Marquette University's College of Professional Studies was established in 1996 to meet the unique educational needs of adult learners. Today, the college serves adult students through a variety of leadership-focused adult undergraduate degree and non-degree programs. We are proud to present profiles of alumni who are making a difference. 



Jim MilnerJim Milner

Bachelor's in Organization and Leadership and Professional Communication '03
President of Urban Strategies

Jim was about to lose a job he loved - a management position at a large nonprofit organization. He even dreamed of becoming executive director. Then came the bad news. He needed a college degree to keep his job. Fortunately, he was just three months away from graduating from Marquette. He didn't only keep his job, he boosted his marketability and accelerated his career. Now he runs a successful consulting firm. Jim knows firsthand that you can't afford NOT to have a college degree.

"I came to Marquette University's College of Professional Studies with ideas. I graduated with choices."

Ron Smith Ron Smith

Bachelor's in Professional Communication '05
Assistant Managing Editor/News Operations, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It wasn't his season. That's how Ron explains why he quit school at age 22. He went on to work for Newsday, the Los Angeles Times and The Oregonian. But when he came back to Milwaukee, he started to think about finishing what he started.

"The College of Professional Studies was a lifesaver - I don't think I would've finished without it," he says. Now he can't get enough of school and is pursuing a Ph.D. "You should always invest in yourself," remarks Ron.    

Tracy JohnsonTracy Johnson

Future Milwaukee Leadership '07 Executive Director, TEMPO Milwaukee

By participating in the Future Milwaukee Leadership program, Tracy received a crash course in the city’s neighborhoods, business challenges and nonprofit organizations.  She rubbed elbows with the city’s CEOs and served meals to needy mothers and their children. The program also led to a job with TEMPO Milwaukee, an organization for women business leaders. 

“Through Future Milwaukee I found valuable connections and experiences that will allow me to make a meaningful difference in our city. Future Milwaukee broadens horizons and literally opens doors.”

Gillion SimpsonGillion Simpson

Bachelor's in Professional Communication '11
IT Applications Manager, Milwaukee County

Gillion started as a traditional-age student at Marquette University in the 80’s, and then her life journey forced her to put her education on hold. After she attended an information session hosted by the college, Gillion was impressed with the adult undergraduate degree program with an accelerated eight-week session format and flexible scheduling. She decided to enroll in the program and since that time she has been given additional professional responsibilities at work and earned a promotion.

"My education is so valuable to me because having a Marquette degree means that there will be no doors that will remain closed to me.”

Virgilio RodriguezVirgilio Rodriguez

Bachelor's in Organization and Leadership '09
Executive Management Professional

After high school, Virgilio joined the Marine Corps, tried college for a few years and then started a family. When he was in his early 30s he realized that an undergraduate degree would help him hone his business savvy and open the doors to greater success - something he preached to his children and the youth he serves at the United Community Center every day. "I was familiar with Marquette's College of Professional Studies' undergraduate program, and all of its courses were a natural fit with my job," remarked Virgilio.

Rodriguez also built a support network of other professionals in the community through what he said was one of the most beneficial parts of he program - group discussions with others from diverse business backgrounds.

Shirley SciaccaShirley Sciacca

Bachelor's in Psychology '12
Supervisory Administrative Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

At 62 years old, Shirley is working toward her bachelor’s degree and repositioning herself for the next chapter in her career and her personal life.  She enjoys sharing the classroom on a weeknight or Saturday with adult students who bring the wealth of their work experience. 

“My experience of working for a major airline, who went bankrupt, taught me that even if I have a great deal of experience over many years, without a degree I might not have the qualifications to get the job."   



Carmella ThomasCarmella Thomas

Bachelor's in Criminology and Law '00, Master's in Public Service '03 Probation/Parole Agent, Wisconsin Department of Corrections

After aging out of the child welfare system, Carmella earned her high school diploma through MATC.  She continued her education by enrolling in the College of Professional Studies so she could get a Marquette education on the weekends and evenings while she worked full-time. 

“I knew I needed to go to college to get the skills I needed to survive, because without a degree good jobs are almost impossible to get.” 


Contact College of Professional Studies

Email the college

Marquette University College of Professional Studies
707 Building, Room 403
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-3153 or (800) 793-6450, extension 2
FAX: (414) 288-3298