Being the Difference


Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Meg McElliot served as the administrative director of the BloodCenter’s Diagnostic Lab.

 In 2005, a girl from Arizona came to the BloodCenter of Wisconsin in Milwaukee with the hopes of finding a potential donor. She suffered from aplastic anemia, a disease resulting from a lack of blood cell production.

Meg McElligott served as the administrative director of the BloodCenter’s Diagnostic Lab where donor matching and testing took place. She is current chief quality officer for Versiti.

McElligott says the team at the BloodCenter could not find a bone marrow donor for the little girl in the United States, but was able to find potential donors in China. She says her team knew they would either get a match or come back empty handed. This wasn’t a situation where the results would be inconclusive.

“The little girl got the transplant and she did well,” McElligott says, adding when you work at a place like the BloodCenter, you can make a difference every day. 

McElligott has worked at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin for 42 years, first working in the transplant compatibility lab after graduating from Marquette University with her Bachelor of Science in biology.

“It was cutting-edge (and) I thought, ‘This is a way we can help people,’” McElligott says. “I really liked immunology from my time at Marquette and I decided that’s what I was going to do.”

After working in the lab for about a year and a half, she got the opportunity to launch the BloodCenter’s unrelated bone marrow donor program, which helps find donors for patients who don’t have family members that match.

McElligott also served as the manager of the Diagnostic Lab and vice president of quality at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

She brought an organ and tissue procurement program to the BloodCenter in 2010 and helped set up the National Marrow Donor Program, now called Be the Match.

Jackie Fredrick, former CEO and president of the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, says Meg is tremendously hardworking, very tenacious and is always eager to work on the newest innovation.

The two women met in 1980 while working at the BloodCenter.

“Meg practices her values in everything she does,” Fredrick says. “And she’s a very caring person.”

McElligott enjoys reading, traveling and like most Marquette grads, watching Marquette basketball with her husband and spending time with her son Liam and daughter Maureen.

She says camping out for tickets with other students and going to basketball games were some of her favorite memories at Marquette.

“Marquette had a great team during the time I was a student,” McElligott says. “The arena was sold out for every game.”

She says the university’s mission really aligns with her passions about making a difference in the community. 

“I wanted to make a difference and help people,” McElligott says. “That’s something that really influenced me.”