Service Award

KolshakAnn Wagner Kolshak, Nurs ’79
Atlanta, Ga.

When Ann Kolshak learned she was receiving an award for service, she was speechless. She feels what she does is ordinary and that everyone should live their lives helping others. Ann’s service is, however, extraordinary — she gives back to people and enables them to pay it forward through her educational nonprofit organization, The Cape Scholars.

Ann retired in 2006 from a 27-year career spent in service as a nurse in the U.S. Navy Reserves. After serving both her patients and her country, Ann has maintained her nursing license so that she can continue to volunteer when the opportunity presents itself. During the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, she was able to administer more than 500 COVID-19 immunizations.

In 2015, after traveling to South Africa, Ann and her husband, Joe, Bus Ad ’79, established The Cape Scholars, an educational nonprofit dedicated to tutoring South African high school students. Through The Cape Scholars, Ann and Joe help 25 high school students each year with tutoring in math and English, as well as personal encouragement and motivation. Graduates of The Cape Scholars have gone on to become accountants, engineers, teachers, and doctors. As a way to truly “Be the Difference,” The Cape Scholars are required to go back into their own schools and help at least two other students.

Ann and Joe remain very involved with The Cape Scholars, traveling at least once a year to South Africa to meet with the students, the program director, and the tutors. When she and Joe are not visiting South Africa, Ann communicates with the students through What’s App and Facebook, sending them frequent personal encouragement from across the globe.

Fun Facts:

Name a Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how.
Dr. Christine Shaw taught me a couple of different times. In nursing, we have the five rights for administering medications. Dr. Shaw impressed upon me that you NEVER want to compromise your values. Not only did I follow this in my profession as a nurse but also in life. Standing by your values allows you to be the difference!

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories?
1977 was a huge year for Marquette as we were a campus of crazy students running to the lake when we won the NCAA! The fun continued when I was selected to be a resident advisor, and I met Joe Kolshak, my husband of 42 years.


Leave a congratulatory message for Ann!