Enhanced Curriculum: Lawrence participating in $335,000 project to develop hybrid courses

Lawrence University and five other liberal arts institutions are embarking on a project to collaboratively develop and teach new hybrid courses. The project, “Hybrid Liberal Arts Network: High Touch Learning for the 21st Century,” is supported by a $335,000 grant from the New York City-based Teagle Foundation.

Teagle-Grant_picket_newsblogWorking together as the Midwest Hybrid Learning Consortium — Lawrence, Albion College, DePauw University, Grinnell College, Hope College and Wabash College — the six-member alliance will combine the best of classroom teaching with digital technology to try new approaches involving online learning.

“We are very pleased to be part of this group working on hybrid courses,” said David Burrows, Lawrence provost and dean of the faculty. “One of the great challenges of the digital revolution is making use of the power of technology to enhance the goals of liberal education. We want our students to develop skills of analysis, problem solving, creativity and understanding ambiguity. These are abilities that require human interaction. If well-constructed, hybrid courses can combine the use of technology with the enrichment of human dialogue, leading to effective liberal learning.”

The project will see teams of faculty from across a wide range of disciplines from each of the institutions cooperatively developing hybridized courses over the rest of 2015, beginning with a workshop this summer. The new courses will be traditional face-to-face classroom offerings, not online courses, although they may incorporate some online components

The first new courses are scheduled to be offered in the spring semester of 2016 with additional new courses introduced in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017.

David Berk, director of instructional technology at Lawrence said technology offers so many opportunities “to engage students in new ways.”

“This project will allow faculty to explore new instructional methods such as the flipped classroom to deliver content online and enrich the face-to-face experience with new forms of team-based learning,” said Berk, a member of the grant’s implementation leadership team.

“We already have faculty that are beginning to dabble in these areas. This grant will take those experiments to the next level by supporting a series of workshops for faculty to share course materials and activities and to develop a common set of best practices that are proven to work well within the residential liberal arts experience.”

Lawrence associate professors Adam Galamobos, economics, David Hall, chemistry, and Martyn Smith, religious studies, were involved in crafting the grant and likely will be involved in the development of the new courses.

Joining Berk on the grant’s implementation leadership team will be Barry Bandstra, director of academic computing and a professor of religion, Hope College; James Brown, professor of physics, Wabash College; David Lopatto, professor of psychology, Grinnell College; Donnie Sendelbach, director of instructional and learning services, DePauw University; and John Woell, associate provost and professor of religion, Albion College.

Founded in 1944, the Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education though innovation in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Hartmut Gerlach 1929-2015: Taught in the Lawrence German dept. for 28 years

Professor Emeritus of German Hartmut Gerlach, who spent 28 years on the Lawrence University faculty,  died at his Appleton home Wednesday, March 18. He was 85.

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Hartmut Gerlach spent 28 years teaching in the Lawrence German department.

Born in Dresden, Germany, Gerlach joined the Lawrence German department in 1966, teaching language,  literature — he was especially fond of Goethe’s “Faust” — history and culture until his retirement in 1994. He was well known for his innovative courses on the art of German cinema and his observations on the changing focus of German films after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

During his tenure, he served as director of Lawrence’s study-abroad programs in Germany, first in Boennigheim in 1968 and later in Eningen and Munich. He was appreciated by a generation of Lawrentians for whom he served as a solicitous guide for students exploring a new culture.

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Professor Emeritus of German Hartmut Gerlach served as director of Lawrence’s study abroad programs in Eningen and later in Munich.

Growing up in Germany under the Nazi regime, Gerlach was forced to join the Hitler Youth Organization as a 10-year old, something he detested. At the age of 14, he was put in charge of 25 10-year olds, but rather than indoctrinate them in Nazi ideology, Gerlach taught them German folk songs during meetings as a way to subvert the Nazi regime. As a youth living through World War II, Gerlach wrote numerous poems and short stories that reflected a deep love of nature, country and family.

He studied psychology, psychiatry, pedagogy and philosophy at the universities of Zurich, Tuebingen and Goettingen and spent a year teaching at Trenton State College in New Jersey before completing his master’s and doctorate degrees in German at Indiana University.

He is survived by his wife, Diane, and four children: Bettina; Peter (Cady); Pamela (Bobbie); and Loren (Susan); and two grandchildren, Katelyn and Nicholas.

The family will hold a private service and have requested any donations in Professor Gerlach’s memory can be made to Lawrence University or any charity of the donor’s choice.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Why do we sing?: Senior Jack Canfield seeks answers as 2015 Watson Fellow

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Jack Canfield ’15

Check the Canfield family home video library and you’ll find plenty of footage of a young Jack in the bathtub bellowing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” or playfully singing improvised songs that previewed his next day’s planned fun activities.

He never outgrew that urge to vocalize and now the Lawrence University senior soon will embark on a year-long adventure to learn why he, and others, are so compelled to sing.

Canfield, a double degree voice performance and religious studies major from Atlanta, Ga., was named one of 50 national recipients of a $30,000 Watson Fellowship for a wanderjahr of independent travel and exploration. Canfield’s project will take him to French Polynesia, the Republic of the Congo, Norway and Tuva beginning in August.

“I’m fascinated by the question of why speech isn’t enough,” said Canfield, a four-year member of the Lawrence concert choir. “I want to delve into communities where song is valued, not just for special occasions, but as a means of expressing oneself as a human being.

“I’m looking forward to spending a year strengthening the relationship with my own voice by experiencing communities where singing is an expressive and communicative language, not just a form of high art limited to concert halls. In these communities, singing is a way of life. It’s synonymous with life.”

Canfield’s journey of discovery will begin on the isolated South Pacific island of Rapa in French Polynesia. Sitting more than 300 miles away from any other human habitation, he’ll spend a week on a cargo ship that leaves from Tahiti just to get there. Twice a day on Rapa, nearly all of the island’s 500 full-time residents gather to sing as a choir in the local church.

“I hope to build a relationship with the church there, interacting with locals, learning the music and internalizing the island environment, which is a focus of the choral sound,” said Canfield, Lawrence’s 71st Watson Fellow since the program’s inception in 1969.

“This is going to be a powerful experience in a very personal way. For me, singing is not a choice. It’s a truth. I have always sung and on my Watson year, I plan to do that, plain and simple. Just sing.”
— Jack Canfield ’15

From Rapa, Canfield will spent December through February in the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of the Congo, where upwards of 3,000 semi-nomadic Bayaka incorporate communal singing as a form of communication within the dense rain forests.

Norway, where he’ll immerse himself in the musical culture of the indigenous Sami people of Scandinavia, will be Canfield’s third destination.

“I hope to learn how the joik (a traditional Sami form of song) is used in daily life,” said Canfield. “I also want to explore how it’s been used politically to help create a collective Sami identity in the face of oppression, environmental encroachment and social stigma.”

He’ll wrap up his journey in the south-central Russian republic of Tuva, studying the ancient art of Khöömei — throat singing. In Tuva, singing was born of practicality — the singing voice can be heard over the steppe better than the spoken word. Throat singing has evolved into conversations with nature, a form of meditation.

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Senior voice performance and religious studies major Jack Canfield has appeared in several Lawrence opera productions, including 2015’s “The Tender Land.” Photo by Nathan B. Lawrence ’15.

“The effect of Tuva’s landscape on its vocal tradition will make an interesting comparison to that of Polynesia, Africa and Norway,” said Canfield, “and the foreign throat singing aesthetic certainly is going to stretch my vocal pallet.”

Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music and Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson Foundation, said Canfield’s fellowship selection was four years in the making.

“An excited Jack Canfield came to me as a freshman wanting to discuss the Watson,” said Pertl. “In the ensuing years, Jack and I have had dozens of meetings to discuss dozens of ideas for a proposal. Ideas came and went, but his passion for the Watson never waned. One day Jack came bounding into my office with an idea focusing on world music voice traditions. Just like that, a mere four years after we began the journey, he found his perfect Watson.

“Jack’s boundless curiosity, ebullient nature and willingness to push his own boundaries will serve him well on his Watson adventure,” Pertl added.

Canfield’s project clarity was in part the result of a long conversation he had with his voice professor, John Gates, on a Bjorklunden bench on the shore of Lake Michigan. The discussion focused on Canfield’s deep love of singing and how it related to his passionate interest in the spiritual ideas he encountered through his work with religious studies professor Dirck Vorenkamp.

“Jack spoke of his fascination with the idea that singing might reveal utterances of the soul that otherwise are unspeakable,” said Gates. “Jack’s exploration of how to unify this soulfulness into the physicality of singing has brought him to seriously explore a level of artistic honesty and commitment that is rare.”

Canfield’s focus was further sharpened after reading Steven Mithen’s “The Singing Neanderthals.”

“I found myself completely captivated by the implications of Mithen’s claim that song had not only evolved separately from speech, but actually prior to it,” said Canfield, whose previous travels abroad have included the past three summers in Novafeltria, Italy, performing in operas at La Musica Lirica. He’s also performed in several Lawrence opera productions.

“The coming year will let me refocus on a form of personal expression I’ve had to put on the back burner during my conservatory training,”added Canfield. “This is going to be a powerful experience in a very personal way. For me, singing is not a choice. It’s a truth. I have always sung and on my Watson year, I plan to do that, plain and simple. Just sing.”

This year’s class of 50 Watson Fellows hails from 37 select colleges, 19 states and eight countries. They will traverse 78 countries exploring topics ranging from artificial reef communities, criminal justice and cross-cultural comedy to global cinema, childhood education and smart grids.

More than 2,700 students have been awarded Watson Fellowships, providing opportunities to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project on an international scale. Watson Fellows have gone on to become international leaders in their fields including CEOs of major corporations, college presidents, MacArthur grant recipients, Pulitzer Prize winners, diplomats, artists, doctors, journalists, and renowned researchers and innovators.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Arthur Thrall 1926-2015: Earned international acclaim for his painting, printmaking

Professor Emeritus of Art and former Charles S. Farrar-Laura Norcross Marrs Professor of Fine Arts Arthur Thrall died Wednesday, March 11 in Milwaukee after a battle with cancer. He was 88, a week shy of his 89th birthday.

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Professor Emeritus of Art Arthur Thrall received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Graphic Artists in 2013. Photo by Wade Thrall.

A dedicated teacher, distinguished painter, award-winning printmaker and die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, Thrall was one of 21 members of the Milwaukee-Downer College faculty who came to Lawrence in 1964 as part of the consolidation with the former all-women’s college. He began a 34-year teaching career in 1956 at Milwaukee-Downer and spent 26 years at Lawrence before retiring in 1990. He remained an active artist in retirement, creating paintings and prints in his studio in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.

As an educator, Thrall was respected by students and peers alike for his imagination, patience, encouraging nature and high standards. Dedicated to arts education, his artwork embodied the interdisciplinary nature of a Lawrence education. He often incorporated diverse visual ideas from music, languages, science and literature into his prints and paintings.

Whether in the art studio, the classroom or the faculty committee, Thrall was passionate about the role and importance of art to the Lawrence, as well as the greater, community. He generously contributed his expertise and experience to the creation of the Wriston Art Center.

In addition to Milwaukee-Downer and Lawrence, Thrall held teaching positions in the Kenosha School District and the State University New York-Geneseo. He also taught classes in Finland, London and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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“Oval 10,” a 1971 etching commissioned by the Wisconsin Arts Council, is one of several works Arthur Thrall donated to Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center’s permanent collection.

As an artist with an international reputation, Thrall drew inspiration from sources as diverse as calligraphy and computers, music and microchips. His artwork has appeared in more than 500 exhibitions as well as the White House and is included in the permanent collections of the British Museum, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress and the Chicago Art Institute, among others.

He was recognized by the art community with more than 75 awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Graphic Artists in New York in 2013, the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, the 1984 “Artist of the Year” designation by the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in Printmaking.

A native of Milwaukee, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UW-Milwaukee and did additional post-graduate study at the University of Illinois, UW-Madison and Ohio State University.

Thrall is survived by his wife Win, former art director at Lawrence, Shorewood, and four children: Grant (Shelly), Minneapolis; Wade (Terese), Chicago; Sara Cortese (Mark), Philadelphia; and Jay, Afton, Minn. He is further survived by seven grandchildren.

The family will greet friends Sunday, March 22 from 1–5 p.m. at Northshore Funeral Services, 3601 N. Oakland Ave.
, Milwaukee. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held May 9 from 1-5 p.m. at the Charles Allis Art Museum, 1801 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee. Memorial gifts may be directed to Lawrence University, for the Arthur A. Thrall Student Travel Fund, 711 E. Boldt Way, Appleton, WI 54911 or the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

President Burstein Featured in National Discussion on Financial Challenges Facing Higher Education

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein will be one of four invited panelists participating Sunday, March 15 in a discussion sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Lawrence President Mark Burstein

The program — “Just Another Business?” — will examine the new wave of financial challenges that colleges are facing today, the controversial counter moves that college leaders are implementing in response and how colleges can preserve their mission while improving their financial sustainability.

The by-invitation-only event for a select group of college leaders will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Council of Education in Washington, D.C.

Representing the perspective of liberal arts colleges, Burstein will be one of only two college presidents on the panel. He will be joined by Susan Herbst, president of the University of Connecticut.

Burstein spent nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University leading efforts to enhance campus life and modernize operations and infrastructure before assuming the presidency of Lawrence in 2013. He recently wrote a guest commentary that was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “The Unintended Consequences of Borrowing Business Tools to Run a University.”

In his commentary, Burstein warned that care must be exercised when borrowing strategies from the business sector to help institutions streamline to avoid jeopardizing the values of the academy.

Also on the panel will be Tressie McMillan Cottom, a Ph.D. candidate and expert on for-profit colleges, and John Curry, a director at Deloitte Consulting.

Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the best-selling book “American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know,” will serve as the panel’s moderator.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Welcomes Back Soprano Heidi Stober for Artist Series Concert

World class lyric soprano Heidi Stober returns to her alma mater for a Lawrence University Artist Series performance Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

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2000 Lawrence graduate Heidi Stober returns to campus for an Artist Series performance.

Tickets, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors and $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Her Lawrence performance will be a preview of a March 27 concert at Carnegie Hall and will feature works by Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy and Alec Wilder, among others.

Since graduating from Lawrence Conservatory of Music in 2000, Stober has earned critical acclaim for her operatic performances.

Her professional career was launched at the Houston Grand Opera as a last minute replacement — literally 20 minutes before curtain — as Norina, the female lead in “Don Pasquale.”  In its review of of the production, the Dallas Morning News raved.  “Ah, but then there was Heidi Stober, who – as Norina should – simply took control. Ms. Stober sang and acted up a storm. She tossed off graceful coloratura and set off dramatic sparks that seemed to energize everyone else.”

In a 2012 production of “The Magic Flute,” the San Jose Mercury News hailed Stober’s Pamina, saying, “Her voice is more than beautiful; she penetrates Mozart’s depths. Every time she arrives on stage, Mozart re-emerges in all his richness. In the end, we go to the opera to hear singing; this woman can sing.”

Stober’s first performance with Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2008 earned her a place among the company’s regular cast. She has since appeared in such diverse roles as Micaëla in “Carmen,” Susanna in “La nozze di Figaro,” Gretl in “Hänsel und Gretel” and Nanetta in “Falstaff.”

“Her voice is more than beautiful; she penetrates Mozart’s depths. Every time
she arrives on stage, Mozart re-emerges in all his richness. In the end,
we go to the opera to hear singing; this woman can sing.”

— San Jose Mercury News

Kenneth Bozeman, Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music and Stober’s former voice teacher at Lawrence, takes great pride in what he calls her “amazing transformation from a beginning student to a mature, highly successful artist, known as much for her truly beautiful sound and secure technical facility as for her versatile, compelling stage presence.

“We couldn’t be prouder to count her as an alum,” added Bozeman, who still works with Stober as her primary teacher as time permits. “It doesn’t hurt that she is also both a gorgeous young woman and a very grounded, humble human being.”

A native of Waukesha, Wis., now living in Berlin, Germany, Stober recently performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor Gustavo Dudamel in the world premiere of Hartke’s Fourth Symphony.

This November, Stober joins operatic luminary Renee Fleming and Grammy Award winner Thomas Hampson as Valencienne in a Lyric Opera of Chicago presentation of The Metropolitan Opera’s production of “The Merry Widow.”

Following her Friday evening performance, Stober will conduct a free and open to the public master class Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist James Zwerg to Receive Honorary Degrees at Lawrence Commencement

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic Voting Rights Act, Lawrence University will honor two civil rights pioneers who were instrumental in the passage of that legislation.

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Congressman John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis, an iconic figure in civil rights activism, and Appleton native James Zwerg, one of the courageous Freedom Riders of the early 1960s, will each receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees June 14 at the college’s 165th commencement. Lewis also will deliver the principal commencement address.

This will be Lewis’ third appearance at Lawrence. He first visited in April 1964 as Head Field Secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to speak at a campus-sponsored “Civil Rights Week” event. He returned in February, 2005 to deliver the university convocation “Get in the Way.”

“Becoming an engaged citizen is one of the central tenets of a liberal arts education and so we are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 at this year’s commencement, which provided a path to an essential right for many people in this country,” said President Mark Burstein. “We look forward to welcoming Congressman Lewis back to campus and having Mr. Zwerg represent local participation in the events that led up to the legislative passage of The Act.”

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Congressman John Lewis spoke on the importance of student activism in the protection of human rights and civil liberties in the 2005 Lawrence convocation “Get in the Way.”

Lewis has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1986. He has been at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for more than 50 years, beginning with sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tenn., he organized as a student at Fisk University.

A participant in the 1965 march from Selma, Ala., to the capital in Montgomery, Lewis will be among a delegation of more than 90 members of Congress who will visit Alabama the weekend of March 6-8 for ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march that became known as “Bloody Sunday” after state troopers attacked marchers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Chronicled in the 2014 film “Selma,” the march, and its violent conclusion, galvanized the country and hastened the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year, prohibiting the denial or abridgment of the right to vote nationwide.

“Selma” was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar at last month’s Academy Awards ceremonies while “Glory” from the film’s soundtrack won the Oscar for Best Song.

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Freedom Rider James Zwerg was attacked by a mob in Montgomery, Ala., in 1961. The only white male student among the group, Zwerg stands outside the bus station after being beaten, resulting in numerous cuts, bruises and the loss of several teeth. Photo courtesy of The Montgomery Advertiser.

Lewis, whose forehead still bears a scar from Bloody Sunday, has spent his entire adult life fighting injustice and protecting human rights. While still in his early 20s, Lewis had established himself as a nationally recognized leader in the Civil Rights movement, organizing sit-ins and participating in the segregation-challenging Freedom Rides across the South.

As a 23-year old, Lewis helped organize and spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington, in which Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis is the lone surviving member among the speakers at that event.

His engagement with the Civil Rights Movement included three years (1963-66) as the chair of the SNCC. He later served as the director of the Voter Education Project, helping to add nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Lewis head of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.

Lewis’ efforts and contributions toward building what he as calls “the beloved community” in America have been recognized with dozens of prestigious awards, among them the 2010 Medal of Freedom, the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the National Education Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award and the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for lifetime achievement.

A graduate of Fisk University and the American Baptist Theological Seminary, Lewis is the author of “Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change,” which received the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Literary Work-Biography and the graphic novel memoir trilogy “March.”

The first volume of “March” reached no. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list and was included on lists of the best books of 2013 by the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The Horn Book Review, Booklist and others.

The trilogy’s second installment, which examines Lewis’ days as a Freedom Rider, was released last month.

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James Zwerg

Zwerg, who was born and raised in Appleton, became engaged in the Civil Rights Movement as a 21-year-old exchange student at Fisk University from Beloit College.

While at Fisk, Zwerg participated in lunch counter sit-ins and movie theater stand-ins in Nashville, resulting in repeated verbal abuse and physical assaults. He joined the Freedom Riders in1961 and was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., and severely beaten in Montgomery, Ala. Photos of Zwerg taken after his beating appeared in Time and Life magazines as well as newspapers around the world.

His efforts were widely chronicled in articles, television documentaries and the book “Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Rev. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference honored Zwerg in 1961 with the prestigious Freedom Award. He also has been recognized with the Church Women United, USA, Human Rights Award and the Martin-Springer Institute’s Moral Courage Award.

Zwerg graduated from Beloit College in 1962 and later earned a degree in theology at Garret Theological Seminary. Ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ, he served churches in Wisconsin until 1970 when he moved to Tucson, Ariz., to become minister of the Casas Adobes United Church of Christ.  Retired, he lives in rural New Mexico.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Student-written plays featured in Fred Gaines Playwrights Series

Four performances of three original one-act plays will be presented March 5-7 in Lawrence University’s Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center in conjunction with the college’s second biennial Fred Gaines Student Playwrights Series.

GainesSeriesArtwork_weblogCurtain times are 8 p.m. each day, with an additional 3 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 7. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

This iteration of the series explores the impact of genre, covering the gamut from melodrama to farce. It features the work of senior Nathan Lawrence and Claire Conard and Luke MacMillan, both 2014 Lawrence graduates. Timothy X. Troy, professor of theatre arts and the J. Thomas and Julie Esch-Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama, directs each of the three plays.

Lawrence’s play, “Happy Birthday, Stephen Jones,” critiques sexism in the work environment through physical comedy. Conard’s “Ren Rising” follows a young woman as she struggles to decide if she should accept her boyfriend’s hand in marriage. MacMillan explores the dangerous consequences of an abusive household environment in “Somewhere North.”

“Most people don’t realize that plays can’t be written in a vacuum,” said Lawrence, an English and film studies major. “It’s difficult to predict how an audience will respond until you see your work performed. Having this experience as an undergraduate is a unique opportunity. It’s rare you get to learn and entertain at the same time.”

The series honors the work of former theatre professor and department chair Fred Gaines, who taught at Lawrence from 1977-2000 and passed away in 2010. Troy, a 1985 Lawrence graduate, was inspired to launch the series as a way of passing on the wisdom Gaines shared with him as a student.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence grad discusses film score at Wisconsin premiere of “Pilot Error”

Emmy Award-winning composer and 2010 Lawrence University graduate Garth Neustadter discusses his work on the feature film “Pilot Error” when it makes its Wisconsin premiere Monday, March 2 at Marcus’ Appleton East Cinema.

Pilot-Error-Photo_newsblogThe movie also will be shown Wednesday, March 4 at the Green Bay East Cinema and Thursday, March 5 at the Oshkosh Cinema. The film will be shown at all three theaters at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Neustadter, a Manitowoc native now living in Pasadena, Calif., wrote the film’s score. Prior to all six screenings, he will lead an audience talkback related to the music in the film, including how composers collaborate with directors and how composers can enhance a film.

Following each screening, talkbacks also will be held with the film’s producer/screenwriter Roger Rapoport and veteran airline training pilot and accident investigator Robert Hesselbein of Madison.

Set in Wisconsin and filmed in part in Milwaukee and Appleton, the film was inspired by true events, most notably the 2009 Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 200 passengers and crew onboard.

The film explores many of the same questions raised following two other more recent air disasters:  the loss of Malaysia Air 370 in March 2014 and the Air Asia crash in the Java Sea last December.

Tom Boldt, is CEO of The Boldt Company based in Appleton, served as the film’s executive producer and recommended Neustadter to Rapoport.

“He’s off the charts as far as we’re concerned,” Rapoport said of Neustadter. “He’s a special composer.”

“Pilot Error” is the 10th film Neustadter has scored. He began working on it last August, and unlike some film projects that have deadlines as tight as two weeks, he had the luxury of a little more than two months to write approximately 60 minutes of music for this film. His score was performed and recorded live by Los Angeles studio musicians.

“I was extremely pleased with how the score turned out,” said Neustadter, who won a 2011 Emmy Award at the age of 25 for his film score for “John Muir in the New World,” a PBS American Masters documentary. “Having live musicians for the recording process was really important to the producer and the director. They (live musicians) definitely breathed a certain life into the score that you need for a film like this that you can’t get with synthesized instruments.”

Neustadter said one of the things that made his job on “Pilot Error” easier was that from the start, everyone involved with the project, from the director to the editor, was on the same page regarding the score.

“That’s not always the case,” said Neustadter, whose credits include scores for 2013 documentary “The Thingmaker” and the 2012 James Franco-Mila Kunis-Jessica Chastain feature “Tar,” as well as films from China and India, Progressive Insurance ads and an American Express commercial that debuted during Sunday’s (2/22) Academy Awards telecast. “As a composer, my goal is to realize what the director wants the music to be and can that align with what I envision the music to be. That was definitely the case with this film. We knew we wanted a larger orchestra score that could bring out the drama in the film but in a way that never became melodramatic or overplayed things too much.”

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Garth Neustadter ’10

While a student at Lawrence, Neustadter earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the 2007 Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. A year later, TCM commissioned him to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.

The film’s other Wisconsin connection includes well-known Milwaukee Repertory Theater actress Deborah Staples.

Award-winning stage actress Kate Thomsen makes her screen debut as Nicola Wilson, an investigative reporter trying to find out why a jet headed from South America to Paris disappeared in the Atlantic, taking her close friend and 211 other passengers with it.

As she searches for answers as to how a plane can just disappear, Wilson puts her job, friends and career on the line. Even though she knows nothing about aviation, refuses to fly and doesn’t speak French, Wilson uncovers astonishing details about the missing flight. Was it preventable? Has it happened before? Could it happen again? Was it pilot error?

According to Rapoport, the goal of the movie is to “encourage more hands-on flying and simulator training for airline pilots at a time when the industry is increasingly focused on automation. At the screening we’ll be announcing some very good news about a major advance in weather forecasting technology that will benefit pilots everywhere.”

“Pilot Error” is based on five years of research and interviews with more than 200 pilots, airline executives, plane manufacturers, regulatory agencies and the team that found the missing Air France 447 in the Atlantic. The film provides an inside look at the fate of pilots unfortunately kept in the dark about failed automation.

“Top airline training pilots speaking at our preview events have been warmly received by audiences trying to understand how, in the most interconnected moment in human history, it’s never been easier to hide the truth,” said Rapoport, whose first film, “Waterwalk,” also was shot in Wisconsin.

Watch a trailer for the film.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence’s “Music for All” outreach program performs at Riverview Gardens Feb. 24

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Michael Mizrahi

Lawrence University’s “Music for All” community outreach project performs the first of three interactive chamber concerts at Appleton’s Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida St., Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The performance features Lawrence students and faculty, in collaboration with members of the New York City-based chamber ensemble Decoda. Light refreshments provided by Stone Cellar Brewing Co. will be served. The concert is free and open to the public.

Other Music for All concerts at Riverview Gardens are scheduled for April 20 and May 21 at 7 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

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Erin Lesser

Pianist Michael Mizrahi and flutist Erin Lesser, both assistant professors of music at Lawrence, are co-directing the Music for All project. Both are also members of Decoda, whose mission says Mizrahi, “is to create deep artistic connections in members’ home communities, especially in non-traditional locations where such music is rarely performed.”

The “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project is supported by a $16,700 Arts & Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.