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Marquette University Alumni Association

J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication Award Recipients

James T. Tiedge Memorial Award

Fort Mills, S.C.

Ellen was just 6 or 7 when she tugged on her mother’s apron and announced that she would earn a basketball scholarship one day. Her mother just nodded, but Ellen was determined — and made it happen years later, when her skills on the court landed her a full ride to Marquette.

That same determination launched Ellen into a successful career in sports talk radio, a transition into a new career in the senior living industry and her latest role as an entrepreneur. She is president of Keep In Mind, which specializes in holistic approaches for the memory-impaired while providing dementia care coaching services to care providers, and is the creator of Memory Magz, magazine-style publications designed for people with cognitive decline and/or developmental disabilities.

“I enjoy my role as an advocate for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia,” says Ellen, who also contributes to the Alzheimer’s Reading Room website and volunteers with the Western Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “I am blessed to have a strong personality and a strong sense of right/wrong, and I love being able to use those assets to benefit others who aren’t able to speak for themselves.”

She first began putting her creativity and communication skills to work for the memory-impaired in 2001, developing a mature musician concert band, an intergenerational senior prom and a fine art appreciation program, among other programs. Now she’s enjoying the challenge of running her own business and plans to create other products and programs for seniors and their caregivers.

Says Ellen: “I’m pursuing a dream to help those with a dementia diagnosis on my own terms and in my own way.

Get to Know: Ellen Nowak Belk

Hometown: Wauwatosa, Wis.

Favorite quote:  “Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill

The Marquette faculty or staff member who had a great impact on her:  While she enjoyed every professor in the College of Communication, Dr. Michael Havice had a great impact on her. 

Favorite Marquette memory: She has countless memories of her basketball playing experience at Marquette that shaped her personal development. 

Most influential in Ellen’s life:  Her mom and dad.