In late March, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor, Michael Lovell, announced his resignation as Chancellor of UWM. What caught the community off guard about his resignation is that he accepted the position of first lay President of Marquette University.
Students interviewed by Media Milwaukee in the wake of the chancellor’s announcement weren’t entirely buying his explanation.
Lovell officially accepted the position on March 26 at a conference on the Marquette campus, after serving as UWM Chancellor since 2011. While the community may have experienced confusion after the transfer was announced, he explained that it wasn’t the institution that drove him to Marquette, but it was his Catholic faith.
“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,” said Lovell in his resignation letter to UWM.
Some community members argue that faith was not the reason that Lovell decided to transfer to Marquette, but rather that a potentially higher salary may be the reason for the switch.
“We all know that Marquette University is more expensive than UWM, and it is pretty obvious that money could be a reason that he decided not to stay here, even though he claimed it was for religious reasons. If it was for money, or faith and money, I think that we deserve an honest explanation,” said UWM senior Laura Blodgett.
Marquette is a private Catholic institution, rather than public UWM. Most people are aware that tuition prices are higher at Marquette, with ticket price tuition for the 2013-14 year being over $35,000, while UWM is set for this year at less than $10,000. No official statement has been made about whether Marquette offered Lovell a higher salary.
Along with no salary being listed for Lovell’s contract with Marquette, no “perks” of the job have been released either; including health benefits, use of a company vehicle, housing, etc. UWM provides Lovell with numerous benefits, including a house near campus that remained vacant during his position, and also a $10,000 raise this last November, raising his salary to over $340,000. With all of this included, he said faith surpassed these benefits in the making of his decision.
Lovell has served a short reign here at UWM as our Chancellor, with only three years of holding the official title. This makes him the shortest ranking Chancellor in UWM’s history. According to Lovell’s Curriculum Vitae, the longest he has held the same job position between universities has been 7 years, and he is also known to jump around different areas around the country.
In the last 20 years, Lovell has held positions in institutions all over the country. He started out with positions at universities in Pennsylvania, then to Kentucky, back to Pennsylvania, and now at UWM only to switch to another University in the city.
Until his official term is over at UWM in August of 2014, the start of Lovell’s career at Marquette, UWM is looking for someone to accept the title of Chancellor at UWM. Some students believe that we would do better off with a more stable track record of holding more long term positions and would stay around long enough to evoke real change.
“I think that we, as a whole, would do better off with someone who is willing to stay here for the long haul. It’s just like any other institution, like politics. You can’t expect someone to make change if they only plan on staying long enough until a better offer comes along. I think that Marquette might be learning that the hard way,” said sophomore Emilie Newcomb.