Five takeaways from the 2024 presidential address

Five takeaways from the 2024 presidential address

Lovell gave his 10th annual presidential address Jan. 31.

Photo courtesy Marquette University

Marquette University President Michael Lovell gave his 10th annual presidential address Jan. 31 in the Alumni Memorial Union ballrooms.

Here are five takeaways from his address:

Budget shortfalls:

Provost Kimo Ah Yun said at the Dec. 12 academic senate meeting that the university is operating under a current budget shortfall that is estimated between $9 million and $9.5 million for the rest of this fiscal year.

“If you look in the headlines over the past week, several prominent universities such as Penn, University of Chicago and Penn State have all talked about challenges, specifically fiscal challenges they’re all facing. Marquette is not immune to these forces,” Lovell said.

Lovell said he’s met with the Senate budget financial committee and chair of the committee, Lowell Barrington, to discuss what to do moving forward.

“We have some shortfalls we’re going to have to close. I know several of you in the room are impacted by closing these shortfall gaps, and it effects your daily operations that you have,” Lovell said. “It’s important for us to say that we understand emotions, anger or fear are very natural in these situations.”

Lovell said the two reasons for this shortfall are that graduate programs didn’t enroll as several students as the university had budgeted for and inflation.

“Those are only one time things because we can put inflation into our budget for next year. And in terms of the graduate enrollments, we’ve been able to shore those up,” Lovell said.

Lovell said the budget deficit will be gone once the fiscal year is over on July 1.

“I ask you all to have patience as we work forward to ensure Marquette’s future remains bright,” Lovell said.

Health update: 

Lovell was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in 2021 and has been battling it ever since. He said he wanted to start his address by giving the Marquette community an update on his health.

“I’m fighting a good fight, and I just got through my 22nd round of chemotherapy,” Lovell said. “Some days are harder than others, but the good news is the treatments are working and I’m handling fairly well.”

Lovell thanked everyone who has supported him. He said through his fight with sarcoma he tries to see everyday as a “gift.”

“I’m really appreciative of all the ways Marquette has brought me joy over the past year,” Lovell said.

Fork Farms: 

Lovell also introduced that Marquette will be partnering with Fork Farms. The organization creates “Flex Farms” and they’ll be implementing multiple on campus.

The food grown in the farms will be donated to Marquette’s Backpack program and neighborhood outreach programs in an effort to be a more sustainable campus.

Fork Farms will have hotel space on campus and have access to places on O’Brien Hall for engaging with the Marquette community. They will also be partnering with the Marquette Business’ sales program.

“At fork farms we believe everyone is a farmer, which is why we spend all our time developing technology like this to make growing and eating food more accessible,” Michael Hostad, executive vice president of social innovation for Fork Farms said.

Hostad said one of the reasons they partnered with Marquette is their mutual care for the whole person.

“We’re getting a group of students from all across campus to develop ideas about best ways that we can utilize, learn and incorporate it,” Lovell said.

Strategic plan and Time to Rise campaign: 

After pledging to double research in 2015, Lovell announced they’re on track to reach the goal of $50 million in research and development expenditures by 2026

Lovell said Marquette’s advanced research has increase 87% in the last decade.

Due to the budget shortfall during this fiscal year, some colleges like Arts & Sciences won’t be able to provide Faculty Development Funding for travel to things like conferences.

Lovell also announced that the Time to Rise campaign has surpassed their goal of $750 million.

“Even though we’ve surpassed our goal,” Lovell said, “This campaign isn’t over until June 30. I’d like that number to end with an 8 instead of a 7 when we get to the end.”

Student Success:

Lovell highlighted the accomplishments of the Student Success Initiative lead by John Su, vice provost for academic affairs.

Through the initiative, Marquette has seen a 91.4% first-year student retention ratethe highest in Marquette history. They also saw an 86% retention rate for 1-3 year students, the second highest ever.

This story was written by Sophia Tiedge. She can be reached at [email protected].

Julia Abuzzahab contributed to this report. 

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