Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Mike Lovell, president of Marquette University in Milwaukee, is pictured in an undated photo.(CNS photo/courtesy Marquette University)

(OSV News) -- Michael R. Lovell, 57, president of Marquette University, died June 9 in Italy while on a Jesuit formation pilgrimage with members of the Society of Jesus and the Jesuit university’s board of trustees.

Lovell had been battling sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, for three years. He became sick while on pilgrimage along with his wife Amy and was transported to a hospital in Rome.

Lovell was Marquette University’s 24th president and the first lay president in the Jesuit school’s 133-year history.

Lovell’s death was announced to the Marquette community in a statement signed by Todd Adams, chair of Marquette’s board of trustees.

“President Lovell’s decade of leadership at Marquette was marked by a deep commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, community renewal and development -- consistent with the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission that animated him,” Adams wrote in the letter, which was also signed by Provost Kimo Ah Yun and Joel Pogodzinski, members of the University Leadership Council. The provost has been elected by the board of trustees to serve as acting president of Marquette.

“Throughout his presidency, he attended hundreds of campus events each year and continued to teach undergraduate students in his product realization class, saying that he gained great energy from his interactions with students, faculty and staff,” the letter said.

Lovell was appointed Marquette president in 2014. He had previously served six years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the first three as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and then as UWM chancellor.

“It became clear to me I was called to Milwaukee six years ago to become Marquette’s president,” Lovell said during his 2014 introductory news conference. “It was never really my plan, but I’m just glad I decided to follow it.”

In an April 2024 interview with Marquette Wire, the university’s student online publication, Lovell said he and his wife planned a June visit to Portugal to check off one of his bucket list items: walking El Camino de Santiago, “The Way of St. James.”

“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do,” he said. “If I wasn’t sick, I’m not sure I would have done that right now at this point in my life. And it’s so important for me to do things like that when I’m healthy.”

He told the Wire that his relationship with God had grown during his battle with sarcoma.

“Relationships are often the most important thing in your life,” Lovell said. “When you face your own morality, you realize that your relationship with God is right, because you don’t know when your last day is going to be and when it comes you want to make sure that you’re prepared spiritually for what lies next.”

In a statement issued June 9, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki mourned Lovell’s death.

“He faced his challenges with strength and courage,” the archbishop said. “He was a man of faith and an example for all. A true loss to his family, the Marquette community, the City of Milwaukee, and the Catholic Church.”

Besides his wife, Amy, Lovell is survived by the couple’s four children. Plans for a campus prayer vigil are underway.

Funeral arrangements will be posted online at today.marquette.edu.

More: Obituary

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures, with blood on his face, is assisted by guards after shots were fired during a campaign rally at the Butler Farm Show in Butler, Pa.
My fellow Americans, I have some bad news: This is who we are.
Kevin ClarkeJuly 15, 2024
We need to pray—and ask some hard questions.
Greg KandraJuly 15, 2024
"Together with my brother bishops, we condemn political violence, and we offer our prayers for President Trump, and those who were killed or injured," said Archbishop Broglio, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Many political and faith leaders, even as they prayed for Trump, also asked for prayers for the country as a whole, and particularly America’s polarized political landscape.