10th annual Presidential Address highlights student experience, faculty research and university partnerships

Key announcements focus on strategic plan implementation, Time to Rise campaign, new partnership with Fork Farms

President Michael R. Lovell in his 10th annual Presidential Address on Jan. 31 highlighted many of the new campus initiatives designed to advance Marquette’s core educational and cocurricular missions, particularly in the student-focused areas of student success and retention; diversity, equity and inclusion; campus safety and security; and sustainability.   

In front of a crowd of 450, President Lovell likewise emphasized faculty excellence in research, the university’s various national rankings, corporate partnerships and the success of the Time to Rise fundraising campaign.

In a highlight of his annual address, President Lovell celebrated campus Difference Makers — Marquette community members doing the remarkable — featuring honorees from the past year. Difference Makers in attendance were invited on stage to be recognized. 

Following are select highlights from the speech: 

Strategic plan implementation

President Lovell made several key announcements related to Marquette University’s new strategic plan for 2031: Guided by Mission, Inspired to Change. The plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees and unveiled to the campus community last December, outlines the themes, goals, objectives and priorities that lay a solid foundation for Marquette’s future into the next decade as the university celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Leading the plan implementation will be Dr. Chris Navia, vice president for inclusive excellence, and Rev. John Thiede, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, working with a team of priority leads, including:

  • Rana Altenburg, associate vice president for public affairs
  • Rick Arcuri, acting vice president for student affairs 
  • Dr. John Baworowsky, vice president for enrollment management 
  • Ian Gonzalez, vice president for finance 
  • Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation 
  • Dr. Jennifer Maney, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Tim McMahon, vice president for university advancement 
  • Dr. Gary Meyer, senior vice provost for faculty affairs 
  • Claudia Paetsch, vice president for human resources 
  • Laurie Panella, chief information officer 
  • Alix Riley, director of institutional research
  • Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and facilities management 
  • Dr. John Su, vice provost for academic affairs and student success 
  • Ralph Weber, acting general counsel 
  • Dr. Doug Woods, vice provost for graduate and professional programs and dean of the Graduate School

The team will be supported by Riley; Kate Braasch, chief of presidential affairs; and Brigid Alba, assistant director of mission engagement. Additionally, the Executive Leadership Team (president, provost, executive vice president/chief operating officer), University Academic Senate representatives and Staff Senate representatives will compose a new strategic plan advisory council. 

Record-breaking year for research and student success 

Faculty have continued Marquette’s record-breaking growth in research, setting records for research and development expenditures and research funding. In fiscal year 2022, the university surpassed $40 million in research and development expenditures and set a record with $15.3 million in new research funding. Under President Lovell’s leadership, Marquette has grown research by 87% over the past 10 years.  

Marquette’s Student Success Initiative is helping to close the equity gap with a record-setting retention rate of 91.4% among first-year students, the highest since the university started recording this metric 20 years ago. Marquette’s approach to student success values both personal formation and academic achievement. 

With an ecosystem of coordinated resources and experts, the Student Success Initiative facilitates connections, programming, tools, staffing, and more across all colleges and schools. By better serving students, Marquette aims to boost its six-year graduation rate and improve its year 1-2 retention rate and first destination outcomes.  

Later this year, the Lemonis Center for Student Success will formally open, making it easier for Marquette students to ask for help and successfully find it. The Lemonis Center will become the physical hub for campuswide services, centralizing what’s available and providing flexible physical space for programmatic resources and meaningful interactions.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts focus on creating welcoming, supportive community 

President Lovell also noted Marquette’s progress and continued efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

The Urban Scholars program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to high school seniors from the Milwaukee area, brought in its third cohort of more than 40 scholars. Two scholars received fellowships through a partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks. Urban Scholars additionally welcomed new leadership; Latrice Harris-Collins oversees the program as acting director for Black student initiatives, and Amanda Markwardt and Asia Connor joined Marquette as Urban Scholars coordinators. 

In 2022, Marquette adopted a new university seal to more accurately depict the role of the Indigenous nations that guided Father Marquette on his journey. The university continues to update seals across campus, including those in highly visible locations such as the Alumni Memorial Union archway and Wisconsin Avenue stone portals. 

Time to Rise fundraising campaign 

President Lovell announced that Marquette has surpassed the $750 million goal in its historic Time to Rise campaign — raising more than $250 million in just the last two years of the eight-year campaign. The campaign has resulted in $767 million to date. Emphasizing that “more significant opportunities and needs remain,” President Lovell challenged the Marquette community to drive toward the campaign’s completion in June 2024. 

More than $304 million has been given to support student scholarships, accounting for over 40% of campaign contributions. More than 68,000 donors have contributed to Time to Rise to date, with more than 51% of them being first-time donors to the university.   

“When we first envisioned this remarkable effort, we had one overriding principle to lean on: belief,” President Lovell said. “Across our world, the Marquette community of alumni, parents and friends displays profound passion. We are filled with the spirit of gratitude and want to thank our entire Marquette community for their philanthropic support that helped us reach this important milestone.” 

The campus statue of St. Ignatius will be seated in a new outdoor patio and terrace near Alumni Memorial Union, outside the Chapel of the Holy Family.

St. Ignatius statue to be installed on campus 

A commissioned St. Ignatius of Loyola statue will be installed on campus this spring. Sharing the Society of Jesus founder’s reminder to “Go forward and set the world on fire,” the statue will be seated in a new outdoor patio and terrace near Alumni Memorial Union, outside the Chapel of the Holy Family. The statue is part of a larger renovation to Chapel of the Holy Family and will add another sacred space on campus for quiet reflection and contemplation.

Marquette signs first university partnership agreement with Fork Farms  

Marquette will be the first university in the country to sign a partnership agreement with Fork Farms, which produces the most efficient, scalable and transformative indoor hydroponics technology on the planet. Through the partnership, which aligns with Marquette’s mission and sustainability efforts, the university will receive several Flex Farms on campus for growing fresh food. The produce will support programs designed to address food scarcity on campus and in the community. 

Fork Farms — in the top 25% of the fastest growing private companies in America — is formally partnering with Marquette Business, and this year’s student “Pitch Progress” competition, run by the Center for Professional Selling, will focus on expanding the partnership.

President Lovell poses with members of the Blue & Gold Brewing LLC team, which developed The Beer Can, a cream ale named in honor of the iconic former McCormick Hall.

Additional progress highlighted in Presidential Address:

  • The university implemented two public safety initiatives borne out of the President’s Task Force on Public Safety recommendations: EagleExpress and Marquette University Police Department’s Behavioral Health Unit. EagleExpress, MUPD’s safe ride service, launched in January 2023 and has provided more than 100,000 rides in less than a year. Average wait time for a ride is under 10 minutes, and the service has a rating of 4.8/5 stars. MUPD is taking a proactive approach to address mental health crises with its Behavioral Health Unit. The unit involves a full-time civilian crisis worker who partners with MUPD to support, educate and help with tasks that need additional support, including working with individuals in need of services. The unit also focuses on long-term solutions for our community. 
  • Blue & Gold Brewing LLC, a student-run business venture launched as part of an undergraduate applied learning program in the College of Business Administration, will release The Beer Can, a cream ale named in honor of the iconic former McCormick Hall, on National Marquette Day, Feb. 10. This is the second beer product Blue & Gold Brewing LLC has produced since President Lovell unveiled the initiative at his ninth Presidential Address, in addition to a line of coffee products developed in partnership with Stone Creek Coffee. 
  • President Lovell highlighted some of the university’s major corporate partnerships, including those with Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute, Epic and Omron Corporation.

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