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Lovell’s engineering background sparks faculty excitement

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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With University President-elect Michael Lovell’s unique background in mechanical engineering, administrators and upper-level faculty are interested to see how he will bring innovation to campus when he officially takes over Aug. 1.

Lovell holds three degrees in the subject, including a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. This marks a noticeable change from past presidents, who usually held degrees in the humanities.

Kristina Ropella, the executive associate dean of the College of Engineering, said in an email that Lovell’s engineering background makes him “well-positioned to solve problems through innovation and collaboration.”

Like all institutions of higher education, Marquette is being challenged to transform the way it does business to meet the needs of its constituents,” Ropella said, adding that Lovell demonstrated his ability to meet those demands through his scholarship and academic leadership.

Lovell mentioned in a March 26 interview with The Tribune that he had been thinking about ways to increase social innovation on campus. One of those ways was a potential partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in which both schools could benefit from the “App Brewery” that was developed at UWM.

The App Brewery, or “Mobile Innovation Lab” as it is officially known, is an experiment created by UWM media relations supervisor, Michael Hostad, and UWM information studies professor, Quinn Madson, to develop social apps in an academic setting.

Hostad said in a June 24, 2013 BizTimes.com article that the innovative atmosphere at UWM, during which Lovell was the university’s chancellor, helped foster an environment where social innovation could thrive.

This has been a perfect storm – in a good way – in terms of just being at the right place at the right time,” Hostad said, “capitalizing on something that people are interested in, using a technology that is so prolific right now and working at a university where you have a leader in Mike Lovell who is so focused on innovation and entrepreneurship and growth in the community who has been so supportive of us.”

Opus Dean of the College of Engineering Robert Bishop said in an email that having Lovell as president of Marquette should help to foster a similar environment for social innovation to grow.

Providing opportunities for students, staff and faculty to pursue creative interests and innovative solutions is incredibly important,” Bishop said. “Finding ways to enhance the process of taking ideas from concept to reality should continue to be a priority for Marquette. I suspect that President-elect Lovell will be extremely supportive of big ideas.”

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