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Marquette University Alumni Association

Intercollegiate Athletics Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

Mary Beth Crossett SmitsMARY BETH CROSSETT SMITS, ENG '90
Chanhassen, Minn.

Some of Beth’s most cherished Marquette memories come from long road trips. A member of the women’s basketball team from 1986–90, she says those formative conversations with teammates went way beyond basketball.

“We would sit in the back of the bus and have all kinds of interesting conversations — about school, friends, family and life,” she says. “Those were the times when we really came together as teammates and friends.”

Those experiences helped form the person she is today: vice president of Secondary Markets at Best Buy and a mentor to young people in her free time.  

At Best Buy, Beth formulates new strategies and business plans to help the company reduce tens of millions of dollars of expenses tied to customer product returns. But she can envision herself leading a nonprofit someday and already volunteers with two organizations that focus on youth development. She’s board chair for Camp Fire Minnesota, which focuses on quality out-of-school time and outdoor programs anchored on youth development, and a “study buddy” for middle school students through St. Paul-based Common Bond Communities.

Beth traces her current success back to her experiences at Marquette, on and off the court.

“To be honest, if success were only measured in wins and losses, our team didn’t have a lot of it in my years here,” she says. “But we were successful in different ways. We worked hard every day to improve; we made mistakes and learned from them; we got better every year. We sweated together, literally and figuratively! We laughed and cried together. We grew up together in ways that only those who played team sports can possibly understand.”