Northern Michigan University has received a $1 million commitment from an alumnus and his spouse to establish NMU’s first endowed professorship in the School of Health and Human Performance. The Mark R. and Eileen Lovell Professorship will focus on education, research and patient care related to concussions. Dr. Mark Lovell (BS ’77 Psychology) is internationally recognized for developing the ImPACT Test, the first and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. He also serves as a neuropsychological consultant for several sports organizations.
Lovell developed the ImPACT Test in the early 1990s. He later became founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program, where his pioneering approach to concussion management attracted professional athletes worldwide. Lovell directed the first neuropsychological testing programs for the National Football League and National Hockey League. He continues to consult the NFL Players Association, NHL, U.S. Women’s Hockey team, U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Irish Rugby.
The gift, according to Lovell, represents the culmination of a 45-year relationship with NMU. He enrolled as a freshman in 1973.
“The goals of this professorship are two-fold,” he said. “First is the goal of highlighting the status of the university by attracting top-notch academic talent. The study of concussion is a rapidly evolving area and it is our belief that NMU can make an important contribution to this field, both nationally and internationally. In addition, it is our strong belief that all academic endeavors in the area of health care should lead to advancement in the day-to-day care of the individual patient. We therefore feel very strongly that this professorship will serve—through the training and development of new and innovative treatments—as a catalyst for advances in concussion management.”
NMU President Fritz Erickson said, “We are honored that Mark and Eileen recognize the top-caliber research, involving undergraduate as well as graduate students, that takes place on the NMU campus every day, and that they want us to continue to explore this field and other health care issues that can improve lives. What started 45 years ago as NMU faculty igniting Mark's passion for research will live on for other Northern students through this generous gift from the Lovell family."
NMU granted Lovell an honorary Doctor of Science degree when he delivered the keynote address at spring commencement in 2011. He also is a past recipient of the NMU Distinguished Alumni Award. Mark and Eileen previously established the Roberta and Robert Lovell Athletic Scholarship in memory of Mark’s parents.
“The professorship established by the Lovells will enable NMU to continue to add to the important work of developing the science about concussion injuries into the future,” said NMU Provost Kerri Schuiling. “We are learning so many important things about concussions: their causes, treatment and long-term impacts. The ongoing development of an evidence base for recognition and treatment of concussion injuries is critical and this gift allows NMU to be a part of this very important work."
In 2012, ImPACT Applications created a fund to support master’s-level student research within what is now the School of Health and Human Performance. Lovell was chair and CEO of ImPACT Applications at that time. He currently serves as chair of the board and chief scientific officer.