Marilyn R. Schultz was a pioneer in broadcast journalism, dedicating herself to the fight for women's rights in the industry and, later, to educating future journalists as a college professor.
Schultz, who died in 2010, earned three IU degrees: a bachelor's in radio and television in 1967, a master's in telecommunications in 1990 and a doctorate in mass communication in 1993.
She began her career at NBC News in New York City, where she worked for nine years. Affectionately referring to her by her nickname, "Schultzie," former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw recalled Schultz's impact on women in journalism in a traditionally male-dominated environment.
"First there was the name — "Schultzie," Brokaw said at the time of Schultz's death. "If that didn't get your attention, her attitude did. Schultzie worked in the newsroom when it was an all-white-male den of machismo, cigar, pipe and cigarette smoke, bawdy manners and profane speech. What everyone quickly learned is that Schultzie didn't need any of those props to hold her own.
"Now our newsrooms are fully integrated, but the first steps so long ago were Schultzie's — and she wasn't tiptoeing then or any time since."
Schultz took on the role of lead plaintiff and spokesperson for a class-action lawsuit representing 700 women against NBC. The suit, which lasted seven years, aimed to bring equal pay and opportunity to women at the company. As a result, more than 1,000 women received back pay, and women gained access to jobs previously unavailable to them.
The Washington Press Club Foundation would later name Schultz one of its 16 "American Women Who Changed the Face of Journalism (1965-1995)."
"It didn't take long to discover that she didn't just talk about changing the culture of NBC News, she acted to bring change about," said Wallace Westfeldt, Schultz's former boss and then-executive producer of NBC News, in 2010.
Schultz moved to Washington, D.C., to work as an on-air reporter for affiliate WRC-TV. There, she covered events such as the 1972 election, the Apollo 12 launch and Watergate.
In 1984, she moved to Indianapolis to work as a producer for NBC affiliate WTHR-TV. There, she covered the Mike Tyson trial and the Ryan White case, among other stories.
In the late '80s, Schultz returned to IU to pursue her master's, and later her doctorate. She accepted her first teaching position at the University of Texas at Austin, where she taught for nine years as an assistant professor and then broadcast journalism head.
From there, she took a position at St. Edward's University in Austin, where she continued to educate students for eight years until the time of her death.
The university established the Marilyn Schultz Memorial Scholarship for students studying media arts.
"Marilyn once said that 'teaching is the most important work I've ever done,' which was obvious from her interactions with her students," said Father Lou Brusatti, then-dean of the School of Humanities at St. Edward's University, in Schultz's obituary. "She was a motivation and inspiration for her students and colleagues."