Quinlan to be inducted into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame

Sunday, March 6, 2022 - 2:45pm

Mary Kay Quinlan, emeritus associate professor of journalism and former associate dean in the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications will be inducted into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame on April 23. 

The Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame is organized by the Nebraska Press Women and recognizes working women journalists who through talent, initiative, intelligence and stamina have made a difference in the profession or community in which they work and for those who follow in their footsteps. 

Quinlan earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1972 and her master’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1973. After graduation, she worked as a journalist in Rochester, New York, where she covered 17 suburban school districts for the major Rochester daily before moving on to the Omaha World-Herald Washington Bureau where she served for 10 years. She moved on to the Gannett News Service in Washington where she wrote for Midwestern Newspapers. 

Quinlan's career in Washington, D.C., was marked by recognition from her peers including her election to the GridIron Club of Washington and service as president of the National Press Club. 

In 1992, Quinlan returned to school and earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland. She returned to Nebraska with her family in 1996, where she started teaching part time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. 

The expertise she developed while working in Washington, D.C. helped her in the classroom. 

“Mary Kay brought to this class a highly developed appreciation of what is expected of journalists who work at a high level,” said John Bender, associate dean in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and one of Quinlan’s nominators. “That experience made her instruction highly credible to the students.” 

Quinlan joined the College of Journalism and Mass Communications full time in 2005 as an assistant professor. She taught a variety of journalism courses and founded the Nebraska News Service, a student-run statewide wire service providing coverage of the Nebraska Legislature to daily and weekly newspapers and television and radio stations throughout the state. 

In 2015, Quinlan was promoted to associate dean in the college. In that role, she oversaw the development of a new and innovative journalism curriculum to prepare students for a changing media landscape. Quinlan retired from the college in 2020 but didn’t stay away too long. In 2022, she joined the college’s Experience Lab as a professional in residence offering mentorship and insight to current college students. 

Quinlan was nominated for induction into the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame, by Jill Martin a former student of Quinlan’s and current assistant professor of practice in the college. Her nomination was supported by Bender, Amy Struthers, former interim dean and emeritus professor of advertising and public relations and Allen Beerman, director emeritus of the Nebraska Press Association. 

“Not only has Mary Kay had an incredible impact on me and my career, but she has also had a tremendous impact on journalism and journalism education in Nebraska,” Martin said.“She is so deserving of this recognition and I was honored to nominate her for this award.” 

You can learn more about the Marian Andersen Nebraska Women Journalists Hall of Fame here


Mary Kay Quinlan headshot
Mary Kay Quinlan