Category: Alumni

Sustainability is personal: Let’s all embrace 50th anniversary of Earth Day

Kelsey McCormick, Lawrence’s sustainability coordinator, poses for a photo overlooking the SLUG garden. To honor Earth Day, Lawrence’s Sustainability Steering Committee will host a live documentary screening of Once Was Water at 6 p.m. CDT April 22. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

By Kelsey McCormick / Sustainability Coordinator

When I was young, my siblings and I spent many weekend mornings on walks or bike rides with our dad. I assume it was to get us out of the house and burn off energy. I never would have guessed that years later I would be able to so clearly remember Dad picking up a leaf or a pine cone and telling us which tree it came from. I would be awestruck. He taught me that each tree had its own identity and purpose. There was something I deeply respected about that.

Wednesday (April 22) is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day marks the birth of the modern environmental movement and is usually a day for people to gather together to show appreciation for the planet and demand that we treat it with care. As I was lamenting the loss of our on-campus Earth Day celebration, I asked myself, “How can I take advantage of this opportunity and encourage Lawrentians to celebrate Earth Day at home?” Then I thought, maybe celebrating Earth Day at home was meant to be.

Sustainability conferences often begin with the same ice-breaker question. “How did you become interested in sustainability?” Many responses follow a similar theme to mine. Summers in a little fishing boat with Grandpa, helping Mom plant the backyard garden, late nights catching fireflies with neighborhood friends. Maybe it’s corny, but many of us seem to have strong emotional connections to the natural spaces where we live or have created fond memories. Sustainability is local. Sustainability is personal. 

This made me perk up. Even though we cannot celebrate together, maybe we can still celebrate Earth Day in a way that is personal and meaningful to each of us.

In a nod to Earth Day, we also share this video that showcases the Fox River and trails near the Lawrence campus:

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are seven ways that you can celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day from wherever you call home. 

1. Participate in a remote Earth Day documentary screening with the LU community

With assistance from Bullfrog Films, Lawrence’s Sustainability Steering Committee will be hosting a live documentary screening of Once was Water at 6 p.m. CDT on April 22. Tune in to watch the film along with the committee members and fellow Lawrentians. A live chat feature will be available during the film. The film will be available for 24 hours after the initial screening for those who are unable to watch at that time. We hope the film will inspire and spark conversation about resource use in your own community. The link to the screening is here: The video password is 0wW2!21U

(Here’s a message from Bullfrog Films: To watch the film, viewers must sign up with email (and sign in) or just sign in with Facebook or Twitter to access the screening room, and then enter the video password. If signing up with email, we recommend that viewers do this in advance of the screening. See our How To for details. We also recommend copying and pasting the password. We will open the screening room 30 minutes before screen time so viewers can chat.)

2. Follow Lawrence’s green-living guidelines at home

Many of the credits in the Green Room Certification from Lawrence’s Office of Residential Education and Housing can be applied at home. See how many of these green-living strategies you can add to your regular routine. Bonus points if you can get your family members or roommates to play along. Access to the Green Room Certification is here (a Lawrence login is required to access the link).

3. Refine your SLUG skills in a backyard garden

The produce grown in SLUG is sold to Bon Appetit to be served in Andrew Commons. If you can’t tinker in the campus garden, try growing your own fruits or veggies and serving them in your own meals. If you don’t have a yard, that’s OK. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, spinach, lettuce, and many others will do well in pots on a balcony or patio. 

4. Become an ally for pollinators

Pollinators play an especially important role in welcoming spring. Did you know 90% of flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce? Lawrence is recognized as a Bee Campus USA and demonstrates its commitment to bees and pollinators by including native plantings and “bee hotels” on campus. You can create your own little refuge for bees by planting native flowering plants at home. No yard space necessary. Try installing a window box and enjoy the buzz of activity you will see outside.

5. Pick up one of Lawrence’s sustainability must-reads

Read what the faculty in this year’s Sustainability Institute are reading. Try Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World by Marcia Bjornerud, the Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Sciences and professor of geology at Lawrence. Or check out The Two-Mile Time Machine by Richard Alley. Interested in trying a thought-provoking novel? The Overstory by Richard Powers will spark conversation. Looking for something more philosophical? A Sand County Almanac details Aldo Leopold’s observations and feelings regarding wildlife conservation based on his personal restoration project in southwest Wisconsin.

6. Support your local economy 

Many of the small businesses that make your community special are likely closed or operating in limited capacities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Support those businesses by placing carry-out orders or purchasing gift cards to use later. Non-financial options of support include leaving a positive review online or sharing their business page on social media.

7. Reduce personal waste

Be conscious of product packaging and be aware of single-use items. Have you ever noticed that many of the items in your trash or recycling bin are just the containers your items came in? Take a peek. … Both bar soap and shampoo bars can be found in simple cardboard packaging as opposed to plastic. Consider investing in reusable snack bags as opposed to the single-use film ones. Some of these options may even save you money in the long run.

Kelsey McCormick is a project specialist/sustainability coordinator on the president’s staff at Lawrence University.

Lawrence experience inspires, informs Madhuri Vijay’s path to “The Far Field”

Portrait of Madhuri Vijay
Madhuri Vijay ’09 has earned critical praise for her debut novel, “The Far Field,” including being long-listed as a semifinalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. The 24 semifinalists will be narrowed to six on Nov. 4. (Photo courtesy of Manvi Rao)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Madhuri Vijay ’09 was taken aback by the critical praise that accompanied the January arrival of her debut novel, The Far Field.

Now, nine months and a multi-continent book tour later, comes the announcement that her novel, published by Grove Press, has been long-listed for the prestigious 2020 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, a literary honor that could push her visibility to new heights.

“The whole thing feels somewhat surreal and a bit like a dream,” Vijay said by phone from her home in Hawaii, where she and her husband are preparing for the imminent arrival of their first child. “It’s always hard to take (the honors) seriously because it always seems like someone is going to call and say, this has all been a big mistake.”

That is not going to happen.

Ten years removed from her days as a Lawrence University undergrad, Vijay has arrived as a significant young novelist. The Far Field has been short-listed for the JCB Prize for Literature, long-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and has drawn stellar praise in book reviews from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, and others. On Nov. 4, the 24 books long-listed for the Carnegie medal in the fiction category will be narrowed to six finalists.

Along with accolades from the literary awards circuit comes much admiration from faculty members at Lawrence who nurtured Vijay’s storytelling skills a decade ago, not to mention current students who see her as a rock star in the making.

“When Madhuri visited my creative writing class last winter — she read at LU on the day her novel was officially released — my students saw her as a kind of superhero: glamorous and whip-smart and on the verge of international fame,” said professor of English David McGlynn. “But they only glimpsed the end result of an awful lot of work and an endless amount of dedication and determination.”

The publishing of The Far Field came after a six-year writing and editing process that Vijay called grueling, exhausting, and exhilarating. The book, set mostly in Bangalore, a metropolitan area in southern India where Vijay grew up, and the more remote, mountainous regions of Kashmir, tells the story of Shalini, a restless young woman, newly graduated from college and reeling from her mother’s death, who sets out from her privileged life in Bangalore in search of a family acquaintance from her childhood. She runs smack into the unsettled and volatile politics of Kashmir.

When Vijay launched her book tour early this year, Lawrence was an important stop. She points to her time as a student here as the impetus to a life of writing. She will tell you she arrived in the fall of 2005 as a determined but narrowly focused freshman. She’ll then tell you she left four years later having explored, sampled, and embraced every nook and cranny of the liberal arts experience, a creative enlightenment that rerouted her plans, turned her focus to fiction writing, and led her to the story that became The Far Field.

She double-majored in psychology and English at Lawrence, but it wasn’t until she was midway through a 12-month Watson Fellowship following graduation that she called off her plans to go to graduate school for psychology, applying instead to the Iowa Writers Workshop, a highly focused two-year writing residency at the University of Iowa.

Details on Lawrence’s English major here

“Lawrence itself was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Vijay said. “I grew up in India, and our system of learning is in some ways very good because it’s very thorough and it’s science-based and it’s very rigorous, but it doesn’t allow for a lot of experimentation and play.

“So, when I got to Lawrence, I was overjoyed to discover that I could just dabble in all of these different things. I would take biology and Latin and I would sing in the choir and I would do all of these different things, which is the foundation of a liberal arts education. But it’s also, as I see it now, the foundation for being a good fiction writer, in that you have to be interested in everything all of the time and that nothing is divorced from the other thing. … Everything is worthy of study and everything is worthy of interest. That’s the thing I discovered at Lawrence.”

McGlynn was in his first year on the Lawrence faculty in 2006 when he first encountered Vijay, then a sophomore in his English 360 class. He recalled her being smart, poised and articulate, but her writing was far from polished.

“Her writing showed promise, but it also needed to be refined and to mature,” he said.

What made her stand out, though, was a willingness to work. That was evident from the get-go.

“She recognized her intellectual capacity, but she also knew capacity was only the beginning,” McGlynn said. “She knew she needed to work. She knew she needed to walk the path. That, more than anything, was her great gift. She remains one of the most dedicated and passionate students I have ever taught in my 13 years at Lawrence.”

With additional guidance from Tim Spurgin, the Bonnie Glidden Buchanan Professor of English Literature and associate professor of English, Vijay applied to and was selected for a Watson Fellowship, funding a year of travel and study. Her Watson study was focused on people from India living in foreign lands. Her travels took her to South Africa, Malaysia, and Tanzania, among other places, and her desire to write and create grew along the away.

Details on the Watson Fellowship here

“Being on the Watson means you are alone for a year,” Vijay said. “You’re absolutely independent in that nobody is looking over your shoulder. You either do the work or you don’t, which, in a nutshell, is what it means to be a writer. No one is waiting for you to produce anything. You either do the work or you don’t. All the urgency has to come from you, and it’s a lonely profession.”

Interestingly, it was during her Watson year that she first encountered Shalini and some of the other fictional characters that would eventually become key players in The Far Field. And it was her continued correspondence with McGlynn that in part set the wheels in motion.

“I wrote a short story during the Watson that had some of these same characters in it,” Vijay said. “It was very bad. But David McGlynn read it. He is one of the few people I trust to read even my worst writing. He was the one who literally suggested, ‘Why don’t you make this a novel?’ So, I wrote about 30 pages, and that’s how I got to Iowa, on the strength of those 30 pages. But it was a very different version. It had nothing to do with the book that eventually got published.

“After I got into Iowa, I didn’t touch those 30 pages, and I didn’t think about those characters for two years. It was only after Iowa when I was thinking about what to do next that I began thinking about those characters again. … If David hadn’t said that to me, I probably wouldn’t have written this book. I may have written something different, but not this book.”

Vijay is now a year into a follow-up book project that she says has yet to fully take shape. She knows the positive reaction to The Far Field assures nothing. It’s about continuing to put in the work.

“There is no point where you arrive at some sort of certainty where you say, ‘OK, this is a guarantee,’” she said of her life as a novelist. “Every single day feels like a gamble, feels like a risk, feels like you could fall at any given moment. That point (of certainty) hasn’t arrived, and I don’t think it ever will. And I don’t think it ever should. … You should always feel like you might fall flat on your face. That is the only way to do it honestly.”

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

Lawrence alum shares ‘Window’ view in global journey with secretary of state

Glen Johnson ’85 (right) traveled the world
from 2013 to 2017 with U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry. A new book details
his deep dive into international diplomacy.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Glen Johnson ’85

When Glen Johnson ’85 first set foot on the Lawrence University campus in the fall of 1981, he was singularly focused on forging a career as a journalist.

He had opted not to attend a school with an established journalism program, preferring instead a liberal arts education that would give him the broad-ranging intellectual tools needed to pursue journalism while also prepping him for life’s unknown adventures.

Nearly three decades later, still fully engaged in a journalism career that had taken him to the Boston Globe and included coverage of five presidential campaigns, Johnson would find himself staring down one of those unknown adventures. John Kerry, freshly tabbed by President Barack Obama to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, reached out to Johnson in early 2013 with an unexpected offer — join his team as the senior communications advisor.

Johnson accepted, and he would be by Kerry’s side for the next four years, traveling to 91 countries and all seven continents, getting an up-close look at diplomacy at the highest levels and gaining perspective on world affairs that he said was both encouraging and daunting.

More information on the book can be found at

His experiences are now shared in his new book, Window Seat on the World, published this summer by Disruption Books. It’s garnering significant attention, in large part because of the vast differences in diplomatic style between that of Kerry and the Obama administration and that of President Donald Trump and his administration. Johnson hopes the book will shed new light on diplomacy, its opportunities and its challenges, and provide a guide for those interested in a career in diplomatic service.

As Johnson makes the rounds of media interviews and book fairs, he hasn’t been shy about singing the praises of the liberal arts education he got at Lawrence and how that gave him a base on which to build a journalism career and then deftly shift into his role with Kerry.

“I came to Lawrence with the full expectation of being a reporter,” Johnson said. “I was fascinated by it.”

He majored in government at Lawrence, drew inspiration and insight from talented English professors and studied abroad in London for two trimesters.

“When I came out, I climbed the proverbial ladder rung by rung to develop myself as a reporter, from small newspapers to the world’s largest news organization in the AP, and then to the largest newspaper in the part of the country where I lived, the Boston Globe,” Johnson said.

“When I got this call from John Kerry offering the position at the State Department, it was a huge life decision, to change careers from the only one I’d ever done or ever really wanted to do. I thought about where I was personally, sort of mid-life with my younger kid about to graduate from college, and feeling like if I wanted to pursue a second act, now is probably the time.

“And then the specifics of the opportunity, the chance to have a high-level position with a top Cabinet officer and to see the world at his side. … If there was anything worth leaving the only career I ever had known, it was for something I considered to be the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Glen Johnson ’85 took more than 100,000 photos during his time with Secretary of State John Kerry, including this one of Kerry meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the four years that would follow, Johnson would spend the equivalent of four months on an airplane, logging enough mileage to take him and Kerry around the world 57 times. In addition to being Kerry’s lead communications officer, Johnson became the traveling contingent’s primary photographer, shooting more than 100,000 photos, many of which are featured in the book and are part of his public presentations about the book.

He had a front row seat for Middle East peace talks, Iran nuclear negotiations, and government transitions in Afghanistan and Nigeria. He witnessed the difficult diplomacy that comes with interactions with China and Russia. And he got a bird’s-eye look — and unsettling lessons — in the perils of climate change and their global ramifications. All of that is explored in the book.

“I wanted to deal with topics that really struck me and I thought had resonance and would continue to have resonance,” Johnson said.

It was climate change, and the stark reality of what’s at stake, that may have struck the rawest nerve, he said. And it came as perhaps his biggest surprise.

“At first I thought that was a strange thing for us to focus on,” Johnson said. “I knew John Kerry to be an environmentalist, but I thought it was almost a strange thing for a secretary of state to focus on when we first started. But not too long into this job, I realized it made sense because it was a problem that by definition transcended borders and was global in scope.

“And then the blessing of the job was to have the ability to travel the way we could. We ended up going almost to the North Pole, going almost to the South Pole. We saw above the Arctic Circle. We saw Antarctica. We saw all these places around the middle of the Earth. The effects of climate change were so readily apparent that you could see the effects of them on diplomacy. We have the potential now for issues with migration sparked by climate change, we have the potential for water wars between the haves and the have-nots.”

United States Secretary of State John Kerry flies in an Embassy Air Chinook helicopter from Kabul International Airport to ISAF headquarters in Afghanistan in April 2016. Glen Johnson ’85, who took the photo, says visits to Kabul and Baghdad were the two trips he and Kerry never told their families they were making.

Johnson minces no words about the abrupt change in attitude and message regarding climate change that came with the transition to the Trump presidency. He expresses other frustrations on topics of shifting diplomacy and approach, but the climate change conversation cuts particularly deep because of what he saw with his own eyes.

“It’s tremendously alarming and it’s frustrating and exasperating,” Johnson said. “I have zero patience for climate deniers because there is no factual basis for that belief. There are reams of empirical data and there is so much you can see first-hand to rebut that. The debate can’t be about whether climate change is occurring. The debate has to be focused on what to do to address it.

“If you have someone in office who talks about it as being a hoax and that kind of thing, you just can’t take someone like that seriously. And especially someone who has the opportunities that we had at the State Department, and that is to travel the world to see it first-hand. You don’t have to take someone else’s word for it. You don’t have to take 97 percent of peer-reviewed scientific studies on the topic. You can get on a plane and you can go to Svalbard yourself or you can go down to McMurdo Station like we did. The current secretary of state or the current president can do all that, and yet they choose not to.”

While the widely different approaches to diplomacy between the Obama and Trump presidencies has drawn much of the media attention surrounding the book, Johnson said he purposely didn’t weave that into the bulk of the book. He saved that for a chapter near the end.

If this were just an Obama vs. Trump comparison, the book would have a short shelf life, Johnson reasoned. He’d rather the book take a deeper run at diplomacy and the call to diplomatic service.

“I wanted the book to stand up beyond these four, or even eight, years of a Trump era,” Johnson said. “I wanted it to be more about institutional lessons of diplomacy as illustrated by a more classical diplomat like John Kerry than an us-versus-them thing.”

The art of State Department diplomacy is a mystery to most Americans, Johnson said, even though it incorporates thousands of employees in offices, posts, embassies and consulates around the world. It’s often the most forward-deployed part of the federal government, more so than the U.S. military in many cases, but most people know little about it.

“I saw this book as a chance to teach about diplomacy, have some case studies about issues that continue on today,” Johnson said. “And then also potentially to serve as a guide to inspire diplomats.”

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

Welcome to Lawrence: Making sense of the Freshman Studies reading list

Freshman Studies is an important piece of the Lawrence experience, and the required reading list is an important part of Freshman Studies.

With all first-year Lawrence University students taking Freshman Studies during their first two terms, and all sessions using the same reading list, students join together in a larger intellectual community, one that ties them not only to their fellow students across campus but also to Lawrentians from generations past.

Since its establishment in 1945, the Freshman Studies syllabus has been continuously revised to introduce a changing student body to the intellectual challenges of a liberal arts education, and to the resulting benefits of the interdisciplinary thinking it embraces.  The coming academic year’s syllabus demonstrates the evolution of this ongoing task.

Learn a little more about Freshman Studies here.

We asked Garth Bond, associate professor of English and director of Freshman Studies, to guide us through the 2019-20 reading list.

Fall term

Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard. This short collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry teaches students to recognize the fullness and precision of meaning in language. Trethewey’s poems meditate on the role that objects — photographs, monuments, diaries — play in shaping our memories and histories. She begins with the personal tragedy of her mother’s murder, then turns to the public history of American racism and the memorialization of the Civil War. The final section revisits personal experience, now reshaped in the light of that public history. All in 75 pages. (Adopted Fall 2015)

Thomas Seeley, Honeybee Democracy. From Trethewey’s poetic reflection on ants making a home on her mother’s grave, students move to a biologist’s study of the most fascinating of social insects: the honeybee swarm. Seeley demonstrates how our understanding of honeybees’ complex communication and social decision-making has developed systematically through the application of the scientific method; but he also reveals the benefits of interdisciplinary thinking by exploring the lessons that honeybee decision-making may have as a model both for human democratic processes and for emerging systems of artificial intelligence. (Adopted Winter 2019)

Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping. The story of two young women growing up under the housekeeping of a series of female relatives following the death of their mother, Robinson’s novel revisits the themes of loss and memory raised by Trethewey while also exploring the human individuality—some of it troubling—that questions the lessons Seeley would draw from the more naturally communal honeybees. Robinson particularly illuminates the impact of unwritten social expectations on women who fail to conform to them, while her unreliable narrator forces students to rethink their initial views of the relationship between society and the individual in the novel. (Adopted Fall 2018)

Plato, The Republic. On the Freshman Studies syllabus since its creation in 1945, Plato’s philosophical consideration of what makes a virtuous individual and political order embodies the practice of liberal education. After discussing the proper nature of philosophical discourse, Socrates develops his arguments in dialogue with his fellows. He poses hard questions about the nature of reality and the potential dangers of democracy that challenge students’ assumptions. Our discussion of these ideas brings current students into a conversation with alumni reaching back over 70 years now, literally embodying the community-building goals of the liberal arts. (Adopted 1945).

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Bruegel’s 16th century painting, which places the mythical Icarus’s tragic crash — having flown too close to the sun — quietly in the background of a contemporary rural landscape, reminds students that images impose the same demands on our attention as poetry, narrative, and scientific or philosophical discourse. It too asks questions about the nature of loss and memory, and of the relationship between the individual and society, but posed in the “language” of images rather than words, helping students to develop the visual literacy required in our increasingly visual culture. (Adopted Fall 2016)

Winter term

The Bhagavad Gita. Having closed the Fall Term with examples of ancient and early modern Western thought, Winter opens by turning to other ancient and medieval traditions. Roughly contemporary with The Republic, this seminal Hindu scripture offers its own account of the good life, one focused on fulfilling one’s duty (or dharma) without attachment to the fruits of one’s actions. Its more poetic philosophical approach offers a probing challenge to the individualism often seen as central to Western thought. (Adopted Winter 2015)

The Arabian Nights. This 14th century collection of traditional Arabian stories forces students to consider the very nature and purpose of storytelling. As a new bride weaves tales each evening to keep her husband and king from killing her in the morning, as he has sworn to do with all of his wives, questions arise about the nature and purposes of storytelling: its relationship to power and to erotic desire, the ulterior motives governing its rhetoric, and the invasive and irresistible pull of curiosity. Far from turning away, this text revels in the fruits of human action, both ripe and rotten. (Adopted Winter 2018)

Tony Kushner, Angels in America. Set in Reagan-era Washington, D.C., this Pulitzer Prize-winning play echoes a number of the magical elements found in The Arabian Nights, but within a realistic depiction of the political and ethical conflicts of the AIDS epidemic emerging especially in the gay community at that time. While the politically diverse characters of Kushner’s script already demand careful attention to the motives and meanings of their actions, recorded versions of different productions allow students to think about the creative acts needed to move from the written page to embodied performance. (Adopted Winter 2020)

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics. Moving from the historical AIDS epidemic to the contemporary battle with global poverty, two developmental economists offer a scientific approach to human action. They advocate putting aside big ideas, like increasing aid or freeing markets, in favor of careful research addressed to small, specific questions. Students see how answering these small questions can also give voice to the human experience of those living on $1 a day. Can narrowly focused action, guided by the scientific method, really outperform our political beliefs and create a quiet revolution in economic and political institutions? (Adopted Winter 2017)

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. Lawrence’s Conservatory of Music is a fundamental part of our university community. This most famous of albums invites all students to explore the complex relationship between planned structure and improvised action at the heart of jazz performance. As a relatively early and deeply influential LP, it further challenges students to think about the processes of memory and meaning at work in permanently recording and revisiting a “live” improvisation, as well as the cultural role and context of jazz music, especially its relationship to African-American identity. (Adopted Winter 2016)

Note to incoming freshmen: Looking for your Freshman Studies books? Domestic students should receive the first book, Native Guard, in late July or early August. International students will receive the book when they arrive on campus.  Students also may visit the online bookstore, Be aware, though, that Freshman Studies sections won’t appear in the bookstore (or on student schedules) until those sections have been created in mid-August.

‘Tonight is perfection’: McKees’ outdoor rink is an Appleton oasis on ice

An aerial view of the ice rink in the McKees' yard.
The McKee ice rink measures more than 100 feet in length and hosts pickup hockey games three times a week.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Welcome to The Venue.

It’s a Tuesday evening in February, and the super snow moon — the biggest, brightest full moon of the year — is hanging over the outdoor ice rink in the Appleton yard of Chuck and Lesley McKee, shining like a beacon on a scene that screams, “This is how we all should embrace our Wisconsin winters.”

The rink, more than 100 feet long and 35 feet wide, is crafted with detail; the ice tended to with care, perfectly smooth on this 20-degree night. A dozen friends and acquaintances, pads on and hockey sticks in hand, ages ranging from 30s to 70s, skate across the rink in a game of pickup hockey, navigating around a large shagbark hickory adorned with lights while firing pucks into mini-sized goals.

“Tonight is perfection,” says Bill Carlson as he scans the scene that unfolds on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons — weather permitting — during the winter. He’s been coming to these makeshift hockey games at the McKee house along Green Bay Road — just a few blocks north of the Lawrence University campus — for 25 years.

“This is called The Venue, and this is the finest athletic facility in the state,” Carlson says with a wink and a smidge of exaggeration. He smiles and gives a nod to Chuck McKee ’68, the architect who has lovingly tended to this winter oasis for nearly three decades.

The McKees are alumni of Lawrence — both 1968 graduates — and are longtime friends and supporters of the school. Chuck, who retired three years ago after a long career as an Appleton physician, was a football star for the Vikings in the 1960s. He was a captain on the 1967 team that went undefeated and was inducted into the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame two years ago. Individually, he was a charter member of the Hall of Fame in 1996.

The McKees have stayed closely connected to Lawrence through the years, attending shows and games, serving on boards. Chuck once served as director of the wellness center on campus and assisted as a doctor for LU athletic teams. Lawrence hockey players will sometimes come to the McKee ice rink to play low-key pond hockey after their season ends.

In many ways, this house is an extension of Lawrence.

Lawrence alumni connections: Learn more here.

Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame: See Lawrence honorees here

A party on ice

It was the McKee daughters who first inspired an outdoor ice rink in the years after the McKees moved back to Appleton in the late 1970s. The rink was much smaller back then. But through trial and error, it would grow and become a more elaborate undertaking.

Others have taken notice.

In its January edition this year, Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured the McKees’ rink, showcasing an outdoor ice-skating party they threw last winter — it was dubbed Moon Over Ice and featured everything from homemade ice lanterns to an outdoor spread of food and drink. The elegant party was initially launched in the 1990s when the McKees thought it would be a good excuse to get friends and neighbors outdoors in the winter. It was halted after a couple of years, then revived again a few years ago.

“Everybody wore old-fashioned fancy clothes and I had a tux that I wore,” Chuck says. “It was really fun.”

If the weather cooperates, it can be a fabulous experience. If it’s too cold or windy or the ice doesn’t cooperate, then not as much.

The 2018 party fell into the fabulous category, a blessing considering the presence of the photographer working for Better Homes and Gardens. It was like a dinner party in a snow globe.

“That day it snowed all day,” Chuck says. “People were out setting up stuff from 10 o’clock in the morning, hanging lights and fashioning the snowbanks to put the tables on. We had a 30-foot-long table on the ice. It was really nice. The whole idea was to spend all that time outside, and everybody loved it.”

A player brings the puck up the ice during a Tuesday night game at the McKee outdoor rink.
Players range in age from their 30s to their 70s. “You lose yourself in this, in the hockey. You’re all the same age out there,” says 72-year-old Chuck McKee ’68.

Then there’s the hockey

The activity on the ice the rest of the winter is a bit less sophisticated than a dinner party. It’s about hockey, but mostly it’s about camaraderie.

There are upwards of 25 guys who come for the hockey games on a semi-regular basis, usually 12 to 15 on any given Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, skill levels varying from some to none. They’re not necessarily friends outside of the hockey get-togethers, but they come because they’re drawn to the casual nature of the hockey and the friendly banter that comes with it, not unlike pickup basketball games or weekly softball leagues that draw players well beyond their athletic prime who still revel in friendly competition. This just happens to be at somebody’s house, a side yard transformed into an elaborate ice rink and a basement turned into a makeshift locker room.

“I’m most taken by how these various people got here,” Chuck says. “The only thing we do together is play hockey. Otherwise, very few of us have any close relationship.

“Probably only half or a third of the people who try this actually stick with it. We’ve had a lot of people who have said, yea, I want to give it a try, and then said, nah. It’s hard to predict who is going to stick with it.”

Marty Thiel came to the group this year. He’s 62, has been playing hockey since high school but had put his skates mostly on the shelf while his kids were growing up. They’re out of the house now, and one day he was asking around about where he could play some “old guy hockey.”

A week later he got a call from Chuck and an invite to join the group.

“Now I’m here three times a week,” Thiel says. “It’s everything and more. I’ll be sad when the season ends because the setting here is just perfect.”

The group helps the McKees keep the rink in working order. They come together on a weekend in December to help set up the rink, and then tend to it during the winter as if it were their own.

“It’s a human labor of love,” Carlson says. “During intermissions, about 15 shovels come out and we shovel the ice. It’s like a Zamboni with shovels. And then at the end of the night, there are a few guys who use the hose and spray another layer so it’ll be ready for the next time.”

Getting the ice just right took years of starts and stops, Chuck says. He found silage film, typically used on farms, that he cuts to size and places on the ground before making the ice. He puts up 6-inch-wide boards around the rink, turning his yard into a massive bathtub. He replumbed a faucet in the basement to accommodate a 1-inch hose.

“So, we take that hose out of the window in the basement and I just let the hose run for 18 hours when I know it’s going to be sub-freezing for five days or so,” Chuck says.

Then it’s a matter of chasing falling leaves as the water freezes.

“Brown oaks are usually the last trees to drop their leaves,” Chuck says. “And these shagbark hickories, one of them didn’t drop its leaves this year until January.”

Aerial view of hockey players making their way across the ice on the McKee outdoor rink.
A rotating cast of players show up on a given weeknight or Sunday afternoon to play hockey on the rink in the McKees’ Appleton yard. They navigate around a shagbark hickory on the east end of the ice.

But now, on this Tuesday night in mid-February, the leaves are no longer an issue and the ice is gleaming, the super snow moon providing a glow.

“Now is the sweet time,” Chuck says.

When the hockey is done, the players return to the basement, remove their pads, drink some beer and hang out. It’s a ritual that’s been playing out over and over again, with an ever-changing cast of characters, for nearly 30 years.

“Here’s what I think,” says Chuck, who at age 72 takes a back seat to no one on the ice. “Who gets to do this at my age? Who gets to sit down in a locker room and drink beer and play darts? I suppose I should be reading AARP books instead. You lose yourself in this, in the hockey. You’re all the same age out there.”

Chuck, who on this night was not playing because he had broken a rib on a freakish fall during a game a couple of weeks earlier, says the rink isn’t going anywhere, even when he eventually hangs up his skates. This ice thing is a hobby he can’t quit.

“Honestly, I’m going to make ice even if I’m not playing hockey,” he says. “It’s really fun. It’s like winter gardening.”

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

Give, Share, Shine: Lawrence University Hosting Fifth Annual Giving Day

Giving Day Logo promo
Lawrence’s Fifth Annual Giving Day takes place 10.10.18

Lawrence University’s fifth annual Giving Day premiers LIVE from campus on Wednesday, October 10.

Lawrence is making some exciting changes for Giving Day’s fifth anniversary, including introducing the use of Facebook Live and an exciting announcement for the Lawrence community. The show will still be live across campus this year, but the daytime portion of Giving Day will now feature individual segments that harness the power of social media. Giving Day will start by celebrating all things Lawrence with three interactive Facebook Live segments before the three-hour evening live show begins at 6 p.m.

The Giving Day kick-off starts at 9 a.m. CDT. Then, at 12:30 p.m., viewers will be treated to an inside look at one of the bedrock features of the Geology Department: the flume room. At 3:30 p.m., there will be a special edition of LU trivia. And, throughout the day, there will also be a mix of new giving, sharing, trivia and tagging Facebook challenges, which will unlock large amounts of Game Changer money.

Game Changers are a generous group of alumni, parents and friends who are providing matching funds as motivation for others to support the college. The day features two exciting matching opportunities: Gifts of any amount from the Classes of 2002–2022 will be matched with $500 and all other gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

The live show is still the heart of Giving Day. It will air from 6-9 p.m. with co-hosts Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication, and Caro Granner ’20. The live show will feature an exciting array of performances and guests, many of whom are direct beneficiaries of Lawrence Fund donations and who demonstrate the way funding assists faculty, students and programs on campus.


Giving Day showcases the power of the Lawrence community and what it can accomplish to provide transformative educational experiences to students from around the world.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Lawrence’s fifth annual Giving Day and to Give. Share. Shine. Give generously to the Lawrence Fund. Share the excitement using #LUGives. Shine by showcasing your pride in Lawrence University.

Giving Day: A 12-hour live celebration of all things Lawrence

With two smash hits to its credit, Lawrence University looks to make it three in a row with its third edition of Giving Day.

A photo of Lawrence University Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado and art professor Rob Neilson creating a face mold.
Giving Day can be a learning experience as co-host Kasey Corrado found out in 2015 when she worked with art professor Rob Neilson to create some living art — a face mold.

From athletics to art, dance to diversity, physics to philosophy, virtually everything you want to know about what’s new and interesting at Lawrence will be discussed Tuesday, Nov. 15 during the college’s third annual 12-hour Giving Day extravaganza.

The 9 a.m.-to-9 p.m. show will be webcast LIVE at and will feature dozens of special guests and performers from all corners of the campus throughout the day. Lawrence President Mark Burstein, dance instructor Margaret Paek, theatre director Timothy Troy, Kimberly Barrett, dean of diversity and inclusion, classics professor Randall McNeil, the Lawrence Fiddle Club and Porky’s Groove Machine are among those who will share their insights, perspectives and talents.

Kasey Corrado, Lawrence’s director of social media, returns for her third year as “ringmaster” of the show. She will be joined by first-time co-host Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid.

While a 12-hour live gig is definitely a challenge, Corrado calls Giving Day “her favorite day of the year at Lawrence.”

“When you’re given that signal that you’re ‘live,’ it slowly but surely sinks in that you have a marathon and not a sprint ahead of you,” said Corrado. “But this is such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that is Lawrence. In 12 hours, we’re able to showcase current students, connect with alumni, interact with faculty, talk with staff, and of course, share appreciation for our generous donors.

“As a co-host, I enjoy experiencing all the excitement and energy of the day,” she added. “I always come away from Giving Day completely amazed at the amount of love and support Lawrence has not only from people on campus but from all over the world.”

A photo of Lawrence University faculty saxophonists Sumner Truax and Steven Jordheim playing saxophones on Lawrence Giving Day in 2015.
Great music is a staple of the Giving Day live show as faculty saxophonists Sumner Truax and Steven Jordheim proved last year.

Being in front of a camera is nothing new for Anselment, who previously has “starred” in a pair of Lawrence April Fool’s Day videos, but he admits those productions weren’t exactly perfect preparation for a 12-hour stint in front of the camera eye.

“I’ve stood behind college fair tables for four hours at a time and I’ve run a handful of half marathons, but I have never tried to do all of that in one day,” said Anselment, a 12-year veteran of admissions and financial aid operations at Lawrence.

“My job will be to help our viewers get a sense of how engaging, interesting and fun our community is and that is best done by letting our guests shine as brightly as they can,” added Anselment, a former college cheerleader. “I plan to bring all that enthusiasm to Giving Day without, of course, my old cheerleading uniform.”

Lawrence held its first Giving Day in 2014 as a one-day-only fundraising event for alumni and friends to show their support for Lawrence and its programs. The first year, with the help of “game changers” who promised to match gifts, raised $1.1 million for the college. Last year, more than 2,300 donors generated $1.36 million during the second Giving Day event.

For this year’s event, more than 140 alumni, parents and friends have agreed to serve as “game changers” by providing matching funds to motivate others to support the college and its students according to Ben Campbell, Lawrence’s director of annual giving.

“We are heartened by the way the university community continues to pull together for this wonderful celebration of Lawrence, past and present,” said Campbell, a 1997 LU graduate. “We’re looking forward to doing it all again, only bigger, better and ‘bLUer.’ We hope everyone can find some time during the show to give, share and watch in celebration of Lawrence Giving Day 2016.”

Exhibiting her apparent high pain threshold, Rachel Crowl has returned to perform her masterful behind-the-scenes wizardry as the webcast’s all-important producer/director for a third straight year.

A photo of Lawrence University Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado and biology professor Bart DeStasio get ready to do some field research gear.
With encouragement from biologist Bart DeStasio, Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado gets ready to do some field research gear.

“I’m fully prepared for things to once again go wrong in ways I never expected and I can’t wait to watch us catch ourselves again before we fall,” said Crowl, who has spent months lining up guests and organizing the show. She’s promising a more music-infused program for year three along with the usual staples.

“I’m hoping to have at least one jaw-dropping musical performance very hour. We’re also going to take a look at some of the mainstays of a liberal arts college, like philosophy and classics, do a little science, learn about public art, make some chili, do some dancing, make some noise.

“I just want to have some fun, be entertaining, show off Lawrence University and raise some money.”

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 hosts weekend reunion for Black Alumni Network

A photo of Lawrence University alumna.Lawrence University welcomes members of its Black Alumni Network to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for its second reunion. The weekend-long event is designed to provide opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and the college as well as interact with current students.

“This reunion provides a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence to support this engaged and successful group of graduates,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. “It also provides a way for these individuals to give back to the institution by contributing to the success of current students, particular those who identify as African-American.

Alumni attending the reunion can relive their college days by sitting in on one of three Fall Term classes with current students: “Democracy in Comparative Perspective,” “Introduction to Gender Studies” and “Literature and the Environment.”

Other reunion activities include campus tours, a lunch with small group conversations addressing campus issues related to identity development and diversity with Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity and students, a screening of author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Lawrence convocation “Race in America: A Deeper Black” followed by group discussion and a Diversity Circle program offering a contemporary approach to diversity training moderated by current Lawrence students.

A photo of Lawrence University alumnus.As part of the weekend festivities, the president and other senior administrators will join the alumni for lunch on Oct. 1, members of Lawrence’s Black Student Union will host an open house at Sankofa House for the alumni Saturday evening and members of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs will host a question-and-answer session in conjunction with a Sunday brunch.

“Those attending the reunion will be able to share key insights with university administrators to assist in our efforts to create a more inclusive Lawrence,” said Barrett. “I feel extremely fortunate to have access to this brain trust to inform my work as I begin my tenure at Lawrence as the college’s first chief diversity officer.”

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.

Milwaukee-Downer College legacy honored, preserved in renamed building

The one-time Jason Downer Commons now bears the name of long-time Milwaukee-Downer College trustee and benefactor Alice G. Chapman.

Lawrence University’s deep connections to Milwaukee-Downer College will be strengthened further by honoring Alice G. Chapman, a long-time trustee and benefactor of the former all-women’s college.

The original Jason Downer Commons, currently known as the Hurvis Center, is being renamed Alice G. Chapman Hall.

Located on the east end of campus, Chapman Hall is home to the Lawrence admissions office, the career center, the alumni and constituency engagement office and the film studies program.

“Renaming our building Alice G. Chapman Hall will underscore the valued connection between Lawrence University and the historic Milwaukee-Downer campus,” said Stacy Mara, associate vice president for development.

Highlighting the building is the beautifully hand-carved Alice Chapman Room, also known as the Teakwood Room. It was originally built by American artist and architect Lockwood de Forest in Chapman’s Milwaukee home and used as a music room. After Chapman died in 1935, the Teakwood Room was placed in Chapman Library on the Milwaukee-Downer campus in 1938 and used for receptions, poetry readings and chamber music.

The Teakwood Room, a distinctive feature of the Milwaukee-Downer College campus, was moved to Lawrence after the 1964 consolidation and is now on the second floor of Chapman Hall.

When the consolidation was announced, members of the Milwaukee-Downer community asked that their beloved room be preserved. The room was carefully disassembled and stored in a warehouse until 1968 when it was reassembled at Lawrence in Downer Commons.

“The Chapman name has long been associated with Milwaukee Downer College and it is significantly fitting to reunite Chapman Hall and the Teakwood Room to perpetuate Downer at Lawrence,” said Marlene Widen, a 1955 Milwaukee-Downer graduate and 2013 recipient of the university’s Presidential Award for exemplary leadership and actions have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence community. “Chapman Hall will serve as the east anchor to another beloved part of Downer, the recreated Hawthornden on the west end of campus.”

Born in Boston in 1853, Alice Greenwood Chapman grew up in Milwaukee, where her father, T. A. Chapman, ran Chapman’s Department Store. She attended Milwaukee Female College, a predecessor of Milwaukee-Downer, and served on Milwaukee-Downer’s Board of Trustees from 1906 until her death.

Alice G. Chapman

Known as “an ardent lover of music,” Alice Chapman was an accomplished musician who also enjoyed composing. She was active with a numerous civic groups, including the Milwaukee Institute of Arts, the Visiting Nurses Association and the Children’s Hospital.

Chapman was a generous benefactor for Milwaukee-Downer, including a bequest that funded a new library building. After the consolidation with Lawrence, the Chapman Library became Chapman Hall and is now the Office of the Chancellor at UW-Milwaukee.

Originally completed in 1968, Downer Commons, which served as the campus’ primary dining center for 40 years, was named in honor of Judge Jason Downer, an associate justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1864-1867. He served as the president of the board of trustees (1866-1871; 1874-1878) for Wisconsin Female College in Fox Lake, a predecessor to Milwaukee-Downer College. When Downer died, he left a gift of $65,000 to the college and its name was changed to Downer College.

When the Warch Campus Center opened in 2009 and dining services moved there, Downer Commons was remodeled to accommodate offices and a state-of-the-art production studio for the university’s newly expanded film studies program, which was supported by a generous gift from the Hurvis family and the Caerus Foundation.

“Lawrence is exceedingly grateful for the Hurvis family’s flexibility in allowing us to make this name change,” said Mara. “Alice Chapman’s famous Teakwood Room has remained a constant fixture and notable highlight on campus throughout the life of the building. Alumni from Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer associate the building with our Milwaukee-Downer history because of this special room.”

A production studio is part of the Hurvis Film Studies Center in the lower level of Chapman Hall.

According to Mara, Lawrence will recognize the generosity and dedication of the Hurvis family and the Caerus Foundation by continuing to associate the Hurvis family name with the film studies program, which was their original intent, but not the building itself. The southeast portion of Chapman Hall that houses the film studies program will display the name “Hurvis Film Studies Center” on the outside of the building, with additional Hurvis Film Studies Center signage inside.

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” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Welcome Back: Lawrence Reunion celebrates its graduates, honors five alumni

Nancy Mattson put her Lawrence University degree in economics to such good use, she earned recognition from the United States Navy.

Her work in 1987 as a financial advisor on a $3 billion vessel financing program for the U.S. Navy earned her one of the few Distinguished Public Service Awards bestowed by the Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration.

Nancy Mattson ’76

Mattson is one of five Lawrence graduates who will be honored Saturday, June 18 as part of the university’s annual alumni Reunion celebration. Each will be recognized at the Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 1,000 alumni and guests from 43 states and five countries, including India, Italy and Romania, representing classes as early as 1940, are expected to return to campus.

Members of the Lawrence 50-Year Connection, a cohort of alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago, get Reunion activities started Wednesday evening June 15 with a reception and dinner and a series of panel presentations and small-group discussions on Thursday, June 16. A complete schedule of Reunion activities can be found here.

The 2016 awards and recipients are:

• Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award — Nancy Mattson, Class of 1976, Novato, Calif. The award recognizes a Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer graduate of more than 15 years for outstanding career achievement. The award honors the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, one of the most beloved and influential figures in that college’s history.

 With more than has more than 35 years of commercial and investment banking experience, Mattson is the founder, managing director, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Argent Group Ltd., a boutique investment banking firm.

Prior to founding Argent in 1982, Mattson spent three years as a vice president with Bank of America. An expert in maritime finance, she has served as a member of the shipbuilding subcommittee of U.S. Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“I’m fond of saying Lawrence was a great place to ‘grow up,’” said Mattson. “Lawrence gave me the academic background I needed to succeed in my business career.  The liberal arts focus of the university meant that I was exposed to courses that I would not study in depth, but the study of which would enrich my life.

“Lawrence clearly helped me build a firm foundation for life and I believe that it is continuing to do the same for today’s Lawrentians,” Mattson added. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this truly outstanding university.”

After graduating from Lawrence, Mattson earned an MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University, which recognized her with a distinguished alumni award in 1995.

Curien Kurrien ’01

• Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award — Curien Kurrien, Class of 2001, Mumbai, India. The award recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to, and achievements in, a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

In 2008, Kurrien became an important footnote within the vast publication empire of Condé Nast. At the age of 29, launched GQ India, becoming the youngest editor-in-chief in the publishing titan’s history. Since making its debut eight years ago, Kurrien has built the magazine into India’s leading men’s media brand.

Prior to heading GQ India, he worked as a reporter for The Indian Express, a daily newspaper. He also covered the music and nightlife scene for Time Out Mumbai magazine and wrote for Reuters, the international wire service, which brought his stories to The New York Times and Washington Post, among others.

“I only began to fully understand the value of my Lawrence education as a senior, when I magically started connecting the dots between ostensibly disparate fields, drawing from each discipline to strengthen my arguments in another,” Kurrien said. “These insights imbued me with precious confidence I’d never possessed before – a powerful force that I draw upon daily for my complex, creative, nuanced job as editor-in-chief of GQ India.”

“I returned home a year after I graduated,” Kurrien added. “By then the Lawrence liberal arts ideal had transformed and armed me with a unique outlook that allowed me to identify and capitalize on a range of opportunities in the new India.”

Kurrien earned a degree in government from Lawrence in 2001 and a post-graduate certificate in journalism from New York University.

Timothy Burnside ’02

• The George B. Walter Service to Society Award — Timothy Anne Burnside, Class of 2002, Washington, D.C. The award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer who best exemplifies the ideals of a liberal education through its application to socially useful ends in the community, the nation or the world. This award honors George B. Walter ’36, faculty member, coach and dean of men, whose work at the college and beyond was guided by his conviction that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world.

As a museum specialist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Burnside works with musicians, artists and others to build collections and develop exhibitions that offer complex representations of history and cultural expression.

She began her career in 2003 at the National Museum of American History where she launched that museum’s hip-hop collecting initiative. Among the numerous Smithsonian projects she has worked on was an exhibition on Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Burnside regularly presents at conferences and serves on the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

“I’m lucky to have a career that combines the three things I studied at Lawrence, which I am grateful for every single day,” said Burnside. “I carry every life lesson and classroom experience from Lawrence with me, because those moments taught me how to be confident and not afraid of striving to do the work that I love.

“I learned humility and the importance of working towards a goal because of the good work being done, not because you would be rewarded. I came away from those four years without a plan for the rest of my life, but I knew that I would be ok.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English from Lawrence, Burnside earned a master’s degree in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Betty Barrett M-D ’55

• Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award — Betty Barrett, Milwaukee-Downer Class of 1955, Macomb, Ill., and William Hochkammer, Class of 1966, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer after his/her 15th Cluster Reunion who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence. It honors Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp, voted Milwaukee-Downer alumna of the year in 1964 for her long-standing service to the college as president of the alumnae association board, class secretary and public relations officer.

Barrett has worked tirelessly to sustain the Milwaukee-Downer legacy after the former all-women’s college consolidated with Lawrence in 1964. Through the Betty Heistad Barrett Fund for Excellence in Civic Service, which she established with her late husband in 2010, Lawrence students are empowered to improve the world, grow as young professionals and explore the nonprofit sector.

Barrett has served on the Lawrence Alumni Association Board of Directors, numerous reunion committees and as a member of a working group for Lawrence’s 2005-11 More Light! campaign.

“‘With a heart full of love for our college’ is a line from the Milwaukee-Downer College alma mater that never fails to bring tears, even 62 years after the merger that formed Lawrence University,” said Barrett. “Downer lives on in the hearts and minds of its devoted alumnae. I am grateful that many of our traditions continue, most visibly the class colors.”

“Lawrence’s liberal arts program, fine professors, individualized education and small size  all make it a fine choice for many students,” Barrett added. “I appreciate coming to Lawrence to meet those students who are successors to me and my classmates. Milwaukee-Downer College lives on through these students.”

After earned a bachelor’s degree at M-D, Barrett earned a master’s degree in government from Marshall University.

William Hochkammer ’66

Hochkammer, a health care attorney and partner in the Detroit law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, served 22 years on Lawrence’s Board of Trustees, including as board chairman from 2005-07. He was recently re-elected to the board, becoming the first trustee in Lawrence history to complete his term limit and be invited to rejoin the board.

While on the board, Hochkammer was instrumental in the success of Lawrence’s $160 million “More Light!” campaign that ended in 2011 and served on the Presidential Search Committee that appointed Jill Beck as the university’s 15th president. He currently serves on the leadership team for Lawrence’s $75 million “Full Speed to Full Need” endowed scholarship campaign.

“Attending Lawrence was a life changing experience for me. It was instrumental to my transition from growing up on a Wisconsin farm, the first in my family to attend college, to completing law school and to a full and enjoyable life on both a personal and professional basis,” said Hochkammer. “While I valued my time as a student at Lawrence I didn’t then fully appreciate what I was gaining from my experience. As I had more life experiences, my appreciation for my Lawrence education continued to grow as I saw how well Lawrence had prepared me as a person.

“Today I see how strongly Lawrence is committed to its mission, how it continues to transform the lives of students and how it strives constantly to become even better at providing outstanding experiences to its students,” Hochkammer added.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lawrence, Hochkammer earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.

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” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.