Backstory and Context
tower operated independently as a YMCA
until the University purchased the building in 1993. The YMCA originally
constructed the facility in 1958 and began leasing space to the University in
1976. Initially, students were housed on specific floors leased
from the YMCA while other tenants lived on different floors. One of the YMCA's missions was to offer affordable and safe housing for anyone who needed a place to stay. As a result,
the residents were often rather itinerant. Clashes were often noted between the
YMCA tenants and Marquette students. The building also had recreation and
exercise space and operated as the Milwaukee headquarters for the organization.
bought the facility outright in 1993 and turned it into a student living space
called East Hall. $12 million were spent for renovations in 1998 and were
concluded in 2000, at which point it was fully opened to students and used at
full capacity to accommodate increased student enrollment
the rooms were single capacity living spaces. However, to accommodate more
students, the renovations increased room capacities to fit two, three, and even
four students in each room. Each room came equipped with a bathroom and each
floor had a common recreation area. Furthermore, safety concerns stemming from
asbestos and old infrastructure necessitated the remodeling. In
2002, it was renamed from East Hall to David A. Straz, Jr., Tower to honor the generous
Marquette alumni David Straz. It is worth noting that
the namesake Straz is the same individual that inspired the name of the business
building. David Straz was a Marquette business alum from the class of 1965, who
became a prominent Banking executive and shareholder. He generously gifted
large amounts of money to the University and has helped with fundraising initiatives.
Currently, Straz Towers operates as a dormitory and includes a cafeteria, a gym, and barber, and a small chapel. It is interesting to note that Straz Tower was the first dorm on campus to have coed floors. This coed floor was home to Dorothy Day program participants The Dorothy Day program places emphasis on social justice and action and has student participants live together on the same floor in a community setting. Members also participate in service learning and community immersion trips togethers. Additionally, the dorm currently houses Freshman Honors Students—one floor for males and one for females. All additional residents are sophomore students.
Marquette Tribune. April 15, 2014. Marquette University Archives.
Marquette Tribune. September 24, 1976. Marquette University Archives.
Marquette Tribune, November 13, 1998. Marquette University Archives.
Serafin, Matt. “MU reorganizes Dorothy Day Floors after dip in program participants”. April 15, 2014. Marquette University Archives.