MILWAUKEE — Three-time NBA champion and Marquette University alumnus Dwyane Wade recently made a major gift to the university's literacy center for inner-city children.
Wade donated to the Ralph C. Hartman Literacy and Learning Center to extend his Live to Dream Summer Reading Program through 2025, according to Marquette University. He initially funded the program through the Wade's World Foundation in 2015. Wade said he will rename the program after his sister, Tragil Wade-Johnson, who has been involved since the launch.
Wade was recently in Milwaukee to serve as undergraduate commencement speaker at American Family Insurance Amphitheater. He also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
“Being able to work with kids and interact with them at an impressionable age is the best. To have the ability to help them in their educational and personal journeys is just incredible,” Wade said. “The community I come from, a lot of kids don’t have the resources or opportunities. For us to be able to provide some of those resources is something I thought about when I was a kid, having the ability to change my family’s fortunes. I was able to use basketball as a tool, but not everyone will have that chance. This program not only assists with the fundamentals of reading, but also provides the opportunity to interact with kids from other walks of life, develop communication skills and ultimately be exposed to experiences that they normally wouldn’t have encountered.”
According to Marquette University, in the first three years of the summer reading program, 131 students either maintained or increased their reading level. They received 90 minutes of targeted reading instruction each day, as well as writing or integrated science and literacy instruction.
“Dwyane’s generous gift, built on his previous investment, is a big win for our city’s children in underserved populations,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “We’ve seen tremendous results since Dwyane launched this program, as kids are rising to new levels of literacy and learning. Further, he’s helping elementary students envision how higher education can impact their lives.”
The Tragil Wade-Johnson Summer Reading Program will now run on the Marquette campus through 2025, and Wade is inviting additional supporters to help drive funding.
Marquette says students who participate receive bus transportation and food and learn from instructors who teach from a top literacy curriculum.
“The pandemic has revealed a significant instructional gap that has dramatically impacted young students, particularly those coming from financially challenged homes,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Education. “This gift provides an important solution and offers children every opportunity to succeed.”