Dr. Maura Donovan, executive director of economic development at the University of Minnesota, has been named Marquette’s first vice president for corporate engagement, President Michael R. Lovell announced today. The appointment marks the opening of a new Office of Corporate Engagement, a move the president says is critical to Marquette realizing its vision to be among the most innovative and accomplished Catholic, Jesuit universities in the world.
Donovan, who will report to President Lovell with a dotted line to Acting Provost Ah Yun, will officially begin in her role on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. She will work remotely until her first day on campus, Monday, Jan. 28.
Lovell, who first announced the new office at his January 2018 campus address, said Donovan will be charged with formalizing, enhancing and streamlining the ways in which Marquette works with corporate partners, ultimately increasing the number of opportunities the university has to work with forward-looking organizations with shared values and strategic priorities that align with Marquette. Potential opportunities to expand corporate partnerships include: corporate-sponsored research, technology transfer, talent development through academic programs and executive education, philanthropy, corporate sponsorships, and contracts and service partnerships.
“Dr. Donovan brings to Marquette rich experience in both higher education and industry, and the university is so fortunate to have someone of her caliber and character lead the new Office of Corporate Engagement,” President Lovell said. “As a Catholic, Jesuit university, it is vitally important that our partnerships always start with mission alignment and innovation. I am confident that Dr. Donovan will help us grow our current partnerships and forge new and creative mission-aligned relationships that ultimately increase support for groundbreaking research, bolster critical academic and student success programs and diversify our revenue streams.”
Donovan was recruited by the University of Minnesota’s flagship institution to start and build a foundation for its University Economic Development office, including planning and communicating its vision, mission, goals and strategy, and implementing a strategic planning process for the office. The work of the office contributed to increases in corporate sponsored research, strengthened relationships with statewide economic development organizations, created new opportunities for companies to engage with students and promoted a culture of cross campus collaboration to achieve holistic corporate engagement.
“I feel fortunate to be joining an institution with a strong mission, programs and sense of community,” Donovan said. “I look forward to working collaboratively to maximize Marquette’s corporate engagement opportunities.”
Dr. Carmel Ruffolo, associate vice president for research and innovation, will transfer from the Office of Research and Innovation to the new Office of Corporate Engagement as its associate vice president.
Developing the Office of Corporate Engagement was the unanimous recommendation of the President’s Task Force on Corporate Engagement at the end of 2017. The task force — commissioned by President Lovell in August 2017 as a process to help implement Marquette’s strategic plan Beyond Boundaries and the campus master plan — examined the future of corporate engagement at Marquette. Nearly 70 individuals from across campus as well as corporate partners participated in the task force with goals that included improving communication, aligning priorities and increasing the effectiveness of current and future external relationships. Subsequently, an expanded, cross-disciplinary corporate engagement steering committee helped drive the readiness tasks necessary to open the office.
Prior to her most recent role at the University of Minnesota, Donovan served as the chief technology officer for the Decade of Discovery, a joint initiative of the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, where she was responsible for implementing public-private partnerships to advance diabetes and obesity research at the two institutions.
Previously, Donovan spent more than 20 years at Medtronic and has extensive leadership experience in the medical device and biotechnology industries. She has authored numerous medical publications, issued more than a dozen patents and received accolades including the Bakken Award, Medtronic’s highest technical award for significant contributions to the corporation, the biomedical industry, customers and patients. She was interim executive director of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium and has served as a member of the board of directors for Medical Alley and University Enterprise Laboratories and is currently a trustee emerita of Macalester College.
Donovan was a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Russian from Macalester College.
The search committee for Marquette’s vice president for corporate engagement, which was formed in May, was chaired by Dr. Kris Ropella, Opus Dean of Engineering.
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Learn more about why an Office of Corporate Engagement is important to Marquette’s future in an interview with Dr. Kris Ropella, Opus Dean of Engineering and chair of the search committee for the new office’s vice president; Dr. Doug Fisher, director of the Center for Supply Chain Management; and Dr. Rosemary Stuart, associate dean for planning in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biology.