Message from the President
Considering my typical day might involve back-to-back-to-back discussions about university operations, off-campus meetings with corporate and nonprofit partners, and travel to New York City for Big East Conference business or Washington, D.C., for legislative conversations, it can be challenging to stay in touch with the real reason why faculty and staff are here: our students. To address this situation, I make every effort to offer or accept invitations to interact with students.
Take for instance my student lunches. Students apply to attend. Once introductions are made and grace said, no question or comment is considered off-limits. I encourage students to talk about the good and bad of their Marquette experience because we can’t solve problems we don’t know about or understand. Students always embrace the opportunity.
Vice President for Student Affairs Xavier Cole and I do our best to answer and, if needed, provide follow up after the lunch. We listen to what students say. My favorite example happened when students suggested Marquette re-start a Homecoming celebration. I had meetings after lunch that same afternoon with Marquette University Student Government President Zack Wallace and Vice President Aliya Manjee, who loved the idea, and with Athletic Director Bill Scholl, who wished he came up with it first. Associate Vice President for Engagement Stacy Mitz was immediately on board. We launched Homecoming the following fall. When I tell that story at lunches now, I let students know their ideas don’t have to be quite that big.
I also try to accept invitations to speak to classes and have smaller meetings with students working on class projects. Last fall I guest-lectured in instructor Kurt Gering’s business course, met with MBA students taught by assistant professor Margaret Hughes-Morgan, had two engineering students shadow me for a day as part of their engineering E-Lead Program, and worked with students conducting a communication audit and assessment for our police department for a class taught by associate professor Scott D’Urso. Every encounter leaves me so impressed.
By far the most student interactions happen through the President’s Running Group that meets three or four times each week. Whether on the track, in the classroom or at lunch on the fifth floor of the AMU, what I learn most from every interaction is how dedicated our students are to their education, university and finding ways to make a difference in the world. These young people are truly getting ready to go and set the world on fire.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell
“Had a fantastic lunch today with students.”