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Gift establishes new center for the study of free enterprise, entrepreneurship

Spring Hill College (SHC) announces the receipt of a $2 million gift from John J. and Kathryn “Murph” Burke to fund a new business center – the John J. Burke Jr., Center for the Study and Advancement of Free Enterprise. The Burke Center will be independently housed in the business division, offering courses of study in understanding the free enterprise system, entrepreneurship and American business principles for undergraduate students in all of the college’s academic majors. A national search to identify an individual to serve as center director will begin shortly, with college officials expecting the center to open by fall of 2018.

The center’s goals are to educate Spring Hill College students on the concepts of free enterprise and the free market system, ultimately empowering students to use their Jesuit education to contribute to a stronger U.S. economy and job growth as well as to improve the lives of all others.

In addition to courses in political economy, students engaged in studies through the Burke Center will be able to enroll in a two-semester course sequence designed at developing and implementing their own business concepts and plans. Throughout both courses, students will be introduced to the original American entrepreneurial philosophy and learn more about the power of free market principles. 

Since graduating from Spring Hill College in 1963, John J. Burke Jr. capitalized upon his knowledge, hard work and visionary, entrepreneurial insights to identify needs in the real estate market and create workable solutions for his clients.  Beginning in 1968 with the sale of single family residences and then expanding to include multi-family apartments and condominiums, Burke Properties has had a significant positive impact on the Milwaukee landscape.

“It is the generosity of alumni and friends such as the Burkes that allows us to envision and create unique educational offerings and develop the next generation of business leaders. We are honored by the opportunity to develop an innovative center of this significance and look forward to sharing the principles of entrepreneurship with our students and the communities in which they ultimately choose to live and work,” notes Spring Hill College president and alumnus of the Class of 1964, Christopher P. Puto, PhD.

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