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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Award Recipients

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology Achievement Award

Phyllis A. LardinoisPHYLLIS A. LARDINOIS, GRAD '84
Brookfield, Wis.

Although it’s common to think of therapists helping people muddle through struggles such as traumas, depression or grief, Phyllis describes her work as a licensed marriage and family therapist in far more uplifting terms.

“I am often in awe of the strength I see in those whose lives involve great challenges,” she says. “I’m honored to be a supportive partner in their work and to watch as they discover the strength and solutions within them.”

In roles as a former teacher and school counselor and now as a therapist in private practice in Brookfield, Wis., Phyllis has spent more than 30 years working with children and families. Clearly, the work suits her and touches her clients in profound ways.

“Witnessing people develop coping skills, heal trauma wounds, and enhance relationships and general well-being is very rewarding. I enjoy seeing couples, children and families renew their connections and enjoy their lives more fully,” she says.

Graduate study in the College of Education played a pivotal role in leading Phyllis from work in K–12 education to her career in marriage and family therapy, laying the foundation for the development of her counseling skills and motivating her to continue learning. Now, she derives great satisfaction returning the favor, teaching fellow counseling professionals at the Family Therapy Training Institute at Aurora Family Service. “I enjoy learning while preparing for my teaching, and I’m happy to share what I have learned throughout my career” she says. She also shares knowledge and ideas through presentations for schools and community organizations. 

Her Marquette experience clearly continues to inform her approach to life and success. “Success,” she says, “is using God-given talents to make a difference in the lives of other people. It involves remaining humble, appreciative and non-judgmental while treating everyone with compassion and respect.” 

The Marquette principle of service is carried out through work on the Waukesha Parents Place and C.A.R.E. Center advisory boards, as well as participation with her dog in the Read to Rover Program at the Brookfield Public Library. 

Fun Facts

Hometown: Milwaukee

Activities: “At age 40, I bicycled across the United States, from the state of Washington to Washington, D.C. I also bicycled in Ireland, Nova Scotia, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and Michigan and continue to participate in long-distance bicycle events for charities. In addition to biking, I enjoy kayaking, daily walks and winter outdoor sports.” 

Favorite book or favorite quote: “My favorite Bible quote, ‘Be still and know that I am God,’ is a comforting reminder of God’s presence in all I do. Helen Keller’s quote, ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched,’ speaks to my belief of what really matters in life. I appreciate the connections with others, and I value the friendships I have developed along the way.”

Name someone (past or present) with whom you'd like to have dinner:  “I would love to have dinner with Pope Francis so I could thank him for being so humble and so concerned about social justice. I also always enjoy any dinner with family or friends.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how:  “When in grad school, my adviser, Dr. Bernie Raiche, had quite an impact on me. He helped me enhance my confidence as a counselor and guided me in making a life-changing decision. He was compassionate, understanding and empowering. He also invited me to co-lead a group counseling experience and gently pushed me to stretch my abilities. Dr. Ron Zaffrann also had an impact through his unique and creative approaches in teaching and counseling. He was a great role model for developing professional and personal rapport with others. I continue to remain in touch with Bernie and Ron and consider them good friends.”

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories?
“I have very fond memories of attending the late-night Masses at St. Joan of Arc Chapel, as well as being involved with Phi Delta Kappa. I also enjoyed swimming and playing racquetball at the Rec Center.”

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up, and why? “I wanted to be a preschool teacher. I’ve always loved young children and still do. I started my career as a kindergarten teacher and, as a teacher, was inspired to learn more about helping those who struggled with learning. That led to becoming a learning disabilities teacher. That learning experience started at Alverno College and ended at Marquette. In my work as a special education teacher, my awareness of the emotional impact of learning challenges led to becoming a school counselor. As a school counselor, I became aware of the systemic relationship between children and families and decided to become a marriage and family therapist.”

Who is your Marquette legacy? “My brother, Dick Lardinois, and my sister, Sandy Lardinois, graduated from Marquette. My brother-in-law, Jack (John) Doucette, obtained a law degree and played basketball for Marquette in the 1940s.”

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? “In addition to the influence of the professors mentioned above, a variety of people have been influential at different times of my life. My mother taught and modeled a positive, optimistic approach to everything, even her own health struggles, and showed great compassion and respect to all. My fifth-grade teacher at St. Sebastian Grade School, Sister Agnes Therese, believed in the shy girl I was and helped me increase my comfort level as a student. My sister, Sandy, encouraged me to continue in graduate school when I had doubts about whether it was a good fit for me.”