Over the course of his 24 years at Viterbo University, Marv Friedewald left an indelible mark, starting the business program in 1976 and immediately becoming the biggest booster of the university’s fledgling athletics programs.
When he first came to Viterbo, watching the men’s basketball team play meant going to the seminary on the edge of town, but he went to every game. And as the athletics programs grew, he took just as much interest in the other sports.
Marv was about more than watching though, and he was instrumental in starting the tradition of noontime pickup basketball games that continues to this day.
In 2020, the legacy of generosity established by Marv and his wife, Annette, will match the length of his tenure as a faculty member. In 1996, four years before Marv’s retirement, the first Marv and Annette Friedewald scholarships were awarded, aimed at helping basketball players.
“He saw a need for these scholarships,” recalled Annette, who was honored in 2019 with Viterbo’s Saint John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service. “He had a lot of athletes in his classes, and often he found that so many of them were stretched thin and struggling, not only academically but financially. He wanted to do whatever we could to help them, to take away some of their burden so they could do their best both as students and as athletes.”
When Marv retired in 2000, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease had just started to surface. As a salute to his service, a Friedewald scholarship for business students was established. In 2007, another scholarship fund in the Friedewalds’ name was established for Catholic students in recognition of Marv and Annette’s advocacy for Viterbo students and their modeling of “ethical practices and servant leadership.”
For the 2019-20 school year, Friedewald scholarships were awarded to seven students, and Annette got a chance to meet with five of them at the annual Scholarship Thank You event. It’s rewarding to hear the recipients talk about the positive impact the scholarships have, Annette said, but even better is seeing evidence that their generosity is being paid forward.
“When I go to that scholarship event, I always see the names of scholarship donors who were students when Marv was on the faculty,” said Annette, a Viterbo graduate herself along with her two daughters. “I have a real appreciation for Viterbo and for the people here. They’ve really done a lot for my family.”