Commons will feature pod- and suite-like settings, as opposed to the traditional model of large buildings with small double rooms. It will be designed to meet LEED certification standards and will incorporate innovative sustainable practices in the design.