For more than two decades, she gave quietly — often anonymously — to Marquette.

From 1979 until her death in 2004, Helen Way Klingler donated more than $15 million to the university. Much of it helped fund Marquette's Campus Circle neighborhood revitalization program, as well as construction of the state-of-the-art Raynor Memorial Libraries.

Although Klingler did not attend Marquette, she cared deeply for its mission, saying simply in 1989, "Because I never had a child ... I wanted to do something for those kids." The university also cared strongly for her. She was a friend of Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J., Marquette's 20th president, and she converted to Catholicism at St. Joan of Arc Chapel on Marquette's campus.

When she passed away at the age of 101, Klingler continued her legacy of support, leaving another gift of more than $18 million to establish a competitive research fund — the Way Klingler Faculty Awards — intended to advance research and scholarship among faculty. The fund includes provisions for two one-year sabbaticals to allow select faculty to advance their scholarship.

"Helen Klingler has been amazingly generous to Marquette, and we are most grateful," said Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., Marquette's president at the time of the estate gift. "The best way to thank her will be to ... carry out the purposes she had in mind (and) to do so with such excellence that her name will continue to be honored on this campus, as indeed it should be."

In recognition of her selfless gifts of more than $30 million, Marquette's College of Arts and Science now bears Helen Way Klingler's name.

Klingler believed that relevant research by faculty has a direct correlation to the quality of students' learning experiences. The university honors this spirit of academic discovery through the research awards that bear her name.

Photo Credit: Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University Libraries.