Mary Majewski Shaw ’93 knew she had to pay for college herself. Her parents had made that clear. Growing up in South Bend, Indiana—in the shadows of the University of Notre Dame—the three-sport athlete dreamed of playing basketball for the Fighting Irish. She was offered the opportunity to walk on, but when Butler coaches saw her play, she traded the double domes of the Joyce Center for the Hinkle arches and a full athletic scholarship.
Shaw found herself intimidated as one of five freshmen coming in on the heels of five seniors who had just graduated. Though she started every game, her coach continued to tell her she needed to “talk more.”
“Each player had to memorize a quote every week,” she recalls. “I always chose the shortest, easiest one,” she laughs. “One was, ‘Communication is the key to success.’ I have found that to be true throughout my life.”
Shaw quickly learned that to really be comfortable both on and off the court, she had to learn to communicate, to speak up for herself.
Sometimes this meant going straight to the top. When she found out that the men’s basketball team had their books paid for and the women were still paying for their own books, it was suggested she go see President Geoffrey Bannister. After a meeting with him, the women’s books were taken care of.
Her persistence paid off in the classroom, too. “I was sort of an oddball at Butler. I came from a farming community and was sort of a tomboy,” Shaw says. “But I was tenacious. I learned that to be a student-athlete, I had to be more organized. I had to think of those two-hour bus rides to and from games as a study hall.”
Shaw’s communication and work ethic have served her professionally as well. She founded Indianapolis-based Your Image Works (YIW) in 1998, a promotional product company, and in 2015 established AP Properties, a property management business.
Her Butler connections run deep, she says, thanks to the networking and relationship-building skills she began developing in college—from pick-up games with faculty and staff at Hinkle (with the likes of Bob Bennett and Brad Stevens), to rubbing elbows with student interns and alumni in the Wildman Room before Butler games. She has hosted dinners in her home for the volleyball and women’s basketball teams and even supported and accompanied the volleyball team on a trip to Brazil.
“Networking is so key,” Shaw says, and offers advice to current student-athletes to take advantage of the alumni network and local business owners who are willing to offer internships and mentoring. She recognizes that as an athlete it may seem like you’re giving a lot of yourself to the University, but she flips that on its head and asserts, “The more you give, the more you get back.”
Shaw started every game of her Butler career and was elected captain three of her four years. She was the first player in Butler Women’s Basketball history to lead the Bulldogs in assists per game for four consecutive seasons. She achieved a number of milestones during her basketball career at Butler, including 332 career steals (the second-highest total in Butler and Horizon League history), the all-time record for minutes played, and being one of the top-10 players on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goal shooting. She was inducted into Butler’s Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition of her achievements.
Shaw served as a volunteer steering committee member for the Central Indiana Butler Community from 2010 to 2020, with seven of those years as vice president. She was a vital player in developing the annual Bulldog Crawl. She was also a member of the B Association for 12 years. She has served on Butler’s Board of Visitors and as an advisor to the Butler Giving Circle. She is also a board member for Aspire House Brand.