Alumni National Awards

College of Nursing Award Recipients


TardellaMary K. Tardella and Stephen M.. Tardella

River Forest, Ill.

While Steve and Mary are not Marquette alumni, their love and commitment for Marquette is rooted in their children, two of whom attended the university. Their son, James, is a 2012 graduate of the Diederich College of Communication; and their daughter, Kathleen, a 2016 graduate of the College of Nursing.

Steve is a third-generation co-owner of Tardella Foods, along with his wife, Mary. Founded in 1929 by his immigrant grandfather, Oreste, the firm supplies grain products, flour, spices and sweeteners to major American pasta producers, bakers and blenders. Steve and Mary are humbled by the company’s many years of success and growth. Furthermore, their two sons Stephen and James will continue the legacy into the fourth generation.

Inspired by the intelligence and undying commitment nurses have to serving others, the Tardellas established the Stephen and Mary Tardella Endowed Scholarship Fund to benefit the College of Nursing. Both of their daughters are nurses: Kathleen, Nurs ’16, is a pediatric ICU nurse at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Patricia is a nurse at Rush University Medical Center.

“We know firsthand how special the nursing program is at Marquette. The staff and administrators truly care about each and every student,” Steve says. “This nursing program is excelling at preparing students for a life of caring for others in an extremely competent and compassionate way. A ‘Marquette Nurse’ is a special kind of person, and we are so proud to be associated with this wonderful school.”

Steve and Mary view success through the actions of their children. “Our girls are committed to helping others, and knowing that our sons are carrying on the successful legacy their great-grandfather started is how we choose to define success,” Mary says.

Fun fact:
Mary is the second oldest of 13 children. Her father emigrated from Ireland in 1959. There are 43 grandchildren on Mary's side alone. Steve, Mary and their children are huge White Sox and Blackhawk fans.