Marquette Wire

Board of Trustees names Michael Lovell MU’s 24th president

Photo+by+Rebecca+Rebholz%2F+rebecca.rebholz%40marquette.edu
Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@marquette.edu

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@marquette.edu

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@marquette.edu

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Marquette’s Board of Trustees announced Wednesday morning University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell will officially be the 24th president of the university, making him the first layperson to hold the position in university history.

“Having the ability to openly share my faith in my professional career is something that I have always wanted to do,” Lovell is quoted saying on the president-elect website. “I am truly humbled and excited to become part of the Marquette family at this historic moment.” He will take office Aug. 1, 2014.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Charles Swoboda and Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee John Ferraro said in a joint letter to the Marquette community that Lovell was a clear first choice.

“First and foremost, a devout Catholic, Dr. Lovell is energized to lead this Catholic, Jesuit university into the future,” the pair wrote in the letter.

Lovell is able to take office thanks to a 2011 amendment in university bylaws permitting a layperson to serve as president. His family of six is an active member of Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay.

“As we see it, Dr. Lovell is ready to address both the opportunities and challenges we face as a university,” Ferraro and Swoboda said. “An accomplished engineering scholar and researcher, Dr. Lovell embraces our pursuit of academic excellence and providing a transformational student experience.”

Lovell said in a letter announcing his departure to UWM that he originally declined the offer for the position.

“Several months ago, when I was approached by Marquette about its presidency,  I declined because I could not imagine leaving UWM at that time,” Lovell said in the letter. “But in recent weeks, as several people asked me to keep an open mind, I began to hear a calling to serve at an institution where I could more openly share my Catholic faith.”

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.

“He brings demonstrated executive-level experience in leading a highly complex educational institution as the current chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a campus with more than 28,000 students, 14 colleges and schools and nearly 1,800 faculty members,” the letter said. “During his tenure at UWM, Lovell oversaw the UW-Milwaukee Initiative – a landmark $240 million capital construction and renovation program, including its 89-acre Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa, the expansion of its School of Freshwater Sciences, the first phase of the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex and the Northwest Quadrangle Redevelopment Plan.”

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 completes a nearly six-month search by the Presidential Search Committee, which formed in October. Marquette will also become 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.

Video by Aaron Maybin, MUTV

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