8th annual Presidential Address highlighted by reimagined Wellness + Recreation facility, $7 million gift for new innovation leadership center

President Michael R. Lovell gives his President’s Address in the AMU Ballrooms on Thursday.
President Michael R. Lovell gives his President’s Address in the AMU Ballrooms on Thursday.

Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell gave his eighth annual Presidential Address on Thursday, March 3, which included several major announcements. A recording of the address is available online. It begins at the 29-minute mark.

A reimagined facility for a culture of wellness at Marquette

President Lovell revealed that the university plans to fully reimagine the Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center (Rec Center) on the southwestern edge of campus as a comprehensive Wellness + Recreation facility. It will bring together campus fitness and recreation facilities with the Counseling Center and the Marquette University Medical Clinic — student-centric services currently dispersed across campus.

The announcement comes just months after an anonymous alumni couple launched a $10 million giving challenge to transform and integrate the university’s student health, wellness and recreation services.

“We cannot overlook that our students’ health and wellness is important to their success,” President Lovell said at the address.

The facility will combine completely renovated portions of the Rec Center, including significantly updated facades with added windows, along with a newly constructed three-story wellness tower that will sit in the core of the facility. All interior building systems will be replaced. Using an existing building footprint and some of its structures supports sustainability and fiscal responsibility.

President Lovell says the goal is to complete the estimated $80 million, 180,000 square-foot facility by the end of 2024, contingent on funding.

Read more about the Wellness + Recreation facility on Marquette Today.

$7 million gift will establish new innovation leadership center in Opus College of Engineering

President Lovell also announced a major gift from the Fotsch Family Foundation that will sustain the university’s efforts “to grow the next generation of Jesuit-educated leaders across the state, region and world.”

Building on the Opus College of Engineering’s nationally recognized, award-winning leadership development program called Excellence in Leadership (E-Lead), this major gift will establish a new endowed leadership center and director position in the college. It will also fund people and programs within Innovation Alley, an effort between the Opus College of Engineering and the College of Business Administration to foster innovation in our business region.

In recognition of their generosity, President Lovell shared that the university will honor the Fotsch Family legacy by naming a newly established center for them. The Fotsch Innovation and Engineering Leadership Development Center (FIELD Center) will serve as the home for the E-Lead Program and other innovation leadership development offerings. Further, the directorship will be named the Nana Fotsch Director for the FIELD Center. Kate Trevey, current director of engineering and innovation leadership development, will serve as the first Nana Fotsch Director for the FIELD Center.

Read more about the Fotsch Family Foundation gift on Marquette Today.

Other key updates:

  • Progress on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts — President Lovell discussed the university’s efforts toward improving diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, and shared that Marquette has the most diverse student body in its history. Additionally, 34% of the fall 2021 first-year class identifies as students of color, also the highest in Marquette’s history. The president also highlighted Marquette’s Emerging HSI status and the expansion of the Urban Scholars Program. There was a 100% retention rate among the 2021 first-year cohort of Urban Scholars. Among faculty, the university has a record-high percentage of tenured/tenure-track faculty and assistant professors of color and the highest percentage of female faculty in 10 years.
  • Record research expenditures — President Lovell announced that, for the third year in a row, the university in 2021 had a record year for research, with $13.9 million in federally funded research and development expenditures. Marquette has had a 70% increase in federally funded research expenditures over the past 7 years. President Lovell also highlighted Somesh Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Karen Andeen, associate professor of physics; and Dr. Satish Puri, assistant professor of computer science, for each winning a National Science Foundation CAREER Grant. Three NSF CAREER awards in one year is a Marquette record.
  • Student Success leader named — President Lovell announced that Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. John Su has received an addition to his title: Student Success. Now the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Student Success, Su will formally lead the university’s Student Success Initiative. The president also recognized alumni Marcus and Bobbi Lemonis who last week announced a $15 million gift to create the Lemonis Center for Student Success, which will provide wraparound services for students across all majors, academic abilities and backgrounds to enrich and expand student opportunities.
  • President’s Challenge to partner with UWM, JCI FoundationThe President’s Challenge this year will be a crosstown collaboration to address the root causes of poverty in Milwaukee and beyond. Led by the Office of Research and Innovation, the President’s and Chancellor’s Challenge is a $150,000 strategic collaboration with UW – Milwaukee and the JCI Foundation that partner faculty with community organizations centered around addressing poverty.
  • New home for Marquette Business gets a name — Set for completion later this year, the new fully donor-funded home for Marquette Business and innovation leadership programs will officially be known as Dr. E.J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall.
  • Straz Hall to be renovated for College of Nursing — President Lovell noted that, when Marquette Business vacates its current home, the College of Nursing will move to a renovated and expanded Straz Hall. The project is expected to be completed in 2024. Nursing will move into new space with a bold strategic plan to augment its 8,000-strong alumni workforce by expanding enrollment and training 5,000 Marquette Nurses over the next decade and make an even greater difference around the globe.

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