Dr. Michael R. Lovell was unanimously elected the 24th president of Marquette University by the Marquette Board of Trustees at a special Board meeting earlier today. As the university’s first lay president, he will succeed Interim President Robert A. Wild, S.J. Lovell will take office on July 1, 2014.
“As a devout Catholic, my faith has always served as the cornerstone of my life,” said Lovell, who currently serves as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Having the ability to openly share my faith in my professional career is something that I have always wanted to do. I am truly humbled and excited to become part of the Marquette family at this historic moment. Working with the Jesuit community, faculty, staff, students and alumni, I believe that through its mission to serve others, Marquette can not only make a transformational impact on Milwaukee, but across the globe.”
In announcing Lovell’s unanimous election, Board Chair Charles “Chuck” Swoboda said, “This is a historic moment in Marquette’s 133-year tradition as we appoint the first lay president of this great university. Dr. Lovell brings the experience and vision to effectively lead Marquette amidst the challenging dynamics of higher education today. He clearly values the transformative experience of a Marquette education and, as our president, he will have the ability to lead and live out his Catholic faith as a servant leader.”
A distinguished scholar, researcher, educator and leader, Lovell holds three academic degrees in mechanical engineering, including a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Lovell has published more than 100 articles in leading engineering journals, has written a dozen book chapters and recently co-authored a book, Tribology for Scientists and Engineers. As a researcher, Lovell has been a lead or co-lead investigator for nearly $30 million in externally funded research grants from foundations, businesses and government agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the Department of Education. His research has led to several technological breakthroughs, and he currently holds seven patents and 14 provisional patents. Earlier this month, Lovell was formally inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.
As an educator, Lovell has developed coursework and fostered a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for faculty, staff and students. His recent efforts to help establish the App Brewery and launch the Student Start-Up Challenge at UWM are two reasons that the university was selected as one of only twelve institutions in the nation for the prestigious National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Pathways to Innovation Program. Among his many accomplishments, Lovell is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Burt L. Newkirk Award, the Olympus Emerging Academic Innovator Award and was named a State of Wisconsin Distinguished Professor.
“In our review of his credentials, the search committee was particularly impressed with Dr. Lovell’s prestigious academic accomplishments. He is an innovative researcher and educator with a stellar record of success in the classroom and in the laboratory,” noted Dr. William Cullinan, dean of Marquette’s College of Health Sciences and a member of the search committee. “Dr. Lovell’s achievements at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are beyond impressive, and he clearly embodies the teacher-scholar model that we embrace at Marquette.”
Rev. Thomas Lawler, S.J., provincial superior of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus and member of the Marquette Board of Trustees, said, “We have found in Dr. Lovell a committed Catholic who will embody the rich mission of the Jesuits and lead one of our premier universities. On behalf of the Society of Jesus and the Marquette Jesuit Community, we welcome Dr. Lovell and his family to Marquette and look forward to working in full partnership with Dr. Lovell and his leadership team.”
Lovell’s election is the culmination of an intensive six-month search process coordinated by an eight-person committee. The search committee conducted a national review of higher education leaders and recruited a pool of candidates that included sitting presidents, provosts and deans, as well as traditional and non-traditional prospects from inside and outside universities.
“Dr. Lovell’s educational background, his executive-level experience of leading complex institutions and his track record of personal community involvement make him uniquely qualified to be Marquette’s 24th president,” said John Ferraro, vice chair of the Marquette Board of Trustees and chair of the presidential search committee. “Moreover, Dr. Lovell is a man of faith, who effectively brings teams together and exemplifies the Ignatian motto of cura personalis, making him the accomplished leader he is today.”
The search effort generated a large and high-quality pool of candidates from across the country that energized and invigorated the committee. Witt/Kieffer, a national executive search firm with expertise in higher education leadership, assisted the committee throughout the process. “I want to thank the Marquette community for its active participation in community input sessions and many other meetings that provided excellent counsel to the search committee,” Ferraro said.
During his tenure as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 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. Additionally, he opened the Zilber School of Public Health’s new academic and research facility and fostered a new sense of entrepreneurship and innovation on the campus and in the greater Milwaukee community.
During his time in Milwaukee, Lovell has been known for establishing powerful partnerships between the academic, industrial and the non-profit sectors. In 2009 he co-founded and later became board chair of the Midwest Energy Research Consortium, a partnership between Marquette, UWM, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and numerous regional power and energy companies including Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls and We Energies. His partnership with Johnson Controls on Energy Storage technology development has been recognized as best-in-class both nationally (Edison Gold Medal) and locally (Milwaukee Business Journal Eureka Award). He also serves as founding co-chair of Milwaukee Succeeds, a broad-based, communitywide collaboration that aims to improve educational outcomes for every child in Milwaukee. In addition, Lovell serves as an executive board member of the Water Council, BizStarts Milwaukee, Scale-Up Milwaukee, the Center for International Health, the Milwaukee Educational Partnership, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Coalition of Urban Metropolitan Universities.
Prior to joining UWM, Lovell served as associate dean for research at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering for five years. He previously directed two multi-university research centers, working with hundreds of faculty members, graduate students and private companies. He was a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Kentucky after starting his career at ANSYS, a firm that develops engineering simulation software.
Dr. Lovell, his wife Amy and their four children (Marissa – 19, Matthew – 15, Anna – 14 and Kevin – 11) are active members of Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay, Wis. Lovell and his wife are also active with the Newman Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
An ardent sports fan and participant, Lovell enjoys attending men’s and women’s athletic events and is an avid runner and triathlete.
An inauguration ceremony will be planned for the fall.