University President Michael Lovell delivers seventh presidential address

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Photo by Alexa Jurado

University President Michael Lovell gave his seventh annual presidential address virtually Feb. 4, reflecting upon the last year.

“We faced a lot of suffering and loss over the last year,” Lovell said. “But the spring semester is always a time of renewal. As we transition from what was a historically challenging year for higher education, and a difficult chapter in Marquette’s history, our campus is alive with a promise of academic excellence, collaboration and student success.”

After a yearlong Mission Priority Examen, Arturo Sosa, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, affirmed Marquette’s mission.

“In his evaluation, Father Sosa stated he was grateful for the self-study, and … indicated Marquette was one of the strongest institutions in the (Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities) network in the United States,” Lovell said. “He affirmed the Catholic and Jesuit character of Marquette is firmly rooted.”

Lovell shared updates regarding the progress of the initiatives of Marquette’s Black Student Council. There are now 40 Urban Scholarships, and the university launched a fundraising campaign to endow scholarships and fund housing. In the fall of 2021, the Jacqueline Walker living-learning community, named after a longtime staff member of the Educational Opportunity Program, will open for at least 20 students. A Black Cultural Center opened in Humphrey Hall at the start of the semester.

While Marquette has the highest retention and graduation rate of universities in Wisconsin, Lovell announced the Student Success Initiative, which will create a “network of care” that starts before students are on campus and stays with them through graduation.

A donation of $31 million was made to the College of Nursing, meant to support scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism in the College of Communication received $5 million to grow the program as well.

Wintrust Town Bank has partnered with the university to help build the new Marquette business school, announced at last year’s presidential address, through a commitment of $2 million.

Overall, the university raised $48 million in the last fiscal year from nearly 17,000 individuals.

“Our Marquette family of donors continues to amaze me when we needed it most. They have stepped up for our students and programs. For that I’m incredibly grateful,” Lovell said.

President Lovell did not address recent concerns on campus, such as staff and faculty layoffs or where millions of federal aid dollars will go. The virtual address also did not allow time for discussion or questions, despite previous years of ending with a question and answer session.

This story was written by Alexa Jurado. She can be reached at alexa.jurado@marquette.edu.