Home Milwaukee Marquette Unviersity receives $1.25 million gift to extend program providing educational opportunities...

Marquette Unviersity receives $1.25 million gift to extend program providing educational opportunities to students currently and formerly incarcerated

Marquette’s successful prison initiative programs have served 422 students to date. (Photo: Marquette University)

The Mellon Foundation has given $1.25 million to Marquette University to extend its successful prison initiatives programs which create pathways to higher education for people impacted by incarceration across southeast Wisconsin.

“This important gift will continue to help us expand the traditional boundaries of higher education and transform lives,” Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell said in a statement. “Incarcerated individuals deserve opportunities to make a difference in society.”

Marquette’s Center for Urban Research, Teaching and Outreach (CURTO) and Education Preparedness Program (EPP) team with the McNeely Prison Education Consortium to create pathways for higher education for people impacted by incarceration.

The EPP, led by program director Dr. Theresa Tobin, serves as the point of first contact for this student population, according to a press release from Marquette University, and Tobin and her team work with currently and formerly incarcerated (justice-impacted) students to build or add to an existing transcript, demystify the college experience and prepare this student population to continue their education.

The McNeely Prison Education Consortium, led by Dr. Darren Wheelock, operates the degree pathway. Marquette serves as the hub of a consortium of colleges and universities that take part in the program that includes Alverno College, Mount Mary University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Madison’s Prison Education Initiative and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Tobin and Wheelock are the co-principal investigators for this grant.

Thus far, the program has served 422 students — half are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated and half are Marquette undergraduate students who benefit from the unique experiential-learning opportunity.