Former professor posthumously awarded with ‘outstanding alumnus’ honor


Courtesy of Billy Earnest

Schultz joined the St. Edward’s community in 2002 until her death in 2010. She is remembered for her contributions to the field of journalism and mass communication.

Marilyn Schultz was a professor at St. Edwards until her death in 2010. Schultz was a successful broadcast journalist remembered for having fought for women’s rights in the field of journalism throughout her career. Schultz recently received a posthumous award from her alma mater, Indiana University, naming her as an outstanding alumnus.

Schultz graduated from IU with a bachelor’s degree in radio and television in 1967, a master’s in telecommunication in 1990 and a doctorate in mass communication in 1993.

Billy Earnest is an assistant professor of communication here at St. Edward’s and names Schultz as his mentor.

“She would give me advice and tell me if she thought I needed to do something or do something differently. As with so many of us, she inspired me to do my best — because that’s what she did: bring out the best in people. She was a force of nature — magnetic, fun, and feisty all at the same time,” Earnest said.

The two met when Earnest first interviewed for a position on the SEU communication faculty in the spring of 2005.

His favorite memory of Schultz was when she led him and other faculty members on a tour of Premont Hall when it was still under construction.

“She just charged ahead without getting anyone’s permission. Eventually, the construction supervisor saw us and said we couldn’t be there unless we had hardhats on! Of course, she knew that all along, but what were a few safety rules to stop her,” Earnest said.

Schultz worked at NBC News in New York City for nine years. She was also a professor of communication and acted as an Area Coordinator (the equivalent to a department chair) of the communication department for three years.

Earnest said Schultz “helped break the glass ceiling for women everywhere, but especially in the world of broadcast journalism.”

During her time at NBC, Schultz led a group of 700 women working for NBC in a class-action lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit, according to the Media School at IU, “aimed to bring equal pay and opportunity to women at the company.”

After fighting for the rights of women in her field, 1,000 women received back pay and access to jobs previously only available to their male counterparts.

Schultz was also named one of 16 “American Women Who Changed the Face of Journalism (1965-1995)” by the Washington Press Club Foundation.

Throughout her journalism career, Schultz covered events such as the 1972 election, the Apollo 12 launch, Watergate and the Mike Tyson and Ryan White case before going on to teach, first at the University of Texas then at St. Edward’s.

In regards to Schultz’s impact at St. Edward’s, associate professor of communication Lori West Peterson said that Schultz was a mentor to many students in the field of broadcast journalism.

“Having someone of Marilyn Schultz’s caliber teaching at St. Edward’s was prestigious enough. However, she went above and beyond by mentoring so many students who wanted to pursue careers in broadcast journalism. Despite having an amazing career in broadcasting, Marilyn always said that teaching the next generation was the best career move she ever made,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s favorite memory of Schultz was when she was guest lecturing at Schultz’s class and came across a hand-drawn diagram with what she describes as “scribble” on it, which she pointed out to Schultz and laughed about it with her. It turned out to be Schultz’s way of memorizing her students’ names.

“This was so ‘Marilyn’- she wanted to know each and every student personally and made sure she knew their names no matter what it took,” Peterson said.

As for Schultz’s award from IU, Earnest says that it is well-deserved.

“I feel that she can finally rest in peace, having finally gotten the professional recognition she deserves,” Earnest said.

Indiana University has provided SEU with the video they made to commemorate Schultz’s impact and achievements.