Marquette University shared the devastating news on June 9 that President Michael R. Lovell passed away at the age of 57 following a three-year battle with sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The loss deeply affected communities around Marquette University and Milwaukee, leaving behind a legacy of leadership and dedication that will be remembered for years to come.

“Together, we pray for President Lovell’s family, especially his wife Amy, his children, and his friends, as well as for all members of our Marquette and Milwaukee communities, as we grieve this immeasurable loss,” Marquette University said in a statement. “President Lovell and his wife were in Rome on a Jesuit formation pilgrimage with members of the Society of Jesus and the Board of Trustees when he fell ill and was subsequently taken to a hospital in Rome.”

President Lovell’s decade of leadership at Marquette was characterized by a relentless commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and community development in alignment with the university’s Jesuit mission.

His entrepreneurial spirit drove Marquette and Milwaukee to continually seek improvement and growth. Lovell’s influence extended beyond the campus, serving on multiple local boards and national higher education consortiums, where his collaborative nature and ability to advance complex ideas were highly valued by his peers.

“I am greatly saddened by the passing of President Lovell. My sympathy goes out to his family, to the Marquette community, and to everyone in Milwaukee whose lives were touched by this great man,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson in a statement. “His faith was deep, and his commitment to service went beyond the boundaries of the campus. He promoted community service, he worked to improve public safety, and his leadership with the Near West Side Partners elevated that organization in ways that would not have been possible without him. Equally impressive was Mike’s kindness and humility. He was a gentle person who cared deeply about Milwaukee. He served our community with distinction.”

Throughout his presidency, Lovell was deeply engaged with the university community. He attended hundreds of campus events each year and continued to teach undergraduate students in his product realization class, a role he cherished for the energy and inspiration he drew from his interactions with students, faculty, and staff. His involvement and dedication made him a beloved figure on campus and in the broader community.

President Lovell was also a pioneer in addressing mental health issues in the region, working tirelessly to bring attention and resources to this critical area. His efforts left a lasting impact on the community and solidified Lovell’s legacy as a leader who cared deeply about the well-being of others.

“His contributions to Marquette will be remembered forever, just as his loss echoes throughout our community,” Marquette University noted, emphasizing the profound influence Lovell had on the institution and the surrounding area. “The days ahead will be full of heartbreak. In this time of grief and sadness, let us come together as a community linked by faith and love.”

Marquette University issued a call for unity and mutual support during the difficult period. President Lovell’s passing is a significant loss for Marquette and Milwaukee. Before Marquette, President Lovell served as the chancellor for the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Emotional support and resources were available through the Campus Ministry, the Faber Center, the Counseling Center, and the Employee Assistance Program, which are accessible 24/7. Additionally, a campus prayer vigil is being planned, and funeral arrangements will be shared with the public once they are finalized.

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Marquette University