Chancellor Lovell and the transformation of UWM

Joined by a student entrepreneur and leaders of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Medical College of Wisconsin, Chancellor Michael Lovell on Thursday morning delivered to the Board of Regents a detailed story about the transformation of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The presentation kicked off the regents’ annual June visit to the UWM campus.

Chancellor Lovell said the transformation can be seen at UWM in its focus on a changing student population, the development of capital projects throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area, and emphasis on strengthening the innovation ecosystem of the region with new and established partners.

Although UWM is traditionally a university populated by state students – it has enrolled the most Wisconsin residents since Fall 2004 – Lovell explained the university intended to expand recruitment outside of Wisconsin to counter the demographic trend of shrinking numbers of high school graduates inside Wisconsin. Nonetheless, UWM still intends to fulfill its traditional access mission for students who are first-generation students, come from families with lower incomes and/or are older.

He illustrated UWM’s emphasis on serving a growing number of U.S. military veterans or their dependents with a video about the degree earned this spring semester by Marine and Army veteran Patrick Léon.

Chancellor Lovell offered brief updates on progress being made at the School of Freshwater Sciences expansion, Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex and other buildings, and recounted the lifting of the final beam into place the previous night at the Innovation Accelerator Building at the UWM Innovation Campus.

Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, explained the GMC’s current initiatives and UWM’s role as a partner with them. Their work together and with others has resulted in the creation of MiKE, which is bringing together Milwaukee’s innovative talent to develop creative solutions, and Scale Up Milwaukee, an entrepreneurial initiative funded by American Express. “I think it’s very honest to say we would not have Scale Up in Milwaukee if it wasn’t for Mike bringing it to our attention and UWM’s involvement,” she said.

Carlton Reeves recounted his academic and research successes prior to and during his time as an engineering doctoral student at UWM. He then went on to describe his work as founder and president of Tali Payments, an electronic payment service he and partners are developing. Through a mobile device app called Tabit, users can have access to a participating restaurant’s menu, and place orders and pay for those orders on that device.

After talking about several partnerships under way at UWM – including the Edison Award-winning collaboration with Johnson Controls – Chancellor Lovell introduced a major Milwaukee-area partner, Medical College of Wisconsin President John Raymond.

President Raymond spoke warmly about the spirit of collaboration between the Medical College and several UW System institutions including Milwaukee, Green Bay, Stevens Point, Marathon County, Marshfield/Wood County, and Eau Claire. He thanked UW System President Kevin Reilly “for his leadership in helping form these bridges” between the System and the Medical College to the benefit of the state.