Lovell’s Birthday bash draws crowd at AMU

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Photo by Julia Abuzzahab

Lovell helped serve the Marquette community pieces of cake as they celebrated his birthday.

Students, staff, faculty, Marquette community members and even kittens joined University President Michael Lovell in celebrating his birthday March 21 in the Alumni Memorial Union.

Lovell’s birthday was Sunday, March 20 and  Marquette University posted on Instagram, “Happy Birthday, @preslovell! Thank you for always striving to #BeTheDifference for @marquetteu, Milwaukee and beyond. #WeAreMarquette #LovellStrong.”

Steven Frieder, senior advisor to the president and corporate secretary led the crowd March 21 in singing “happy birthday” to Lovell.

Those who attended the event then lined up to sign a birthday card for Lovell and to get a piece of cake. They served a marble cake with white, blue and gold frosting.

“Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a slice of birthday cake,” Lovell said via Instagram. “I’m grateful to be a part of this wonderful @marquetteu community.”

 

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A post shared by Michael Lovell (@preslovell)

“I draw my energy and inspiration from our students. I’m grateful to all who came out for conversation and birthday cake to celebrate with me, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead,” Lovell said in an email.

University spokesperson Lynn Griffith said Lovell was grateful to have the opportunity to be able to celebrate his birthday and have cake with the Marquette community, as it means so much to him.

Father Michael Maher, associate professor of history and pastoral minister of Wells Street Hall, said he appreciates Lovell’s work and wanted to come to the celebration to support him.

“[I’m] just glad to have it, here with the students,” Maher said. “Glad to have everyone back after spring break.”

Also enjoying the turnout, retired professor of chemistry, Michael Ryan, said he’s known Lovell for a long time and is happy with the amount of students that came to support him.

“The students have really responded to him — I’m really impressed by that and what they’ve been doing over the year, a difficult year,” Ryan said.

Throughout this past year Lovell was diagnosed with sarcoma— a rare form of cancer that affects either bone or soft tissue.

“He [Lovell] appreciates the support, prayers and well wishes he and his family have received- especially over the last six months,” Griffith said.

Despite his diagnosis, Lovell has still been active around campus. Going to basketball games, looking at the construction progress of the new College of Business Administration building, attending Ash Wednesday Mass, visiting classrooms and more all while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

He also delivered his annual presidential address in the AMU ballrooms two weeks ago after last year’s address was held in a virtual environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After noticing the Marquette Today email about Lovell’s birthday celebration, Daniel Ballarin, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, said he assumed Lovell would attend this event as well and went to celebrate with him.

Going to receive a piece of cake, Lovell initiated a conversation with Ballarin.

“He [Lovell] asked me about what my hoodie was,” Ballarin said. “I thought he was going to be here because the last time he said he was going to be passed out for finals … he was there at that time, so I thought he was going to be here today too.”

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at julianna.abuzzahab@marquette.edu