College of Health Sciences Award Recipients
Service to Marquette Award
ALMA D. PETERS, SP '75, GRAD '76
Ask Alma Peters how Marquette contributed to her success and she’ll declare the question to be “ridiculous.”
“You need to know that I was a blue-collar Jersey girl that got into Marquette due to some miracle I cannot explain. I think I was the only girl in my graduating class of 300 that went out of state. I was the only girl in my ‘clique’ that got a four-year degree. Forget about my master’s degree — not even on the radar,” she says. “Marquette did not just provide me with a profession; it transformed my life in every way possible.”
And she has since spent her career transforming others’ lives. She began her career as a speech-language pathologist and worked her way up to vice president of several rehabilitation companies. The best part of her work: “Giving people a job to do, giving them guidance and support, and then seeing the amazing job they do,” she says.
Although she describes herself as “gleefully retired,” she stays active with her alma mater and co-chaired the committee that helped raise the funds necessary to move the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology from one of the oldest buildings on campus into a newly renovated home. For the past several years, she has volunteered as a clinical instructor. “I am so lucky to be able to provide clinical supervision for speech pathology graduate students for three weeks every semester. I also get to participate in two aphasia support groups,” she says.
Last year, she decided to give back to Marquette students even more by establishing the Alma D. Peters Scholarship Fund, which benefits graduate students in speech-language pathology.
She also volunteers with the Adult Learning Center, tutoring inner-city adults who are working on their GEDs, and provides transportation and donation picks-ups for Advocates of Ozaukee, a battered woman’s shelter.
Her definition of success: “Loving what you do, surrounded by people you love and admire and having just enough money to live that life.”
Hometown: Trenton, N.J.
Favorite book: Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Dream dinner guest: “Oprah Winfrey or Doris Kearns Goodwin.”
Marquette faculty member who had an impact: “Dr. Franklin Silverman. I was riding the elevator with Dr. Silverman and was contemplating a job change into the for-profit sector and shared with Dr. Silverman my fears about profit vs. not-for-profit. And he looked at me and said ‘Alma, you will take your integrity with you, no matter the setting.’ Those words of support and encouragement took my career to a level I never dreamed of.”
Favorite Marquette memories: “Are you kidding? Absolutely everything, but mostly my roomies from the Reeves that are still among the most important people in my life. But one of the most memorable things I ever did was sell a clock radio for $16 to buy a bus ticket to Chapel Hill to go to the Final Four.”
Career she aspired to in grade school: “I wanted to marry the mayor of Trenton, and by the time I finished undergrad I wanted to be the mayor, and by the time I finished graduate school I just wanted to see where life was going to take me.”
Marquette legacy: “My older brother, Joe, went to Marquette but did not graduate. My niece, Kristin Lettiere, is a 1996 graduate. She had no choice in the matter. Her mom did not go to college, but she saw Marquette as the answer to her daughter’s success.”
Most influential people: “No question about it: my parents. They told me I could go anywhere I wanted for college. They never told me the bill would be mine to pay back, but that was probably a wise thing. As we all know, Marquette was the best thing that ever happened to me.”