Jen LadaBill Raftery

The Diederich College of Communication and MU Athletics are proud to welcome Bill Raftery as the 2018 Pete and Bonnie Axthelm Memorial lecturer. Mr. Raftery, analyst for CBS Sports’ college basketball, will present this year’s lecture on April 23 in the Alumni Memorial Union from 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Raftery was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame this past December. In May, 2017, he won his second Sports Emmy Award. With catch phrases like “Onions” and “With a sweet kiss, off the glass…”, Raftery has carved out a recognizable identity for himself as a sports broadcaster over his remarkable 36-year career.

Before becoming a successful broadcaster, Raftery set a freshman record, scoring 370 points, while a student at LaSalle University and was drafted by the New York Knicks after college. Following his career as a professional athlete, Raftery coached basketball at Seton Hall University and Fairleigh Dickinson for sixteen years. In 1979, the New Jersey Basketball Writers Association named him Coach of the Year.

Former Axthelm Scholarship recipient Michael Cianciolo will moderate the Q & A portion of this year's event. The Axthelm Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public.

2018 Axthelm Scholarship Competition Winner

We are also happy to announce that John Steppe is the 2018 Pete and Bonnie Axthelm Scholarship competition winner. John is being recognized for his outstanding work in sports journalism and his coverage of sporting events. John will be the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire next year, and he will introduce Mr. Raftery at this year's event.

Event Details

  • Monday, April 23, 2018, 4 pm
  • Alumni Memorial Union Ballrooms (1442 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee)
  • Admission: FREE

About the Axthelm Memorial Program

The Pete and Bonnie Axthelm Memorial Program was established in 1994 at Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to acknowledge and recognize the life of Pete Axthelm and his sister Bonnie. Every year this program awards a scholarship to an outstanding Marquette journalism student with an expressed interest in sports journalism.

Pete Axthelm was one of America's foremost sports journalists. Although a Yale alum, he created ties to Marquette University while working on his critically acclaimed book, "The City Game," which covers the glory and tragedy of New York basketball. While writing and researching his book, Axthelm sought the expertise of such Marquette notables as Al McGuire, Pat Smith, and Dean Meminger.

During his distinguished career as a sportswriter and columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, Pete established a reputation as a gifted journalist. His knowledge of sports combined with his journalistic skills led him to sports commentator positions for NBC and ESPN.

Bonnie Axthelm was among the highest ranking women at 3M Europe during her lifetime. She began her notable career as a secretary at Media Networks Incorporated, eventually rising through the company to hold the top position of Executive Director of Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs. Bonnie’s name was added to the memorial scholarship in after her death in 1998.

Past Axthelm Scholarship Recipients
Past Axthelm Lecture Speakers
Selected Works by Pete Axthelm