Distinguished Professor Emerita of Journalism
"As a journalist I am interested in the way large social issues affect individual people, in how people transform those issues, and how the issues in turn shape them.
"One example: I was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for my book, The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life (Bantam), which traces the lives of 15 terminally ill patients, using their experiences to explore social, legal and moral issues surrounding death in America.
"Over the course of this research, I also interviewed 300 health care professionals, including the famous Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and the infamous ‘suicide doctor' Jack Kevorkian, looking at why modern dying has become so complicated and what might be done culturally, socially, legally and personally to better navigate this new terrain.
"My current interests include two main subjects: 1) how the Midwest is transforming itself in the post-manufacturing economy: how cities work and how they can reinvent themselves, how social problems, such as race, gender, poverty, violence, the high-school drop-out rate, teen pregnancy, and drug use and sales, affect both individual lives and the wider community; and 2) family genealogy, family history and personal narrative."
Years at Knox: 2001 to 2013
M.S., 1981, Journalism, Columbia University.
M.A., 1967, Psychology, University of Chicago.
B.A., 1964, Brandeis University.
News writing and reporting, in-depth reporting, feature writing, narrative journalism, creative non-fiction.
Selected Professional Accomplishments
"Off Our Backs and the Feminist Dream." Voices from the Underground, ed. Ken Wachsberger, Michigan State University Press I and II (2010).
"The Media and End of Life Issues," Decisions Making Near the End of Life: Issues, Developments, and Future Directions (Series in Death, Dying and Bereavement), ed. James Werth Jr. and Dean Blevins, Rutgers University Press (2008).
"Marilyn Salzman Webb: The Feminist," Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s, An Oral History, ed. Jeff Kissoloff, University of Kentucky Press (2007).
The Secret Life of the Brain, Educational Outreach Series, PBS (2001).
Advisor, On Our Own Terms, A Bill Moyers' Special Series on Death and Dying in America, PBS (2000).
Journalism Program at Knox College, ACM Conference on the Millenial Generation, MacAlester College, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Campus & Community Involvement
Chair, Program in Journalism
Advisor, The Knox Student
Member Ex-Officio, Board of Publications, Knox College
Candidate, Mayor of Galesburg, 2009.
Director, Galesburg City-Wide Presidential Preference Poll, Register-Mail, 2008.
Director, Galesburg City-Wide Presidential Preference Poll, Register-Mail, 2004.
Participant, Harvard University's Neiman Foundation seminar for editors of literary journalism.
Editor-in-Chief, Psychology Today.
Contributing Writer, New York Magazine.
Contributing Writer, Ladies Home Journal.
Features Editor, Women's Day.
Senior Editor, US Magazine.
What Students Say
"Marilyn Webb sparked a passion for journalism in me that led to an exciting career doing something I love. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her encouragement and extensive knowledge are so inspiring. Her impressive achievements and positive energy continue to motivate me to work hard at the things I am passionate about, not just in journalism but in life as well."
-Marnie Kunz, English and Creative Writing Major
"Marilyn is a consummate professional and a caring and involved teacher, mentor and friend. She encourages students through her entertaining and challenging classes to take a meticulous look at the world around them and teaches you to apply those methods in life. They were extremely beneficial to my growth as a student at Knox and beyond. She cares personally about each and every student and strives to help them recognize and achieve their best. Thank you Marilyn, for making Knox better."
-Farah Ahed, Anthropology and Sociology Major, Independent minor
"Marilyn's enthusiasm for my writing really motivated me to pry deeper into my thoughts, feelings, and history than I might have otherwise. What an inspiration she is!!! You're one of Knox's shiniest stars!!!"
-Jon Gripshover, English and Creative Writing Major, Independent minor