I'm the first lay president of Marquette University, a Catholic Jesuit institution located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'm a father of 4, marathon runner and triathlete, engineer, and I enjoy watching Doctor Who with my son. I'm really excited by the level of pride and passion that our faculty, staff, students and alumni have in our university. Some notable graduates of Marquette: Dwayne Wade, Chris Farley, Danny Pudi, and Victoria from reddit, who's here helping me out today.




Edit: I want to thank everybody for their awesome questions, and although nobody asked, my favorite Doctor Who episode is "The Angels Take Manhattan." I'm sorry if I didn't get the chance to get to your questions, but I'll be back to read all of them later. You can always follow me on Twitter @PresLovell.

Comments: 216 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

Shut_Up_Dude29 karma

Dr. Lovell,

When you were first announced as our next president, I emailed you and asked you to join our improv group for a scene or two.

The offer still stands. Our next show is in November!

What do you say? Would you like to become an honorary Fugee?


The Studio 013 Refugees

MichaelLovell34 karma

Yes, I am looking forward to doing this! Tweet me the day and time!

sweetoldetc28 karma

I am a recent graduate of Marquette currently living in Germany, where college tuition is virtually nonexistent (in reality you pay about 300 euros a semester, but that's effectively negligible to Americans). When I tell people here what the price of my Marquette education would have been without scholarships, they are absolutely floored -- and it's not like the price of it with scholarships was a steal. Meanwhile, German universities are renowned worldwide for their scholarship and contributions to academia, so it's clear that the lack of tuition is not diminishing the quality of instruction.

Do you see the ever-rising tuition at Marquette as a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed, and if so, do you have plans to address this?

I am proud of the education I received there, but I am not proud of what I had to pay to get it, and I think the system we have in the U.S. right now is downright shameful.

MichaelLovell35 karma

So you answered the question with the last statement. The higher education system in the U.S. is broken. We've had a 30 year decline of support from both the federal & state government for higher education, which has caused the burden to fall on students and families, even as need is growing. This is not the case in other parts of the world, which place their highest priority on making higher education accessible for anyone. The most important thing we can do as an institution is raise money for scholarships and student aid, so that college is accessible for as many people as possible. And thank you for your question.

sweetoldetc11 karma

Thank you for your answer. I would counter though that I think the one of the most important things Marquette can do as an institution -- and you as an individual -- is lend your voices to the outcry. Scholarships and financial aid are a band aid, and they don't stop the price of tuition from raising.

I recognize you're just doing an AMA and aren't about to launch a radical plan to fight tuition increases, but the U.S. is headed for absolute disaster when it comes to higher ed and I hope more institutions will step up to address the real problems.

But thank you again for doing this; I'm quite impressed.

MichaelLovell8 karma

Thank you!

MUstudentfromChicago15 karma

Dr. Lovell I am very impressed with your job as President so far and just want to say thank you for your involvement with the student body. It means a lot to see you actively attending various student functions. I have three questions for you

  1. What has been your best moment since becoming President at Marquette?
  2. My second question is a classic Reddit question.Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? 
  3. What is your favorite genre of music to go running to?

MichaelLovell18 karma

1) The inauguration. By far. I think just - it was just really emotional, and to have my friends and family and 3500 people gathered in the Al McGuire center celebrating Marquette and my presence... it was unbelievable.

2) One horse-sized duck. I could run away!

3) I like alternative, particularly '80s alternative.

7akash14 karma

President Lovell,

    Thank you for doing this AMA. Such a novel idea - you truly are the coolest!

     My name is Brendan Takash. I graduated Fall 2013  (and was the student speaker!), and now I'm an MBA student here at Marquette. 

     Earlier this year, I came out as gay, and have since taken up a leadership position in the Marquette GSA. Over my 4+ years here, I've seen the atmosphere of tolerance grow wider, despite a few setbacks (notably, in the controversy surrounding Jodi O'Brien). The GSRC has made wonderful strides at Marquette, but I believe we can certainly do more.

     Now, with nationwide positive momentum, and the legality of gay marriage in Wisconsin, I believe now would be the most influential time for you to take action here at Marquette. Can you plase share with us your plans for strengthening inclusivity on campus? How will Marquette be the difference in these changing times?

     Thank you for your time, and we're glad to have you as President!

  • Brendan Takash

MichaelLovell12 karma

We want all students to feel welcomed, and supported, on campus. I'm committed to meeting with all student groups to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help them be successful. Maybe you can be a part of the meeting later this fall, so we can connect more.

virally_yours12 karma

Hey I am a Marquette graduate and a big supporter of the university. My question is realistically speaking, will the Marquette Golden Eagles ever be the Marquette Warriors again?

MichaelLovell12 karma

At this point, we have no plans to revisit the mascot of the University - I think "We are Marquette" really sums up who we are!

cubz10311 karma

Hi Dr. Lovell,

Do you have any specific plans for including the LGBT community, a group often feeling underserved and left out, on campus?

MichaelLovell16 karma

I'm planning on meeting with a group at the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center to understand more of their perspectives sometime later this semester.

RootBoy4211 karma

Do you have any plans of donating the Tolkien Manuscripts to the Wade Center at Wheaton College, or should I continue planning my raid? :)

MichaelLovell12 karma


No raids allowed! Please come and visit!

bidnessmang10 karma

Hey Dr. Lovell you're an engineer, can you please build us a new Business School?

MichaelLovell17 karma

We are getting ready to complete a master plan for campus, and both the Biology building and the Business School will be near the top of the list for new academic buildings on campus.

setyoursightsnorth8 karma

Dr. Lovell, as a current Marquette student, I would like to commend you on your work so far. Your involvement in student affairs and organizations is a welcome breath of fresh air.

My question for you is this: Last year, there was some controversy when the Free Palestine group on campus wanted to host an event in which they compared the Israel occupation of Palestine lands to apartheid in South Africa. If I remember the Marquette Tribune article correctly, the student organization was forced to change the name of their event or had to go through a lengthy battle to get it approved.

I understand that this term may be offending to some people, but I'm sure that some people (myself included) are not fond of the white cross graveyard that is put up in our main quad during the fall/winter by one of the religious group on campus. How would you instill an environment where student organizations are treated equally and have equal access to resources?

Also, if you are not doing anything on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it would be great to have you stop by a water polo practice. We practice from 8-10 PM at the Rec Center on 16th street. We hope to see you there. :)

MichaelLovell6 karma

I mean, the first part is that we want to welcome a dialogue from all groups on the campus, but doing it in a way where we don't have anyone feel offended. And as for the water polo, maybe I can stop by and join you sometime.

frozentempest148 karma

I'm very excited about your coming to our school and I like how you're connecting with students through the running club. I was just curious: A student speaking at your inauguration ceremony stated that she asked you what your spirit animal is, but she never told us your answer. May I ask what it is?

MichaelLovell9 karma

It was a golden eagle! hahaha!

FilmFanatic877 karma

What's your favorite type of tree?

MichaelLovell11 karma

An oak tree.

LordNedStark7 karma

What books would you recommend to your 22 year old self?

What has been your biggest failure?

Who personifies success?

MichaelLovell7 karma

My favorite book is The Perfect Mile, by Neil Bascomb.

My biggest failures have occurred in times I've made decisions without looking at every perspective. This has included hiring individuals that were talented and good people, and did not fit the culture of the organization I was with at the time. And as you would expect, these individuals did not last very long.

I believe that you learn more from your failures than you do your successes, and I think Thomas Edison failed with the lightbulb many many times prior to him finding success.

CasualElephant6 karma

How does Dwayne Wade really feel about Lebron leaving Miami?

MichaelLovell8 karma

He seems excited about the upcoming season, and his new role.

Fun fact: I met with his sister last week in Chicago, and I'm looking forward to working with their foundation to help increase literacy in Milwaukee!

theosyslack4 karma

Howdy! Current Student / Aspiring Web Developer here.

I've heard you were involved in the creation of the App Brewery at UWM. Can you talk about the creation of that program, and if there are any plans to bring something like it to MU?

MichaelLovell6 karma

Yes. So I was involved with the creation of the App Brewery at UWM. We've generated $5 million for an innovation fund on campus. It would be great if there was a proposal from the faculty, staff and students to create something similar to the App Brewery here at Marquette.

Purplehazey3 karma

Favorite bar on campus?

MichaelLovell8 karma

The Annex...

mahurd3 karma

Hello What would your advice be to a beginner runner who would like to be a long distance runner eventually ? Thank you !

MichaelLovell7 karma

Start out slow, and gradually build your running distance. Don't ever increase your mileage more than 10% a week.

Duchess20123 karma

We are so excited to have you as our first lay president! What do you see as your biggest challenge taking over this job? What are you most looking forward to?

MichaelLovell6 karma

Well, the biggest challenge is building out a leadership team. We have the provost, the business team and engineering dean are all open right now. That's a lot! It's an opportunity though, too. And I'm most looking forward to the start of Men's Basketball Season.

O_Heck3 karma

Dr. Lovell, I am an alumnus who is involved with raising funds for university scholarships; how do you plan to address the rising costs of tuition? Have you studied any of the steps taken by Purdue's President Hon. Mitch Daniels to make higher education more affordable?

MichaelLovell6 karma

Well, along with raising money for scholarships, the two other areas that we focus on keeping the costs down are making the campus more efficient, and partnering with other academic institutions to broaden the portfolio of our offerings without duplication.

Cavalier223 karma


MichaelLovell2 karma

1) Well, you need to focus on making the student experience second to none. And that includes utilizing more technology for delivering content in the classroom, having dormitory, recreational and other facilities that fit the current needs of the student body, and developing cutting-edge academic programs that train students with the skills they need to be successful in the future. For example, by providing help for faculty and staff to allow more course content to be online, that allows students to access it when they are ready to learn.

2) Well, one of the jobs I have is making alumni and donors feel like the University is worthy of their investment. So when I go out and speak to potential donors, I talk about all the great things and great people we have on our campus.

3) The faculty and staff truly care about the well-being of the students. That's the number one thing I hear from students. And there are many options available for study.

Best of luck to your dad!

I_Am_Okonkwo3 karma

Hey Dr. Lovell, current student here. I know an alum who wanted me to ask you if there was any chance at all whatsoever that MU would attempt to get a football team going.

Now for my questions:

How are the cultures different between here and UWM?

What are some surprises that you have found during your tenure here so far?

What do you miss about being at UWM?

Thanks for your time, thanks for putting on this AMA!

Note: Wade never graduated

MichaelLovell14 karma

No, no football team. It's ten coaches, 80 scholarships, practice field, a game field, and just as many student athletes needed for women's programs to be added as well - that would just be cost-prohibitive for the University.

At a private institution, you have the opportunity to be more nimble, because you don't always have to go through the state processes.

Well, first of all, it really is a family - people said "welcome to the family" when I was first named, and I thought it was just words, but I can't believe how much people care about each other and the institution. And hot cookies! Particularly McCormick, because I had them at Cobeen, but I didn't have it with ice cream, but McCormick had them with ice cream, and it was awesome. I saw somebody else eat 4, it was astonishing.

Some of the people I got to work with, I got close to. So I miss the people.

gwaki3 karma

What are the chances of adding a D1 men's and Women's hockey program?

MichaelLovell8 karma

I certainly think that we would be willing to look into it. But not in the immediate future.

Waxwingshadow3 karma

I saw that you have been inducted into the National Academy of Inventors. What is a favorite thing that you helped invent, where does your inspiration to invent come from, and is there something out there that you'd still like to invent if you had the time??

MichaelLovell10 karma

So, probably my biggest invention was a conductive ink that would help replace printed circuit boards. This technology was patented about 10 years ago, and I recently saw in a trade magazine that it was becoming mainstream. So essentially you take an inkjet printer, and you can draw directly on the objects that need conductivity. I was working on helping cut the costs down of windshields, which have typically 11 or 12 electronic components that you have to silkscreen, and so this technology just drew the different electronics directly on the windshield. Well, my daughter has significant knee problems, and I'd like to invent an implantable device to stabilize the knee. She's dislocated it 7 or 8 times, it's terrible.

mil_kid2 karma

Thanks for coming on here Dr. Lovell, you seem like one of the best Presidents for Marquette at this time and I am happy you are so involved with the student body.

As one of the few veterans at this university, I'm curious if there is anything that Marquette could do to help us. That is, often times the federal government cuts our funding for school year after year. In my 3 years alone, it's dropped almost $1000 from it's original amount. At times our funding is even cut out completely (for example, with last year's gov shutdown). And since this is not a state institution, it is more expensive to attend (as a veteran) than perhaps UW-M or Madison. Does Marquette offer any sort of competitive scholarship that we may take advantage of? As someone who has done their time and is not interested in ROTC, I often feel the voice of the past served is not heard.

Additionally, if you don't mind, I'd like to touch on a rather sensitive issue. With veterans, specifically, often times there is a hypersensitivity to our surroundings, especially at night when walking home on the edge of campus from the library and other buildings. And being fully qualified as a weapons expert as well as someone who takes firearms very seriously, does Marquette ever plan to allow concealed firearms on it's campus? Or have they ever thought about it? Note that obtaining a license for concealed handguns requires a 3 day course in the state of Wisconsin, and with the increase in robbery on campus this past summer, it's been a concern of mine. Not that I feel my safety is threatened daily, by any means. But there has been times when I would feel much more comfortable with a firearm walking back to my house after a late night of studying. I feel that only the most responsible individuals would be able to obtain said licensure, but I'm curious your thoughts on the matter?

Thanks again for doing an AMA!

MichaelLovell3 karma

Veterans are a very important and growing part of our campus. We have a list of benefits and resources through Marquette Central. To the degree possible, I will also try to raise more money for scholarships to support veterans on our campus. And if you need more support, please set up a meeting with someone at Marquette Central.

Right now, we are looking at a number of ways to increase safety on campus, including commissioning members of Public Safety, as well as a number of apps that people can use on their phone to contact Public Safety quickly or to locate them using GPS.

jharwig2 karma

Hi, I'm a MU grad of 2003. I heard that Marquette just bought some land near the 900 block of Michigan, what are the plans for expanding further east?

MichaelLovell3 karma

Well, as of right now, there's not any other properties that are immediately available for us to expand further east, but we believe that it would be good to continue to expand our footprint towards the east, particularly as the city looks to build a new arena.


Hey Dr.Lovell!, Hope all is well. I was wondering what plans there are for renovations or new buildings in the immediate future? Especially with McCormick.

MichaelLovell5 karma

Well, when I look at the dormitories on campus, there are a number of them that are aging. So our goal, over the next 6 months, is to develop a plan for addressing the needed upgrades in the dormitories on campus.

RenekTheLizardWizard2 karma

Hello President Lovell, I'm a Freshman who just started here at Marquette and I wanted to thank you for reaching out to us via social media. I love the effort you're putting in to connect with us via dinners, twitter, and reddit. Thank you so much!

I see you running around campus and I wanted to ask, did you ever run competitively in school?

MichaelLovell4 karma

No. I played volleyball in college.

BasketBull12 karma

Will we be seeing you at a lot of the basketball games? Also, favorite NBA team?

MichaelLovell7 karma

Yes, you will definitely be seeing me at the Basketball Games. And we judge the dunk contest at Midnight Madness THIS Friday. And I like a lot of NBA teams, and am excited about the Milwaukee Bucks this upcoming season, I know Will Wojo is excited about Jabari Parker being in town.

ssnider232 karma

Dr. Lovell!

I'm a student in the Opus College of Engineering '18, and I served you popcorn on Saturday night during the volleyball game against Creighton, and I told you I'd be asking you a question. Here's my question:

Would you rather fight 1 horse sized Golden Eagle, or 50 Golden Eagle sized horses?

Thanks! Btw, you're doing a great job so far as president of Marquette, thanks for being so involved here! :)

MichaelLovell4 karma

The one Golden Eagle. I'd challenge it to a swim/bike/run.

msgbonehead2 karma

What was the thought process behind starting your twitter account? I know you mentioned being the most followed higher-ed official in the state, but why did you start?

MichaelLovell2 karma

I wanted to capture all the Inauguration Week activities, and share them with the student body!

muvb142 karma

Dr Lovell,

You obviously love running, so I'm sure that helps, but how do you get past those "I should run today, but blah blah blah" days and get out there?

MichaelLovell6 karma

Well, for me, it's a matter of mental health, that if I don't do it, my day becomes much more challenging.

theosyslack2 karma


MichaelLovell2 karma

No, we have a dog named Bella.

Mool2121 karma

Hi Dr. Lovell, recent May grad here. First off, welcome to Marquette, we're thrilled to have you. Second, how do you see Marquette progressing in the next ten years? A lot changed in my four years there, just curious to where you see it moving as you begin your tenure.

MichaelLovell1 karma

Well, at my inauguration I announced several major initiatives: that we'll expand Marquette University off the footprint of the current campus and redevelop the Avenues West to be a destination. And thank you for your kind words!

I_smell_awesome1 karma

What's your favorite kind of soup?

MichaelLovell4 karma

Real Chili. I usually get the Real Chili with hot sauce.

Pyriew1 karma

Have you read A Portrait of the Artist? What are your reactions, as a real Jesuit academic?

MichaelLovell2 karma

No, I've not read that yet. Thanks for the recommendation!

suprgrover1 karma

Dr. Lovell,

As the first lay president how do you expect your experience to be different in anyway than those that have come before you? Also when I say 'cookie' what is the first thing to come to your mind??


MichaelLovell3 karma

So being the first lay president, I bring different experiences to the job, in particular the fact that I'm an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. I believe these skills will help take the university to exciting places, but I still want to focus on our traditions as being a Catholic Jesuit University.

When you say "Cookie" I think "McCormick" and "Cobeen." They both have a hot cookie night.

Pwninator1 karma

Hi Mike!

As a recent electrical engineering graduate working in an industry that I consider very boring, dull, and not stimulating my brain enough, I have the following questions for you:

  • What has been the most interesting engineering industry you have worked in?

  • In contrast, what has been the worst engineering experience/industry you have encountered?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

MichaelLovell1 karma

So I started my career with a startup software company, and it was a great experience. I spent a summer in a small town in Indiana working for General Motors during my college years, and I was really bored. Make of that what you will.

CaterpillarKillr1 karma

Dr. Lovell, thanks for doing this. Every serious question that I had has been asked (and well responded to) already. So, just wanted to know: what's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

MichaelLovell1 karma

I think I like coconut the best.

mubbfan1 karma


MichaelLovell3 karma

Well, we're going to work with the campus community over the next several months to determine the best use of the land. It is most likely that it will not be used for classes because of the distance to the other parts of campus.

reedjohnson1 karma

Cool of you to do an AMA. Curious: Do you have any regrets leaving UWM after such a short time there, or was that always going to be a stepping stone job for you?

MichaelLovell2 karma

No, it was never something I envisioned leaving, this was just an opportunity I never expected to have in front of me.

radione1 karma

Since leaving UWM, how do you keep community relations strong in Milwaukee and between these institutions?

MichaelLovell2 karma

Well, I'm uniquely positioned to partner with UWM to make an impact on the challenges facing Milwaukee. And so I consistently try to be in the community, to understand the opportunities and needs.

MUsenator1 karma

Hello Dr. Lovell,

I am one of the authors of the new diversity legislation being brought to MUSG in the next few weeks. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) stated that Marquette had a "lack of progress on issues related to diversity and [a] lack of a university-wide diversity plan" and we hope to address this issue with our amendment.

The 'tl;dr' of the amendment is to create a new legislative position - and corresponding council - for Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. The goal of this committee is to represent students who have concerns pertaining to diversity on campus and to be a powerful legislative voice for them.

With that, I have a few questions..

1) What is your opinion on the formation of this position/council?

2) What would you like to see this council accomplish on campus if this amendment passed?

MichaelLovell1 karma

For Marquette to reach its goals, having a very diverse student body, faculty and staff is critical. I'm encouraged to see that the student body is making this a priority, and I look forward to seeing next steps from here. We still have a long way to go, but are heading in the right direction as per this Tribune article.

eiselein1 karma

Who's at your dream dinner party?

MichaelLovell1 karma

I think...Pope Francis, St. Theresa of Lisieux, Brandon Flowers, and David Tennant.

MUMlps1 karma

What's your most hilarious story from your college days? I'm sure you've got some good ones

MichaelLovell4 karma

I almost slept through a chemistry final! Second semester of my freshman year. I had to run and got there 5 minutes late after the test already started. I ended up getting an A in the course.

orangejulius1 karma

What are your thoughts on the Bayh-Dole Act?

What's the difference between a history professor writing a book using research through the school where they take tons of money and don't give back to the university versus the school taking nearly all the immediately valuable IP from, say, engineering and using it to support less profitable parts of the school?

MichaelLovell3 karma

Well, the Bayh-Dole act is a federal law that we are required to follow, which essentially states that the University has to get fair value for any inventions that are produced on the University. Those funds can be given to both the inventors, and come back to the University, in terms of royalties and other monies.

KamikazeRhombus1 karma


MichaelLovell2 karma

The weekly trips to Madison!

And I already have plans to visit the Les Aspin Center later this year - every student I've talked to who's taken part in the program has said it was a life-changing experience.