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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Health Sciences Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

Bay Village, Ohio

Inspired by a movie she saw as a child, Mary has always known she wanted to be a physical therapist. These days, she prides herself on being a positive catalyst for change in the ever-evolving health care landscape.

“Health care is changing, and we are looking at ways to improve what we do. I like being a part of that change,” says Mary, who has been senior director of rehabilitation and sports therapy at the Cleveland Clinic for the past four years.

Recently, of note at the Cleveland Clinic, she participated in developing the outcome tool “6 Clicks,, which measures the function of patients in acute-care hospitals. The tool can be used by the health care team to improve the way patient care is provided. It’s being used by about 100 hospitals around the United States.

“I like having the ability to make a difference in the lives of the patients we touch and being able to influence how that care is provided,” she says.

Mary attributes her time playing basketball at Marquette and studying in the physical therapy program as major contributors to her professional success, but she defines it more personally.

“Success is the result of having earned a series of accomplishments,” she says. “My biggest accomplishments are being married for 31 years, raising four children, sending them to 12 years of Catholic education, watching them graduate from college, and seeing how they’ve become kind, loving, generous and socially conscious adults.”

She and her husband have long volunteered their time teaching Sunday school, coaching basketball and other sports and are involved with many other activities within their parish and community.

“I try to do my best every day and ask God to guide me along the way,” she says.

Fun Facts

Hometown: Cleveland

Favorite quotes: “ ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression,’ and ‘Each time you learn something new, you have to adjust the whole framework of your knowledge.’ — Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Dream dinner guest: “Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon, author and public health researcher.”

Favorite Marquette memory: “When I was at Marquette, I played on the women’s basketball team. My favorite memories have to do with being part of a team and all I learned from that. I always say I learned more about being a leader from playing a team sport that anything else I have ever done.”

Career goal she aspired to in grade school: “I always wanted to be a physical therapist from the time I saw the movie Other Side of the Mountain about a skier who suffered a spinal cord injury.”

Most influential person: “My parents. They are both very kind and giving and always taught us the importance of faith, prayer and family.”