Dr. Lovell — What do you dream about?
About taking the talent and the vast resources on this campus and using them to make a really big impact on the edu-
cational systems, the health systems and the overall environment in Milwaukee. The other big opportunity is finding ways to support clusters of innovation in water, energy and biotechnology. We have to develop the talent pipeline and technology to be globally competitive.
What appeals to you about leading a Catholic university?
We share common values, and now I can talk about those values; I can express the importance of my faith and talk about how people on this campus can make a difference in this world because of what we believe. Being able to express that to others is really exciting.
If not this career, what career?
Coaching. It’s hard for me to say at what level, but I love collegiate athletics and the fact that student-athletes compete because they love it, not because they’re getting paid.
What do you wish you knew much sooner?
One of the challenges is understanding the bigger picture. I look back now at the courses that have been really valuable to my career, and a lot weren’t in my engineering field. They were in the humanities and liberal arts, courses that teach critical thinking and communication. I understand now how important it is for me to be able to effectively communicate to work with people. How I say things is as important as what I say.
What’s been your greatest achievement?
That’s not an easy one for me to answer. When I took over as chancellor at UWM, none of the building projects that were ready to come on line had been approved. I spent my first three or four months pushing those forward, so I’m very proud of those buildings. But maybe even more than that is the level of innovation and entrepreneurship that I was able to establish and foster on campus. We changed the culture.
What do you want to grab hold of immediately?
There is nothing more critical for me to work on right now than getting the right people into the very important leadership positions of provost and deans for the colleges of Business Administration and Opus Engineering.
What do you want alumni to know?
Even though I’m an engineer in my training, research and other work, I have a great appreciation for the humanities and liberal arts. The strength of higher ed in the United States is the fact that we still focus on a liberal arts education. People from all over the world send their best and brightest here for an education because we teach critical-thinking skills that are important for people to be creative and innovative, to add value in all aspects of their lives, to see the bigger picture, be global citizens and work well together. I want people to know that I appreciate and will never get away from the core of what we do.