Submitted by Douglas Powell ’56 and Ted Katzoff ’65
A group of alumni recently met in Appleton to discuss additional ways to engage older Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer graduates with their college and with each other. The result was the creation of a new group called the Lawrence 50-Year Connection.
We then conducted a small survey of alumni and invited their candid comments. While the majority of responses were positive, several said that family, health, distance and limited resources made a trip to Appleton difficult. Others saw no value added because they don’t need any more friends and live in intellectually stimulating communities.
We agree that the unique contribution of the Lawrence 50-Year Connection is not more on-campus intellectual stimulation—the faculty already does a good job of that during Reunion Weekend. Rather we believe the organization has three other potential benefits.
First, the Lawrence 50-Year Connection offers interested alumni the chance to expand the range of former Lawrence/Downer students in their social networks beyond those in their class. This larger cohort of classmates lived through the same period of history, was taught by many of the same professors, joined similar campus organizations and graduated into a world of similar challenges and opportunities.
Second, the Lawrence 50-Year Connection provides a unique forum for older alumni to compare notes about their post-college journeys. Many of us enjoy the opportunity to touch base with our earlier experiences—including our college years—in the company of others of our generation, and to reflect, reminisce, marvel or just listen.
Third, volunteers from the Lawrence 50-Year Connection are able and willing to play a useful role at Lawrence. Suggestions we received from the alumni survey included assembling an oral history archive; mentoring students or graduates; assisting at college fairs; and providing a senior resource panel of active alumni willing to donate their time and talent to campus activities and projects.
The Lawrence 50-Year Connection is open to all Lawrence and Downer alumni and their significant others. Though we anticipate that the group will appeal largely to those who have passed their 50th reunion, we also welcome younger alumni. If you would like more information or if you have program suggestions, please contact us.
The first meeting of the 50-Year Connection will be on June 13–14, 2012, before the official Reunion Weekend begins on campus. The cost to attend the Lawrence 50-Year Connection, which includes housing, meals and activities, is $95 per person. Registration through the Office of Alumni and Constituency Engagement is required. Please email email@example.com for more information. We hope you will join us in June!
Special thanks to the other members of the organizing committee: Joan Timmermann Anderson ’56, Dave Berganini ’59, Walt Bissell ’54, Gene Clark ’64, Davis Fisher ’64, Marcia Duin Mentkowski M-D’61, Norma Crawford Voss ’56 and Gwynn Williams Wardwell ’61.