Presidential Address recap: Marquette to build new home for Marquette Business and innovation leadership programs

President Lovell makes several key announcements at sixth annual address

During his sixth annual Presidential Address this afternoon, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell announced that the university will build a new home for the College of Business Administration and innovation leadership programs at the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, the former site of McCormick Hall.

“Marquette Business has a long history of developing ethical, Jesuit-educated leaders who live and work in Milwaukee and the top financial hubs across the world,” President Lovell said. “Through innovative design features and flexible learning spaces, our newest academic facility will help foster creative thinking for students from all disciplines.”

In making the announcement to more than 400 people, President Lovell lauded Marquette’s alumni, parents and friends for their passion and generosity. Led by Vice President for University Advancement Tim McMahon and Keyes Dean of Business Administration Dr. Joe Daniels, Marquette’s fundraising team raised more than $44 million for the project in less than 18 months, including 12 gifts over $1 million. The $70-million building is being funded primarily through generous philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends. Broad-based fundraising for this project will continue, with the desire to break ground in fall 2021.

Marquette’s newest academic building will anchor the west gateway to the heart of campus, bringing together world-class faculty, students and industry leaders to build a talent pipeline for the region’s business community and advance economic development.

“Marquette Business is home to three of the university’s top 10 undergraduate majors, reflecting the growing demand for business leaders in our region,” Daniels said. “Our curriculum is infused with experiential learning opportunities, which is what our students and employers demand. This new facility will mirror our collaborative applied learning style and position us as a convener of important conversations on the future of business in our region.”

The facility will also house interdisciplinary innovation leadership programs that help develop leaders who mobilize others to think creatively, act boldly and deliver solutions. This dedicated innovation space builds on recent efforts to develop an inclusive culture of innovation across campus through research and programming in the 707 Hub, the Women’s Innovation Network, the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, and many colleges.

One such innovation leadership program is the nationally acclaimed, interdisciplinary “Excellence in Leadership” (E-LEAD) program, created by Dr. Kris Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering. Students who take part in the three-year program learn how to lead oneself, lead with others and lead innovation.

Marquette Business faculty, staff, students and alumni will take part in an inclusive design process to ensure the new building addresses the needs of tomorrow’s students, educators and businesses, according to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Lora Strigens. In addition to dedicated innovation leadership space, the building is expected to include several unique components that will transform Marquette’s business education, including:

  • Wrap-around advising and career guidance, with centers for student success and career development on the ground floor.
  • A new multi-functional special event space where top executives and recruiters will meet and interact with the next generation of leaders.
  • Upgraded signature labs and classrooms, including a pitch stage where business students will competitively share their ideas with industry, investors and the larger community.

The College of Business Administration has been housed in Straz Hall for the past 35 years. It is home to three top-25 U.S. News & World Report ranked programs: real estate, executive MBA and supply chain. Over 90% of Marquette Business students are employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation.

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Additional announcements made at the Presidential Address include:

$8 million gift committed to address student mental health needs
President Lovell announced an $8 million anonymous gift to the university to grow the pipeline of mental health providers in Wisconsin. The gift will endow a scholarship that will support Marquette Graduate School students in mental health coming from partner universities; create an endowed fund to support a distinguished professor in psychology; and fund doctoral student training and graduate fellowships in mental health.

Additionally, the university is committing significant funds it has received to increase staffing in the Counseling Center, add support staff for case management in Student Development, and bolster outreach, programming and training to address mental health and wellness awareness.

President Lovell also described a long-term plan for a campus health and wellness center, saying the university aims to create one facility to holistically serve the needs of students’ minds, bodies and spirits. He added that the plan calls for co-locating wellness and health services in a high-traffic area of campus — a space optimization study will help inform if existing spaces can be utilized on campus.

Second $250,000 President’s Challenge announced
Marquette will once again host a $250,000 President’s Challenge, funded in part by Johnson Controls Foundation. Last year’s President’s Challenge winner was the Next Step Clinic, which brings mental health services to inner-city neighborhoods and was funded in part by Johnson Controls Foundation.

“Our second President’s Challenge will provide a $250,000, two-year grant for one interdisciplinary, collaborative proposal that seeks to change the trajectory of lives in our community by addressing one or more of the critical areas in which neighborhood inequities exist, including health, education, safety, housing, transportation and economic prosperity,” President Lovell said. The process will begin this semester and applications are expected to be reviewed this fall.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives
On the heels of what he called “significant progress in campus diversity,” marked by the university’s most diverse student body in history with more than 28% students of color and the most diverse faculty in Marquette history with more than 20% faculty of color, President Lovell announced the implementation of a Campus Diversity Plan.

Led by Dr. William Welburn, vice president for inclusive excellence, the plan aims to build a welcoming, inclusive community by creating pipeline programs and addressing financial challenges for low-income students; adopting a campus wide hiring protocol that centers on diversity and equity; and engaging in high-impact practices to support underrepresented students.

President Lovell also highlighted activities occurring this year, including the 50th anniversary celebration of the Educational Opportunity Program; a co-hosted Social Justice Summit with John Ridley and NŌ Studios; the second campus climate survey to be distributed starting next month; and a pilot inaugural diversity and inclusion educational training for first-year students.

2020 political convention planning
In advance of Milwaukee hosting the Democratic National Convention in July 2020, President Lovell announced that revenues from renting residence hall and event spaces on campus will go toward scholarships that support the university’s diversity initiatives.

Addressing the headwinds of higher education
Continuing the university’s cost-saving measures in the face of changing demographics, President Lovell shared that this semester, the university will be identifying efficiencies across campus and studying space utilization. A space optimization study will determine how to maximize current space and more holistically manage Marquette’s 60 campus buildings. In the spirit of continuous improvement, every unit on campus will be given an overview of its current cost structure and will be asked to generate and implement cost-saving ideas.

Difference Maker Awards
President Lovell also spoke about progress toward implementing Marquette’s strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries, and presented four Difference Maker Awards to faculty, staff and students who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to positively impact an individual, group or community organization:

  • Dr. Joya Crear, assistant vice president of student affairs, for her work to develop and implement the award-winning RISE program, an orientation for multicultural and underrepresented students.
  • Stacy Mitz, senior associate vice president in University Advancement, for her innovative fundraising ideas surrounding bidding farewell to McCormick Hall, which raised nearly $100,000 for the Marquette Backpack Program, which aids with student food insecurity.
  • The Marquette University School of Dentistry, for organizing the annual “Give Kids a Smile Day,” in which thousands of dollars in free dental work is performed on children from disadvantaged Milwaukee neighborhoods.
  • Junior Ally Rising for participating in the cross country 2019 Ulman Foundation 4K for cancer run – a 49-day, 4,000 mile run from San Francisco to Boston to raise funds for cancer research.