CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
Tim Baumgartner likes to joke that the only thing he didn’t learn during his time at Marquette University High School was how to talk to girls.
“I still got married, though,” he said. “It all worked out.”
In all seriousness, Baumgartner says he credits MUHS not only with preparing him for a rigorous post-secondary education at the University of Notre Dame, but with instructing him in the basic building blocks of success — values like reliability, punctuality, dedication and hard work.
“The community, the faculty, the education— it was all just such a positive experience, and it really set me up for so much more success later,” said Baumgartner, who is now the vice president of analytics at Loughlin Constable in Milwaukee. “When I started in the workforce, everything just kind of made sense. As a Marquette grad, you understand leadership, you understand hard work.”
Baumgartner’s experience of Catholic high school is in tune with the findings of a recent study conducted on behalf of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The study compiled data from a four-phase research process that included focus groups as well as online surveys taken by 1,200 Catholic high school graduates, more than 800 Catholic parents of current high schoolers and more than 300 Catholc parents of alumni, all of differing socioeconomic backgrounds.
The study revealed that Catholic high school graduates experience academic and professional success at a higher rate than their public school-educated peers.
“I truly think that it was the most important thing that I did as a young student, as a young man, just in terms of what I learned there, the community there, the help that I had there, and how that positioned me and trained me to be a successful person later on in life,” said Baumgartner. “I think that’s a really important, formative time for young men and for all young individuals, and there’s just such a strong community there — people who really care, people who are really good at what they do.”
MUHS was the “logical next step” for Baumgartner after he graduated from St. Francis Borgia Parish School in 2000 — even though it represented not only a significant financial commitment from his parents, but a logistical and time commitment from them in the form of an 80-minute round-trip commute each day.
The community he found in high school was well worth the long car ride, he said. He can still remember every word to the traditional German songs he sang in Dr. Kreilein’s German class each Friday; he credits Jim Kearney’s English classes with his own critical reading and writing abilities, and attributes his appreciation of history and culture to Mrs. Bonesho’s European history instruction. Outside of school, he was active in student council and jazz. “Mr. Skowronski would probably be happy to know I can still play the major, minor, dorian and mixolydian scales through the circle of fifths and the guitar lead to ‘Take 5’ no problem,” he said.
His favorite memories of those years revolve around the lunch table. “For three years, a group of six of us or so sat at the same lunch table every day, laughed about nonsense and just enjoyed a much-needed break in our busy days. The friendships I made at that table have lasted to this day. I’ve since stood at weddings for a few of those guys and count them among my closest friends.”
Additionally, because of the AP credits he had acquired at MUHS, he was able to graduate from Notre Dame in four years, even after switching majors. The survey also noted that Catholic high school graduates complete their college degree work in less time than their peers.
After graduating from Notre Dame in 2008 with a business degree in marketing, Baumgartner moved back to Milwaukee and worked at FIS for three years. He was then hired by Laughlin Constable in 2012, where he helped to develop their analytics practice. He splits his time between Chicago and Milwaukee, leading a team of 11 and working with clients from across Laughlin Constable’s entire portfolio. He also teaches an advanced analytics course at the UWM School of Continuing Education. In his free time, he’s volunteered as a tutor at Notre Dame Middle School. As an alum, he also remains involved in the MUHS mission, sitting on the school’s marketing committee. He says he’s aware that the cost of the school can be a significant barrier to some families, and it is his hope to open the opportunity for a Marquette education up to as many students as possible.
“I know how much that education did for me, and how important it was for me,” he said. “I hope to help those less fortunate than myself to receive the same great education I did, knowing what it helped me accomplish.”
With an educational career spent completely in Catholic schools, Baumgartner’s parents joke that his inheritance is between his ears.
He says he “couldn’t agree more” — but also, “couldn’t be more grateful.”
“I can’t help but think the greatest gift I’ve received is 16 years of private, Catholic education,” he said.