Month: January 2009

Grammy-Winning Baritone Dale Duesing Performs Feb. 7 at Lawrence University

APPLETON, WIS. — Dale Duesing, hailed as “a singer who changed opera in the 20th century” by the French magazine Monde de la Musique, returns Saturday, Feb. 7 to familiar surroundings — the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The 1967 Lawrence University graduate performs in concert at 8 p.m. as part of the 100th anniversary of the Lawrence Artist Series.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $15-17 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 420 E. College Ave., Appleton, or by phone at 920-832-6749.

Duesing’s international vocal career has spanned four decades and continues to grow in scope and expertise. The highly acclaimed baritone has sung in the world’s foremost opera houses and has appeared as a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, the Chicago Symphony and the Saint Cecilia of Rome.

Patrice Michaels, professor of music at Lawrence and an acclaimed opera singer in her own right, calls Duesing “the quintessential professional singer.”

“Dale is the kind of opera singer of whom stage and music directors say, ‘if Dale’s available, then we can do virtually anything.’ His versatility, reliability, and audience appeal have made him a household name in the best opera houses and with the best orchestras in the world.”

Duesing’s award-winning career, which has included new challenges as well as familiar roles, has earned him “Singer of the Year” honors from Germany’s Opernwelt magazine and a 1993 Grammy for his recording of Samuel Barber’s “The Lovers” with the Chicago Symphony. He made his operatic directorial debut in 2004, earning best production and best director nominations from Opernwelt.

Duesing, a native of Milwaukee, makes his home in Appleton and serves as an artist-in-residence at Lawrence’s conservatory of music.

“He is ‘Uncle Dale’ to generations of voice students whom he mentors frequently,” said Michaels. “Fox Valley audiences know that Dale’s singing is informed by his technical skill and theatrical expertise, but moreover by his deep sense of compassion and love of humanity.”

Water Conflicts in China Examined in Lawrence University Environmental Series Address

APPLETON, WIS. — A scholar of environmental policies in China and the United States examines China’s growing water problems in the third installment of Lawrence University’s four-part Spoerl environmental studies lecture series on water and its management.

Jennifer Turner, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum in Washington, D.C., presents “Water is for Fighting: Water Conflicts and Crises in China and the United States” Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall, 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Turner will discuss the growing number and severity of water conflicts throughout China in the wake of burgeoning water demand, inefficient use of existing resources and increasing levels of water pollution. While conflicts over large-scale water projects such as the Three Gorges Dam have received attention in Western media, Turner contends other water conflicts over pollution and smaller dams that are far less publicized are equally, if not more, threatening to human and ecological health.

Although China’s water problems are larger than those in this country, Turner will draw parallels with the U.S. experience in dealing with water quality and quantity challenges. She also will discuss how some U.S. non-government organizations are working to help China alleviate pressures on watersheds.

Prior to joining the Wilson Center, Turner was a faculty member of the political science department at Winthrop University. She also has taught English in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Deep-sea Exploration, Marine Conservation Focus of Lawrence University Convocation

APPLETON, WIS. — Internationally recognized biologist and deep-sea explorer Edith Widder discusses her efforts to reverse the degradation of the world’s marine environments Tuesday, Feb. 3 in a Lawrence University convocation.

Widder presents “Eye in the Sea: What Does Deep Sea Exploration Tell Us About Marine Conservation?” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, 510 E. College Ave., Appleton. Widder also will conduct a question and answer session at 1:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

A specialist in bioluminescence — the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms — Widder has been at the forefront of creating new instrumentation and equipment for deep-sea observation. Among Widder’s inventions is the Eye in the Sea (EITS), a remotely operated camera system that automatically detects and measures the bioluminescence given off by nearby organisms on the ocean floor.

Widder has completed more than 250 dives in deep-diving submersibles and her research involving submersibles has been the focus of BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel and National Geographic television productions.

In 2005, Widder co-founded the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) in Fort Pierce, Fla., serving as president and senior scientist. The non-profit organization develops innovative technologies and science-based conservation programs for the protection of marine ecosystems. Her expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation was recognized in 2006 with a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

The Bank, Bucky’s Defend Trivia Titles in Lawrence University’s 44th Annual Contest

APPLETON, WIS. — It took a pair of Sunday rallies for the off-campus and on-campus teams to defend their titles in the 44th annual Lawrence University Great Midwest Trivia Contest.

In one of the closest finishes in years, The Bank of Kaukauna came from behind over the weekend to capture its ninth straight off-campus title, racking up 1,465 points to edge the Trivia Pirates Aargh, who finished with 1,435 points. Six Feet Under Inter-Office Memoranda was third among 67 off-campus teams with 1,415 points.

Bucky’s also rallied to win its seventh straight title among 12 on-campus student teams. Bucky’s tallied 1,393 points, while Super Mega Soviet Gang Bang Dream Team Party finished second with 1,332 points and Brokman O’Hiett was third with 1,248.

The Bank of Kaukauna was awarded a stuffed chicken with broken springy legs inside of a black cardboard coffin, signed by all the trivia masters for its first-place finish, while Bucky’s received a gigantic black cardboard armadillo, signed by all the trivia masters for wining the on-campus title.

A total of 346 questions were asked during the 50-hour contest that ended at midnight Sunday, Jan. 25. A server crash during the contest, which is Internet broadcast on Lawrence’s student radio station WLFM, suspended the questions and answers for about an hour.

No team was able to answer this year’s “Super Garruda,” the contest’s final question, which asked: “Who was going to be married next to what was the “world’s largest cedar bucket” in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in June, 2005, before it mysteriously burned down the week before the wedding date?” The disappointed couple was James Walters and Jaki Neubauer.

Artist Ben Rinehart Featured in Lawrence University Exhibition

APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University Assistant Professor of Art Benjamin Rinehart delivers the opening lecture Friday, January 23 at 6 p.m. for the latest exhibition at Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center Galleries. The new exhibition runs through March 5. A reception with Rinehart follows the address, which is free and open to the public.

Rinehart’s “PG: Parental Guidance” will be featured in the Kohler Gallery. In various relief printmaking mediums, including woodcut and pressure printing, book arts as well as in painting, Rinehart explores relationships, gender roles and stereotypes that bring up questions about love, insecurities, social injustices and values in contemporary society.

A multi-media artist who focuses on drawing, painting, printmaking, and artist’s books, Rinehart joined the Lawrence art department in 2006. He is the author of the 2007 book “Creating Books & Boxes: Fun and Unique Approaches to Handmade Structures” and holds a master of fine arts degree from Louisiana State University.

The Hoffmaster Gallery will feature the work of artists Lisa Bigalke, Katie Johnson and Traci Molloy in the exhibition “Women’s Quarters.” Through the playful use of imagery, the works of the three artists are bound by their unique use of color, pattern, design and genuine narrative.

Bigalke, an art instructor at UW-Parkside, creates multi-discipline prints focusing on the natural landscape, layering color, pattern and texture to create macro vs. micro dichotomies. Johnson, who teaches art in the Albuquerque Public School system, creates unique handmade dolls with a special attention to surface, fabric and embroidery work. Molloy is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work investigates social theory and challenges audience beliefs about adolescent culture, loss and violence.

The Leech Gallery will feature “The Critical Hand: Satire in Art,” a collection of 18th-20th century prints from the Wriston Art Galleries’ permanent collection, including work by William Hogarth, Honore Daumier and Warrington Colescott.

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

44th Annual Lawrence University Trivia Contest Puts Spotlight on the Offbeat, Little-Known

APPLETON, WIS. — Not only will Lawrence University senior Erin Watson preside over the 44th edition of the nation’s longest-running trivia contest, she will become a trivial footnote in its glorious four-plus decades history.

Lawrence’s annual 50-hour mental marathon dedicated to mindless minutia returns Friday, Jan. 23 for a weekend rife with questions and answers as obscure as they are inconsequential. And for just the second time since the contest debuted in 1966, a woman will reign over the weekend ridiculousness.

“It’s exciting,” said Watson of her position of power. She joins Melinda Young, who in 1977 served as the first female grand master. (Three other female students have served as co-grand masters, the last in 1989). “I hope to bring a little different perspective to the contest. I think all the female trivia players out there will be excited about the change.”

Watson, a studio art and English major from Milwaukee, played trivia as a freshman, but served as a trivia master the past two years. She credits her “extreme dedication” to trivia for her ascension to this year’s grand master’s chair. By tradition, she was hand-picked for trivia’s top spot by last year’s grand master, James Prichard.

“It’s not exactly a democracy,” said Watson.

Even if it is all only for fun, the logistics of pulling together an enterprise of this size and scope is daunting.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun work,” said Watson, who managed to stay awake, if not completely alert, for 46 of the contest’s 50 hours last year. “The contest always presents challenges that you have to figure out as go along. I don’t know if I can make it all 50 hours this year, but now I at least have some powers of delegation.

“Trivia is a quintessential Lawrence event,” she added. “It’s an weekend unlike any over at Lawrence. A lot of what makes trivia great is the spontaneity and the unexpected things that happen during the weekend.”

Just as it has since 2006, when WLFM, the Lawrence campus radio station, switched to an Internet-based format, the contest will be webcast at

Some 350 questions of varying point values will be asked during the course of the weekend, with teams on campus and off, including some at distant locales across the country, calling in answers to a bank of phones in the WLFM studios.

For Sarah Davies, trivia weekend provides a welcome mid-winter rush.

“I love the feeling of everyone in the room working to find some stupid answer to some stupid question, but taking it all very seriously,” said the senior from Forest Lake, Minn. “Everyone needs to have some total ridiculousness in their lives, and if that’s dashing around campus at 4 a.m. to complete an action question to get 10 more points or calling museum curators in New York at 1 a.m., so be it.”

Since its founding in the mid-1960s as an alternative for students who didn’t participate in a serious academic retreat with professors, this game of questions and answers on steroids has managed to maintain its irreverent charm and quirky appeal, annually converting new students into trivianatics while bringing off-campus teams back for more.

James Breen, a senior from Cottage Grove, Wis., blindly stumbled into trivia after transferring to Lawrence as a sophomore and instantly became hooked, participating for 46 of the contest’s 50 hours last year.

“It is a weekend of sheer bliss, a rush of adrenaline and quite a bit of crazy all mixed into one,” said Breen. “It is arguably the best weekend on campus every single year. It is the one weekend where you will spend 30 or 40 hours straight with someone you might not know very well, but the need for manners or even proper hygiene are thrown out the window. Why else would this competition have lasted since 1966? It is a Lawrence University tradition that no one will forget.”

In keeping with the spirit of the contest, team names often reflect the combatants sense of humor, ranging from the self-deprecating (Baltimorons, for a team from Maryland) to the topically irreverent (Mark Foley’s Trivial Interns) to the tried-and true (Jabberwocky, which is celebrating its 30th year with the same name).

And in keeping with one of many trivia traditions, Lawrence President Jill Beck will get things rolling by asking the contest’s first question at precisely 10:00.37 p.m. Friday. Also by tradition, the final “Super Garrauda” question from the previous year’s contest will be this year’s first question. To wit: In the “Citadel of Opportunity” section of “An Invitation to the International Olympic Committee to Celebrate the XIX Olympiad at Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.” there is a photograph of a girl wearing a sign around her neck. This sign bears the name of what notable figure? Sadly, no one knew it was singer/entertainer Josephine Baker.

For most of this decade, the contest has been ruled by two teams. Student members of the Yuai community have rolled to six straight on-campus crowns, while the Bank of Kaukauna has dominated the off-campus competition, winning every year since 2001.

Count Breen among those who are looking to unseat the long-time champions this weekend. He’s part of a coalition of four residence halls whose goal is to end the Yuai’s reign at the top.

“It won’t be easy. I may not get much sleep. I may not do any of my homework that weekend, but if we can stand atop the con(servatory) steps Sunday night in victory, however, all will be worth it,” said Breen.

“Is that rational? Probably not, but it’s trivia,” he added.

Great Lakes Compact Examined in Lawrence University Environmental Series Address

APPLETON, WIS. — A historic, multistate agreement to limit use of Great Lakes water that was signed into law by President Bush last October will be the focus of the second installment of Lawrence University’s Spoerl environmental studies lecture series on water and its management.

Peter Annin, a long-time environmental writer for Newsweek magazine and currently the associate director of the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, presents “Great Lakes Water Compact: Now What?” Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Annin is the author of the 2006 book “The Great Lakes Water Wars,” which has been described as “the definitive book about the fight over Great Lakes water.” In it, Annin meticulously chronicles the long history of political maneuvering and behind-the-scenes schemes related to the diversion of Great Lakes water to destinations ranging from Akron to Asia.

The Great Lakes Compact, finalized into law after nearly a decade-long fight by the eight states and two Canadian provinces that border the five Great Lakes, prevents the large-scale, long-distance withdrawals of water from the lakes while also requiring Great Lakes states to develop water conservation programs.

Despite the agreement, Annin believes increased water tensions will remain in the Great Lakes region, calling southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois “the front line of the Great Lakes water war.”

Annin, who spent more than a decade covering environmental issues ranging from droughts, forest fires, wind power and the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” joined the IJNR in 2000. The nonpartisan national nonprofit based in Missoula, Mont., organizes educational fellowships for mid-career environmental journalists.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Lawrence University Students Make Martin Luther King Holiday Day of Service

APPLETON, WIS. — Making it a “day on,” rather than a day off, more than 75 Lawrence University students are expected to follow the leads of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden by participating in community projects Monday, Jan. 19 as part of 2009’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Coordinated by Lawrence’s Volunteer and Community Service Center, students will volunteer several hours of their time Monday with numerous programs and agencies in the Fox Cities, including helping cook and serve a meal at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley, assembling cabinets for a home being constructed by the Appleton Housing Authority and playing bingo and making valentine decorations for residents at Pioneer Village.

One of the day’s biggest service projects will involve 30 students, who in teams of two will present a diversity activity designed by sophomore Megan Luedtke, coordinator of the LARY Buddy program, to every class at Appleton’s Edison Elementary School.

“The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is an opportunity for Lawrence students to better understand the needs of the Appleton community by providing service to area community agencies in need of assistance,” said Kristi Hill, the VCSC’s coordinator of internships and volunteer programs. “All of our students are encouraged to make it a day on, not a day off, to discover how a small donation of their time can make a big difference to a member of our community.”

In conjunction with the MLK Jr. Day of Service, a Volunteer Fair, featuring representatives from 16 area agencies and coordinated by the Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin, will be held Monday from 10 a.m. – 12 noon in Riverview Lounge of the Memorial Union.

The VCSC also will conduct a presentation on summer volunteer opportunity grants in the Barber Room from 12 noon – 1 p.m. Senior Harjinder Bedi, who worked on an organic farm in Ghana, senior Megan Bjella, who oversaw the Lawrence University Sustainable Garden last summer and senior Jamie Gajewski, who taught English and dance classes at a community center in Costa Rica, will discuss their experiences as previous volunteer opportunity grant recipients. Information on how to apply for 2009 summer grants will be provided.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was founded in 1994 to transform the federal holiday honoring King into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice.

Water Management, Conflicts Focus of Lawrence University Environmental Series

APPLETON, WIS. — Water has been called “the oil of the 21st century,” an increasingly valuable core commodity in a global marketplace. Although water covers more than 70 percent of the earth, only three percent of that water is fresh and only one percent of that is available for consumption.

Lawrence University’s annual Spoerl environmental studies lecture series will examine various facets of water and its management, the conflicts that arise between economic development and water availability, and methods for resolving those clashes of interest in 2009’s four-part series. All talks in the series are free and open to the public.

Jeb Barzen director of field ecology at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, opens the series Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Science Hall 102 with the address “How Can Lessons from China and Wisconsin Help Us Improve Conservation on Private Land.”

During his 21 years with the ICF, Barzen has overseen the development and implementation of restoration plans on the organization’s 200-acre site and been engaged in numerous wetland restoration projects throughout southeast Asia. Last October, his efforts were recognized with John T. Curtis Award for Career Excellence in Ecological Restoration from The Friends of the Arboretum in Madison.

Other talks scheduled in this year’s series include:

• Jan. 20 — “Great Lakes Water Compact: Now What?,” Peter Annin, associate director, Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, Missoula, Mont., 7:30 p.m., Wriston Art Center Auditorium.

• Feb. 3 — “Water is for Fighting: Water Conflicts and Crises in China and the U.S,” Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environmental Forum, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., 7:30 p.m., Science Hall 102.

• Feb. 11 — “What China is Doing Right Environmentally,” Phil McKenna ’99, freelance environmental writer, Science Hall 102.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Lawrence University Geologist Named Fulbright Scholar for Research in New Zealand

APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University geologist Marcia Bjornerud has been named a recipient of a 2009 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award. Beginning in March, the $28,000 award will support four months of research in New Zealand at the University of Otago, the country’s oldest and top-ranked research university.

Bjornerud, professor of geology and the Walter Schober Professor in Environmental Studies, specializes in mountain building processes. While in New Zealand, her research will focus on rocks exposed along the Alpine Fault on the South Island, one of the world’s most active plate boundaries.

“Convergence between two tectonic plates, combined with extremely rapid rates of erosion, can force rocks from as much as eight miles deep in the earth’s crust to the surface in ‘only’ a few million years,” said Bjornerud, a member of the Lawrence faculty since 1995. “I will be studying rocks that have recorded ancient earthquakes along this fault line as a way to understand better what happens during great seismic events.”

Bjornerud’s research in New Zealand will complement her current field-based studies with Lawrence students on the ancient rocks of northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which were once in a similar tectonic setting.

“Studying fault zones, both modern and ancient, can improve seismic risk assessments in earthquake-prone areas,” Bjornerud explained. “While it may never be possible to predict earthquakes with precision, understanding the phenomena that lead to runaway slip on faults may eventually lead to warning systems that could save lives.”

This is the second time in nine years Bjornerud has been recognized as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2000, she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship that took her to the University of Oslo for a year of field research on the west coast of Norway.

Appointed the first holder of the Schober professorship in April 2007, Bjornerud has written two books, the science textbook “The Blue Planet” and 2005’s “Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth,” a storyteller’s history of the Earth and the toll human activity is exacting on the planet. In 2003, she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in geophysics at the University of Minnesota, Bjornerud earned master’s and doctorate degrees in geology at the University of Wisconsin.

Established in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Scholar Program is the federal government’s flagship program in international educational exchange. It provides grants in a variety of disciplines for teaching and research positions in more than 120 countries.