Mary Kenny


Wanting to Make the World Better

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
                                                                        –Anthony Robbins

Mary Kenny’s name could be synonymous with the word “determined.” Robbins’ quote represents Mary’s contributions to the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the professional world. Mary’s desire to be successful and communicate and help others resonates throughout her life, beginning before her career as a UNO student and beyond. Mary has worn many hats, all of which reflect her dedication to improving lives, communicating with others, and leaving her part of the world a little bit better than she found it. From therapist to journalist, communications director, and volunteer, Mary Kenny’s life moves seamlessly toward success, illustrating the progress that women have made and the differences they continue to make.

Part One Following Her Passion

It is clear that Mary was born to help others, and this passion first surfaced in a career as a certified respiratory therapist. After marrying her high school sweetheart and having three children, Mary wanted to join the burgeoning female workforce of the 70s. She followed her interest in the medical field and applied as a respiratory therapist-trainee at Omaha’s Methodist Hospital. Mary worked full-time while pursuing her certification; soon, she saw there was a need for complex medical information to be translated for the general public. Mary had always loved writing, and this career would infuse this love with her already growing knowledge of the medical field. In the fall of 1981, at 28 years of age, Mary enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) with plans to major in journalism. Mary continued to work as a

Part Two A Voice for the People

Mary’s articles vary in subject matter, but her interest in women’s issues shines through. Mary’s first article appeared in the July 26, 1985 issue. “Women’s Center Director Plans Programs, Education” educates readers about the Women’s Resource Center and describes the new director, Helen Quigley, as enthusiastic about women’s issues and exhibiting a drive to make a positive difference on the UNO campus. Quigley said, “Women have certainly had gains, but there’s been a loss involved with every gain … the only way to change things is to educate women in the masses. Let them know what they’re capable of” (qtd. in Kenny, Gateway archives). Kenny’s articles show the women who helped UNO’s population grow and strengthen and also reveal her interest in women’s issues.

This was not the only article that appeared to reveal Mary’s interest in women’s issues. An article

Part Three Making Her Way in the World

Mary has undoubtedly put her education and experience to good use. Upon completion of her Master’s degree, she moved to San Diego, California and carried out her passion for the written word in many venues. Mary was the Public Relations Director at National University 1995–1997, the Media Relations Manager at Ligand Pharmaceuticals 1997–1999, and the Senior Development Writer at the University of California, San Diego 2002–2004.

In 2004, Mary became the Director of Marketing at the California State University, San Marcos Division of Continuing Studies. It was an opportunity for Mary to create a marketing department and program from the ground-up, something the Division lacked, and something new to Mary, as well (Kenny). She was responsible for managing the department’s marketing and communications. While in San Marcos, Mary became a member of the Kiwanis Club, which supports the community through various