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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Professional Studies Award Recipients

Spirit of the College of Professional Studies Award

Ronald SmithRONALD SMITH, PROF ST '05, '09


Growing up in Chicago, Ron Smith got the scoop on what’s important in life from his parents.

“They taught us that life isn’t about money but about enriching the lives of others,” he says. “I learned how to count my blessings and how to make my blessings count.”

This lesson, he says, led to his success and commitment to helping bring together communities.

Since grade school, Ron has known he wanted to be part of a newsroom, putting words to a page to truly make a difference. He stuck with that dream and today is assistant managing editor for news operations at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Ron has also worked at The Oregonian, the Los Angeles
, Newsday and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He was chief copy editor for two Pulitzer Prize-winning projects — one in Los Angeles and one in Portland.

Ron has a bachelor’s degree in professional communication and master’s degree in leadership studies from Marquette, and he was a member of the 2009–10 Mid-America Press Board of Directors. He is a well-regarded and sought-after industry panelist and has conducted workshops for many national groups, including the National Association of Black Journalists, American Copy Editors Society, Asian American Journalists Association and American Society of News Editors. In addition, he has twice been a professional in residence at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas and served as a visiting faculty member for Poynter's 2003 “Advanced Copy Editing” seminar. He also was a 2007–09 member of the College of Professional Studies Advisory Council and is an Ethnic Alumni Association member.

Ron is a believer in lifelong learning and is currently pursuing a doctorate in urban studies, with an emphasis on race, gender and the media.

“I plan to keep growing intellectually and continue to strive to improve myself so that I can uplift others,” he says.

Fun fact: Ron remembers his Marquette stats class the most, not because he struggled, but because instructor Alex Sielaff believed in him and pushed him to finish it. He did — and it remains one of his greatest triumphs.