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University community remembers Michael J. Birck

July 9, 2015

Kay and Michael Birck

Michael J. Birck, former member of the Benedictine University Board of Trustees, lead donor and a namesake of the University’s science building, passed away on July 6.

Birck was one of six founders and the CEO of Naperville-based telecommunications company Tellabs. He became involved at Benedictine when his son, Christopher, enrolled as a student.

He was a member of the President’s Advisory Council and served on the Board of Trustees for many years, including as chairman. One of the many philanthropic efforts he and his wife, Kay, supported also included the Educare Scholarship Ball, which raised money for students in need of financial assistance.

When the Michael and Kay Birck Hall of Science opened in 2001, it added more student research space and further enhanced these opportunities so that today, the science programs at Benedictine University can continue to incorporate a research component for all science majors as part of their academic preparation.

“Mike was a wonderful friend and benefactor to the University,” President William J. Carroll, Ph.D., said. “He was on the search committee that selected me and was board chair for several years. In the difficult days in the mid-’90s, he was a major part of the leadership that got us through those times.”


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

Marketing and Communications

Trente Arens
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Marketing and Communications
(630) 829-1948
Benedictine University Lisle Campus