Five Questions (and more ) With...
Len Kasper, Comm '93

(Zac Bellman, Comm '16, mentee)

Len Kasper1. Why are you serving in the MUAA Mentor Program?
I have had a lot of help along the way in my career and one of the most important mentors of mine was public relations professor Bill Baxter, who was my freshman advisor at Marquette in 1989. He helped me tremendously and I never forgot it. If I can impart a little “wisdom” to some people looking to make a career in journalism/broadcasting, I’d be foolish to pass up that opportunity.

2. What suggestions do you have for mentees?
My #1 thing is to take advantage of your opportunities outside the classroom. College is hard and there are social things students want to enjoy too. But at the end of your 4-5 years at Marquette, do you want to put yourself ahead of all the other people applying for jobs? If so, you have to go the extra mile and get real-world experience.

3. Two things you think a Marquette student should do before they graduate.
Get a job or internship that takes you off-campus. And spend a summer traveling, something I didn’t get to do because of my various jobs/commitments. You’re young, see the world!

4. If you’ve had a mentor, what’s one piece of advice that has stuck with you?
Going back to Bill Baxter, in one of our first meetings my freshman year, he mentioned a public relations internship with the Milwaukee Bucks. He had indicated that freshmen usually didn’t apply for something like that but he encouraged me to go for it and thought I had the motivation and work ethic to pull it off. I applied and I got it. And it turned into one of the best things I’ve ever done. "Don’t sell yourself short" is the lesson.

5. What qualities do you look for and appreciate in the people you work with or hire?
Preparation, hard work, dedication. All the buzzwords you always hear. But just as important is curiosity. Questions are often way more important than the answers. I like people who have an open mind and who are willing to have a conversation about things they either don’t understand or don’t agree with. My mantra is to try learn something new every day. And I usually
accomplish that in my job in baseball. I don’t ever want to feel like I know it all.

6. What’s your favorite Marquette memory?
A couple come to mind. That Bucks internship ranks pretty high. But I’d have to say working on WMUR Radio for many men’s basketball games. The then-Warriors weren’t always very good, but I had a ton of fun covering them. Nick Bohr, the long-time WISN TV news reporter, “hired” me at WMUR when I was a freshman and he was a senior. And I got a chance to do games with him and Pat Souders (among others), who went on to become U.S. Senator Dick Durbin’s Chief of Staff. We had an absolute blast.

7. How do you manage work/life balance?
It’s a great question and the answer is, it’s not always easy. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love doing Cubs games every day during the baseball season. And I love my down time in the winter. But the stark contrast of all or nothing is challenging for sure. Fortunately, I have the most patient and understanding wife in the world. This lifestyle is very difficult in that regard. I do miss a lot of things at home while I’m traveling. But again, having 4-5 months at home in the winter is nice.

8. Individual- past or present- you’d like to have dinner with?
It's so difficult to pick one person. My answer would probably change depending on my mood that day, but since you asked TODAY, I’d go with somebody like FDR or Churchill to discuss their strategy for winning the war. Talk about a pivotal point in modern world history. To be a fly on the wall in their circle at that time would be fascinating.  

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I play lots of tennis, go for long runs, read books, go to movies and listen to tons of music. And my TV watching is largely taken up by NHL games. I have always loved watching hockey and I can’t get enough of it during the winter.

10. Something you wish you would’ve done at Marquette differently to help prepare for your career?
I can’t say I’d have changed anything honestly. I sometimes say I should have studied less and partied more but when I think about that statement, it seems kinda foolish. Ha.

11. Favorite place on campus?
Joan of Arc Chapel. The most peaceful place I can think of.

12. Your career dream job when you graduated from Marquette was…..
To be the radio voice of a Major League Baseball team. I’d say it worked out pretty well.

13. Is there a class you wish you would’ve taken when you were at Marquette? If so, what was it?
Now you’re testing my often-times faulty memory. Wow. I had so many good courses, especially in history. I guess I’d say a business course or two. That never hurts to understand the business world at a greater depth.

Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs.

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