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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Professional Studies Recipients

Spirit of the College of Professional Studies Award

PROF ST '12, GRAD '15

Brookfield, Wis.

Shirley defines success through a Marquette lens: making a difference in the lives of others, her family and the community, all the while being a lifelong learner who enjoys nurturing the growth of others.

In a career that has taken her from the airline industry — working her way up to agent in charge for TWA, as well as being the founding chair for the company’s Diversity Council — to now, as supervisory administrative specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, Shirley has relied on the guiding spirit of St. Ignatius.

“I know he understood lifelong learners and those with a commitment to service,” says Shirley, who as an undergraduate studied psychology, organization and leadership, and dispute resolution and will finish her master’s degree in dispute resolution in May. “I enthusiastically look forward to applying all I have learned in the educational goal of Ignatius in forming men and women for others. I could not have found a more perfect place than Marquette to thrive and flourish.”

Shirley has done this since returning to school later in life. She’s working on a workshop forum that will offer services to those dealing with secondary stress in the medical field, dispute resolution or other service and counseling fields. She also plans to pursue a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies.

“I am fortunate to have an opportunity to learn in an environment that celebrates personal potential through individual and collaborative effort where students emerge as self-disciplined, productive and independent people who enjoy accomplishment inside and outside the classroom,” says Shirley, whose community endeavors are many. She has worked with Citizen’s Academy, Toys for Tots, the Junior League, Discovery World, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.

Fun Facts

Hometown: Milwaukee

Favorite quotes: “One of my favorite quotes St. Ignatius of Loyola said: ‘Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve: to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.’ “Another favorite quote is: ‘The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.’ —Vince Lombardi 
“Another favorite is a Latin quote: 'Nemo dat quod not habet." (You cannot give what you do not have.)'”

Favorite book:In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It is a rich and fascinating, poignant and powerful historical narrative, a true story. I love nonfiction.”

Name someone (past or present) with whom you’d like to have dinner: “Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Shirley Temple and Marlo Thomas.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how: “To each of my professors in Marquette’s Professional Studies undergraduate and dispute resolution master’s program, I would like to say, ‘Thank you for the time, talent, support, expertise and life-changing gifts you gave me. You taught me lessons from the books, and the world, also from your heart. I respect, admire and find inspiration in each of you. How can I ever repay what you have given me?’  
“One of my first classes upon returning to school was Great Leadership taught by Gene Krueger, who had a long career working for a company and decided to retire and teach. At 82 years of age, we were gifted with the wealth of his knowledge and the unique quality of his style. I found myself thinking, ‘I could do that someday.’ I was inspired by his active, productive leadership. He was a true legacy.”

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories? “One of my favorite memories was graduating summa cum laude with a degree in psychology and minor in organization and leadership in May 2012. I felt I waited my whole life for this moment. My family shared my joy, the ceremony, tradition and experience. As I walked on stage, I felt the presence of my parents who had not gone to college; my children and husband, who supported me through my amazing journey; the faculty, students and staff at Marquette who gave me so many gifts and changed my life forever. The bonds, associations and values formed with faculty and fellow students will guide and sustain me through a lifetime.
“Another memory is the time I shared with my British Literature class my love of rock and roll. I asked my professor if I could leave class 15 minutes early to catch a plane to Boston for an AC/DC concert. What a sendoff as each of my fellow students gave a shout of, ‘Back in Black,’ ‘Thunderstruck,’ ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ as I shouted back, ‘For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!’ ”

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? “When I was in grade school, I had two passions/loves: serving others, so I wanted to be a missionary, like Mother Theresa; and a driving force to travel instilled in me by the stories my dad told me about riding the rails across the country during the depression. Travel won out as I joined the airline, TWA, and began my career with them as a flight attendant. Throughout my career, I was a quality assurance agent, corporate trainer, founding chair of the Diversity Council, agent and agent in charge. Like my dad, I was able to share my love of travel with my husband and children, as we visited every major city at home and abroad.”

Who is your Marquette legacy? “There is no one before me. I hope to begin the tradition serving as a one-minute commercial for Marquette. All those who know me know I love Marquette!”

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? “Most influential in my life are my parents, Frank and Marian Kwosek. They taught me it is most important on my journey to study my own reflection and not to ignore my shortcomings. Neither of my parents went to college. Dad was pulled out of school in fourth grade to work the farm, where he was one of 13 kids and a needed farm hand. Mom lived in the orphanage and foster homes, where she was basically the maid. She was a comptometer operator and thought that if I took typing and shorthand classes I could be a secretary. I treasure the raw basic knowledge and wisdom given to me by my parents. They taught me that I must touch my own soul before I could ever hope to touch the souls of others.”

Other activities: “I’m working on a black belt in tae kwon do. I love to dance and travel. I am a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda and Alpha Sigma Nu and a St. Ignatius Scholar. I’m studying guitar and Italian.”