Lawrence hosts grant-writing workshop for area nonprofit organizations

Lawrence University will host a free community grant-writing workshop Wednesday, May 24 for area nonprofit organizations.

The workshop — Introduction to the Funding Information Network — will be held in the computer lab of Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library from 9-10:30 a.m. Due to limited space, reservations are required. To register, interested parties should email Ariela Rosa, ariela.e.rosa@lawrence.edu and include your name and phone number.A logo of the Funding Information Network

Since May, 2015, Lawrence has served as a partner of Funding Information Network with the Foundation Center of New York to provide resources for area grantseekers.

Lawrence is one of only seven Funding Information Network partners in Wisconsin. Conducted in conjunction with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and United Way Fox Cities, the workshop will tools for under-resourced and under-served populations that need vital information and training to become successful grantseekers.

For more information about the Funding Information Network at Lawrence, library hours and directions, visit http://guides.lib.lawrence.edu/funding.

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.

 

Historian Paul Cohen explores role of masculinity in presidential candidates in Honors Convocation

Historian Paul Cohen examines the role gender, particularly masculinity, plays in American’s vision of a president in Lawrence University’s annual Honors Convocation.

Headshot of Lawrence University historian Paul Cohen
Paul Cohen

Cohen presents “Presidential Manhood: Masculinity and American Politics in the Age of Mass Media” Tuesday, May 23 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and also will be available via  live webcast.

The Honors Convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty recipients of awards and prizes for excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, languages and music as well as demonstrated excellence in athletics and service to others.

Cohen was chosen as the 2017 speaker as the recipient of Lawrence’s annual Faculty Convocation Award, which honors a faculty member for distinguished professional work. He is the eighth faculty member so honored.

According to sociologist Michael Kimmel, over the past 170 years, a president’s manhood has always been a question, “his manly resolve, firmness, courage and power equated with the capacity for violence, military virtues and a plain-living style that avoided cultivated refinement and civility.”

Cohen will explore that historical perspective and how mass media imagery has framed American presidential contests since 9/11. While issues of age, race and sex are typical elements of any discussion of presidential qualifications and character, Cohen argues gender, and especially masculinity, has remained a critical, but less-noted factor, in American’s vision of a president. His talk will focus on the media portrayals of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

A specialist in modern European and European intellectual history, Cohen joined the Lawrence history department in 1985 and was appointed the Patricia Hamar Boldt Professor of Liberal Studies and professor of history in 2003.

Cohen’s research interests have grown to encompass cinema, including the portrayal of masculinity in American films post-World War II, particularly representations of manhood that deviate from the Hollywood stereotypes.

He developed two new courses, ‘Film as History, History as Film” and “Reel Men: Masculinity in Postwar American Film,” which were added to the curriculum in 1999 and 2006, respectively. The courses explore how specific moments in history have been depicted in film as well as how film itself can serve as a source of historical interpretation.

A native of Bethesda, Md., Cohen is the author of the books “Freedom’s Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault,” of which a Korean translation has since been published, and “Piety and Politics: Catholic Revival and the Generation of 1905-1914 in France.”

A former director (1996-98) of Lawrence’s signature Freshman Studies program, he was honored with the university’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1999 and was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Clark University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the Lawrence history department, Cohen spent a year teaching history at the American College in Paris.

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.

Annual Harrison Symposium showcases exceptional student research

Student research presentations on topics ranging from French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette to an examination of Netflix’s operations will be addressed Saturday, May 20 during Lawrence University’s 20th annual Richard A. Harrison Symposium.

The symposium highlights exceptional student research in the humanities and social sciences. Presentations begin at 9:15 a.m. in various locations throughout Main Hall. A complete schedule of presentations, times and locations can be found here. All sessions are free and open to the public.Graphic of the Harrison Symposium logo

The symposium features a series of  20-minute presentations arranged by topic or field. Each session is moderated by a Lawrence faculty member and includes a 10-minute question-and-answer session following the presentation. Symposium participants present their work in the format used for professional meetings of humanities and social sciences scholars.

Among the scheduled presentations are: “New Orleans: A Creole City,” “The Disappearance of Romantic Comedies: Where Did They Go and Why?,” “The Return to Mother Russia: An Analysis of the Authoritative Discourse of Soviet Female Veterans after the Great Patriotic War,” and “Following the Records: A Case Study: The Outagamie County Insane Asylum and Its Lack of Patient Records.”

First conducted in 1996, the symposium honors former Lawrence Dean of the Faculty Richard Harrison, who died unexpectedly the following year. The symposium was renamed in his honor to recognize his vision of highlighting excellent student scholarship.

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.

 

Katie Uram ’16 receives Fulbright Award for research in China

A senior honors thesis has helped Katherine Uram earn a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to China for anthropology research.

Head shot of Katie Uram
Katie Uram ’16

She is the 16th Lawrence student since 2010 to receive a Fulbright Student Program award, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Beginning later this year, Uram, a 2016 Lawrence University graduate, will spend 10 months at China’s Guizhou Normal University, continuing research she started as a student that became her Senior Experience, “Evolving Patterns: Conflicting Perceptions of Cultural Preservation and the State of Batik’s Cultural Inheritance Among Women Artisans in Guizhou, China.”

Her Fulbright project will focus on Miao women and the preservation of their batik handicrafts in a rapidly changing cultural climate of modern China. Batik is a Chinese traditional folk handicraft for fabric printing and dyeing.

“Throughout my Fulbright project, I will be talking to these artisans about how they view their cultural identity, how their perceptions intertwine with their craft-making and how they see the future of their craft,” said Uram, a native of Naperville, Ill.

With a long-standing interest in different cultures, Uram began studying Chinese in high school. Her senior year, her family hosted an exchange student from Shanghai.

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“Katie was a one-of-a-kind Lawrence student and I have no doubt she will be a one-on-a-kind Fulbright scholar.”
Carla Daughtry, associate professor of anthropology
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“It was awesome when I went to China after high school for the first time to see her, visit her family and share the Chinese culture with the people,” said Uram. She has since made three more trips to China, one on a study-abroad program as a Lawrence junior and two more in 2015, one for summer research and a second as part of Lawrence’s Sustainable China Program trip in December.

Carla Daughtry, associate professor of anthropology, who served as advisor on her Senior Experience project, said Uram’s “interdisciplinary knowledge of China, stellar language skills and in-country experience and connections” made Uram a natural for a Fulbright proposal.

“Katie was a one-of-a-kind Lawrence student and I have no doubt she will be a one-on-a-kind Fulbright scholar, forging strong bi-national relations between the United States and China, and making valuable contributions to Chinese and East Asian Studies and anthropological understandings of the complex effects of globalization on ethnic Chinese handicrafts,” said Daughtry.

While Daughtry may not have had any doubts about Uram’s Fulbright prospects, the news caught Uram a bit off-guard.

“I was sitting in the car with my brother when I got an email notification on my phone,” said Uram, who is still hoping to receive a Critical Language Enhancement Award she applied for through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for additional language study in China. “I was, of course, overjoyed and then terrified and super excited all at the same time.”

Uram is among more than 1,900 Fulbright program recipients who will conduct research, teach English or provide expertise abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year. Fulbright awards are based on academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

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.

Diversity conference focuses on effective, inclusive teaching methods

Amid increasingly diverse classrooms, Lawrence University is sponsoring a conference focused on inclusive pedagogy.

Head shot of Derald Wing Sue
Multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue

Lawrence’s inaugural diversity conference — “Teaching All Students Well: Preparing an Educated Citizenry for Wise Participation in a Diverse Democracy” — will be held Aug. 17-18 on the Lawrence campus.

The conference is organized by Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, and the professional development committee of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs.

The conference is designed to help all educators strengthen their individual learning communities through effective and inclusive teaching methods.

Highlighting the conference will be a keynote address by multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education in the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sue also holds an appointment with Columbia’s School of Social Work.

The author of 19 books, Sue has written on topics ranging from cultural diversity and psychology of racism and antiracism to multicultural competencies and racial macroaggressions. His most recent books are 2015’s “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues in Race” and 2013’s “Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling and Therapy.”

Sue was honored by the American Psychological Foundation in 2015 with the APF’s Gold Medal for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest, an award that recognizes distinguished careers and enduring contributions to the application of psychology in the public interest.

Registration for the conference prior to June 19 is $135. From June 20 to Aug. 11, when registration closes, registration is $175. Any non-Lawrence student can attend for $25. Registration includes a networking reception, lunch and conference materials.

Interested parties can register online to attend the conference. For questions or additional information, contact Michelle Lasecki-Jahnke at 920-832-67454 or  michelle.l.lasecki-jahnke@lawrence.edu.

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.

Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet closes Lawrence University 2016-17 Jazz Series

One of the world’s pre-eminent trombone players closes Lawrence University’s 2016-17 Jazz Series.

A photo of saxophonist Delfeayo MarsalisThe Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet takes the stage of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors, $18-20 for students, are available online through the Lawrence Box Office or by calling 920-832-6749.

A member of the iconic Marsalis family — father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason—Delfeayo has carved his own space in the jazz world as a trombonist extraordinaire, producer and composer.

Hailed as “one of the best, most imaginative and musical trombonists of his generation” by the San Francisco Examiner, Marsalis has toured internationally with renowned bandleaders Art Blakey, Abdulla Ibrahim, Elvin Jones, Slide Hampton and Max Roach as well as leading his own groups.

Tim Albright, assistant professor of music at Lawrence who teaches trombone, says one word comes to mind whenever he listens to Delfeayo Marsalis: tasty.

“Each line is just right, every note is where it should be,” said Albright. “His sense of style and timing are vibrant and spot on. In Delfeayo’s warm sound and excellent lines you can hear a nod to the masters such as J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller and a look to the future. I can’t wait to have him here at Lawrence.”

Marsalis released his debut album as a leader in 1992, the Bible inspired “Pontius Pilate’s Decision” while 2014’s “The Last Southern Gentlemen” showcases his technical expertise and reveals his frequent touches of humor, such as his playful rendition of “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

Last fall, in response to one of the country’s most unusual presidential elections, Marsalis and his big band —the Uptown Jazz Orchestra — released their debut album, “America Great Again!,” a collection of American music spanning African roots to the streets of Marsalis’ hometown of New Orleans.

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“Each line is just right, every note is where it should be. His sense of style and timing are vibrant and spot on.
— Tim Albright, assistant professor of music
_______________________________________________

José Encarnación, director of Lawrence’s jazz studies program, calls himself “a profound admirer of the entire Marsalis family.”

“Having the master trombone player, Delfeayo Marsalis, close our Jazz Series for this year will be an honor,” said Encarnación. “I’m confident Delfeayo will provide his audience an extraordinary musical experience with his remarkable technique and fresh, innovative imagination. This is a concert not to be missed.”

A photo of Delfeayo MarsalisA prolific producer, Marsalis has overseen nearly 100 albums, beginning with is father’s “Syndrome” album in 1983 when he was only 17 years old. Additionally, he has produced albums for his brothers Branford and Wynton, Harry Connick, Jr, Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, Lincoln Center Jazz and many other artists.

His family’s contributions to American music earned Delfeayo, his father and three brothers the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2011. It was the first group award the NEA Jazz Masters had ever given.

He will be joined on stage by saxophonist Khari Allen Lee, pianist Victor Atkins, bass player Erick Wheeler and drummer Adonis Rose.

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.

 

City of Dreams: Lawrence historian Jerald Podair chronicles the battle over Dodger Stadium in new book

Wealthy owners of major sports franchises like to speak of private-public partnerships when seeking new and improved ballparks, stadiums and arenas for their teams. Taxpayers, who often are asked to foot part or most of the construction or renovation bill, may view the arrangements more akin to hostage situations.

Lawrece Professor Jerald Podair with a copy of his latest book "City of Dreams"
Historian Jerald Podair

Lawrence University historian and life-long baseball fan Jerald Podair explores one of the earliest owner-city new ballpark negotiations and the subsequent economic and cultural impact in the book “City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles” (Princeton University Press).

Podair wrote “City of Dreams” to provide a window into the complex choices cities face as they seek to balance the values of entertainment and culture against those of fiscal responsibility, of private gain against public good.

“The goal for cities seeking to build stadiums – easier said than done, of course – should be to get as much private money in the deal as possible,” says Podair, Robert S. French Professor of American Studies and professor of history at Lawrence.

In 1957, Walter O’Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team, moved his team to Los Angeles, where he planned to build a new ballpark in the Chavez Ravine neighborhood adjacent to downtown.

In “City of Dreams,” Podair dissects the story behind the construction of Dodger Stadium and the bitter arguments it ignited over the direction and identity of modern Los Angeles.

Questions of whether, where and how to build Dodger Stadium convulsed Los Angeles between 1957 and 1962. The debate back then — much like many today — pitted those who argued government assistance for O’Malley, in the form of a favorable deal for the acquisition of the land, was a proper means of growing the local economy and thus an appropriate “public purpose,” against those who opposed that assistance as an inappropriate “gift” of public resources to a private businessman.

 ___________________________________________________________________

“The goal for cities seeking to build stadiums – easier said than done, of course – should be to get as much private money in the deal as possible.”
— Jerald Podair
___________________________________________________________________

The arguments for and against also raised the issue of the relative worth of a revitalized downtown core, since Dodger Stadium would be the first of a series of planned cultural and entertainment venues that would brand Los Angeles as a national and global city in the images of New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

O’Malley’s vision prevailed and his privately constructed Dodger Stadium opened April 10, 1962. In the 50-plus years since, Dodger Stadium has contributed substantially to the civic and financial well-being of Los Angeles. But the aid O’Malley received from the city in building the stadium raised questions of when and under what circumstances public resources could legitimately be used for private goals and which constitute a true “public purpose?”The front cover of the book "City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

“The battle over Dodger Stadium still has profound implications today for all American cities, especially those like Milwaukee, that seek to attract or retain major league sports teams with the promise of new stadiums financed with public money,” said Podair, a native New Yorker and die-hard Mets fan. “How much public assistance to private entrepreneurs — in the form of bond debt, tax increases and the like — is too much?”

Podair, who joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998, watched the Mets win Game Seven and the 1986 World Series over the Boston Red Sox from the upper deck of the since torn-down Shea Stadium.

A specialist in 20th-century history, especially presidential history and race relations, is the author of two previous books, “The Strike that Changed New York” (Yale University Press) and “Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).

He also co-authored, with 1975 Lawrence graduate James Merrell, “American Conversations: From the Centennial Through the Millennium” (Pearson, 2012) and was co-editor of “The Struggle for Equality” (University of Virginia Press, 2011).

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.

Theatre Arts Dept. presents “Gint”

A tale that examines our potential to live together and love each other, while asking what we owe ourselves vs. what we owe others unfolds like a strange dream in the Lawrence University Theatre Arts department’s production of “Gint.”

A photo of Gint and the old vagrant woman
Jacob Dalton as Gint and Mikaela Lilly as a vagrant woman, hitch a ride in a truck bed. Gint is about to learn a devilish surprise. Photo by Hitkarsh Chanana.

Four performances will be staged in Stansbury Theater May 11-13 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 13. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Adapted from “Peer Gynt,” Henrik Ibsen’s 1876 Norwegian classic, “Gint” was written by Romulus Linney (father of actress Laura Linney) in 1996. Set in the Appalachian Mountains, the story begins in 1917 and ends in 1997 as it follows Peter Gint, a raggedy young man preoccupied drinking, lying and sexual misadventures despite aspirations of becoming “something great, grand and glorious.” His life is sprinkled with encounters with an unlikely collection of characters, including lunatics, devils and a razorback hog, who, disguised as a woman, seduces Gint.

After a long haitus from mountain country, Gint, now 75 and an ex-billionaire after losing his fortune to unscrupulous business partners, returns to Appalachia and his former love, Sally, who accepts him, faults and all.

In a break from tradition, the production will be presented “thrust-style,” with the audience seated on risers on stage on three sides of the action while the usual audience space is transformed into the Smoky Mountains.

“’Gint’ is constructed to give the audience the experience of being told a story, much like Appalachian folklore,” explained Kathy Privatt, James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theatre arts, who is directing the production. “The arrangement limits our audience size, but it also lets the audience be in close proximity for that story-telling, community feel.”

Privatt has been a big fan of Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” since the first time she read the play and is excited about the opportunity to direct an updated version.

A photo of three cast members of the play "Gint"
Eddie Hood (far right) and Henry Sillman (center) asylum inmates, try to convince Gint (Jacob Dalton, front) to be Emperor of the asylum they’ve taken control of. Photo by Hitkarsh Chanana.

“Ibsen’s original reads more like a movie script, with lots of gorgeous scenic vistas, not so much like a play. Linney came along and turned the story into a thoroughly theatrical play, so of course I was interested in staging it,” said Privatt, who completely coincidentally wound up on a family vacation to Appalachia shortly after selecting the play for production. “Suddenly taking vacation pictures expanded into resources for the set and lighting designers and dramaturgical research for me and the cast. It’s funny how life lines up that way sometimes.”

Senior Jacob Dalton plays the title character and sophomore Abby Simmons is Sally Vicks, the new girl in town who falls for Gint, but won’t tolerate any infidelity. Senior Olivia Gregorich portrays the matriarch of the Gint family. The remaining six cast members each play multiple roles.

The production will also feature the premiere of a modern version of a Shaker spiritual commissioned to Slipstream, a contemporary chamber quartet comprising former and current Lawrence students.

Sierra Leone minister examines water policy issues in Africa in Povolny Lecture Series

Head shot of Momodu Maligi
Momodu Maligi ’04

 Momodu Maligi returns to his alma mater as a representative of the government of his native Sierra Leone to shed light on why, in some parts of Africa, water is more valuable than diamonds in a Lawrence University 2017 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies.

Maligi, Sierra Leone’s minister for water resources, presents “Beyond Diamonds—Trade, Water and Development in Africa,” Monday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m. in Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science 102. The event is free and open to the public.

A 2004 Lawrence graduate, Maligi has served the Sierra Leone government as minister of water resources since 2014. He speaks on water issues at international conferences around the world. Since his appointment by President Ernest Bai Koiroma, Maligi has overseen the reorganization of Sierra Leone’s water sector, rehabilitating damaged water facilities, bringing in private sector investors and changing the legal framework for water policy.

After earning a degree in government and international studies from Lawrence, Maligi earned a master’s degree in international business and public policy from Valparaiso University.

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 team of student entrepreneurs hit The Pitch out of the park

Despite its baseball-themed title — The Pitch — and its obvious baseball venue — Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Class A minor league team — it took three hockey players to collect “the game’s” biggest hit.

Photos of members of the winning team at The Pitch holding their $10,000 check
Team Tracr — Ryan Eardley, Mattias Soederqvist and Felix Henricksson — picked up the first-place prize of $10,000 in cash and $15,000 in professional services.

Lawrence University’s trio of budding entrepreneurs Ryan Eardley, Felix Henriksson and Mattias Soederqvist — all members of Lawrence’s men’s hockey team — took home first-place honors at the first-ever northeast Wisconsin The Pitch competition.

Modeled after the television show “Shark Tank,” The Pitch featured eight teams of student entrepreneurs presenting their business idea to a panel of judges and room full of business leaders and mentors. The competition featured two teams each representing Lawrence, St. Norbert College, UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh.

Eardley, Henriksson and Soederqvist wowed the judges with their presentation on Tracr, a software application they developed for forensic asset analysis. The software automates the task of tracing assets acquired through fraudulent activities.

For their efforts, they collected the top prize of $10,000 in cash and an additional $15,000 in professional services (web design/development, product prototyping, marketing, legal advice, accounting support).

photos of the members of Team Tracr making their presentation
Mattias Soederqvist (left) gives “the pitch” for the team’s software application Tracr.

“This is way better than a hat trick,” said a smiling Soederqvist after receiving the first-place prize.

The Tracr application was inspired by an internship Eardley had last summer at Deloitte, a national company that provides auditing, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services. By creating an algorithm, the team has been able reduce the function of tracking fraudulent assets from a 20-hours-by-hand process to a two-hour computer process.”

“We put in so much hard work,” said Soederqvist, a senior from Stockholm, Sweden.  “We spent six weeks completing this in a data science programming class. It was a cool project. And now we are here. It’s amazing.”

Going into it, a confident Eardley felt The Pitch was “ours to lose.”

“We have a product that is proven there is a need for and that being said, makes it a lot easier to market,” said Eardley, a senior from Ile Bizard, Quebec, Canada. “I’m so glad we were able to communicate what our product does and the value that we are providing came through in our presentation.

“Now we want to complete a beta version of our software as soon as possible and get it in the hand of practitioners,” added Eardley, whose father got the last seat on an Air Canada flight to the area and flew in from Quebec for The Pitch. “We really want to gather feedback and test the robustness of the software.”

That $10,000 check will help get the ball rolling in that direction according to Henriksson.

Group photo of all the Lawrence competitors at The Pitch
Gary Vaughan (far right), coordinator of Lawrence’s I & E program mentored the university’s student entrepreneurs — Felix Henrickisson, Ryan Eardley, George Mavrakis and Mattias Soederqvist — for the inaugural The Pitch competition.

“The $10,000 is primarily going toward contracting a junior software developer, who is going to execute our vision and that of our current tech advisor,” said Henriksson, a senior from Helsinki, Finland. “We work very well together, we all have tremendous work ethic and we’re committed to carry this venture forward.”

Gary Vaughan, coordinator of Lawrence’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and lecturer of economics, watched The Pitch unfold from the wings with the pride of a father of a new-born baby.

“I could not be prouder of these students for their accomplishments, especially the way they represented themselves and Lawrence in this event,” said Vaughan. “Team Tracr’s accomplishment is exciting and the result of a lot of hard work by the students, their professors, their alumni mentors, their parents and as international student-athletes, the support of their host families.”

Both the local host families for Eardley and Soederqvist attended The Pitch to show their support for the team.

All three Tracr team members extended sincere gratitude to Scott Myers, a 1979 Lawrence graduate and member of the university’s Board of Trustees, who has been instrumental in supporting the I & E program and The Pitch competition, financially and otherwise.

“Our I&E program is amazing,” said Soederqvist. “It’s given us the experience we would not have gotten any other way. It’s definitely been one of the best parts of my Lawrence education.”

“The efforts the I&E program at Lawrence has put forward to make this thing happen has been incredible,” Eardley added. “Behind the scene, there is so much effort that goes into something like this. I’m just extremely grateful to be a part of it.”

Photo of George Mavrakis
George Mavrakis makes his pitch for C-Star at The PItch.

Sophomore George Mavrakis also represented Lawrence at The Pitch. A saltwater aquarium aficionado who started his own business in sixth grade and won the 2016 LaunchLU contest, Mavrakis presented C-Star, a commercial product designed to eliminate one of the least favorite jobs of owning a fish tank: cleaning the sand.

Second place honors at The Pitch were awarded to Abbie Merrill from UW-Oshkosh for her “In Our Hands” political app, which enables users to comment on upcoming legislation. She received $5,000 in cash and $10,000 in professional services.

The Pitch was organized by The Fox Connection, a collaboration of academic institutions in northeast Wisconsin to enhance entrepreneurial education and opportunity for area students.

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.