Author: Ed Berthiaume

Diversity award honors work Lawrence is doing to address equity, inclusion

A rise in retention and graduation rates among African American students at Lawrence speaks to focused work on equity issues across campus, says Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is being honored for its work in becoming a more diverse and inclusive campus.

INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, announced that Lawrence is one of 90 recipients of its 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. Lawrence will be featured, along with the other recipients, in the November issue of the magazine.

It’s a notable honor because it recognizes the significant progress Lawrence has made in recent years, but it comes with the understanding that this is a work in progress, said Kimberly Barrett, who joined Lawrence as its first vice president for diversity and inclusion in 2016.

“Although much work remains to be done, this honor acknowledges the progress that has been made in both achieving equitable academic outcomes for students of all backgrounds as well as in our efforts to increase the diversity of folks working and learning at Lawrence,” Barrett said. “Like institutions around the country, we must continue to enhance the quality of these efforts.”

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity, said the HEED Award follows a “comprehensive and rigorous” application process.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus,” Pearlstein said.

Barrett pointed to retention and graduation rates at Lawrence for African American students, which have gone up significantly over the past half decade. In the most recent Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report, it’s noted that the graduation rate for African American students at Lawrence is up 56%, and the retention rate for students of color has been equal to or above white students over the past three years. That, Barrett said, speaks to progress being made in achieving racial equity on campus.

Initiatives such as the annual Cultural Competency Lecture Series, the work of the Inclusive Pedagogy Committee, the annual Diversity Planning Retreat that keeps a leadership focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, and the growth and activity of various employee affinity groups have helped move efforts forward, Barrett said.

National honor spotlights Lawrence affinity group. See details here.

From 2015 to 2020, the percentage of students of color at Lawrence has increased from 19% of the student body to 26%, Barrett said. The number of faculty of color also has grown over that five-year period, going from 13% of total faculty to 17%. The number of staff who identify as people of color saw a jump of 65%.

Besides Barrett’s vice president position, other new leadership positions added since 2016 to address equity and inclusion include the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, a Title IX coordinator, a Diversity Center coordinator, and a Dean of Academic Success.

Also, through a grant from the Mellon Foundation and the work of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs, Lawrence has implemented training to enhance the process for recruiting diverse applicants for faculty positions. Another grant from the Mellon Foundation has led to the diversifying of curriculum and the development of new pedagogical methods.

In recent months, as a movement for social justice has elevated conversation and calls for systematic change across the country, Barrett has been leading a series of virtual workshops on antiracism for Lawrence faculty and staff. Those conversations will continue with the return of students to campus, either in person or from a distance, for Fall Term. Barrett also has stepped up as a leader with Imagine Fox Cities, a local initiative aimed at fostering conversations on a range of societal and community issues, including diversity and inclusion. That work has included, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizing virtual conferences on topics related to social justice.  

In a recent letter to the Lawrence community in advance of the start of Fall Term, President Mark Burstein pledged continued focus on issues of equity and inclusion.

“We continue to dismantle systemic racism through individual and organizational learning; through curricular, pedagogical, and policy change; and through enhanced efforts to increase the racial diversity of students, faculty, and staff,” he wrote. “We also continue to collaborate with the City of Appleton to help ensure that Lawrentians are safe and welcome here. Our goal is to create a campus climate that allows each of us to feel that we belong in this community whether we are learning on campus or at a distance.”

Lawrence wants to be a leader on these issues, both on campus and in the Fox Cities, Barrett said. The HEED Award is recognition that that hard work is being done and, despite setbacks and frustrations, progress is being made.

“Despite the work that still remains ahead,” she said, “it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the righteous work in which we have been engaged because, as Audre Lorde wrote, ‘Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Every victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptance inevitable.’”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Burstein’s Convocation address to explore sense of home during pandemic

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

A sense of belonging, something that may feel adrift in the midst of a pandemic, will be a central theme when President Mark Burstein delivers his eighth Matriculation Convocation to the Lawrence community on Sept. 24.

In an address to be presented virtually at 11:15 a.m. (access it here), Burstein will push Lawrentians to work in unison to assure that all students, faculty, and staff feel they have a home at Lawrence. The speech, Finding Home: Belonging During a Pandemic, will address the emotions of a campus community strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some students studying on campus amid new safety protocols and others spread across the globe as Fall Term gets rolling with most classes being taught remotely.

The Matriculation Convocation address, delivered by the University president each September to mark the launch of another academic year, will be one of three convocations held this year. Alumni are encouraged to access the stream to watch.

This will be Burstein’s final Matriculation Convocation. He announced on Friday that he will step away from his presidential post at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. That decision itself ties in with the theme of the talk, as Burstein has said he and his husband, David Calle, are drawn to return to the East Coast to be closer to family.

In his talk, Burstein will explore the pain and conflicts that have gripped the nation this year, from the ongoing pandemic that has dramatically changed life as we know it, to the systematic racism that has led to ongoing, emotional public demonstrations, to the political divisions that have become increasingly strident as the presidential election draws closer. And he’ll discuss how that pain adds to the anxieties about home and belonging, and how it adds urgency to efforts to make sure Lawrence is truly a home for all who choose to study, teach, and work here.

A musical prelude will be presented by Conservatory faculty Esteli Gomez, Esther Oh Zabrowski, Stephen M. Sieck, Steven Paul Spears, and Phillip A. Swan. Hung Phi Nguyen ’21 will present the postlude on piano.

Jessica Hopkins ’22 will present the traditional land acknowledgement and Allison Fleshman, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Public Events Committee, will introduce this year’s Convocation series.

The Matriculation Convocation details and information on other convocations can be accessed through the Speakers and Convocations page on the Lawrence website.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Virtual biotech conference first step for Kalsi brothers as they eye tech launch

Harsimran Kalsi ’20 and Satvir Kalsi ’17

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

The Kalsi brothers have a lot in common. 

Both are recent Lawrence University alumni. Both were biology majors. Both were first-generation college students. Both managed to graduate in three years. And both have a passion for science—and for using their skill set to address the world’s most pressing health concerns. 

Satvir Kalsi ’17 and Harsimran Kalsi ’20 have spent their summer working as a team, launching a biotechnology conference—it was to be hosted at Lawrence in April but has since moved to a virtual format—and finalizing the details on their own start-up business, tentatively called Otto, which is set to launch later in the fall. With a lifetime of experience learning each other’s habits, predicting each other’s moves, and adapting to each other’s situations and needs, the brothers are well-equipped to tackle any challenge thrown at them as business partners. 

Together, they’re keeping their eyes on a big goal: scientific innovation. 

Healthspan 2020, a virtual conference

The process of aging is arguably the most universal health concern there is, so it was the first issue on the Kalsi brothers’ agenda. Every day, the majority of deaths worldwide are caused by aging and/or age-related illnesses, and aging is, of course, something none of us can avoid.

At least, not yet. 

Even though the average lifespan has increased as modern medicine has continued to develop, age-related health problems have largely remained stagnant. Essentially, people are living sicker for longer. 

That’s where rejuvenation biotechnology, the subject of the Healthspan 2020 conference, comes in. Focusing on repairing the damage aging naturally does to the body, rejuvenation biotechnology aims to enable people to live healthier lives, regardless of their age. 

“The goal is not just to extend life; it is to make people healthier, longer,” Harsimran said. “So, if you’re chronologically 90, you’re biologically 60.” 

The Healthspan conference launched Aug. 26, with an emphasis on the current state of rejuvenation biotechnology research and innovation, as well as the specific health care developments in Wisconsin. Featuring expert speakers from the realms of industry and academia, the entirely virtual, nearly carbon-neutral conference aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the science behind aging—and the potential reversal of its effects—while also ensuring the information is presented in a concise and understandable manner. 

Admittedly, Harsimran did not plan for the conference to be completely online when he came up with the idea as a student back in 2018. The conference was originally scheduled for April 3 on the Lawrence campus, before Lawrence announced it would continue virtually for the Spring Term. But what the virtual conference lacks in direct, in-person communication, it makes up for in accessibility. The website is available to everyone. 

Although Satvir was not originally as involved with the April conference, when the change of date and format resulted in a change of the speaker lineup, Satvir was there to help bridge the gap as he took on the role of Healthspan’s final speaker. As a third-year medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin, he brings an interesting perspective to the conference: that of an advocate for comprehensive change in how the medical community, and those who influence it, approach aging. 

“There are still people out there who don’t know the problem exists, and that advocacy work is open to pretty much anybody,” Satvir said. “… I wanted to be able to put this problem into perspective and try to connect people to the science without getting bogged down by the specifics.” 

Pursuing entrepreneurship 

The Kalsis’ dedication to scientific innovation does not stop with the Healthspan 2020 conference. 

Especially at this moment in history, the need for speed and reliability in scientific discovery is brutally apparent. But, the Kalsis said, it’s become clear that there are some snags in the system, that the scientific community is not structured in a way that always facilitates fast, effective collaboration. 

“You can imagine, if someone made this process even faster, that could really save not just lives but a lot of time, a lot of money, and obviously the death toll would be decreased by almost any measure,” Satvir said. 

Back in the fall of 2018, after spending a few summers doing scientific research, Satvir and Harsimran said they noticed what others are now starting to see: scientific innovation doesn’t move as fast as it could. Due to a variety of barriers regarding collaborations, including financial and accessibility roadblocks, there is too often excessive red tape standing in the way of scientific discovery. 

“It typically takes 17 years for data on a lab bench to go to being an actual clinical therapy,” Harsimran said. “And, you know, where will we all be in 17 years? How about the oldest people we know? And then it also takes on average $2 billion. … If we can reduce these barriers, there’s a pretty good chance that we could speed up how quickly we get good medical care. I think everyone is realizing the importance of that.” 

That necessity for speed is the basis behind the Kalsis’ new tech start-up. After two years of development, entrepreneurship classes, and recruiting potential users, the brothers are just a few months away from the launch of their new platform, designed to facilitate access to scientific expertise and equipment and to streamline collaboration and communication between scientists. 

Through their website, users, including academic institutions, citizen scientists, and early-stage biotechnology and biopharmacology companies, will be able to work together in their research and experiments, potentially leading to faster and easier scientific discovery. With users from a variety of different fields of industry and academia, individuals and organizations can use the platform to find collaborators for research and to access otherwise expensive and hard-to-get equipment, making the field of science more accessible for more people. 

Although the website will initially be limited to pre-selected and approved users, if all goes well the plan is to expand and make the platform available to the public, facilitating further scientific innovation and discovery. 

“If it works out really well, it’s not only valuable, but it’s actually a catalyst for scientific discovery,” Satvir said. “. . . It’s causing us to discover new things very quickly and causing us to have new treatments very quickly. That could really change the landscape we deal with today.” 

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Communications office.

Lawrence remembers talents, kindness of retired music professor Dan Sparks

Dan Sparks (Lawrence University archive photo, 1993)

Dan Sparks, a professor in the Lawrence Conservatory of Music from 1962 to 1994, is being remembered for his deep contributions to the Lawrence and Appleton communities, from his musical talents to his willingness to share his wisdom and creativity with others.

He passed away Sept. 4 at age 89.

Sparks was a vital part of the Conservatory for three decades, teaching, mentoring, and, for a time, overseeing Conservatory admissions.

After completing military service in the 29th Army Band as the principal clarinetist and assistant conductor, Sparks started his college teaching career at Jackson State University in Alabama. He then made his way to Lawrence in 1962.

It proved to be an ideal fit, and he would call Lawrence home for the next 32 years.

In addition to teaching clarinet, he taught music theory, form and analysis, and music history. He was a member of the Lawrence Faculty Woodwind Quintet and a founding member of the Fox Valley Symphony. 

“All my memories of Dan, whether in department meetings, casual hallway encounters, or performing chamber works together, are filled with his kindness, his non-judgmental character, his ego-less professionalism, and his thoughtfulness toward everyone around him,” said percussion professor Dane Richeson, who joined the Conservatory faculty in 1984.

Kenneth Bozeman, professor emeritus of voice, said Sparks brought warmth to every interaction.

“Dan was a gentle, patient man, a lovely clarinetist,” Bozeman said. “I never saw Dan riled about anything, though like all of us, he probably had opportunities for that. He was a soothing presence.”

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1931, Sparks fell in love with music and went on to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where he received both his Bachelor of Music Degree in clarinet performance and his Master of Music Degree in clarinet performance and form and analysis. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School of Music, and finished all of the coursework for a Ph.D. in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music. 

Besides being a stellar music instructor, Sparks was known to be an excellent chef and entertainer. His dinner parties were legendary, as were his yearly recitals, billed as Dan Sparks and Friends.

“Dan positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students and colleagues,” said Brian G. Pertl, dean of the Conservatory. “He helped our Conservatory become what it is today.”

Becker returns to Lawrence to teach psychology and neuroscience

Elizabeth Becker ’04

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The newest member of Lawrence University’s Psychology Department faculty is plenty familiar with what makes this place special.

Elizabeth Becker ’04 earned a double degree in psychology and music performance here before going on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The lessons learned and relationships with faculty forged at Lawrence have been a guiding light in my own career as I sought to become the type of teacher that would make LU proud,” Becker said. “It is a true honor to be welcomed home and be part of the Lawrence community.”

Becker steps in as an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, beginning with Monday’s launch of Fall Term.

She is one of two new faculty members, joining Miriam Rodriguez-Guerra, who begins work as an assistant professor of Spanish.

Becker had been teaching at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, where she served as director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program and was the faculty affiliate to the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. As a faculty member of the Psychology Department, she mentored both graduate and undergraduate researchers.

“I’m very excited to bring my program of research here to Lawrence to work with our incredibly talented undergraduate students,” Becker said. “I am dedicated to providing laboratory and professional development opportunities to prepare our students for graduate study.”

It was 20 years ago that Becker landed on the Lawrence campus as a first-year student. She said a matriculation convocation address delivered by then-President Richard Warch ignited a spark, a drive to learn and excel, that continues to this day.

“Starting the term I feel the same sense of excitement and nervousness I felt then,” Becker said. “Back in 2000, when I heard President Warch’s convocation address, that nervousness I felt was replaced with passion, admiration, and inspiration. I knew I was home. Indeed, my time at Lawrence was transformative and personally defining as I was pushed and challenged to be and live greater.” 

The Warch address touched on the importance of community, something that resonates even deeper this year as Fall Term begins amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Becker said.

“Not all institutions of higher learning will address this challenge well, but I can guarantee we will,” she said. “In my preparation for fall, which will be online, I have worked hard to ensure a high level of engagement with the material as well as with each other — including social distance walks — because I espouse the philosophy of President Warch, that ‘liberal education is best conducted as a personal experience.’ I am so happy to be home.”

Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine G. Kodat said bringing Becker back to Lawrence is a huge win for a department that continues to serve one of the largest numbers of majors at Lawrence.

“As an alumna and double-degree graduate, she appreciates all the things that make Lawrence special,” Kodat said. “I am delighted to welcome her back to her alma mater.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

All campus buildings to remain closed to public for duration of Fall Term

Signage around campus provides reminders of the safety protocols that are in place.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

In light of ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Lawrence University buildings will remain closed to the public for the duration of Fall Term, which began Monday and runs through Nov. 24.

The campus buildings have been closed to the public since mid-March, when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

For Fall Term, the Warch Campus Center, Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center, and the Seeley G. Mudd Library, among other facilities, will be available only to Lawrence students, faculty, and staff, the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team announced. No public events will be held on campus as the University focuses on protecting the health of the Lawrence community and beyond.

Library resources will continue to be accessible online.

Lawrence has about 850 students, or 60% of its student body, living on campus for Fall Term. The remaining students have opted to access the term remotely. Most classes are being delivered virtually, with select classes being held in person with physical distancing protocols in place.

All students, faculty, and staff who are on campus have signed a Lawrence Campus Community Pledge, in which they have agreed to follow protocols that have been put in place, including wearing a mask, adhering to the 6-feet distancing rule, avoiding large gatherings, and doing daily checks for symptoms.

Anyone who will be on campus also has been required to get a COVID-19 test, administered on campus by Bellin Health. Additional testing will be done throughout the term.

The protocols also apply to any approved contractors on campus.

The rise in community spread numbers in Appleton over the past few weeks adds further emphasis to the need to be vigilant about safety-minded behaviors and interactions.

For more details on Fall Term, visit Planning for Fall 2020 on the Lawrence web site.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Lawrence on U.S. News’ Best Colleges list; earns high marks for value

Lawrence University (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is ranked among the top colleges in the nation in a report released Monday by U.S. News & World Report.

The annual rankings place Lawrence as the No. 36 Best Value among national liberal arts colleges and the No. 63 liberal arts college overall. The Best Value ranking comes as Lawrence’s Full Speed to Full Need (FSFN) financial aid initiative has pushed past its initial $85 million fund-raising goal.

“We appreciate that U.S. News has recognized Lawrence University as a Best Value college,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication. “Thanks to the generosity of the Lawrence community all over the world, we have been able to build a financial aid endowment to ensure that lower- and middle-income families can afford a top-notch college experience like the one we offer.”

To be considered for U.S. News’ Best Value Schools listing, a school first had to be ranked among the Best Colleges in the nation. Those qualifying schools were then examined on the basis of net cost of attendance and available need-based financial aid.

“By design, the Best Value Schools rankings place significant emphasis on affordability for students who may be eligible for need-based aid,” U.S. News & World Report said in its release of the rankings. “The 2021 edition introduced a new ranking indicator, contributing 20% toward a college or university’s Best Value Schools rank, which incorporates the proportion of need-based aid in the form of grants and scholarships.”

Lawrence’s Full Speed to Full Need fund, part of the $220 million Be the Light! Campaign, is a key effort to make sure the University is accessible to academically qualifying students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The FSFN fund surpassed the $85 million mark earlier this year, drawn from more than 1,200 donors.

The University is working to reach full-need status, meaning it will have the resources to cover 100% of every student’s demonstrated need after other financial aid packages are factored in. Launched in 2014, the ambitious effort would make Lawrence one of fewer than 70 universities nationwide designated as full-need institutions.

The average debt of Lawrence’s graduating seniors has declined by $5,000 since the campaign began even as the University’s comprehensive fee has increased. This lower average debt at graduation is in contrast to rising debt numbers nationally.

“The way in which this community has rallied around that strategic priority to provide more financial resources for students has been breathtaking in terms of the number of donors, the amounts of gifts, the pace in which we’ve been raising money,” Cal Husmann, vice president for alumni and development, said at the time the goal was reached. “It has resonated with this constituency unlike any other philanthropic priority.”

The U.S. News rankings follow an announcement in August that the Princeton Review has named Lawrence to its Best 386 Colleges for 2021 list, which included placing Lawrence at No. 3 on its Best Impact Schools list.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Luminaries light up Main Hall entrance to welcome new students to Lawrence

Luminaries line the walkway and steps in front of Main Hall Sunday night. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The light that glowed from the steps and walkway in front of Main Hall on Sunday night sent a welcoming message to the more than 400 first-year and transfer students who will be beginning their studies at Lawrence University today.

In a reimagining of the traditional presidential handshake, the students made their way to the president’s house, where President Mark Burstein greeted each one on the lawn – masks on, from 6 feet apart – welcoming them to Lawrence and presenting them with a luminary. The students then brought the luminary to the front of Main Hall, placing it with those of their classmates.

Welcome Week greets first-year students. Read more here.

“Bring Your Light” was the theme. With safety protocols in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the presidential handshake ceremony that usually happens the night before classes begin could not take place in its usual way. Thus, it was reimagined in a way that still allowed each first-year student to be personally welcomed by the president.

“It’s an incredibly important moment in the student experience,” Burstein said. “It gave me a chance to talk with every first-year student.”

The process began before the sun went down, but by the time the more than 400 luminaries were in place, the lights were glowing in the dark, lighting the way into a new journey.

Eighty-six luminaries were placed on the Main Hall steps to represent the first-year students who opted to study remotely during Fall Term. The students who are on campus then walked with their luminaries from the president’s house, traversing campus before placing them along the sidewalk leading from the steps.

Perhaps a new tradition was born.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

President Burstein announces plan to leave Lawrence at end of academic year

President Mark Burstein

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Mark Burstein, president of Lawrence University since 2013, will leave the post at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, he announced Friday in a letter to the Lawrence community.

Burstein called his time at Lawrence the “greatest honor and pleasure of my professional life,” and said he made the difficult decision to leave for family reasons. He and his husband, David Calle, will return to the East Coast to be near their parents.

He is the 16th president in Lawrence’s history, which dates back to its founding in 1847. He has overseen notable changes over the past seven years, including significantly lowering student loan debt for graduating students through the Full Speed to Full Need initiative, fostering a more diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded campus culture, and launching or enhancing curricular programs in, among other areas, data science, musical arts, neuroscience, and global studies. The University’s endowment has grown by 70% during his tenure thanks in part to the ambitious $220 million Be the Light! Campaign, which launched six years ago and is on track to reach its fund-raising goal before the campaign concludes in December.

Burstein is beginning his eighth and final year at Lawrence with the start of Fall Term on Monday. He said he will “serve as your president for this academic year with all of my focus and energy” before stepping away on June 30. 

“With the end of our strategic plan in sight and the completion of the Be the Light! Campaign this December, it seems like an appropriate juncture in the arc of the University to prepare for new leadership,” Burstein said in his message. “The pandemic has also made it difficult for David and me to keep connected to our parents during an important period in their lives.”

David C. Blowers ’82, chair of the Lawrence University Board of Trustees, praised Burstein for his “deft and compassionate leadership” and said his work over the past seven years has positioned Lawrence well to succeed amid the many challenges facing higher education in the coming years.

“During Mark’s tenure, our curricular offerings became deeper and broader, applications and the endowment increased dramatically, and our community became more diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded,” Blowers said in a message to the Lawrence community. “Thanks to his dedication and service, Lawrence is well positioned for the future.”

A national search for a new president will begin immediately, Blowers said. A Presidential Search Committee will be formed, with membership from trustees, alumni, faculty, students, and staff. A national search firm will be selected to assist with the search.

“We expect to select a search firm shortly and have every expectation that we will select a new president during the Winter Term,” Blowers said.

The Presidential Search Committee will launch a web page shortly to provide updates and solicit input from the Lawrence community.

“In these moments of transition, it is important to find time to celebrate our progress and imagine our future,” Blowers said. “I hope the entire University community will join us in both activities.”

While Burstein’s focus now is on launching the Fall Term during these unprecedented times, he said there will be plenty of opportunity for celebration and reflection as the year goes on.

“We have accomplished so much together: launching new curriculum and teaching methods; renewing campus infrastructure; and deepening our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity,” he said. “I have had the privilege of participating in the lives of smart and caring students. Our endowment has grown more than 70%, which has helped us make Lawrence more affordable and decreased the average debt of our graduates. Many talented faculty and staff have joined us with their energy, insights, and new ideas. You have welcomed David, Homer, and me into this beloved learning community with open arms. We have established friendships that will endure for the rest of our lives.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email:

Quarantine cookbook: Lawrence students share their summertime favorites

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

If you have spent any time online or on social media during our time in quarantine, you have seen the many ways people are sharpening their skills in the kitchen.

Lawrence University students are no exception. From learning how to bake bread to getting creative with instant noodles, lots of students have used this extra time at home to beef up their cooking repertoire. We caught up with some of those Lawrentians and asked them to share a recipe.

If you’re a Lawrence student who has done some culinary exploration during this summer in the pandemic, share your story and a recipe with us. We’ll add it to this Lawrence quarantine cookbook. Send story, recipe, and photo to

In the meantime, sample these recipes submitted by your classmates.

Sierra J. Johnson ’22: Creamy Broccoli Vegan Pasta

Sierra J. Johnson ’22

Johnson stumbled across this dish online while looking for some healthy recipes to make this summer.  

“When I first made the vegan dish, I was surprised because I’m not the best cook at all,” Johnson said. “I’ll probably burn down a kitchen. It was an easy step-by-step recipe and took approximately 45 minutes to make. I was searching the best healthy recipes on Google and I came across Creamy Broccoli Vegan Pasta. Anything pasta is my favorite type of dish.” 

For Johnson, this dish was a simple way to eat something that was not only healthy but also delicious. 

“The importance of this dish [to me] is how to eat healthy but not hate the food,” Johnson said. “In general, when you hear the word ‘healthy’ it doesn’t sound tasty at all.”   

I’ll say this dish sounds very tasty!  

Here are Johnson’s instructions to making the dish: 

What you will need (all amounts to taste and based on how much you are making):  Pasta; olive oil; garlic; salt; pepper; onions; vegetable broth; chili flakes (My little sister recommends adding lemon and honey). 

1. Bring water to boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box.  

2. You can use either frozen or fresh broccoli. I used frozen and put it into a pan with olive oil. Cover the pan with a lid.  

3. Peel and dice the onion and garlic. Once you are finished, put them in the pan with the broccoli.  

4. Pour in the vegan cream cheese and vegetable broth. Don’t let the mixture get watery.  

5. Once ready, drain the pasta and add the broccoli cream cheese mix. Cook the creamy pasta for about 5 to 10 minutes.  

6. Add salt and pepper and chili flakes for more flavor.  

7. Dig in!

Alli Boshell ’21: Gluten-Free Pancakes 

Alli Boshell ’21

Boshell first made her gluten-free pancakes in the spring, but she has been making pancakes since she was little.  

“It came out too thick the first time because I followed the original recipe that was not written for gluten-free flour, so I made my own adjustments,” said Boshell. “I taught myself how to make it since I had to rewrite it.” 

After a few test trials, Boshell finally came up with the perfect gluten-free pancake recipe!  

“I make these pancakes for those days that I need that extra bit of something for emotional support. I call them ‘emotional support pancakes,’” said Boshell.  

I think, we can all use some emotional support pancakes. 

Here are Boshell’s instructions to her recipe: 

What you will need (adjust amounts based on how much you are making): 1/3 cup gluten-free flour; 1-1 1/2 cups of milk (any kind works); 1-2 eggs (depends on the texture you want); dash of salt; 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup (Boshell recommends adding cinnamon, bananas, vanilla extract, or cocoa powder).

  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Scoop out batter and place into buttered pan and fry. I usually make them as thin as possible.  
  3. Serve 5-8 thin pancakes layered with butter. Top with maple syrup, and lemon.  

*Optional you can garnish with fruit of choice, and/or yogurt. 

Adjedmaa Ali ’22: Kale Salad 

Adjedmaa Ali ’22

Ali made this recipe for the first time this summer during quarantine. 

“I made this dish for the first time about two or three weeks ago! It was my own little summer quarantine creation,” said Ali. “[When I first made this dish] it was the bomb! I had been planning to make this recipe for two weeks prior so that each ingredient was just the way I liked it.” 

Ali first found the foundation of her recipe in a YouTube video, but since then she has tweaked the recipe to make it all her own! 

“I am super proud of myself because this is the first vegan recipe that I created myself,” said Ali.  “Making this dish made me feel like I was going to be able to continue this journey as a vegan and be successful at it.”  

Here are Ali’s instructions to her recipe: 

What you will need (adjust to taste): Kale; garbanzo beans; extra firm tofu; tahini; lemon; olive oil; avocados.   

  1. Cover your kale with lemon juice and set aside for 30 mins. (the lemon juice helps break down the kale to make it not so tough and easier to chew)  
  2. Drain your tofu and pat dry (you want it as dry as possible so that it can hold its shape in the pan)  
  3. Slice tofu into cubes and set aside. 
  4. In a bowl mix together the Tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Make enough to cover the tofu and your salad. (I like the consistency to be similar to pancake mix, so that it can stick to the tofu, while not being too thick.) Feel free to add more lemon juice or water.  
  5. Cover tofu cubes in the tahini sauce and put on the skillet.  
  6. Cook until golden brown on both sides. 
  7. While all that is going on, strain your garbanzo beans and put them on a baking tray.  
  8. Cover in whatever seasonings you like. (I used paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of Lawry’s seasoned salt.)  
  9. Pop the seasoned garbanzo beans into the oven for 20 mins (if you’re new to this like me, don’t be afraid when they start popping in the oven, it’s normal.)  
  10. Once all of that is done, it’s time to assemble!  
  11. It doesn’t matter what order it’s in, but this is how I did it: Kale, tofu, garbanzo beans, sliced avocado, tahini sauce/dressing.

Maria Poimenidou ’20: Moussaka 

Maria Poimenidou ’20

Moussaka is an eggplant or potato-based dish that originated in the Balkans and Middle Eastern regions. This dish has different variations based on region. Greece is part of the Balkans region and moussaka is one of their staple comfort foods. Poimenidou is from Greece and grew up eating moussaka. 

“Moussaka has been something that both my grandmas and mom would always make and as a kid I would try to help out with,” Poimenidou said. “The first time I actually made it myself was freshman year of college. I was missing home and wanted to have an authentic taste of it, so I just followed my mom’s recipe, and it was not as hard as I had thought.” 

Poimenidou learned how to make this recipe by watching her mom and grandmother prepare it many times. But when Poimenidou first made the dish, it did not come out as perfect as her mother’s. This did not discourage her, however, and she kept trying. 

“I always used to think that ‘if you can read, you can cook’,” Poimenidou said. “But the first time I made [moussaka] it was not as perfect as my mom’s. It takes practice to nail it exactly how you want it, and each time I’ve made it since, I have tweaked it and added things to make it mine.” 

Poimenidou would make this recipe for herself and people in her life when she was far away from home and felt homesick.  

“This recipe, along with many other Greek traditional dishes, are a taste from home,” Poim-enidou said. “Being far away from Greece and my family is hard even when I am surrounded by my amazing friends. Sometimes I get homesick and I crave homemade (mom-made) food. [These dishes] not only make me happy and less homesick, but I also love sharing my culture and giving [my friends] a taste of my home.” 

Here are Poimenidou’s instructions to her moussaka: 

What you’ll need: 4.5 lbs eggplants (sometimes I will add half of the eggplants and substitute it with potatoes and zucchini); 1 cup of Kefalotiri cheese (or any hard-white sheep’s or goat cheese); extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper.

For the second meat layer: 1.7 lbs ground beef; 1 onion; 3 globes of garlic; 2 lbs tomatoes; pinch of sugar; 3 bay leaves; 1 cinnamon stick.

For the third layer (bechamel sauce): 5 oz butter; 5 oz flour; 3.1 lb of milk; 1 onion; 2 garlic cloves; a pinch of nutmeg; 2 eggs; salt and pepper.

Layer 1 (The vegetables):

  1. Cut veggies into half inch slices and spread out into a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  2.  Bake at 390F for 10 minutes. 

Layer 2 (The Meat):

  1. In a pot, add the beef and let it brown for a couple of minutes.  
  2. To the beef, add onions and garlic and let them soften.  
  3. After another 5 minutes, add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, chopped-up tomatoes, sugar and pepper and salt to taste.  
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick after 5 minutes and let everything cook and for the sauce to thicken. Wait for most of the liquid to evaporate, about another 20 minutes. 

Layer 3 (Bechamel Sauce): 

  1. Heat the milk in a small pot and add the whole onion sliced and cloves but do not boil! 
  2. In a different pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Let the flour cook for about 2 minutes.  
  3. To the butter and flour mixture slowly add the warm milk (remove the onion and garlic cloves) and whisk little at a time with the butter and flour. 
  4. Keep whisking until you have a smooth sauce and then add the nutmeg salt and pepper. Wait for it to thicken for 6 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and add one egg at a time shaking vigorously. 

*Add some of this sauce into the ground beef mixture. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking pan and sprinkle in some breadcrumbs. 
  3. Put half of the roasted eggplants down as a layer; place half of the cheese on top of them.  
  4. Then layer that with half of the ground beef mixture, a layer of the remaining veggies, a layer of the remaining ground beef and the remaining cheese, in alternating layers. 
  5. Finish with the bechamel cream.  
  6. Place pan in the oven and cook on the lower rack for 50 minutes until the top is golden brown.  
  7. Let it cool and then enjoy. 

Meralis N. Alvarez-Morales ’22: Shrimp Pasta   

Meralis N. Alvarez-Morales ’22

Alvarez-Morales was a little hesitant to share her secret pasta recipe at first, but after a little begging I got her to grace us with her recipe. I can say this recipe does not disappoint. What more is there to say other than shrimp and pasta. 

Here are Alvarez-Morales’s instructions to her shrimp pasta: 

What you’ll need:  Get your favorite box of pasta! My fave is Farfalle or Rotini; basil; cream base (coconut milk, almond milk, or evaporated milk); tomato base (powder or freshly chopped and pureed tomatoes); pesto (I love the red pesto); ricotta; a protein (mushrooms, shrimp, or chicken).

  1. Boil pasta! You can pre boil the water (make sure you have enough water so that it covers your pasta); add salt and olive oil (about a tbsp of each). This takes about 8-12 minutes.
  2. To a saucepan add 2 cups of your choice of milk/cream base.
  3. To the same saucepan add basil (fresh or dried), as much as you like.
  4. Add tomato base (powder or fresh tomatoes), as much as you like.
  5. Add pesto (1 tbsp or as much as you like).
  6. Add your protein.
  7. Leave on a medium-low simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Stir these ingredients together in the sauce pan and continue to add seasoning to taste; make sure you are periodically checking in on your sauce and pasta so as to not burn or overcook anything.
  9. Once the pasta and sauce are done, combine the two. Mix in your pasta and some ricotta cheese.
  10. Plate and eat up.

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communication office.