Alumni National Awards


SalakJohn Salak, Jour ’79
Bovina Center, NY

After more than 30 years as an award-winning journalist, John Salak now leads two organizations, both with goals of helping businesses and individuals better themselves, exemplifying the Jesuit concept of magis, doing more for others. In addition to working with corporate clients, John and his team have worked with several nonprofit groups, such as the Cristo Rey Network, to help them build members, raise funds, and support operations — all pro bono.

The Salak Group Inc. is a strategic communications company that helps clients build relationships and deliver clear and engaging messages. WellWell USA is an online news and information emporium, providing a one-stop destination for updates on health and wellness developments, information on nutrition and fitness-related products and services, and insights for living life better.

John’s definition of success dovetails with the Ignatian tenets of servant-leadership and lifelong learning. For him, success – personal or professional – is the ability to continually be engaged, curious, and ultimately, to reach people and connect to them. Success also involves remembering how others took the time to serve as mentors and passing your own experience and knowledge on to other organizations and individuals that may need a little boost.

John succinctly summarizes Marquette’s transformative experience: “At its best, Marquette can and does nurture our better elements, whether that’s curiosity, engagement with others, the will and need to examine what we confront in a fair, open manner and exacting manner … these are values and characteristics that are critical to personal growth and emotional and intellectual survival.”

Name someone (past or present) with whom you’d like to have dinner.
I’d like a combination dinner with George Washington and Ingrid Bergman. Both fascinating but flawed individuals … having them both attend would keep the conversation moving and undoubtedly loosen up George.

Name a Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how.
Dean George Reedy, who was cool but eccentric – a penchant for cherry pie and slippers. His presence exposed everyone to the wider and arguably uneven world we would confront.

Professor John Vivian: To this day, anytime I start to write the word “very,” his face pops up in the back of my mind and I hear him saying “very” is an absolutely useless word.

Leave a congratulatory message for John!