Marisa Kwiatkowski '05 with President Mantella

Marisa Kwiatkowski '05

2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Marisa Kwiatkowski is an award-winning investigative reporter with USA TODAY. Kwiatkowski graduated from GVSU in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. In 2018, she earned a Master of Business Administration in entrepreneurship from Indiana University. Her pivotal journalistic work has spurred numerous federal and state investigations, criminal charges, resignations and changes to federal law and state policy.

After cutting her journalistic teeth at the GVSU student newspaper The Lanthorn, Kwiatkowski has amassed more than 18 years of professional experience as a reporter and has worked for media outlets in Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana. Her investigations focus on social services and welfare issues, including child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and access to mental health services.

With her series about misconduct in cheerleading, Kwiatkowski and her colleagues broke the news that “Cheer” star Jerry Harris was under FBI investigation. She also helped launch the investigation into USA Gymnastics’ handling of child sexual abuse allegations, including those against former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team physician Larry Nassar, which led more than 500 women to come forward with claims.

Marisa Kwiatkowski poses for a photo with her award
Marissa speaking at the Alumni Awards event.

Kwiatkowski has earned more than 60 journalism awards, including the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award and Indiana Journalist of the Year. She is a former board member and current chair of the Governance Committee for Investigative Reporters and Editors, and past president of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Indiana Professional Chapter.

Kwiatkowski’s civic engagement includes leadership and volunteerism with Girls on the Run, Junior Achievement, and Meals on Wheels. She also helped launch the GVSU Indianapolis Alumni Network and served as one of its inaugural network leaders.

In 2022, Marisa Kwiatkowski received Grand Valley’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The award has been given out since 1985. It is presented during Homecoming weekend to an alumnus or alumna who excels in their chosen profession and reflects favorably upon themselves, their community, and Grand Valley.

Alumni Spotlight: Marisa Kwiatkowski

Page last modified February 1, 2023