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May Merriment XXXVII - Light Up the Night

May Merriment, our school's biggest fundraiser, is on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Your support is an integral part of Marquette Academy's success. Please join us and radiate our strength in Catholic education. With your support, we continue to keep traditions alive and dreams affordable for our students.  Last year we were able to give over $300,000 to assist families with tuition costs. We thank the community for your continued support, and invite you to celebrate MMM XXXVII, and Light Up the Night with us! We shine bright because of you!

Visit to preview the May Merriment 37 auction items. Can't attend? You can donate online.

Our Committee Chairpeople are: (from left to right) 
Greg and Julie Lechtenberg, Lisa Killelea, Juli Kent
Honorary: Karen and Nelson Nussbaum

Ways you can help to help make this year’s auction a success:

Be an Event Sponsor – Sponsorships are a big part of our event's success and a great way to showcase your business! Please contact the Advancement Office today for details at 815-433-0125, Ext 1016 (Phyllis Donahue) or Ext 1017 (Julie Verona).
Donate – you can donate an item, service or cash to the auction. Download the form here. Donate online here.
Buy a BIG CASH Raffle Ticket – contact Renee Durdan at 815-953-0786. Win $25,000 CASH, or five other cash prizes!
Buy an Ad in the MM catalog – download the form here.
Attend – If you haven't attended in the past but would like to, please email us your information so we can send you an invitation. Tickets are $85 per person, which includes dinner, open bar, auction bid number and valet service.
Be a Table Captain – Fill a table of 8 guests and you'll receive Champaign, strawberries and chocolates at your table, a special thank you and recognition at the event, and share an inspiring night with your friends and colleagues! Captains are not financially obligated to purchase tickets for your guests. Call for more information 815-433-0125, Ext 1016 (Phyllis Donahue) or Ext 1017 (Julie Verona).  
Volunteer – Contact Julie or Phyllis to volunteer for the event


Marquette Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Federal Tax Id #32-006-8862.


Many of you are quite familiar with the annual auction. Many of you are new to the Academy, and therefore, might not be as familiar. The following will refresh all of our minds about the vitality of this important event.

Thirty seven years ago, Marquette parent and friend Joe O’Brien had an idea for a fundraiser – a gourmet catered formal sit-down dinner with a silent and live auction of merchandise that was donated by the community. That first event took over a year of planning and a very large committee of volunteers. It was a HUGE success. Bader Gymnasium was totally transformed into a Parisian experience and packed with nearly 500 guests. This first dinner/auction netted an unprecedented $112,000 – a substantial amount in 1983. Marquette May Merriment became the talk of the town and was considered the premiere social event in the area. We were the first in the area to stage an event like this. Many local organizations have patterned similar events after this one over the years.

Since inception, the gala has consistently raised an average of $180,000 per year and has netted the Academy nearly $5 million dollars. May Merriment funds directly help students with financial aid for tuition and operating costs of the school. Last year, every freshman who applied for a scholarship or financial aid received assistance.

Many changes have taken place through the years – it has become less formal, however, the dinner price still includes an elaborate gourmet dinner that is served buffet style with an open bar. It is still held in Bader Gym which is converted into an elegantly decorated themed dining room and auction gallery. Auction items and services range in value from $10 to hundreds of dollars. There is certainly something for everyone!

May Merriment is the largest fundraiser at Marquette and still involves hundreds of volunteers. A different theme is chosen each year with formal invitations sent in April. Reservations are open to anyone who wishes to support Marquette Academy and have a fun night out. This year’s theme is Light Up the Night.


Call Julie Verona or Phyllis Donahue with questions: 815-433-0125 extention 1017 or 1016


Photos from past May Merriments 34, 35 and 36.

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Learn how to easy it is to use Mobile Bidding: (Tutorial Video)


All guests must register a smartphone upon arrival at the event.  Couples will be linked to the same bid number.

You will be asked to register your credit card for easy checkout on your phone.

Mobile Bidding is used for Silent Auction, Raffle, $100 Tickets and Fund-A-Need. (Live Auction will be done with your paddle on the back of your catalog.)

Once your smartphone is registered, you’ll receive an automated welcome text message containing your bidder URL (link). If you don’t receive a text message, see any of our help staff for assistance.

If you do not have a smartphone or need help bidding, go to the Help Desk at the North End of the gym, and you will be assigned a bidding buddy to assist you.


Click the link in your automated text message, confirm your name. If the name displayed isn’t correct see a Check-in Staff member.

Search for silent auction items by number, keyword or category, or find items with no bids.


Silent auction items will be on display in the gym, so grab a drink and an appetizer, and browse our fabulous items for bid!

Silent Booth workers can also assist you if you need help.

Bid by increment, set a maximum bid or choose “Watch” silent auction items. There will be no crowded bid sheets to hover over; manage your bids from anywhere in the room!

If you are outbid you will be notified by text message.

Keep an eye on your bids by clicking the “My Bids” button on the home screen.

Silent Auction booths will all close at the same time after the Live Auction. The guest with the highest bid will be notified via text.


Convenient, checkout available on your phone; pay with your registered credit card. At auction end, My Bill displays all items and charges, previous payments, and the total balance due. To pay the balance with a credit card, click the Express Checkout button, then proceed to checkout area near bleachers to pick up purchased items. To pay by check or cash proceed to the checkout near bleachers.