Alumni National Awards

J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication
Award Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Lori RichardsLori Van Pay Richards, Comm ’02
Shorewood, Wis.

As president of Wisconsin’s largest independent public relations agency, Lori leads clients through crises, campaigns and communication initiatives.

After in-house public relations stints with the Golf Foundation of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gas Company and the Milwaukee Admirals Hockey Club, Lori joined Mueller Communications in 2002, where she has been president and a partner for nearly three years. “I have not experienced one minute of boredom in my 16 years with the firm,” Lori says. “It’s energizing every day to work with fantastic colleagues and clients, and drive meaningful change in our community.”

Lori’s key goals as a leader within Mueller are to “continue the agency’s organic growth and continue to evolve as a company to be an employer of choice for bright young talent,” she says. When she was starting out in the field, the first-generation college student won an award that recognized promising PR practitioners. This influenced her decision in 2012 to establish a scholarship and internship at Mueller, which is awarded to college seniors interested in PR and communication.

With numerous awards and recognitions for her work, Lori was named as a “40 Under 40” Milwaukee-area leader in 2017 by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Her volunteer work includes serving on committees with BizStarts Milwaukee and Milwaukee Succeeds, and on the board of directors of the Milwaukee Press Club, TEMPO Milwaukee and Discovery World.

Lori calls attending Marquette “probably the most important choice I’ve ever made,” noting that it shaped her as a person and provided the foundation for her career, and it’s where she met her husband, John Richards, Bus Ad ’02.

“Marquette creates an environment in which personal pursuit of (the Marquette mission) is ‘cool,’” Lori says, adding that for her, “What was once ‘cool’ is now a way of life.”

Fun fact: Lori would like to have dinner with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. “We probably wouldn’t even need wine,” she says.