Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Award Recipients
Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award
MARY BETH H. NIENHAUS, ARTS '65
The ability to remain calm on the golf course and in life is a fundamental requirement for success. Mary Beth Nienhaus’ deep faith is her source. Her favorite quote from the Bible is, “Without Him, I will be nothing, but with Christ, He will strengthen me.”
The first female varsity student-athlete in Marquette history, Mary Beth actually joined the men’s golf team in 1965 after winning the Wisconsin Women’s Public Links Golf Association Amateur Championship in 1963 and ’64. The first to represent Marquette in intercollegiate postseason play, she won two state amateur championships and was named Wisconsin Female Golfer of the Year in 1969.
Mary Beth taught and coached at Appleton (Wis.) West High School for 36 years, during which her golf teams won four state championships. She’s the only high school coach to be named LPGA Coach of the Year. Elected to numerous halls of fame, Mary Beth was the LPGA’s Midwest Professional of the Year in 1992 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Sports Advocates of Wisconsin in 2001. She remains involved with junior golf to this day, running one of Wisconsin’s largest junior programs as owner of Winagamie Golf Course in Neenah.
Marquette provided Mary Beth with an excellent academic foundation and the opportunity to share her Catholic values with others. She has made service trips to Africa, the Dominican Republic, the Holy Land and Nicaragua, and she is a trustee for her parish, a Eucharistic minister and volunteer, and a member of the Lions Club.
Mary Beth says her parents provided unwavering support during her many teaching, coaching and golf adventures, as did Goldie Bateson, LPGA teaching professional and mentor. Mary Beth includes in her “Marquette family” Dr. Miriam Connellan, her math professor and close friend, and Dr. Charles Nader, physical education professor and men’s golf coach from 1965–75, with whom she keeps in touch.
Her secret for success is simple: “hard work, dedication, setting high standards and leading a faith-filled life.”
Fun facts: When Mary Beth was growing up, she wanted to be a teacher. Her favorite place to study on campus was the library, and she socialized at O’Donnell Hall and the Union.