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A tribute to outgoing editor Marny Lombard

Red-framed glasses; wardrobe draped in earthy tones heavy in reds, greens and oranges; tough, warm and weathered hands of a woman who has worked hard all her life. This is Marny Lombard. She loves horses and dogs, thinks big and broad, sees the ordinary story and makes the incredible out of it. “Show, don’t tell,” a mark of every great writer, is an ideal she has perfected. Whether she is writing it or coaching someone else, Marny brings stories to life.

Marny wrote in this issue on our Opus Award winner: “Sister Tesa Fitzgerald works with addicts, murderers and thieves – who are mothers, sisters and daughters. Where many of us might see and fear the former, she sees and loves the latter. This is the simple secret of her work at Hour Children in Long Island City, New York.”

Some of Marny’s favorite stories were not the magazine’s big features, but pieces that had a certain provocativeness or poignancy, like the story about Bob and Claire McDonald (fall 2012), where she writes about this late-80s couple: “In the morning after coffee, they do exercises together – a habit that began shortly after their honeymoon (63 years ago). For any work on the computer, Claire sits at the keyboard and Bob reads the screen over her shoulder. To run errands in their 1984 GMC pickup, they sit together like teenage sweethearts. Bob has the sweet tooth and Claire the restraint, so they order one dessert and split it, 60-40, the percentage difference between their weights. In the evenings they read maritime histories aloud to each other, five pages by one, five pages by the other.”

Marny brings out the emotion in a story, but also loves to have fun with her readers. Like in the fall 2012 issue when we ran “125 Things We Love About Gonzaga.”

“The thing I love most about Gonzaga was what I hated when I was a student — that Mike Herzog made me take freshman composition even though I had two ways of being waived out of that class — and he made me take it from Tony Wadden . . .” Chuck Lloyd (’83) goes on to tell that he got into a highly ranked law school and enjoyed a successful law career as a result.

Or the fall 2014 infographic on “Stats You Never See About Gonzaga Basketball (101,250 feet of athletic tape used every men’s basketball season, and Gonzaga women’s home attendance was 30,000 better than their nine WCC opponents combined). Marny always is seeking the story someone else has yet to tell, and our readers want to read.

There is no box around Marny’s mind . . . she is always outside of it. Creative Director Pat Skattum enjoys her conversations with Marny.

“Often I hear her say, ’Well, have you thought of this?’, ’Let’s give it a chance to develop more’ or ’I am not sure this will work, so let’s try it from a different approach,’” Skattum said. “She is always questioning what more can be added or contributed to make the individual layout or wording shine. One day she asked me, ‘Do you know my password that I use to log into work every day?’ Of course, I was curious. It was along the line of ‘Best issue YET’,” Skattum recalled.

Marny infused our issues with a variety of voices — which she thought was very important to our readers – including professional writers, photographers and illustrators, as well as students and faculty.

“She has been pretty generous and extremely articulate in explaining her art,” said Philosophy Professor Mark Alfino. “The last piece I worked with her on had to do with the Benin program (winter 2014). Marny was just great. She got me to rework the story to make it a lot shorter and yet more effective than it was. She really deserved an author’s credit for the story.”

That’s Marny. She made us all better writers. She cared about this magazine, and its quality is a reflection of her.

Although the editor and the president sometimes disagreed on story approach and topics, they enjoy great mutual respect. President Thayne McCulloh thoroughly appreciates Marny’s fine work.

“Marny engaged our readers more deeply than ever before. The pride that people can take in the University is elevated by virtue of the quality and aspirations of the publication itself. She really understood that and really worked hard to animate the aspirations in each and every edition of the magazine,” McCulloh said.

“I’m always going to be grateful because Marny took the opportunity to hold a mirror to Gonzaga and what was reflected was often far more important and delightful and intriguing and significant than we might have first have assumed.”

Colleague Robin Guevara, student employment manager, joined Marny and a small Gonzaga group on a trip to Turkey to explore ancient ruins and archeological digs with History Professor Andy Goldman (story spring 2013). “Each time I open a new Gonzaga Magazine, I am astounded all over again at its beauty, the depth of its stories, its meaningful reflection and the way it makes me proud to associate with such work and such people.”

Marny has a beautiful personal side, too. She loved walking her dogs along the Spokane River across from Felts Field and the Gonzaga crew boathouse in the early morning hours. She loved eating out at locally-owned metro-style cafes, and she loved serving you.

An avid reader with a deep appreciation for the arts and the outdoors, her favorite question to ask was always, “What are you reading?”

Marny is a true friend and a great partner. When I accompanied my wife, Mary “Scooter” (O’Neill) Goodwin, ’84, to Seattle for a double-lung transplant in September 2011, Marny stepped in for me here at work and didn’t miss a beat. When her only child, son Sam, lost his battle with depression during his senior year in college, I filled in for her, although she was never far away. She has great passion for people, especially the people she has worked with over the years.

As a magazine editor, she was simply the best. I’ve worked here 33 years and I have never experienced the depth and breadth of knowledge, compassion for our readers and desire to give you something of substance to read, sensitive to those of you who are skimmers, those who pick-and-choose what to read, and those who read the magazine from cover to cover. She was steadfast in her commitment to give you not only what Gonzaga wanted you to know about us, but what you wanted to learn about the university, its programs and people.

Marny has acquired a residence in Seattle, and is a 10-minute walk from downtown. There she will reunite with writing friends and those passionate for her cause, understanding depression and suicide prevention. You’ll undoubtedly see her blog cropping up soon, and I can’t help believe she will find ways to save many lives. She is an “impact” player.

Here’s a salute to an insightful editor, a vivid storyteller and a best friend. Your readers, colleagues and I will miss you, Marny.

-Dale Goodwin (’86 M.A.T.)
Communications Manager/Senior writer and editor

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