Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management Award Recipients

Service Award

Mendota Heights, Minn.

If Jim could have dinner with anyone, he’d chose Jesus Christ … and Al McGuire. That sums up a man who is guided by his strong faith, who has made financial sacrifices to send his five children to Catholic schools — and who really loves his alma mater’s basketball team.

Of course, he’d probably host the dinner, too. After all, Jim has made a successful career in the hospitality industry as general manager of the award-winning Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington Hotel, which is managed by Milwaukee-based Marcus Hotels and Resorts. Jim’s hotel is ranked in the top 10 of all Hiltons in the Americas. 

“Being in the hospitality/hotel business, I’m always meeting new and interesting people,” he says. “I enjoy a challenge and giving the extra effort to make a difference.”

After 14 years with the Holiday Inn chain, Jim took over as general manager of the Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel in Minneapolis, improving its profitability by $1 million in his first year. Another fun bonus: In 2003, his hotel hosted the Marquette basketball team that beat No. 1-ranked Kentucky to advance to the NCAA Final Four.

Jim’s hospitality also extends to his fellow alumni. He is a Marquette University Alumni Association regional club volunteer in Minneapolis, has sponsored the Minnesota golf outing and other club events, and served on his Reunion Committee.

Jim is active with several local civic and business organizations and has won awards for his leadership. As part of his hotel’s quarterly charity work, he volunteers with nonprofits ranging from the United Way to Toys for Tots.

“My personal formula for success prescribes to the servant-leader model,” he says. “Effective leadership starts in the heart — the heart controls your motivation, your intent and leadership character.”

Get to Know: James A. Waldvogel

Hometown: Wausau, Wis.  

Favorite quote:  “Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill

Someone past or present he’d like to have dinner with: Jesus Christ, Al McGuire

The Marquette faculty or staff member who had a great impact on him:  Father Naus, Jim loved his daily masses and Saturday midnight mass before going to the bars.  Father was always there for his students.

In grade school Jim wanted to be a professional athlete.