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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 entitled “Susan B. Anthony short-changed,” which was published February 14, 1986, focuses on Mary’s belief that Anthony should be recognized nationally alongside men like George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. Mary writes, “Commemorating this outspoken suffragist’s birthday with a national holiday would not be a hyperbolic use of the honor” (Kenny, Gateway Archives). Mary uses a quote from Anthony to illustrate the power she had and undoubtedly the strength Mary herself took from her persona:

It was we the people, not we the white male citizens, but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…and it is downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government—the ballot. (qtd. in Kenny, Gateway Archives)

Mary also tackled social issues in her final column for the Gateway, titled “We define first, then see,” which was published April 11, 1986. In this article, Mary addresses the lack of representation of African Americans in journalism, pointing out that this is not a defined category in the UNO library. Mary writes, “The journalism situation at UNO is a microcosm of national statistics,” referring to the lack of minorities employed in the field of journalism (Kenny, Gateway archives). Mary foreshadows her future career in communication, writing,

Communication is the beginning of understanding. Unfortunately, the question, ‘Who speaks for black America?’ at least in American newspapers, is answered in silence, or at best, a whisper. And with a strong voice in the media, minorities can only wish for economic and social change, and the abolition of stereotypes. (Kenny, Gateway archives)

Upon graduation, Mary became the Publication Editor for UNO Today, a quarterly magazine published by the UNO Alumni Association. The articles in UNO Today typically highlighted an alum’s success and continued news about the University.

UNO Alumni Celebration

Mary’s articles reflected both her interest in education and the University. She highlights women’s issues in three articles. One titled “Women studies minor a major landmark” focuses on the growth of women’s studies at UNO. In another, titled “Women’s athletics shows endurance and strength,” Mary writes about how Connie Claussen laid the groundwork for women’s athletics at UNO and helped nurture its success. The third article addressing women’s issues notes that the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women found a difference in salary between men and women in 1984.

Mary’s articles often focused on education, a theme which foreshadowed her Master’s thesis, titled “Media Relations Practitioners’ Attitudes toward the Effectiveness of their Undergraduate Public Relations Education,” in which she discussed whether or not media relations can be effectively taught in a classroom setting. Mary received her Master’s in Communication in 1993, one of 547 people to receive a Master’s degree from UNO that year. Mary’s passion for continuing education did not stop at the completion of her Master’s degree. She received her Investor Relations Certificate from the University of California Irvine Extension Business and Management Program, an intensive program requiring a minimum of 175 hours of training. Mary also completed the Ammerman Experience, an intensive media relations and crisis communications program in Houston, Texas (Evergreen Marketing and Communications).

 

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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