A letter from President Michael Lovell and Rev. Gregory O'Meara, S.J.

Dear Marquette community,

As we approach the middle of March, we are a full year into a pandemic that has shaken our lives profoundly. We have all endured personal and social losses none of us could have predicted: the loss of routines, the loss of physical contact and social gatherings, the loss of financial security for those whose jobs were impacted. Higher education has not been immune to the impacts of the pandemic, as one in eight positions in colleges and universities have disappeared over the past year. That reality has led to difficult decisions for Marquette and universities across the country.

Now is the time to come together and forge a path forward. During challenging times, we are at our best when we unite around that which matters most — our Catholic, Jesuit mission. That Marquette’s pursuits are firmly rooted in the Jesuit tradition was underscored recently when the Superior General of the worldwide Society of Jesus, Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., affirmed Marquette’s identity as a Catholic and Jesuit university. Father Sosa concluded that Marquette is one of the strongest institutions in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities network in the United States.

Marquette is part of a 500-year tradition of Jesuit Education that has always been radically student-centered. Since its inception, Jesuit education promised to produce men — and later women — of integrity who would become leaders by their devotion to the common good of society and of the church. Prepared by a rigorous education, they were equipped with the ability to lead and persuade others to share these worthy aims.

St. Anselm famously described theology as “faith seeking understanding.” We couple that insight with St. Ignatius’ maxim that the Jesuits are “to find God in all things.” Given that orientation, at Marquette University we look for God not only in a theology seminar that explores the problem of evil, but we also see God revealed in the mathematical formulas derived in the biomedical engineering lab, in pediatric nutrition classes taught in our College of Nursing, in a discussion of Tom Stoppard’s plays in the Department of English, or in a class on corporate responsibility in the College of Business Administration. Our aim is to have our students see possibilities for the good of others in the classroom and awaken in themselves a desire to help the poorest among us; when we are successful, our students better society by bringing these values and visions into the marketplace.

That is what we aspire to. Do we have areas where we can improve? Of course. Do we have students, faculty, research and programs of which we are justly proud? Absolutely. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. That is part of our being human. But humanity in itself confers a sense of dignity, for as St. Irenaeus observed, “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”

We are confident that as we lean into the twin explorations of God and humanity as the best expression of the Jesuit tradition we have inherited, we can move forward into a future that, though unfamiliar in some aspects, continues to be grounded in the dignity of people and ideas strengthened by those on whose shoulders we stand. While there may be moments when we respectfully disagree, we will be guided by our shared commitment to Jesuit education. The leadership of Marquette University and the Marquette Jesuit Community vow to work together tirelessly to uphold the 500-year-old tradition on which we were founded.

Dr. Michael R. Lovell


Rev. Gregory J. O’Meara, S.J.

Rector of the Jesuit Community
Associate Professor of Law