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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Recipients

Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

Bette A. Lang


Janesville, Wis.

As a child, Bette Lang couldn’t wait to teach her little sister. That passion for education only grew and grew.

For five decades, Bette has served as an educator throughout Wisconsin, including in leadership positions in which she has focused on student achievement through hiring, developing and evaluating quality staff and in helping develop two charter schools. She also was appointed to the Education Commission of the United States and has received teacher, administrator, educator and volunteer of the year awards in three different communities. But she hasn’t stopped, in part because of her Marquette education. 

“My professors modeled the definition of giving back to one’s profession in a very significant way — using their education and experiences to assist others achieve their life goals,” she says.

Today, Bette continues to give back by teaching, serving as an adjunct instructor at George Williams College/Aurora University and Edgewood College, advising doctoral students completing their dissertations and working as a consultant.  

And, as the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Bette’s husband is a retired educator, his two children are teachers and they both married teachers. “Needless to say, our conversations are always lively,” she says. 

Fun facts about Bette:
Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Gandhi
Someone alive or dead she’d like to have dinner with: Her late parents, Père Marquette and Gandhi
The Marquette faculty members who had an impact on Bette: Dr. John Augenstein, Dr. Tom Martin and Dr. Robert Nordberg
Favorite Marquette memory: “My favorite memory is leaving South High School in Sheboygan, Wis., realizing I was a little late, racing down to Marquette, congratulating myself on finding a parking spot, traversing the gravel and mud parking lot where the Alumni Memorial Union now stands, scurrying up the steps, and landing in a chair around a table of welcoming faces who knew exactly where I’d come from and who were willing to engage in discussion about the challenges of the day, which the professor gently blended into the curriculum for the evening. Leaving with a sense of peace and thought-provoking questions to ponder on the drive home was the most memorable gift!”
In grade school, Bette wanted to be a teacher.
Most influential people in her life: Her parents