The founder of the Marriott hotel chain and his wife are donating a million dollars to construction of the new Mayo hospital in La Crosse.
There is a personal connection behind the large gift from Bill and Donna Marriott. Their long-time family doctor, Paul Mueller, is the leading administrator for Mayo in southwest Wisconsin. Dr. Mueller says he was humbled and thrilled by the donation.
“I’ve known Bill and Donna Marriott for many years, decades actually, and have had the privilege of caring for them ,” said Mueller. “Bill was a trustee of our organization, and has been a strong philanthropic partner over the years.”
The new $200 million Mayo hospital being built along West Avenue is supposed to be completed in 2024. It will replace the current medical center, which was founded as St. Francis Hospital. The six-story building will include a family birth center, cardiac labs, and a flexible intensive care unit.
Mueller thinks the Marriott family donation could lead to other major gifts.
“There is an effect that, if someone commits to give to a project that’s inspirational, that can inspire other people to do the same,” said Mueller.
The Marriott corporation has two hotels in downtown La Crosse, the Courtyard and the Fairfield Inn and Suites, both located near the Cass Street bridge.