Marquette associate vice president joins board of James W. Foley Legacy Foundation


Rana Altenburg, associate vice president of public affairs at Marquette University, has joined the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation Board of Directors, the organization announced Jan. 7.

The Foley Foundation was created in 2014 to honor the legacy of James Foley, a graduate of Marquette and a freelance journalist who was captured and beheaded by ISIS in Syria in 2014. The foundation is dedicated to advocating for the freedom of all Americans kidnapped and wrongfully detained abroad, improving U.S. hostage policy and offering preventive journalist safety curricula.

“As a Marquette University alumna, it is a privilege to serve the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to help honor one of the university’s standout graduates, James Foley,” Altenburg said.  “James stood for everything that is special about Marquette, embodying the Catholic, Jesuit values at the heart of the university’s mission. His spirit of social justice is ever-present on campus through the work of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking and serves as an inspiration to student journalists in our Diederich College of Communication.”

Diane Foley, James’ mother and founder and president of the foundation, said, “I am so very honored and grateful to welcome Rana Altenburg to the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. She brings her expertise as an experienced lobbyist with her selfless ethic of making a difference for others.”

Altenburg oversees the university’s community relations and governmental initiatives at the federal, state, county, city and tribal levels. She is also president of Near West Wide Partners and a member of the boards of directors of Business Improvement District No. 10, Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee Development Corp., Seton Catholic Schools and the Wisconsin Policy Forum. She spent five years as a Washington, DC-based public affairs consultant representing clients in areas of health care, higher education and Native American policy.

Foley’s legacy at Marquette continues through the development of the James W. Foley Journalism Safety Modules as well as scholarship support for students. The safety training and materials for current and aspiring journalists reporting at home and abroad are now being used in 17 colleges and universities across the country.

The James Foley Endowed Scholarship provides tuition support for an economically disadvantaged communication student who demonstrates a commitment to social justice through service and aspires to be a communication professional working for positive change in our world after the example of Jim Foley. With support from the James P. Ruder Foundation, the Foley Foundation is also offering a one-year 2021-22 fellowship to a current Marquette journalism student.

The Foley Foundation has also worked with Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking in its mission to foster research and action for the promotion of peace, human dignity and justice. Foundation founder Diane Foley served as the Center for Peacemaking’s Peacemaker-in-Residence in 2018 and center founder Terry Rynne was awarded the 2019 James W. Foley Humanitarian of the Year award.