International double reed conference bringing world-class musicians to Lawrence

Alex Klein. Gordon Hunt. Peter Kolkay. Leonard Hindell. Ted Soluri.

They are among the (classical music) rock stars of the oboe and the bassoon. And they’re coming to Lawrence.

Bassoonist Peter Kolkay
Award-winning bassoonist Peter Kolkay ’98 will be among the featured performers at one of the public concerts during the 2017 International Double Reed Society annual conference.

Some of the world’s finest oboists and bassoonists will be among the more than 500 participants on campus June 20-24 attending the 2017 International Double Reed Society annual conference.

Performers, many of whom are members of some of the world’s most prestigious symphony orchestras, music educators and students from 40 states and 15 countries, including Latvia, Kazakhstan and New Zealand, will be on campus for the conference that will feature exhibits, presentations, lectures, recitals and masterclasses devoted to the two instruments.

The largest conference of any kind Lawrence has ever hosted, this is the first time the IDRS has held their annual program at Lawrence.

Highlighting the conference will be four public evening concerts in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel — two orchestral performances and two chamber music performances — as well as a special “beer-themed” concert at Appleton’s Riverview Gardens.

The IDRS Festival Orchestra, conducted by Mark Dupere, Lawrence’s director of orchestral studies, perform June 20 and June 24 while various conference musicians perform as a chamber orchestra June 21 and 23. All four concerts start at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. A combination concert/beer-tasting will be held at Riverview Gardens, 1101 S. Oneida St., Appleton, beginning at 7 p.m.

No tickets are being sold for the Lawrence Memorial Chapel concerts, but a $10 donation is requested. Tickets for the Riverview Gardens performance/beer tasting are $25, available at the door. The ticket provides admittance and 4-ounce pours of genuine Wisconsin microbrews.

Howard Niblock
Howard Niblock

Oboist Howard Niblock, professor of music at Lawrence and the conference’s co-organizer, said the international character of the conference should be of keen interest to area music lovers.

“If someone comes to any of those evening concerts, they are going to hear performers from all over the world—England, Italy, Germany, France, Latin America,” said Niblock, who will retire after the 2017-18 academic year following a 37-year teaching career in the Lawrence conservatory. “This conference is bringing the world, and world class performers, to Appleton. These are musicians who would otherwise never be here.

“This is really a rare opportunity,” Niblock added. “These are some of the most extraordinary performers on these instruments that the world has.”

While the conference’s focus in on the oboe and bassoon, Carl Rath, who teaches bassoon in the Lawrence conservatory and has co-organized the conference, says the scope will extend beyond those two instruments.

Carl Rath
Carl Rath ’75

“There will be involvement with all instruments, including the didgeridoo and the tabla, and all styles of music from Baroque to contemporary styles, acoustic and electronic,” said Rath, a 1975 Lawrence graduate who organized an IDRS conference while teaching at the University of Oklahoma and has performed at 18 previous conferences.

Klein, a native of Brazil who Niblock describes as “perhaps the world’s most famous oboist at this point in time,” is the former principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During his career, Klein has won international oboe competitions in Geneva, New York, Tokyo and Prague. He will one of the performers in the Thursday (6/22) chamber orchestra concert.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Kolkay, a 1998 Lawrence graduate and current associate professor of bassoon at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. In 2002, he became the first solo bassoonist awarded First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in the 51-year history of the competition. Two years later he became the first artist on his instrument to receive the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

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“This is really a rare opportunity. These are some of the most extraordinary performers on these instruments that the world has.”
— Howard Niblock
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Kolkay, who performed on Lawrence’s 2006-07 Artist Series, is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He will be one of the featured soloists in the conference’s final “gala” orchestra concert” Saturday (6/24).

Alex Klein
World-renowned oboist Alex Klein performs Friday, June 23 in a public chamber orchestra concert in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Photo: Todd Rosenberg Photography.

Other high-profile performers include Gordon Hunt, widely considered the top oboist in England who plays with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London; Ted Soluri, the principal bassoonist of the Dallas Symphony and former principal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Leonard Hindell, second bassoonist with the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, who has performed under renowned conductors Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta, among others.

The three-set concert at Riverview Gardens will combine music with beer-tasting. Colorado’s Bill Douglas, a jazz-influenced composer, pianist and bassoonist opens the concert. A woodwind quintet follows with a set of pieces, with each movement named after a Wisconsin microbrewery. A rhythm section joins noted jazz bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz to close the show.

“This is going to be a very eclectic kind of program,” said Niblock, “but appropriate for a social situation like a beer tasting.”

While it was a bit of a coup for Niblock and Rath to get the IDRS conference to come to Lawrence — it was held in Tokyo in 2015, New York City in 2014 and will be in Spain next year — it’s a bittersweet victory for Niblock, who had to put his oboe on the shelf for five months while battling some health issues.

“It’s kind of disappointing that I’m hosting this conference but I won’t be playing,” said Niblock, who took up the oboe at the age of 11 and has performed at nearly a dozen previous IDRS conferences. “I’m hoping that maybe next year I’ll play. That might be my last ever performance because when I retire, I’m going to call it a career.”

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 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 honors eight alumni for achievement, service at 2017 Reunion

Incident and mortality rates for several forms of cancer among Alaska Native people have seen dramatic declines in the past several decades thanks in large part to the work and research of Dr. Anne Lanier.

The 1962 Lawrence University graduate will be among Lawrence graduates who will be honored Saturday, June 17 as part of the university’s annual alumni reunion celebration. Each will be recognized at the Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

The campus will welcome nearly 900 alumni and guests— including 2009 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Thomas Steitz, Class of 1962 —  from 43 states and Canada, representing classes as early as 1947 for four days of activities.

Members of the Lawrence 50-Year Connection, a cohort of alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago, get reunion activities started Thursday, June 15 with small group discussions and a presentation examining efforts to create a more inclusive campus and community. A complete schedule of all Reunion activities can be found here.

Dr. Anne Lanier
Dr. Anne Lanier ’62

Lanier will be presented posthumously the George B. Walter Service to Society Award, which recognize Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College alumni who exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service. The award honors Walter, a 1936 Lawrence graduate, faculty member and dean of men, whose work at the college and beyond promoted his conviction that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world.

Lanier, a 1962 Lawrence graduate, passed away May 26.

A family practice physician, medical epidemiologist and researcher, Lanier spent most of her professional life in Alaska, working to improve health disparities particularly among the Alaska Native population.

A pioneer throughout her 45-year public health career, Lanier was the first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arctic Investigations Program. She established he Alaska Native Tumor Registry, collecting data on Alaska Native people diagnosed with cancer. Her registry became one of 18 registries used by the National Cancer Institute to determine cancer rates and patterns throughout the U.S. Lanier’s data-driven research led to significant reductions in incidence and mortality rates in colorectal, pediatric liver and cervical cancer among Alaska Native people.

The other 2017 awards and recipients are:

Richard Price
Richard Price ’62

• Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award — Richard Price, Class of 1962, Ann Arbor, Mich. The award recognizes Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer graduates of more than 15 years for outstanding career achievement. The award honors the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College.

Price is the Stanley E. Seashore Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Organizational Studies Emeritus and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, where his scholarship focuses on improving worker health and productivity.

He cofounded the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies, is the founding  director of the Organizational Studies Program and the Barger Leadership Institute at the University of Michigan.

A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Price has been recognized with numerous professional organization awards, including the American Psychological Foundation’s Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010 for the application of psychological knowledge and the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Society for Research and Action.

He holds an honorary appointment as professor of psychology at the Institute of Psychology in the Chinese National Academy of Sciences.

“Lawrence,” says, Price, “Lawrence has given me two precious gifts. The first is a passion for ideas. The second is my inspiration, Mary Beecher Price (also a 1962 graduate).”

Alexandra Kunath
Alexander Kunath ’12

• Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award — Alexandra Kunath, Class of 2012, Chicago, Ill. The award recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to, and achievements in, a career field. The award honors Lawrence’s 10th and youngest president and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

Kunath, a double degree graduate with a B.M. in vocal performance and a B.A in theatre arts, began making her mark in her hometown soon after graduation. She has worn several hats in the arts field, ranging from arts administration to stage direction to professional choral singing. She began her theatre career at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, serving as assistant production manager of their season and directing the company’s production of Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

She recently worked as an assistant stage director in the education and outreach department of Chicago’s famed Lyric Opera, where credits include the world premiere of “Jason and the Argonauts,” a new production that toured schools throughout Illinois.

“As a freshman at Lawrence, I had a great sense of urgency to earn my degree so I could get out into the world and ‘do,’” said Kunath. “Now, as an alumna, I see that my college years were the start of a life-long journey rather than merely an end to an academic one. Lawrence provided a place to take artistic risks and still feel supported, no matter what the outcome. I’m grateful every day that I started my artistic journey at Lawrence.”

Kunath is currently the artistic assistant at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill., which the Wall Street Journal named its 2016 Theatre Company of the Year. A former member of Lawrence’s Cantala women’s choir and Concert Choir, she sings with the choir at St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago.

Stephanie Kliethermes
Stephanie Kliethermes ’07

• The Marshall B. Hulbert ’26 Young alumni outstanding service award. Stephanie Kliethermes, Class of 2007, Madison. This award recognizes a Lawrence graduate celebrating his or her 15th cluster reunion or younger who has provided significant service to the college. It honors Marshall Brandt Hulbert, known as “Mr. Lawrence,” who made contributions to thousands of Lawrentian lives and served the college in various capacities for 54 years.

 Kliethermes has been a loyal volunteer and advocate on behalf of Lawrence in numerous roles, among them alumni ambassador which includes conducting alumni admissions interviews and representing the university at local college fairs.

She has maintained close times with Lawrence, even while establishing her medical career, returning to campus for alumni volleyball and basketball weekends and interacting with current student-athletes.

Kliethermes is the research director for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and an assistant professor in the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she works with works with clinician investigators on methodological and statistical aspects of ongoing and future research studies. As AMSSM’s research director, she works with primary care sports medicine physicians across the country for the Collaborative Research Network to improve the practice of sports medicine through research.

“Lawrence connects me to some of my most treasured friendships and relationships, fondest memories and experiences, and valued academic, societal and life lessons,” said Kliethermes. “It holds a special and vital place in my heart.”

Bonnie and Bob Buchanan
Bonnie ’62 and Bob Buchanan ’62

• Presidential Award, Bob and Bonnie Buchanan, Class of 1962 (both), Appleton. Presented to a Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College alumnus or alumna whose exemplary leadership and notable actions have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence University community.

The Buchanans have been actively engaged with their alma mater and the local community for more than 50 years. Bob, who retired as chairman of Fox River Paper Company and Fox Valley Corporation in 2005 after nearly four decades with the company, has been a member of Lawrence’s Board of Trustees since 1978, including serving as board chair from 1984-86. He also has been a director of the Green Bay Packers since 1987 and is active in civic affairs throughout the community.

Bonnie is a former director of the Lawrence Alumni Association (1968-71) and has served on the boards of directors for the Appleton YMCA and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. She also has been involved with the League of Women Voters and reading programs for area youth at the Appleton Public Library.

Together they established the Bonnie Glidden Buchanan Professorship of English Literature in 2003 and have supported the campus Tree Fund with their landscaping expertise and financial generosity.

Bonnie is a former director of the Lawrence University Alumni Association who has also served on the boards of directors for the Appleton YMCA and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Charlot Singleton
Charlot Singleton ’67

• Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award — Charlot Nelson Singleton, Class of 1967, Atherton, Calif. Presented to an alumnus or alumna of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer after his/her 15th Cluster Reunion who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence. It honors Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp, voted Milwaukee-Downer alumna of the year in 1964 for her long-standing service to the college as president of the alumnae association board, class secretary and public relations officer.

Education has been at the center of much of Singleton’s life. She has been a member of Lawrence’s Board of Trustees for the past eight years and is the current chair of the development committee. She also has served on the Lawrence Alumni Association Board of Directors, has been a class secretary for more than 35 years, has worked with various Reunion committees and served the university in numerous other volunteer capacities.

Since graduating from Lawrence, she has taught high school biology in Massachusetts and science courses in the Palo Alto (Calif.) school district, where she created a Family Life Program for middle school students.

A long-time mentor for area Boys and Girls Clubs in California, Singleton has served as president of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, helping to raise more than $3.5 million for professional development for teachers. She served 10 years as a member of the school board at Menlo School, an independent college preparatory school, where as development chair, she oversaw the completion of a $20 million capital campaign.

“My four years at Lawrence acted as a catalyst for my lifetime work in service to the community,” said Singleton. “I was encouraged to think forward about being a citizen of the world. These lessons of stretching for improvements, hard work and perserverance, all have been fundamental to my work in my local community. Each venue is an opportunity for me to look back on my Lawrence years and continue to implement the habits of nurturing and encouraging young people.”

Carolyn Stephens• Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award — Carolyn King Stephens, Milwaukee-Downer Class of 1962, Milwaukee.

 Stephens has been influential in preserving Milwaukee-Downer history at Lawrence since the consolidation of the two institutions in 1964. She has served on both the Lawrence Board of Trustees and the Lawrence Alumni Association Board of Directors.

She is the author of the book, “Downer Women, 1851–2001,” a copy of which has been given to incoming Lawrence freshman females. Stephens played a leadership role on the committee that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Lawrence-Milwaukee-Downer consolidation in 2014. She is served as a former class secretary and regional club programming director.

A former high school teacher, Stephens ended her career at the director of liberal arts in Concordia University’s School of Adult and Continuing Education.

“The four years I spent at Milwaukee- Downer, changing majors and trying out every activity, allowed me to develop my most genuine self,” said Stephens. Adult life took me far afield, but eventually, it centered on English, dramatic arts and teaching, the core subjects of my Downer days. When that happened, I felt fulfilled, my inside and outside finally integrated.”

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 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 surprises provost, faculty dean with honorary degree

To his surprise, and delight, Lawrence University Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday at the university’s 168th commencement.

DAve Burrows receives honorary degree from President Mark Burstein
Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows (l.) receives congratulations from President Mark Burstein after being awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Lawrence’s 168th commencement.

Burrows announced last year that he would leave his current post to return to teaching this fall. He has served as Lawrence’s provost and dean of the faculty since July 1, 2005.

In awarding Burrows with his surprise honorary degree, which had been a well-kept secret, Lawrence President Mark Burstein praised him for leaving an “indelible mark on the intellectual character of Lawrence.”

“Your energetic championing of the liberal arts ideal that illuminates the educational mission of this college, and your devotion to lifelong learning have transformed this university and our graduates,” said Burstein. “There is no corner of this campus that has not been shaped by you, a shape that goes beyond buildings and maps and offices to the life’s blood of any institution of higher education: its intellectual character.”

Burrows officially leaves his position as Lawrence’s chief academic officer June 30. He will return to the classroom this fall as a professor of psychology.

As part of new duties, Burrows will lead an initiative to foster collaboration with faculty to develop ideas and programs for liberal learning pedagogy. Significant advances have been achieved in understanding how individuals learn and Burrows’ efforts will help Lawrence take advantage of these developments.

During his tenure, Burrows oversaw the hiring of 75 new faculty members and was instrumental in developing Lawrence’s Senior Experience program. He also played a leadership role in designing and launching the Lawrence Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences program for emerging scholars who recently finished their graduate degrees.

Head shot of Lawrence Provost David Burrows
David Burrows

A native of New York City, Burrows joined the Lawrence administration after spending eight years as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs at Beloit College, where he also taught in the psychology department.

Prior to focusing his career on college administrator, Burrows spent 25 years in the classroom as a cognitive psychologist: eight years on the faculty at the State University of New York at Brockport and 17 years at Skidmore College, where he also served as associate dean of the faculty for three years.

Beyond the campus borders, Burrows is a member of the board of directors of the Appleton Education Foundation and is a former chair (2012-14) of the board of directors of the Fox Valley Literacy Council, for which he still serves as a board member.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Toronto.

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 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.

 

Professors Padilla, Frederick, Guenther-Pal recognized for excellence in teaching, scholarship at commencement

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty were recognized for teaching and scholarship excellence Sunday, June 11 at the college’s 168th commencement.

Anthony Padilla, associate professor of music who teaches piano, received the Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Anthony Padilla
Anthony Padilla

The top prize winner of the 2000 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, one of numerous awards he has won in his performance career, Padilla joined the Lawrence conservatory faculty in 1997.

A native of Richland, Wash., he made his debut at the age of 17 with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and has since become a popular performer with orchestras and music festivals throughout the world.

A review following his New York City debut at Merkin Concert Hall hailed Padilla as “a strong-willed, steel-fingered tornado; he plays the piano with absolute authority and gives new meaning to the idea of ‘interpretation’ to the extent that the U.S. Patent Office might well grant him a number. Nobody could copy him.”

In presenting the award, David Burrows, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, credited Padilla for his many hours in one-one instruction and “a nurturing approach both in and out of the studio.”

“Your success comes from focusing on both solid technique, founded on rich traditions of technical musical skill, and on encouragement for each student to develop an individual style and artistic voice,” said Burrows. “You work individually to develop in each of them a unique style and personality that enables them to create a strong musical message.”

A founding member of the Arcos Piano Trio, which has been a recipient of an Artistic Excellence grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Padilla created the “Notable Firsts” program, which features the first published works of such composers as Brahms and Schumann, to promote music that is not often performed.

He earned a bachelor of music degree from North Illinois University and a master of music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Jake Frederick, associate professor of history, received the award for Excellence in Scholarship. Established in 2006, the award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained scholarly excellence for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.

Jake Frederick
Jake Frederick

A member of the faculty for the past 11 years, Frederick is a scholar of colonial Latin America, with a specialty in Mexico. His research interests focus on ethnicity issues, including native uprisings in 18th-century Mexico and municipal infrastructure in colonial Mexican cities. He has conducted extensive research in Mexico and spent a year at the country’s National Archive as the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship.

Frederick is the author of two recently published books: “Riot! Tobacco, Reform and Violence in Eighteenth-Century Papantla, Mexico” last fall and just this spring, “Spanish Dollars and Sister Republics: The Money That Made Mexico and the United States,” which he co-wrote with Tatiana Seijas, and examines the shared history of Mexico and the United States as told through the vehicle of money.

Burrows cited Fredericks’ books as “a wonderful example of how knowing history can help us understand the present and overcome significant biases in our beliefs” in recognizing him with his honor. “You are truly a skilled, prolific and engaged scholar whose work helps make Lawrence an outstanding institution.”

Fredrick, the son of award-winning novelist K.C. Frederick, spent five years as a fire fighter with the National Park Service before embarking on an academic career. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and his Ph.D. in history at Penn State University.

Alison Guenther-Pal, assistant professor of German and film studies who also teaches courses for the gender studies major, received the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

Alison Guenther-Pal
Alison Guenther-Pal

She initially joined the faculty in 2007 as part of Lawrence’s postdoctoral fellowship program and was appointed assistant professor in 2012. Her research interests include German cinema, 20th-century German culture and feminist film theory. She was the 2015-16 recipient of the university’s Mortar Board Award for Faculty Excellence.

Calling it one of her “distinctive strengths,” Burrows cited Guenther-Pal’s ability “to create the quality of self-direction in your students. You not only teach them, you give them the power to teach themselves. This is the highest achievement we could ask for in a faculty member, and is greatly admired by colleagues and students.”

“Your drive to make students think critically is combined with great support and compassion. You insist on setting high expectations, but you are also supportive and kind,” said Burrows.

Guenther-Pal has served on the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resource Board and serves as faculty advisor to the Lawrence Film Club, Downer Feminist Council and GLOW (Gay Lesbian or Whatever).

She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s and doctorate degree in Germanic studies at the University of Minnesota.

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 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.

Retiring vocal coach Bonnie Koestner gets an honorary curtain call at commencement

Bonnie Koestner had never seen an opera performance in person until she was a freshman at Lawrence University. And a school-sponsored bus trip with classmates to see Igor Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” at Chicago’s Lyric Opera left her less than inspired.

Bonnie Koestner in her classroom
Bonnie Koestner is retiring after 16 years as vocal coach in the Lawrence conservatory of music.

But getting a chance to work on an opera production provided the spark that ignited a passion for the art form that has burned intensely for nearly 50 years.

“I played for the choir and musicals in high school,” said Koestner. “When I got to Lawrence, I thought, ‘well, I played “Bye Bye Birdie,” how much harder could opera be?’ So, all four years I was a student, I played for all the operas we staged.”

Koestner, a 1972 Lawrence graduate who returned to her alma mater in 2001 as a faculty member, is retiring as an associate professor of music. She will be recognized Sunday, June 11 with an honorary master of arts degree, ad eundem, as part of the university’s 168th commencement.

A music education major at Lawrence, Koestner taught middle school in Schofield after graduating, an experience she recalled as both valuable and a likely source of her white hair. After four years, she traded “teacher” for “student” to attend graduate school. She earned a master’s degree in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she spent most her free time playing piano for opera productions.

“I finally decided, well maybe this means something,” said Koestner. “So I naively wrote to every opera company on the planet and said ‘hey, hire me.’”

Much to her delight, one did — Hidden Valley Opera in Carmel Valley, Calif. — as the company’s chorus master pianist. That job began a 23-year career as an “opera vagabond” as Koestner crisscrossed the country, working with 26 different opera companies on more than 120 opera productions, including Puccini’s “La Bohème” nine times.

San Francisco was her base for much of that time. She spent 15 years as the head opera coach for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and eventually joined the music staff of the San Francisco Opera. During her “freelancing” days, Koestner brought her talents to opera companies of all stripes to work on specific productions. She spent 15 summers as chorus master with Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., while some of her many other “gigs” included appointments ranging from rehearsal pianist to artistic administrator with opera companies in Atlanta, Baltimore, Central City, Colo., Miami, Reno, Nev., Sacramento and Salt Lake City, among others. Her work with professional opera companies continued even after she joined the Lawrence faculty.

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“Bonnie’s passion for teaching shines through in everything she does. Her dedicated efforts have taken students to levels of artistry that even they could not have imagined.”
— Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music
__________________________________

“It was fun, actually, to do that,” said Koestner, who grew up in Chicago. “It simplified my life to have with me only what would fit in my little car.”

While working in Miami, Koestner learned of a vocal coaching position at Lawrence. Since her brother, also a musician, and her recently retired parents, had all relocated to Appleton, it seemed subliminal messages were being sent her direction.

“I’d been freelancing for a while and thought ‘hmmm, this seems like it’s meant to be.’ It’s my alma mater, my whole family has resettled there and the position is everything that I do,” said Koestner. “I was fortunate to get it and it has worked out very well.”

At Lawrence, Koestner has been involved with 17 main stage productions — she cites the challenging comic opera “Albert Herring” by Benjamin Britten staged in 2013 as the Lawrence production she is proudest of — as well as the annual “opera scenes” concert each spring.

“Bonnie’s passion for teaching shines through in everything she does,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “She has the highest expectations for her students and an ability to see their full potential. Her dedicated efforts have taken students to levels of artistry that even they could not have imagined.”

For Koestner, it’s the “collaborative and multifaceted nature” of opera that has fueled her fondness for it all these years.

“It’s fun to be a part of something that has so many different people in various capacities. It’s really a team sport. Opera is the ultimate liberal arts performance vehicle because it involves music, theatre, art in the scenery and often dance. There’s also the historical and cultural background, the literature of the libretto. Just about every one of the arts is combined in opera.”

Bonnie Koestner outside with her students
“My students” is what Koestner says she will miss the most in retirement.

Koestner said her own experiences working closely with the opera productions as a Lawrence student served as inspiration for her professional career. She hopes she has instilled a bit of her own passion for opera in her students these past 16 years.

“I really love teaching and an important part of my mission as a professor is to teach our student pianists how to serve as rehearsal and performance musicians for the main stage operas and scenes. I hope I’ve given them a love of the art form, a love for what they are doing as singers, musicians. I want them to pursue their work as singers with a sense of discovery, of curiosity and a desire to strive for high professional standards along with genuine enjoyment of what they are doing.”

“I will miss the students more than anything,” she added. “They are bright, imaginative, good people.”

While her long-term plans in retirement are still evolving, near term she is eagerly looking forward to returning to Arezzo, Italy for her fourth summer of working with the month-long Oberlin in Italy program for young singers. Five Lawrence students will join her in the program this summer.

“That’s hugely fun,” said Koestner. “After that I’ll travel for two weeks in Italy on my own.”

When she returns to the states, she plans to remain close to family in Appleton and perhaps return occasionally to her vagabond days, watching for an opera gig here or there to assist with.

“I really hope to travel as much as possible, too.”

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 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.

Class of 2017: International refugee expert receiving honorary degree at Lawrence’s 168th commencement

Amid growing global concerns of displaced persons and their impact on the countries they’re entering and those they’re leaving, Lawrence University will honor an international expert on refugee policy Sunday, June 11 at its 168th commencement.

Photo of Gil Loescher
2017 honorary degree recipient Gil Loescher

Gil Loescher, a visiting professor at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during commencement ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green. Loescher also will deliver the principal commencement address.

This will be Loesher’s second honorary degree. He received an honorary doctorate of law in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame.

Lawrence is expected to award 344 bachelor degrees to 335 students from 28 states, the District of Columbia and 17 countries. A live webcast of the commencement ceremony will be available at go.lawrence.edu/commencement2017.

Peter Thomas, associate professor of Russian Studies at Lawrence, will deliver the main address at a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Retiring faculty member Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, will be recognized with an honorary master of arts degree, ad eundem, as part of the ceremonies.

In addition to Loescher, Lawrence President Mark Burstein, Board of Trustees Chair Susan Stillman Kane and senior Andres Capous of San Jose, Costa Rica, also will address the graduates.

During a 40-plus-year career, Loescher has established himself as an authority on refugee policy. Prior to joining Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre in 2008, Loescher held appointments as Senior Fellow for Forced Migration and International Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and as senior researcher at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.

According to Loescher, containing refugees in camps prevents them from contributing to regional development and state-building.

“Refugees frequently have skills that are critical to future peace-building and development efforts, either where they are or in their countries of origin following their return home,” he has said.

A miraculous survivor of a suicide bomber attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Loescher has a long history of working with the United Nations, especially the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In August, 2003, Loescher was in the office of then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sérgio Vieira de Mello at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad when a suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb outside the building. The blast killed more than 20 people and injured more than 100.

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“Refugees frequently have skills that are critical to future peace-building and development efforts, either where they are or in their countries of origin following their return home.”
— Gil Loescher
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Loescher was one of nine people in the office, seven of whom were killed instantly. He and Vieria de Mello were trapped in the debris of the collapsed building as American soldiers spent more than three hours trying to rescue them. Vieria de Mello died before he could be extricated. While Loescher survived, his legs were crushed and had to be amputated by the soldiers.

A native of San Francisco, Loescher began his career at the University of Notre Dame, where he spent 26 years teaching in the political science department. During his tenure, he held appointments in the Notre Dame’s Helen Kellogg Institute of International Studies, the Joan Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.Photo of procession of graduating Lawrence seniors

He also has served as a visiting fellow at Princeton University, the London School of Economics and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. State Department.

He has been the recipient of numerous honors and research grants from organizations ranging from the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to the Fulbright Program and the British Academy.

A graduate of St. Mary’s College of California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, Loescher also holds a master’s degree in politics and Asian studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics.

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 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.

 

 

Physics department’s LeRoy Frahm recognized with state honor

A long-time Lawrence University employee and Air Force veteran was recently recognized for his “significant outreach contributions” to Wisconsin employers and service members in the Wisconsin Guard and Reserve.

LeRoy Frahm was presented the prestigious Chairman’s Award for 2016 at the annual Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) banquet held recently at the Heidel House Resort in Green Lake.photo of LeRoy Frahm in his office

In presenting the award, Mike Williams, who chairs the ESGR’s Wisconsin Committee, cited Frahm for going “above and beyond with his outreach to employers.” Frahm regularly speaks to local chambers of commerce, writes articles for business publications and provides training to the Society of Human Resource Managers chapters in Wisconsin on the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Frahm, who has served as an electronics technician in the Lawrence physics department since 1975, spent more than 35 years in the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserve, retiring in 2005 after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.

He serves on USERRA’s executive committee as the ombudsman director and is responsible for training and managing a team of volunteer ombudsmen. He also answers all USERRA inquiries from service members, employers and attorneys. He was recognized with the 2009 National Ombudsman of the Year Award.

The ESGR was established in 1972 as a Department of Defense organization after the country eliminated the draft and moved to an all-volunteer force. Its mission is to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers.

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 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 department of athletics receives NCAA grant, diversity award

The Lawrence University Department of Athletics has won a major grant and captured a diversity award from the NCAA.

Lawrence won an NCAA CHOICES grant to implement its “Lawrence Vikings: Champions of Change” program. The grant will provide Lawrence $30,000 over a three-year period.A graphic of the NCAA logo

Lawrence also is the recipient of the April NCAA Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative.

In an effort to educate students about the risks involved with the misuse of alcohol, the NCAA has developed NCAA CHOICES, a grant program for alcohol education. Support for the program comes from the NCAA Foundation and Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.

The NCAA CHOICES program provides funding for NCAA member institutions and conferences to integrate athletics departments into campus-wide efforts to reduce alcohol abuse. NCAA CHOICES projects must partner athletics with other campus departments in the development and implementation of effective alcohol education projects.

Head shot of Christyn Abaray
Christyn Abaray

“It is truly exciting that Lawrence has been awarded the coveted NCAA CHOICES Alcohol Education Grant, supporting education of our student body about the risks involved with the misuse of alcohol,” said Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray. “On our campus alcohol misuse is an area where we can improve. Student-athletes and the department of athletics overall are two of the most visible components on campus, so we in athletics look forward to taking the lead in our prevention efforts.”

The purpose of the program covers three main areas: to engage students in learning about the current culture of alcohol use on the Lawrence campus; to develop and implement alcohol-free programming; and to encourage responsible alcohol use. The target audience includes Lawrence student-athletes, while the secondary audience focuses on all students, athletics coaches and student life staff.

The program’s first goal is to establish, train and sustain a group of student-athlete leaders, who will be trained to provide peer mentoring and take the lead on alcohol abuse prevention efforts geared toward all students at Lawrence. This group will be called the Champions of Change Council.

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“We are building a ‘prevention’ community, encompassing the entire student body with athletics as the lead to shift our culture around alcohol use.”
— Christyn Abaray
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The second goal is by reviewing existing and current data, Lawrence students and staff will be educated about the current culture of alcohol use on campus as well as best practices to deter continuation of this culture.

A third goal is to implement training of students and staff on alcohol abuse. They would be able to apply what they have learned to implement comprehensive alcohol-abuse prevention strategies on the campus.

The fourth goal is utilize a social norms campaign to raise awareness about perceived alcohol-related behavior on campus compared to actual alcohol behavior patterns.

The fifth goal is to develop and implement alcohol-free programming events for Lawrence students to prevent high-risk alcohol use.

“The CHOICES grant emphasizes the need for a partnership and collaborative approach across several different departments, which is not only paramount to institutionalizing the efforts but also is who we are,” Abaray said. “We are building a ‘prevention’ community, encompassing the entire student body with athletics as the lead to shift our culture around alcohol use. We want to thank the NCAA CHOICES grant selection committee and the main sponsor, Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.”

The grant was the result of the efforts of a diverse group of staff and students from across campus. Director of Wellness and Recreation Erin Buenzli is the project director while Lisa Sammons, women’s soccer head coach, will be the lead department of athletics staff member on the project.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members and the first members of the Champions of Change Council are softball player Madeline MacLean and swimmer/track and field athlete Eryn Blagg.

Other key players in the project include Abaray, Associate Dean of Health and Wellness Services Richard Jazkzewski, Assistant Dean for Campus Life Rose Wasielewski, Director of Research Administration Kristin McKinley, Art Director Liz Boutelle and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Kathy Privatt.

A photo of members of the men's basketball team wearing "It's on Us" t-shirtsLawrence received the diversity award in recognition of its inaugural “It’s On Us” campaign to prevent sexual assault. During the week-long campaign, multiple events took place on campus. Programming included a public service announcement, social media campaign and a drive to sign the “It’s On Us” pledge.

In commending the campaign, NCAA Vice-President for Division III Dan Dutcher said, “It is inspiring to hear that the entire campus committed to creating an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable.”

The Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative started in August 2014 as a collaborative project between the NCAA Office of Inclusion and the Diversity and Well-Being Committee of the Division III Commissioners Association.

The Diversity Spotlight Initiative recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity-related projects, programming and initiatives occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices. Each month, the award recognized an institution or conference in regard to a diversity-related event, program or initiative.

Lawrence will receive $500 to support its next diversity initiative.

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 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 seniors featured in new Wriston Art Center galleries exhibition

A photo entitled Final Form- Desolation for the senior art show
Final Form: Desolation by Malcolm Lunn-Craft.

The creative talents of 12 Lawrence University student art majors will be showcased in the annual Senior Major Exhibition opening Friday, May 26 in the Wriston Art Center galleries. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, runs through July 2.

Media in the exhibition includes ceramics, digital art, installation art, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and virtual reality.

“This year’s senior studio art majors are really pushing the boundaries of visual art by incorporating sound, found digital elements, video game aesthetics and virtual reality into their pieces,” said Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston Art Center galleries. “For students working in more traditional media like photography, painting and printmaking, concerns ranging from the search for personal identity to the current moment of cultural anxiety permeate their presentations.”

Ink jet print of Noah Gunther's senior art show project "Mystery Ocean"
An inkjet print from Noah Gunther’s “Mystery Ocean” virtual reality program and installation.

The featured seniors in the exhibition include:
• Lexi Ames, White Bear Lake, Minn.
• Noah Gunther, Madison
• Michael Hubbard, Chicago, Ill.
• Willa Johnson, Ann Arbor, Mich.
• Malcolm Lunn-Craft, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Cael Neary, Naperville, Ill.
• Nick Nootenboom, Portland, Ore.
• Molly Nye, Los Angeles, Calif.
• Alison Smith, San Leandro, Calif.
• Kelsey Stalker, Milton
• Nina Sultan, Bloomington, Ill.
• Ridley Tankersley, Phoenix, Ariz.

Wriston Art Center hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m. The galleries are closed Mondays. For more information, call 920-832-6621.

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 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 activism focus of final cultural competency series presentation

A pair of Lawrence University seniors will explore effective forms of student activism in the final presentation of Lawrence’s 2017 cultural competency series.

headshot of Lawrence student Max Loebl
Max Loebl ’17
head shot of Lawrence student Guilberly Louissaint
Guilberly Louissaint ’17

Max Loebl, Whitefish Bay, and Guilberly Louissaint, Brooklyn, N.Y., present “Lesson’s from the Trenches: Activism for Social Change in the New Millennium,” Friday, May 26 at 11 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Student activism has become interwoven with campus culture, taking on forms ranging from protests, workshops and the creation of healing circles. As a result, it is increasing important to be as strategic as possible when it comes to student organizing. Communication and solid leadership are key components in creating successful outcomes during times of turmoil.

Loebl and Guilberly will discuss effective activism through the lens of student engagement, goal setting, impact analysis and their own personal experiences.

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 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.