Dear UWM Campus Community,
It is with mixed emotions that I would like to inform you that later today I will be introduced as the first lay President of Marquette University, effective August 1, 2014.
My decision to step down as Chancellor of UW-Milwaukee has been the most difficult one of my professional career. I know that many of you will be surprised by my decision. Those closest to me, however, know how important my Catholic faith is in my life, and having the ability to integrate my religious life with my professional life is something that I always wanted to do in my career.
When I accepted the full-time position of Chancellor in 2011, I never anticipated leaving UWM for a position at another university in Wisconsin. Several months ago, when I was approached by Marquette about its presidency, I declined because I could not imagine leaving UWM at that time. But in recent weeks, as several people asked me to keep an open mind, I began to hear a calling to serve at an institution where I could more openly share my Catholic faith.
My decision has been extremely difficult because of my love for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and my tremendous respect for the faculty, staff and students of our campus. I believe in the core mission of UWM. Over the past six years, I have had the privilege to serve a great university whose reputation continues to grow both nationally and internationally. I have publicly stated and firmly believe that UWM has the most innovative and entrepreneurial faculty and staff that I have ever encountered. Great things are being accomplished at every corner of our campus with minimal resources, and that is a tribute to the strong commitment of our faculty and staff to serve our students and the people of the state of Wisconsin. Because of the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff, I could not be prouder to lead UWM, and this is what has made my decision so difficult.
I want you to know that I will continue to serve the university and strongly advocate for more resources for our campus until my term ends this summer. With the support of UW System President Ray Cross, I will remain at UWM until the end of July so that I can help the campus complete work on several projects that are critical to our future. Along with finishing the academic plan, strategic plan and new budget model, I will complete my work on the UW System’s Budget Allocation Model Working Group and further the efforts of the UWM Strategic Enrollment Management Council.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.
Michael R. Lovell