Getting to Know Mary Triggiano, director of the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice 

Mary Triggiano and her partner, Sue, enjoy a bike ride.

Mary Triggiano began as director of Marquette University Law School’s Andrew Center for Restorative Justice in early June. As she settles into her new role, the longtime Milwaukee County circuit court judge sat down with Marquette Today to talk a bit about her family, the inspiring people she met while working on the bench and her unique world record. 


Racine, Wisconsin 


I am the second oldest of five. My father was a carpenter and had a wonderful sense of humor. He passed in 2015. My mother was an optician and loves to sing. I live with my partner, Sue, our dog, Jett, and cat, Zino. I have one daughter, Natalie, a budding entrepreneur and world traveler. 

Hobbies and interests: 

Sue and I are avid bicycle riders. I also enjoy sailing and Harley Davidson motorcycles, having owned one many years ago.

Mary Triggiano’s dog, Jett.

Favorite movies: 

My all-time favorite movies are those with Katherine Hepburn. In particular, I really enjoyed “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” It was a movie ahead of its time and landed Hepburn an Oscar. I also saw her in Chicago in a play, “West Side Waltz.” I got to meet her afterward as she left the theater through a back alley. She was gracious and kind as she recounted how she felt her acting was that evening. 


Before becoming the director of the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice at Marquette University Law School, I was a judge in Milwaukee for 19 years.  I was assigned to Children’s Court for nine of those years. During that time, I worked with families in the Family Drug Treatment Court. There, I watched countless men, women and children navigate tremendous and debilitating adversity that was not their choice. Their incredible courage and grace in the face of their pain and trauma, and their work to heal were nothing short of heroic. 

Favorite quotes/mottos: 

When I became a judge in 2004, my sister, Kathy, gave me a gift that I have kept for all these years and cherish very much.  It was a set of plaques that are linked together by rope, each one with a saying that links to the prior: 

watch your thoughts, they become words 

watch your words, they become actions 

watch your actions, they become habits 

watch your habits, they become character 

watch your character, it becomes your destiny 

Currently reading: 

Before she retired from Marquette University Law School’s Andrew Center for Restorative Justice and before I became its director, Ret. Justice Janine Geske gave me the book: “The Wisdom of Listening,” edited by Mark Brady. It is a wonderful compilation of essays from thought leaders about deep and skillful listening.  

Favorite vacation spots:

U.S. and British Virgin Islands – the best sailing anywhere.

Biggest career learning experience:

To be your best and be in service to others, you must practice self-care.

Fun facts:

In the early 1990s, I held a world record for fastest speed in straight-line snowmobile racing on frozen lakes.