Lawrence University Commencement Brings Honors for Four Faculty Members

Posted on: June 15th, 2008 by Rick Peterson

APPLETON, WIS. – Four members of the Lawrence University faculty were honored for teaching excellence, scholarship or creative activity Sunday, June 15 at the college’s 159th commencement.

Sturm

Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music, became the first faculty member to receive all three of Lawrence’s teaching honors given at commencement when he was presented the Award for Excellence in Creative Activity.

Established in 2006, the award recognizes outstanding creative work for advancing Lawrence’s mission. Sturm had previously been honored with the college’s Young Teacher Award (1983) and the Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005).

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Sturm has established himself as one of the country’s leading composers and jazz educators. His most recent major composition, “Migrations,” was premiered last August by Grammy Award-winning vocalist Bobby McFerrin at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

He also served as the musical director for the Baseball Music Project, a touring symphonic tribute to baseball music that has been performed by major orchestras around the country as well as last month at the Performing Arts Center in Appleton. His many honors include a Grammy nomination and the ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence.

“Your creative achievements have been a source of joy and inspiration for everyone in the Lawrence community,” Lawrence Provost David Burrows said in presenting Sturm his award. “Your work as a composer, arranger, performer and producer has resulted in music that delights us.”

Sturm first joined the Lawrence faculty in 1977, leaving in 1991 to teach at the Eastman School of Music in New York. He returned to the Lawrence conservatory of music in 2002. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence, Sturm earned a master’s degree from Eastman School of Music.

Cohen

Paul Cohen, professor of history and the Patricia Hamar Boldt Chair in Liberal Studies, received Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually for 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.

A specialist in modern Europe and intellectual history, Cohen joined the Lawrence faculty in 1985. He was recognized with the college’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1999.

That same year he introduced the courses “Film as History” and “History as Film” that explored how film can serve as a source of historical interpretation. His recent scholarship has focused on the portrayal of masculinity in American films after World War II, particularly cinematic representations of manhood that deviate from the Hollywood stereotypes.

“You expect much of your students and clearly have high standards,” Burrows said of Cohen. “Time and again, students comment that you have helped them develop their intellectual abilities beyond what they thought they could achieve. You are one of the professors whom students remember with fondness and gratitude, years after graduating.”

Cohen is the author of two books, “Freedom’s Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault” and “Piety and Politics: Catholic Revival and the Generation of 1905-1914 in France.” He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Clark University and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

Goldgar

Bertrand Goldgar, professor of English and the John N. Bergstrom Professor of Humanities, was presented the college’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which 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. He previously was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1976.

One of the world’s leading scholars on author Henry Fielding, Goldgar is an internationally recognized expert on 18th-century political satire.

A member of the Lawrence faculty for 51 years, Goldgar has served as a contributing editor to a landmark multi-volume edition of the works of Jonathan Swift. His volume, “Swift’s English Political Writing, 1711-1714,” covers Swift’s literary engagement in the politics of early 18th-century London.

“You are a literary historian with a deep belief in the fulfillment that results from immersion in great literature” said Burrows in presenting Goldgar his award. “You have set for yourself the goal of providing the knowledge and historical context necessary for the modern reader to understand and appreciate the art of 18th-century writers.”

Goldgar, the author of two books and five scholarly editions, earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Pickett

Megan Pickett, associate professor of physics, received the Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

Pickett joined the Lawrence physics department in 2006 after six years on the faculty at Purdue University. An astrophysicist who spent four years as a research associate at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, Pickett’s research focuses on the formation of solar systems. She has been the recipient of four research grants through the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program totaling more than $500,000.

“Your passion for science is joined with a tremendous capacity for creativity,” Burrows said of Pickett. “In an era when problems of science education are a national concern, it is heartening to know that you are helping make Lawrence a leader in addressing those problems.”

Pickett earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Indiana University.

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