Give Marquette

Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award

Lawrence H. SiewertLAWRENCE H. SIEWERT, BUS AD '63,
GRAD '72

Wauwatosa, Wis.

It would be difficult to find a lay person who has made as much of an impact on local Jesuit education as Larry Siewert. He was a longtime teacher and administrator at Marquette University High School — where he was the first lay principal in the school’s history — and co-founder of Nativity Jesuit Middle School, where he served as principal and director of the graduate program. In the latter role, he helped mentor and support the school’s predominately low-income and Hispanic students to ensure their continued success after graduating from Nativity Jesuit.

“Education is power, and I’ve committed my career to helping young people, especially minorities, to become more educated so they have full access to all of what life may offer,” Larry says. “In 49 years of working in Jesuit education, I’ve encountered countless students. If they have gained even half of what I have from them, then they are fortunate indeed. To see and experience the success of these students has been a constant delight for me throughout my career.”

Larry also served on the National Board of Jesuit Secondary Education and National Commission for Research and Development and was involved in planning the Colloquium on the Ministry of Teaching, which impacted every Jesuit high school in the nation. “One of my biggest privileges was meeting and learning from Pedro Arrupe who at the time was general of the Society of Jesus,” he says.

Though he retired in 2013, he is committed to staying involved in the education field and is part of a Marquette High group examining how to best serve the school’s growing number of low-income students.

Although Larry’s leadership has made a difference to hundreds of families over the years, he is humble about his success. “If I’ve been successful, it’s been because I found talented people to work with, to be inspired by and to share with,” he says. “I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with and for many, many fine people — both Jesuit and lay. When good people set high standards and work hard, good things can happen.”

Hometown: Milwaukee
Favorite book: “My favorite book was one that really helped change my life when I read it as a young man. It is The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
Dream dinner guest: “I’d love to have dinner with President Obama, especially to talk with him about immigration reform and urge him to more it forward so young people have access to college funding and can be on a path toward citizenship — have him pass the Dream Act.”
Marquette faculty member who had an impact: “Rev. J.J. O’Leary, S.J., has been a longtime friend and confidant. I’ve learned a great deal from him over the years and look forward to more of the same.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “My best memory of Marquette was meeting my wife, Nancy, who was and is the inspiration of my life. We have been married for 49 years and still act like we just met and are strolling down Wisconsin Avenue hand in hand.”
Career he aspired to in grade school: “I had two uncles who both attended college on the GI Bill after serving. They both became teachers/coaches, and I admired them and wanted to be like them.”
Marquette legacy: “All five of my children graduated from Jesuit colleges: Andy from Creighton, David from Marquette, and Marty, Sandy and Michaela from Xavier. And, of course, my wife, Nancy, is a Marquette business grad.”
Most influential person: “My wife Nancy has been my constant source of inspiration and love. In addition to being an outstanding wife and mother, she is also an outstanding yoga teacher. Her growth in spiritual as well as physical practices has influenced my life in more ways than I could spell out.”