History of the College of Professional Studies

Starting as the Organization and Leadership program in 1994, the College of Professional Studies was officially granted establishment by Marquette's Board of Trustees in September 1996. Over the past 15 years, the college has had an increasing impact on the community with graduates from our programs who live and work in Metro Milwaukee and the surrounding communities.

  • 1994 - Saturday Degree Program. The first undergraduate adult learning degree program is established at Marquette University with the founding major of Organization and Leadership.
  • 1995 - Partnership with Harley Davidson Motor Company. Established under the direction of Richard Teerlink, retired CEO, Harley-Davidson Motor Co., the college's first on-site educational partnership began, delivering a quality degree in Organization and Leadership to Harley employees.  
  • 1996 - College of Professional Studies. Approved by Marquette University's Board of Trustees, the college begins to offer majors in Organization and Leadership, Criminology and Law Studies, Professional Communication, and Psychology to students on its campus and at off-campus sites in the surrounding communities.
  • 1997 - Undergraduate Degree Program's First Graduates.
    The first class of nine students graduate from the College of Professional Studies, marking the beginning of a strong and committed alumni base.
  • 1999 - Division of Continuing Education. The 46-year-old division moves into the College of Professional Studies and is modified to meet the demands and training needs of a changing business environment. The focus of the newly engineered programs is technology and leadership.
  • 2001 - Workforce Training and Development. As an extension of the Continuing Education unit, Workforce Training and Development builds new partnerships with corporations, not-for-profits, and other organizations delivering customized training and education programs based on company need.
  • 2003 - Master's in Public Service. The curriculum for the Master's in Public Service is added to the college's repertoire of educational opportunities. Areas of specialization include: Criminal Justice Administration, Dispute Resolution, Health Care Administration, Leadership Studies, and Non-Profit Sector.
  • 2005 - Future Milwaukee Leadership Program. This premier community leadership development program becomes affiliated with the College of Professional Studies. For over 30 years, more than 1,400 Future Milwaukee graduates have been making an impact on the Greater Milwaukee area through their leadership positions in government, business, higher education, religious and non-profit institutions.
  • 2006 - Master's in Dispute Resolution and Graduate Certificate in Law Enforcement Management and Leadership. Both programs are launched throughout the state to meet the growing needs for companies and law enforcement agencies to have administrators and company employees better able to negotiate, mediate, and create a working atmosphere that enhances public administration.
  • 2009 - Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies.
    In addition to the blended on-campus/online learning format, the graduate certificate in Leadership Studies program becomes available fully online.
  • 2010 - Sports Leadership Program. A new Sports Leadership specialization is launched for the master’s in leadership studies degree as well as a graduate certificate in Sports Leadership. The Sports Leadership program was developed in consultation with Marquette's Department of Athletics and gives students a direct link to Division I sports teams and the Big East.


  • Dr. Robert Deahl


    View the video.

    For more information about the college, its mission and its commitment to adult education, call (414) 288-3153.

  • Rich Teerlink

    Hon. Degree 05, Retired Former Chairman and CEO, Harley-Davidson, Inc.

    View the video.

    For more information about the college, its mission and its commitment to adult education, call (414) 288-3153.


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