Published: November 1, 2009
By Jessica Stephen
Thomas Ganey has transformed Marquette University’s campus from a jumble of buildings to a jewel of urban academia.
As university architect, Ganey defined the downtown Milwaukee school’s part of the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and created an architectural identity for a campus once considered “hodgepodge,” said the Rev. Robert A. Wild SJ, president of Marquette University.
Ganey has led the development of the new Zilber Hall, which will house Marquette administration and student services; Eckstein Hall, the newest addition to Marquette Law School; the renovation and development of the McCabe Hall student residence; and the Engineering School’s planned Discovery Learning Laboratory.
Paul Grunau, CEO of APi Group Inc., a specialty contractor in Milwaukee that worked on several projects with Ganey, said the campus architect is a strong leader. In addition to his advanced technical skills as an architect, Ganey has excellent people skills, Grunau said, making the professionals Ganey works with feel like more than just one of many.
“He really believes in the concept of peer and collaborative relationships,” Grunau said. “When you work with Tom, you’re more than just someone who is doing a specific thing on a project. You are a valued partner.
“He’s going to ask your input. In fact, he’s going to expect it.”
Those strong people skills came in handy, Wild said, when the university had to re-engineer an upgrade to its dental school, cutting about $4 million off the cost. Ganey had to convince skeptical dentists that the lower-priced building would meet their needs, Wild said.
“He very early showed his ability in terms of the people side of the job,” he said, “which is getting people with many different points of view to agree on how a project should go forward.”
Ganey’s ability to motivate others and produce strong results makes him a “wonderful steward” of Marquette’s resources, Grunau said. The result is a transformed downtown campus, he said, that is a valuable asset and a selling point to bring people and businesses to the community.
“He’s made it impossible,” Grunau said, “for the city of Milwaukee to ignore Marquette University.”