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Marquette University Alumni Association

Intercollegiate Athletics Award Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Elizabeth B. WilkieELIZABETH B. WILKIE, ARTS '09
Oak Park, Ill.

Inspired by fond memories of a favorite Marquette professor who passed away too soon, Elizabeth spent time in the Peace Corps, is teaching Spanish and culture in Chicago, and continues to search for more ways to help others.

One of Elizabeth’s most cherished Marquette memories came not on the field of competition, but in the streets of Toledo, Spain. 

“A flock of birds unexpectedly flew over our heads,” she says. “Once they had fled, we noticed that one little bird had relieved himself on the head of our professor. We were horrified with embarrassment as we fumbled through our purses for a napkin or some handkerchief to clear the mess. ‘Stop!’ replied Professor Eufemia in her thick Spanish accent, ‘Leave it there, is good luck!’ We all laughed and to this day still fondly recall the scene.”

Elizabeth’s beloved professor, Dr. Eufemia Sanchez de La Calle, tragically died in an accident in 2012. But her memory helps drive Elizabeth today in her job as a Spanish and culture teacher at the UNO Charter School Network in Chicago, where she is writing the native Spanish speaker curriculum for elementary and middle school levels.

“It is Femmy’s Marquette spirit of service that I've carried with me,” says Elizabeth, who competed in track and field at Marquette.

After graduation, Elizabeth served with the Peace Corps in Panama for two years. She then returned to Chicago and began coaching, working with the boys' and girls' track teams at Oak Park–River Forest High School. She continues to look for ways to help others.

“As a Marquette student, I had a blessed and well-rounded experience,” she says.