UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell expected to be named MU president

The Marquette University seal

The Marquette University seal

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell is expected to be named the new university president of Marquette, making him the first layperson to hold the position in university history.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the hire late Tuesday night, though Brian Dorrington, senior director of university communication, told the Tribune earlier in the afternoon that no decision to hire a president had yet been reached.

Lovell, who is Catholic, is able to take office thanks to a 2011 amendment in university bylaws permitting a layperson to serve as president.

Lovell was confirmed as the eighth UWM chancellor in 2011 after previously serving as the school’s College of Engineering & Applied Science dean. Before UWM, he served as associate dean for research at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering for five years, and was a faculty member at both Pittsburgh and the University of Kentucky.

In just under three years as chancellor, UWM credits Lovell with pushing forward several university construction initiatives and strengthening partnerships with many Milwaukee-area corporations.

The Presidential Search Committee’s sought-after position description, approved in December, included experience, a commitment to fundraising and finding a permanent provost in the criteria for the new hire.

Interim University President the Rev. Robert A Wild will remain in office until Lovell assumes the position, which was vacated by former University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz in September.

The hire would complete a nearly six-month search by the Presidential Search Committee, which formed in October. Marquette would also be the eighth school of the 28 schools in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities to have a layperson as president. In addition, 63 percent of the 194 U.S. Catholic colleges that belong to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities are led by laypeople.