MILWAUKEE — As a college student, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to take a class led by your college’s president. 

At Marquette University, that’s exactly what students are able to do.

“It’s just so great to be able to be back in the classroom and interacting with students,” said President Michael Lovell.

Lovell has been at the helm for seven years and has taught a class twice at Marquette. It’s called Product Realization. Open to engineering and communications majors, it allows students to work with real companies. They develop products for corporate sponsors.

“We teach students about the innovation process and they actually do it for a real product that a company brings to them,” Lovell said.   

Sage Lawson and Fhernam Batiz took the class this past semester.  

“My presumption would be that he would have a really tight schedule, but he really prioritized our group,” Sage said.

‘I felt nervous, but I really did learn that the President is just like any other type of person,” Fhernam added. “It really added to my overall university experience.”

Both students’ final products are undergoing the patent process.  Sage’s father was even a guest speaker for the class. The course was taught virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lovell didn’t even meet many of his students in-person.

“There were three teams of students I have only seen virtually,” he said. “I got to meet one of the students who is, like myself, a mechanical engineer and it was very emotional.”

Lovell also taught this same class when he was Chancellor at UWM.   

The class was taught Monday and Wednesday evenings. Lovell co-taught with Alex Francis and Tim Cigelski.