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Louise Marshall


Inducted in 2015

Louise Foucar Marshall left a philanthropic legacy that endures. She was born in Boston in 1864, the child of immigrant parents. Her father, a skilled leather craftsman, eventually owned his own factory, a place where Louise learned the business skills that would enable her to amass a considerable real estate fortune in her later years. Ill health forced her to move to a drier climate and in 1884 she made her first foray to the southwest.

After attending the School of Fine arts in Mexico City, she went to the University of Denver, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Arts and a Bachelors of Literature. She taught French and German at the University of Denver during the next year but found the cold winter detrimental to her health. She moved to Tucson in early 1899 where she registered as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. That fall she became an instructor at the University, teaching classes in French, Latin, English, plane geometry, and botany. In 1901 she was appointed a Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature—the first female professor on staff.

Louise had grown up in comfortable financial circumstances and from a young age did what she could to help others not as fortunate. In Denver, she provided anonymous financial aid to fellow female university students who were having a difficult time and continued those gifts after graduation. She had a keen eye for business and recognized the potential of properties located close to the University of Arizona, even though at that time the campus was at a considerable distance from Tucson. She began investing her money in real estate around the University where she built a number of rental properties. She resigned her professorship in 1903 and devoted her time to her real estate business. A year later, she married Thomas Marshall, but unlike most of her female contemporaries, she kept control of the finances. She continued making shrewd purchases and sales. In 1922 she built a block of businesses across from the University’s main entrance. This was Tucson’s first suburban shopping center and proved wildly popular.

Louise was involved in a number of charitable organizations and activities. In 1930 she created the Marshall Foundation, the first private philanthropic foundation in Arizona. The goal of the foundation was to create a permanent scholarship fund to aid deserving females who wanted to attend the University of Arizona and to help those less fortunate in the community. She was involved in the day-to-day workings of the foundation until her death in 1956 at the age of 92. This asset-based foundation continues to thrive, providing $400,000 a year in scholarships to U of A women as well funds to support charitable organizations and programs that benefit Tucson and Pima County.

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