James T. Tiedge Memorial Award

LazarskiMaryann Lazarski, Jour '78, Grad '82 u 
Wauwatosa, Wis.

Maryann Lazarski is a storyteller, producing impactful documentaries and long-form stories for Milwaukee PBS. Her own story shares an important motto with Marquette University. She says, “‘Be The Difference’ may not have been the tagline when I was a student at Marquette, but it’s always been something I strive for — as a producer and storyteller, as a teacher, and as a human being.”

Like the transformational education Marquette offers, some of Maryann’s work has led to transformative change. She produced a documentary called “Kids in Crisis: You’re Not Alone,” which focused on youth mental health challenges. This documentary led to two new Wisconsin state laws to improve mental health information and resources in schools.

Over a career that spans nearly 45 years, Maryann has told myriad stories: from her early days as a sports reporter for the suburban Chicago Sun-Times to her television news days at WISN-TV managing the coverage of Jeffrey Dahmer to teaching at UWM and Cardinal Stritch to her current role as a producer at Milwaukee PBS. She gauges her success on how her stories are impacting someone’s life or the greater community.

Maryann’s high school journalism teacher, Sister Mary Jerome, recommended that she attend Marquette. As a kid from the city of Chicago, Maryann thought, “Wow, Wisconsin. Marquette must be a lovely campus in the rolling hills of Wisconsin. Ha. The rolling hills — not so much.” Once she arrived at Marquette, however, she found her stride and credits three of her graduate school professors for giving her a strong foundation in ethics, accuracy, and truth.

Maryann serves as the president of the Milwaukee Press Club, the oldest continuously operating press club in North America. At a time when the news media is frequently and publicly attacked, she prides herself on working with the board of directors to help restore trust in local journalism, serving an informed public and maintaining a strong democracy.

Fun Facts:

Name someone (past or present) with whom you'd like to have dinner.
My mom. I lost her when I was a junior at Marquette. A lot has happened since then that I’d like to share with her and get her advice on.

Name a Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how.
Dr. Ken Ksobiech and Dr. Jim Tiedge for the ethical and moral standards they set for their students inside and outside of the classroom. They were a dynamic duo! They didn’t even have to say anything. You just knew what they stood for and expected. I can still picture Ken Ksobiech rolling a piece of chalk in his hand as he taught. It was a bit intimidating.

As for the impact on my broadcast journalism career, I have to say Art Olszyk, hands down. He taught me everything I needed to know to be successful in a television newsroom. As a former television news editor and reporter, he knew his stuff — from broadcast writing and producing basics to leadership skills — and the importance of having a sense of humor. My career at WISN-12 News lasted 20 years, and there wasn’t a time I didn’t think of Art — what he taught me and what he stood for. His influence remains in my work at Milwaukee PBS as well.

Leave a congratulatory message for Maryann!

u Celebrating a Marquette Reunion