Dwyane Wade pens emotional tribute following death of Marquette University president

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade reacted on Instagram to the news that the president of Marquette University — Michael Lovell — passed away on Sunday from sarcoma, an uncommon form of cancer that materializes in the bones and soft tissues.

Dwyane Wade and Michael Lovell Dwyane Wade and Michael Lovell

The university released a statement regarding his death on Sunday evening.

“It is with deep sadness that we write to share the difficult news that Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell passed away today following a three-year battle with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer,” university officials said.

“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.

“President Lovell and Amy were in Rome with members of the Society of Jesus and the Board of Trustees on a Jesuit formation pilgrimage when President Lovell fell ill and was taken to a hospital in Rome.

“President Lovell’s decade of leadership at Marquette was marked by a deep commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and community renewal and development — consistent with the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission that animated him. An entrepreneur at heart, President Lovell pushed Marquette and Milwaukee to ask what could be rather than settling for the status quo. 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.

“A fixture of the Milwaukee community, President Lovell served on multiple local boards and national higher ed consortiums, where his peers valued his collaborative spirit, humility and ability to advance complex ideas. Together, President Lovell and Amy were trailblazers in directly addressing our region’s mental health issues. His contributions to Marquette will be remembered forever, just as his loss echoes throughout our community.

“Support and resources are available for the campus community through Campus Ministry, the Faber Center, the Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance Program, which is available 24/7. A campus prayer vigil is being planned and funeral arrangements will be shared in Marquette Today when they are available.

“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.”

Another former Marquette basketball player along with Wade in Travis Diener responded to the news on X (formerly Twitter).

Wade — who sat next to Michael Lovell at the EA Sports 2023 Maui Invitational — spent the entirety of his college basketball career playing at Marquette.

He was one of the best guards in the nation practically as soon as he began his collegiate career, as in 32 games played during the 2001-02 season, he averaged 17.8 points per game on 48.7 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent from 3-point range to go with 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest.

But in his final season with the Golden Eagles, Wade made the jump from one of the best players at his position to one of the top players in the nation. He led his team in points (21.5), blocks (1.3) and steals (2.2) per game while also ranking second in assists (4.4) per contest and third in rebounds (6.3) per game.

Wade also led the Golden Eagles much deeper into the NCAA Tournament after the team lost its first tournament game in 2002. The squad ended up reaching the Final Four, where it lost to the University of Kansas by a score of 94-61.

The 42-year-old was one of only a few players on the Golden Eagles who had a productive game from an offensive standpoint in the loss, as he totaled a team-high 19 points while converting seven of his 15 shots from the floor.

After his memorable stint at Marquette, Wade was drafted by the Heat with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and he went on to become one of the most accomplished players in the history of the franchise. During his time in Miami, he helped the Heat win three titles in the years 2006, 2012 and 2013.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.