Fostering Connections: Marquette University Athletes and St. Catherine Students Forge Meaningful Bonds

Marquette University athletes and students from St. Catherine Catholic School have cultivated a remarkable partnership over the past three years. Spearheaded by men’s basketball head coach, Shaka Smart, this partnership has become a beacon of friendship and mentorship, extending far beyond the confines of the basketball court.

At the heart of this program lies a special bond between Coach Shaka Smart and students at St. Catherine, one of the Seton schools closest to Marquette’s campus. Coach Smart, along with his team, have established a meaningful relationship with these students, visiting the school monthly to spend time with them, engage in activities, and even read with them. This regular interaction serves as a foundation for the deeper connections forged during the annual Christmas shopping trip.

In December, the partnership between Marquette University and St. Catherine Catholic School takes on a special significance as athletes accompany students on a shopping spree at Kohl’s. Each student is provided with a $200 budget to fulfill their holiday wishes, spreading joy and cheer throughout the season. For the Marquette student-athletes, the “Shopping with the Golden Eagles” program represents more than just a charitable endeavor—it’s an opportunity to connect with the community, spread cheer, and make a positive impact in the lives of others. Likewise, for the Seton students, the experience is transformative, instilling a sense of joy, empowerment and belonging.

For the students of St. Catherine, the opportunity to watch Marquette basketball practices and interact with the players is more than just a glimpse into the world of college athletics—it’s a window of opportunity. It ignites dreams and aspirations, instilling a sense of possibility and ambition. By witnessing the dedication and hard work of the athletes, students are empowered to pursue their own passions and strive for excellence in all areas of their lives.