For The Love of De Pere

Miriam and Jim Mulva are part-time De Pere residents with historic deep backgrounds in De Pere. They also reside in Austin, Texas. Both are graduates of De Pere and Green Bay Catholic and public schools.

Miriam was born in Green Bay and grew up in West De Pere. She graduated from St. Boniface Catholic grade school in De Pere, St. Joseph Academy in Green Bay, and St. Norbert College with a degree in elementary education. Miriam was a competitive and accomplished Wisconsin swimming athlete associated with the Green Bay YMCA.

Jim was born in Oshkosh, but his family moved to De Pere when he was very young. Jim attended St. Francis Catholic school and graduated from Dickinson grade school and De Pere High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin under a Navy ROTC scholarship. From 7th grade through high school, Jim spent most of his high school time working at Green Bay Aviation as a line boy which is also where he earned his pilot licenses. Primarily in grade school, Jim was a competitive baseball and basketball player. Jim graduated from the University of Texas with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Finance and was commissioned as a U.S. Naval officer.

Upon graduation from college, Miriam and Jim were married in 1969 at the old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in De Pere. With Jim’s commencement of active duty in the U.S. Navy, Miriam and Jim lived two years on Bahrain Island (Arabian Gulf) assigned to the Commander Middle East Task Force Staff. They then moved to Cleveland, Ohio with assignment to the Navy Finance Center.

In 1973, Jim resigned from the U.S. Navy and commenced a nearly forty year career in the oil and gas industry. Jim started with Phillips Petroleum as a financial management trainee and ascended to leadership roles as CFO, President, CEO and Chairman with Phillips Petroleum and ConocoPhillips after Phillips Petroleum and Conoco merged in 2002. Jim retired in 2012. During this nearly forty year career, Miriam and Jim lived twice in London and many years in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (Phillips Petroleum headquarters) and Houston, Texas (headquarters of ConocoPhillips). During this time period, Miriam was active in local Oklahoma, London and Texas initiatives including serving on several boards related to the Catholic Church including the Homebound Ministry, community, the arts, school and USS Swimming. Business travel was extensive, and Miriam and Jim have had the opportunity to see much of the world and to establish long-lasting friendships.

Miriam and Jim have two sons who are both married, and they have four grandchildren. Stephen is the older son who has a PhD in civil engineering project management from Georgia Tech with undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, and his career has been primarily academic in engineering with UT Austin. Jonathan is the younger son who holds a finance degree from Notre Dame and who is a long time United Airlines’ pilot based in Chicago and residing in De Pere. The Mulva’s are a very small but close-knit family who enjoy sports, flying and being together.

With respect to Miriam’s and Jim’s approach to life, they have always been interested and supportive of the communities in which they live. This is especially true for Miriam, given that Jim’s primary responsibility was his employment with Phillips Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. They have always felt passionate about the Catholic Church, education, medicine and community initiatives, especially for those people in need. Their belief is that everything they have is a gift from God, and they have been truly blessed in their faith and also with good health, family and friends, and in retirement, they have the capacity (time and resources) to help people. So, their belief is not to hoard what they have been given which is theirs to share in order to help and support people, for they believe they will ultimately be accountable to God for how they have handled all the gifts provided to them. Accordingly, they give their time, talent, and resources to support the above-mentioned initiatives in the De Pere and Green Bay area, Oklahoma, Texas and Rome with sponsorship of seminarians at the Pontifical North American College.

Regarding the Mulva Cultural Center, the development of this project started in late 2014. It started with a request from the De Pere Historical Society to help with their redevelopment and expansion to preserve and expand the De Pere story. Working on this project ultimately led to a new, different and expanded approach to provide a legacy “thank you” gift to De Pere. The Mulva Cultural Center was created to stimulate the intellectual curiosity of people of all ages and interests. The Center’s content and programs will continually change with all mediums of presentation in order to become a long-lasting asset and focal point for De Pere. Miriam and Jim wanted their gift to be funded by them for construction and operation for the long term. The facilities are state-of-the-art with the content and programming continually changing with many exhibits and films being either free to the public or at a nominal cost. This project has been very large, complex, unique, and most challenging. Miriam and Jim believe the building and staff will ensure success and that it will be well-received by the local community, the greater Fox River Valley, and throughout Wisconsin.

With respect to the redevelopment and expansion of the De Pere Historical Society, Miriam and Jim have committed a significant foundational gift to help start and complete this important project. Miriam and Jim will continue to support charitable initiatives in De Pere and Green Bay, primarily those dedicated to helping people in need.