David A. Straz, Jr. Tower was constructed in the mid-1950s as the central branch of Milwaukee's YMCA, a $6.2 million, 18-story building with a facade resembling the United Nations Secretariat Building (see a special advertising section on the building in the March 17, 1957 issue of the Milwaukee Journal for details of its initial construction). Facing growing enrollments throughout 1970s, Marquette University began leasing up to 270 rooms per year to accommodate fluctuations in the size of its student body. By 1988, the university leased the entire tower, ultimately purchasing the building in 1993. Known for a period as East Hall before being renamed in honor of alumnus David A. Straz, Jr., the building underwent an $18 million renovation from 1998-2000 that converted the single rooms to doubles and triples. Administrative offices are located on the lower floors, the Rec Plex offers athletic programs for the campus community, and a barber shop operates in the building as well.
Renamed in 2002 for David A. Straz, Jr., a 1965 graduate of Marquette’s College of Business Administration, whose made a number of contributions to the university across the years. Straz quickly moved up the banking ladder after graduation, directing a series of successful bank acquisitions, mergers and sales in southeastern Wisconsin and Florida. He was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the College of Business Administration in 1989, Alumnus of the Year in 1999, and served as a member of Marquette’s Board of Trustees from 1985-2007.
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