Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Recipients
Professional Achievement Award
DR. KATHRYN KARICH LAUER, ARTS '80
Elm Grove, Wis.
Marquette impacted Kathryn’s life more than she ever could have predicted.
“The first key thing was that I met and married my biggest supporter and the cutest guy I knew, my husband Robb,” she says. “Also, Marquette was a great environment where faith and academics were so intertwined that I had the courage to pursue what started out as an inkling of a vocation and ended up being my life’s path.”
Today Kathryn is a professor, director of quality and vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she works to improve patients’ perioperative experience. She loves teaching and caring for her patients.
“I have had the joy of taking patients through difficult times,” she says. “That is a privilege.”
She also works to advance the field through her research and is a co-investigator in a study that uses functional MRI to explore the mechanisms of consciousness. “This is poorly understood, especially as it relates to anesthetics,” she says.
Though she may be at the front of the classroom, Kathryn considers herself a perpetual student. “My personal formula for success is to take advantage of opportunities to work with people smarter and more talented than me, to always continue learning. Also, don’t say no too often,” she says.
That means saying “yes” to community service with her family’s parishes and schools and the Finca del Niño, an orphanage in rural Honduras where her daughter worked. “Catholic education has been important for our family, and my husband and I have tried to dedicate time over the years to work at our children’s grade schools and high schools,” she says.
And the Marquette mission continues to guide her life.
“I really do work at prayer, try to do the right thing and listen to the voice that tries to keep my priorities straight,” she says.
Favorite quote: “Mother Theresa said, ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’ It’s often quoted — because it is so well said.”
Dream dinner guest: “Pope Francis, and it would be great to have Alice Waters do the cooking!”
Marquette faculty who had an impact on her: “Professor James Barrett turned biology into an inspiring course, which put me on the path to really enjoying learning science. Dr. Michael McKinney had the best handwriting I have ever seen and made organic chemistry something really fun to learn, like a puzzle. I also had a course on comparative religions with now-president Robert A. Wild, S.J. Even over the years, the topics that we discussed together continue to help me learn to understand where others come from.”
Favorite Marquette memories: “Watching the basketball team win the 1977 championship, playing intramural sports, visiting St. Joan of Arc chapel, going to the ’Lanche and Senior Week.”
Career aspirations in grade school: “I had no idea. I loved organizing things and just playing outside.”
Marquette legacy: Her father, brother, sister, husband and in-laws are also alumni. Her daughters Theresa and Sarah are in graduate school at Marquette.
Most influential people in her life: “My parents. They were self-made people who worked hard, made many sacrifices, had faith and have been an inspiration to me on all levels.”