APPLETON – Goats are busy working the garden. We’ve got the “Goat Cam” footage to prove it.
Ten goats — two Nigerian dwarf goats and eight fainting goats — have settled into the SLUG garden on the Lawrence University campus, and for the next week will continue to devour unwanted thistle and burdock weeds.
The goats — supplied by Steve Anderson of Mount Morris, owner of the newly launched Goat Busters farm — arrived last Tuesday after Lawrence biology major and SLUG garden manager Floreal Crubaugh ’20 put out a call for rented goats.
“I was looking for more sustainable ways to control the weeds than applying herbicides, and more efficient ways than pulling them up manually,” Crubaugh said.
We attached a GoPro camera — our “Goat Cam” — to the back of one of the goats. We let Blu show us the work in progress on a Monday morning in the garden. Be warned: the footage is adorable and may steal a large chunk of your day.
The SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden), a student-run nonprofit enterprise that uses sustainable agricultural methods to nurture a honeybee apiary, a fruit tree orchard, a vegetable garden and a hoop house, has been a fixture on the Lawrence campus for nearly two decades.
But the use of goats is a first.
Crubaugh went in search of goat rentals after successfully
seeking monies through a Lawrence sustainability grant. The thistle and burdock
weeds on the east end of the garden had gotten unmanageable, and the student
volunteers couldn’t keep up, she said.
“I thought, what if we got some goats in here and they
basically do the work for us, all while providing a lot of benefits for the
garden, like fertilizer and digesting the seeds?” she said. “It was a really
impossible project to take care of as humans, so we turned to goats.”
See more photos of the goats in the SLUG garden here.
Crubaugh, Anderson and LU officials first sought permission from the City of Appleton to allow for the goats. They were granted a special exemption for three weeks.
Anderson installed a temporary fence last Monday, then delivered the goats the following day.
“With the university always being progressive and thinking ahead, I think this is going to encourage the city and the county to take goats more seriously,” Anderson said. “Invasive plants are a widespread problem, whether it’s these weeds or buckthorn or whatever the issue is.”
It’s the first time he’s rented out the goats, something he
wants to do more of in the future.
Anderson, who initially got the 10 goats this spring to help
tackle a growing buckthorn problem on his family’s 30-plus acres in Waushara
County, said he hopes to expand his goat herd and eventually connect with
cities and counties to help control weed and invasive plant issues in parks and
along hiking trails.
“They eat the seeds,” Anderson said of the goats. “That’s
one of the biggest advantages of the goats is that they digest the seeds. The
birds just spread it. But goats will actually digest it, so there’s no new
Visitors are welcome to check out the goats and the work
going on in the SLUG garden, located at the base of the hill just off of Lawe
Street. Most of the goats are fairly shy. But a couple are outwardly social and
are happy to greet visitors to the garden.
Crubaugh, who can be found tending the garden most days
during the summer, hopes her work in SLUG will set the table for career
opportunities in the sustainability field after she graduates.
“This is a good way to get a taste of that,” she said.
The senior from Bloomington, Illinois, had worked with goats while helping relatives who operate a cattle ranch in Montana. She saw the sustainability benefits first hand.
“I’d go out there during my summers as a kid and help bottle feed the orphan goats, and I’d watch the goats just move across the fields like a sundial, just mowing everything down,” she said. “That’s where this idea sort of originated for me.”
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Mei Xian Gong ’11 was a trailblazer when she arrived on the
Lawrence University campus in the fall of 2007, a member of the school’s first
group of Posse Foundation scholars.
A dozen years later, she’s blazing a new trail as the first of the Posse alumni to be elected to Lawrence’s Board of Trustees. She joins the board as a Recent Graduate Trustee, a three-year term for an alum within two to 10 years of graduation.
It was in the fall of 2007 that Lawrence welcomed its first group of 10 Posse scholarship students after forming a partnership with the New York-based Posse Foundation. The nonprofit organization assesses and develops students from diverse backgrounds who show leadership potential.
For a story on newly elected trustees, click here.
Gong tapped into her leadership skills as an undergraduate, serving on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors and as a member of the LUAA Connecting to Campus Committee.
Now a market manager for Mettler-Toledo in Columbus, Ohio, Gong called her Lawrence experience a “major force” in her development and wants to pay it forward as a trustee.
“I want to have a better understanding of Lawrentians at
different points of their journey, from alumni to current students and future
Lawrentians,” Gong said. “I am sure much has changed since I was last on Main
Hall green, so I hope I can learn from our current students on how we can
continue to nurture them.”
Gong majored in chemistry and interdisciplinary chemistry/biology at Lawrence, later earning an MBA at Ohio State University. She has been with Mettler-Toledo since 2016, and has stayed involved with Lawrence in various alumni volunteer roles over the past eight years.
Lawrence is one of more than 50 colleges and universities
that partner with the Posse Foundation, nearly double the number of partner
schools since Lawrence and Posse first linked arms in 2006.
Gong was selected as part of the debut Lawrence group — known on campus as Posse 1 — and she says she continues to lean on her Lawrence and Posse experiences to this day.
“I still remember the moment when I internalized who I want
to be,” she said. “It was the summer of 2007, before we started freshman year
at Lawrence, when my Posse was tasked to complete an activity together in New
York City. We had a guideline, with minimal directions, an envelope to open
when we completed the task, and many ideas for what we can do.
“After a long discussion, we finally decided to take the
ferry to Staten Island and go clean up a nearby beach. We had a common goal and
yet still went through the different stages of group development. … My Posse
members were young leaders with different backgrounds, experiences, and
thoughts. Yet, still, I was shocked that we went through the forming, storming,
norming, and performing stages when completing this as a team. … We
acknowledged what role we took, and shared what role we would want in the
future. I wanted to take on a more adaptable role, be what the group may need
at different times, and chose ‘trailblazer.’
“Many of my Posse memories are like this … open discussions
in safe spaces where I learned more about who I was and who I want to be. I
learned from my Posse, relied on them to help me grow and take risks, and
welcomed the person I was becoming.
“This continued at Lawrence and throughout my four years
Gong said much of what she learned at Lawrence came well
beyond the classroom. She got involved in alumni relations and worked as a
class agent, which gave her opportunities to connect with faculty and
administrators in a different capacity and gave her insights into the
importance of campus finances, alumni connections and university stewardship.
“I would not be who I am today if I did not have the Posse plus
Lawrence experience,” Gong said. “The Lawrence bubble is a thriving environment
where we had many opportunities and mentors to guide us as we took risks,
stepping a bit outside of our comfort zone.”
For the Posse Foundation, seeing one of its scholars
appointed to the trustee position is testament to the strong bonds between the program
“We are so proud of Mei,” said
Posse Foundation Founder and President Deborah Bial. “As
a Lawrence Posse alumna, she exemplifies leadership of the highest standard.
Her professional expertise combined with her commitment to giving back make her
an invaluable member of our community. We are thrilled for her and grateful to
President Burstein and his fantastic team for our 13-year partnership, which
has allowed us to serve so many dynamic students.”
From NYC to Lawrence
Born in Guangzhou, China, Gong came to the United States with her family in 1998. She grew up in Manhattan, and, with parents who spoke little English, she assumed certain leadership and outreach roles in her family. She would become the first member of her family to attend college.
Then a senior at Millennium High School, Gong said the Posse scholarship opened new doors for her. She chose Lawrence as one of her preferred schools in part because of the small student-to-faculty ratio.
“I really like the small environment, so I picked Lawrence
as one my top choices,” she said.
The Posse Foundation puts an emphasis on diversity and the
benefits that come when diversity is celebrated and nurtured. Being part of a
Posse group — particularly as a member of the first Posse class at Lawrence —
provides insights and tools that she and other Posse students can take into
their post-college careers as they build and encourage positive workplace
relationships, Gong said.
“I think it definitely makes it smoother as we go to work in
different organizations,” she said.
The ongoing connections with Lawrence, even before her appointment
as a trustee, have continued to be significant and beneficial.
Gong praised Cal Husmann, Lawrence’s vice president for alumni and development, and his staff for their efforts to stay connected with Lawrentians after they leave campus.
“He takes a vested interest in the student’s world,” she said of Husmann. “That’s really helpful, especially early in our careers when there are so many changes in our lives. He continued to reach out and show interest in my growth. That helped me feel confident in my abilities, knowing there is someone back at Lawrence who cares about my development.”
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spend 10 minutes with Mike O’Connor, Lawrence University’s
new Riaz Waraich Dean of the Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement
(CLC), and he’ll drop a variation of connected into the conversation a couple
He may even throw in team sport, collaboration and
That’s not by accident.
O’Connor’s hiring to fill the newly endowed deanship is all
about ramping up connections with departments across campus, with alumni and with
potential employers to help students better prepare for life after Lawrence.
Being connected to the CLC and its resources, be it through internships and fellowships or employment contacts and alumni resources, is something that will be part of every student’s journey from the moment they arrive as freshmen during Welcome Week. It won’t be something to be put off until senior year.
“To me, the messaging for first-year students would be, the
Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement is just part of what you do
as a Lawrentian,” O’Connor said. “It’s not a stand-alone entity. It’s
interconnected, it’s part of the tapestry of Lawrence.”
That initiative, including the endowed deanship, is supported by a $2.5 million gift from J. Thomas Hurvis ’60 that was announced last November at the public launch of Lawrence’s $220 million Be the Light! campaign.
O’Connor, who had been the director of the Career Exploration program at Williams College for the past five and a half years, sees opportunities for enhanced connections at Lawrence in every direction he looks. Many of those efforts were already under way before he got here, spurred by a Life After Lawrence Task Force that pushed for greater emphasis on preparing students for career and life opportunities after they graduate. Now, with more resources available and a renewed focus, those efforts are being supercharged.
“Life After Lawrence has a lot of moving parts,” O’Connor
said. “There’s a big employer initiative and
we’re building more pipelines for recruitment. More than that, though, is the potential for better
integration with curricular goals and actualizing our alumni base at scale.
We’ve got this amazing group of thousands and thousands of Lawrentians who want
to help other Lawrentians. We’re working on tapping
For starters, career advising is being weaved into the Freshman Studies program in new ways. The Career Communities initiative has been launched and will continue to be fine-tuned and rolled out to students across all areas of study. And an interactive student-alumni mentor network is being developed.
“That will give us the ability to connect with alumni based on a certain major or career interest or geographic area, and be able to reach out to them in real time,” O’Connor said. “A student will be able to say, ‘Hey, I see you are working at Google in this data analytics role. I’ve been thinking about that as a career, can I hop on a call with you for 10 or 15 minutes to find out more about it?’ Or maybe I have this interview coming up and I need advice.
“This is something we onboarded at Williams and it was just
a complete game-changer. It actualized our
alums’ talents in real time in a useful way.”
The alumni relations work that’s already been done by the Alumni and Constituency Engagement Team puts Lawrence in a great position to roll out this enhanced recruiting network, O’Connor said. The recently launched Career Communities is a big step in that direction.
Introducing an alumni affinity network to students will
start during Welcome Week, although developing it and integrating it will be a
work in progress.
“We’re trying to move on a lot of this very quickly,”
There’s been encouraging cooperation from departments across
campus as these initiatives have been explored, developed and tested.
“We’re lucky that we have a highly collaborative community with a
lot of opportunities,” O’Connor said. “Not just our office but partnering with
others across campus. The work of the
CLC is really a team sport.
“We’re interfacing with Development and all across areas of Student Life, and we’re being increasingly intentional about how we’re working with broader alumni divisions, working with faculty and doing it in a more skilled way. If we’re all leaning into it, and I think we are, we stand a better chance to help a lot more students.”
On the personal side
O’Connor began his new duties on May 1.
He and his family — his wife, Kerrin Sendrowitz O’Connor, two daughters, Fiona Jayne, 3, and Isla Kelly, 7 months, two dogs and a cat — have embraced the move from the East Coast to Appleton, even if their move here from upstate New York in late April included a flat tire and a freak snowstorm.
“After logging over 100,000 commuter miles over the course
of my Williams tenure, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to bike to work,”
Now it’s time to explore their new home.
“The family and I like to consider ourselves outdoorsy,” O’Connor said. “We’ve been to 14 or 15 national parks, and love hiking, biking, and camping. … Given the age of our children, we love the park system in Appleton.”
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Are you about to move in and start classes at Lawrence? We know there’s a lot on your mind as Welcome Week draws near. We want to address some of your concerns as best as we can right here in this list. Here are eight things you need to know before you start your life at Lawrence.
1. Hello, Welcome Week
Welcome Week is all about getting settled into life at Lawrence alongside the rest of your incoming class. The week is full, and I mean full, of optional and mandatory opportunities to get to know Lawrence and the Appleton area. From the time you move in on Sept. 9 to the first day of classes on Sept. 16, you’ll get to meet your classmates and Community Advisors (CAs), spend time with your CORE group, tour campus, take the class photo and begin Freshman Studies, to name just a sliver of your itinerary. Even though it’s a busy week, it’s no time to stress — have fun and feel confident in your ability to take on your first year of college. It’s easy to make friends when everyone else is new, too! Learn more about Welcome Week here.
2. Use Handshake to get a campus job
Handshake is like Lawrence’s version of Indeed. This is the site you’ll use if you want an internship or a job on campus or in the Appleton area. You can easily sort by location and hour preference to help you find a job that’s right for your academic schedule. It’s an intuitive platform, but the Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement is always ready to help you out. Take the time to decide if you’re ready to manage your classes and a job right away. If you are, visit Handshake.
3. Get your course materials at the LU Online Bookstore
The online bookstore is a convenient place to start shopping for books. All your classes for the whole year are registered there under your student account, so it will show you what books you need for each class and all your books can be purchased from one place. It’s very important to order your books with enough time in advance of the start of the term so you’re prepared for the class. Visit the bookstore here.
4. You have access to counseling and medical services
You can receive a range of medical care at the Wellness Center on campus. Within the designated hours, on-site doctors and nurses can provide examination and treatment for illnesses and minor injuries, over-the-counter prescriptions and more. Counseling is available by appointment at the Wellness Center and is free to students who have paid their student health fee. Counselors will do their best to help you through academic or personal stressors and can guide you to the best option for ongoing care if necessary. They also provide a simple, judgment-free zone where you can feel free to tell them whatever is on your mind. Some students find this to be a very valuable resource. Learn more about wellness services here.
5. Making sense of units vs. credits
Don’t get too confused when you hear units instead of credits when talking about course credit; the difference is simple. Each standard course at Lawrence counts for six units instead of one credit. A standard term in our trimester system consists of three courses, adding up to 18 units per term. If you’re interested in music ensembles, those are worth one unit in addition to those 18 units. Just like credits, you will need to have accumulated a certain amount in order to graduate.
6. Tutoring can be your friend
Lawrence strongly encourages students to make use of
tutoring services. That’s why we have a system of peer tutoring. Each year, the
Center for Academic Success (CAS) employs approximately 200 Lawrence students
who have been selected by faculty to tutor their peers in ESL, oral
communication, writing, quantitative reasoning and content-specific
Connecting with your roommate might be the most
nerve-wracking thing on your mind as move-in day approaches. Here’s the key to
easing that stress: Once you find out in mid-July — via Voyager — who you’ll
be living with, get in touch with them per their provided contact information so
you can get to know each other before move-in day. You also can discuss what
you need to have in the room and who’s bringing what.
After you’ve moved in, your CA will give you each a roommate
agreement form, with which you can establish understandings of cleanliness,
bedtimes, the need for quiet study time, sharing food and belongings, and other
concerns. This opportunity for discussion will help you to understand and
respect each other and hopefully avoid disagreements on those topics in the
It’s also important to note: Your roommate does not have to be your best friend. You don’t have to do everything together. Sometimes it works out that way, but other times you will have different social circles, schedules, and interests— and that’s totally OK. Don’t put too much pressure on that one relationship; there are lots of interesting people to befriend.
8. Meal plan 101
First, the meal plans at Lawrence are built on meal swipes
and culinary cash. Meal swipes are used at Andrew Commons and each is good for
one all-you-can-eat meal. Culinary cash is used at Kaplan’s Café and Kate’s
Corner Store and it works like a debit card — if you order a $5 sandwich, $5 is
deducted from your culinary cash balance. The meal plan options offer a combination
of swipes and culinary cash based on your personal meal preferences. You can
select a new meal plan at the start of each term if you so choose.
Second, you should know that this year’s meal plans are
brand new; you’re not the only one with questions. Here’s how it works:
First-year students are assigned the standard meal plan of 14 swipes and $225
culinary cash with the option to change their selection to the plan with 19
swipes and $100 culinary cash. The meal swipes replenish at the start of each
week, but your culinary cash must last you through the term. Unused swipes and
culinary cash will not roll over into the next term. So, whatever you
choose, use it wisely!
Finally, think strategically when choosing a meal plan. You
might want fewer swipes and more culinary cash if you plan to frequently eat
meals in your dorm room or off campus. Or, more swipes and less culinary cash
if you like the sound of all-you-care-to-eat rather than a la carte meals or if
you’ll be getting dinner regularly with your friends in the Commons.
Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.
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.
We asked Garth Bond, associate professor of English and director of Freshman Studies, to guide us through the 2019-20 reading list.
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)
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, www.lawrence.edu/academics/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.
Lawrence University will add a 22nd varsity sports program when women’s hockey begins play in the 2020-21 season, Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray announced.
“We are excited to bring intercollegiate NCAA women’s ice hockey to Lawrence University with a competitive start date of the 2020-21 academic year,” Abaray said. “The time is right. We can grow our regional footprint, increase the athletics opportunities for women student-athletes and enhance the overall experience of athletics at Lawrence.”
The addition of a women’s hockey team brings the roster of Lawrence women’s sports to 11, matching that of men’s teams. It marks the first program to be added to Lawrence athletics since men’s hockey achieved varsity status in 1986.
The work of getting the program up and running begins now with the hiring of the person to guide the team. Lawrence is conducting a national search for the program’s first head coach.
“We will hire a head coach this summer so that person has the full year to recruit our first varsity women’s ice hockey roster and integrate into the athletics department and greater institutional environment,” Abaray said. “It truly is an exciting time to be a Viking.”
The addition of the Vikings brings the number of NCAA Division III women’s hockey teams to 67, and Lawrence is in the middle of fertile recruiting ground. Minnesota has the largest girls’ hockey participation in the country, and Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois rank fourth through sixth, respectively.
The Lawrence women’s team is the 10th member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, the premier hockey conference in the country and the home of the Vikings men’s squad.
“The NCHA is extremely pleased and enthusiastic with Lawrence University’s decision to sponsor an intercollegiate women’s hockey program, bringing membership in the women’s division to 10 programs,” NCHA Commissioner Don Olson said. “The conference is particularly pleased to have a present conference member initiate competition in women’s hockey and add to the strength and depth of the women’s division of the NCHA. In addition, Lawrence’s decision further establishes the NCHA’s leadership in the NCAA Division III hockey community as Lawrence becomes the fourth conference member to initiate sponsorship of women’s hockey in the past five years.”
The NCHA women’s conference started in 2000 with five teams, but the league was reshaped in 2013 when four teams, all from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, departed. At that point, the NCHA had seven members, Adrian College, Concordia University Wisconsin, Finlandia University, Lake Forest College, Marian University, St. Norbert College and the College of St. Scholastica. Aurora University, Trine University and Northland College began NCHA play in 2017. The league has nine members heading into the 2019-20 season.
The winner of the NCHA playoffs receives the Slaats Cup and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. NCAA women’s hockey championship competition began in 2002 with Elmira College winning the first title. Plattsburgh State took the crown in 2019.
The Lawrence women will play at the Appleton Family Ice Center, which has been home to the Lawrence men’s team since 1999. The Lawrence women will move into the current quarters of the Viking men’s program as an expanded men’s locker room, student-athlete lounge, athletic training area and office space are currently under construction on the south side of the building.
Joe Vanden Acker is the director of athletic media relations at Lawrence University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A $2.5 million gift will allow Lawrence University to create an endowed professorship to teach the psychology of collaboration, adding to the school’s efforts to better prepare Lawrentians for life after Lawrence.
The donation from J. Thomas Hurvis ’60 to create the J. Thomas Hurvis Professorship of Social and Organizational Psychology was announced at the May meeting of the Board of Trustees.
It is the latest in a long line of generous gifts to Lawrence from Hurvis, founder and chairman of Old World Industries and longtime philanthropist.
The new position, which will be based in the Psychology Department but will contribute regularly to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, will provide teaching that is focused on cross-cultural collaboration, group life, ethical thought and moral judgment. It’s the type of study usually found in business schools or as part of doctoral programs. At Lawrence, it will build on existing Lawrence strengths to allow students across disciplines to access teachings that will better prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow, no matter their career direction.
The position is expected to be filled in time for the 2020-21 academic year.
“I am deeply grateful to Tom Hurvis for his vision and generosity in endowing the J. Thomas Hurvis Professorship in Social and Organizational Psychology,” President Mark Burstein said. “Tom’s passion for collaboration is the hallmark of his success both as a businessman and a philanthropist. This new appointment will allow us to offer courses that will provide students access to research on group life, leadership, and social psychology, areas of increasing student interest, while also enriching and expanding interdisciplinary points of contact with our Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.”
The new professorship is an extension of efforts already under way to enhance offerings and programming to better prepare students for life after Lawrence. A year ago, Hurvis made a $2.5 million gift to create an endowed deanship, which was part of the public launch of Lawrence’s $220 million Be the Light! Campaign. Named for Hurvis’s founding partner in Old World Industries, the Riaz Waraich Dean for Career, Life, and Community Engagement position is now filled by Mike O’Connor, who is overseeing efforts in the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) to bolster connections and skills to make Lawrentians both job market-ready when they graduate and prepared to lead fruitful and fulfilling lives going forward.
This new professorship in Psychology and Innovation and Entrepreneurship will build on that investment to enhance skills needed in the modern world across all disciplines.
“Through this new appointment, Lawrence will join the select handful of liberal arts colleges that provide the interdisciplinary skills fostered by a liberal arts education through programming that gives students the opportunity to develop creative, integrative approaches to real world issues,” Provost and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Kodat said. “The curricular possibilities inherent in the Hurvis Professorship — in exploring the dynamics of effective leadership and collaboration, in partnering with co-curricular programming and off-campus internships to put classroom concepts into action — are exciting to contemplate.”
For Hurvis, working collaboratively hits close to home, and he believes strongly that the skills tied to collaboration are critical for success in almost any field.
“Partnership has been at the core of all of my life’s success,” he said. “Collaboration requires skills and a personal inclination. I am thrilled we can now ensure every Lawrence student has the opportunity to develop these skills and better understand the importance of this work. Collaboration is easy to describe but very, very hard to do.”
The latest Hurvis grant builds on the Be the Light! campaign, which has the student journey as one of its cornerstones, a focus on educating the whole student, from classroom learning in programs of distinction to personal development through wellness, career advising and the fostering of cross-cultural skills.
To date, the Be the Light! campaign has raised $182.8 million — 83% of the goal — since the quiet phase launch in 2014. Endowed positions, in addition to the Hurvis-funded deanship and new professorship, have included the Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professorship in Innovation, the Dennis and Charlot Nelson Singleton Professorship in Cognitive Neuroscience, the Wendy and KK Tse Professorship in East Asian Studies, and the Jean Lampert Woy and J. Richard Woy Professorship in History.
“The generosity of the Lawrence community is extraordinary,” said Charlot Singleton ’67, one of the tri-chairs of the Be the Light! campaign. “Members of our community have invested in initiatives that will enhance the education the college offers for generations. We have made excellent progress toward our goals.”
The campaign progress thus far during 2019 has been strong, with $25.3 million in new campaign commitments outpacing the $22.5 million at this time last year.
Fundraising efforts continue for a number of special projects within the Be the Light! campaign — Full Speed to Full Need has reached $81.6 million (toward a goal of $85 million); the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement is at $1.7 million (toward a goal of $2.5 million that was in response to Hurvis’ challenge when he established the endowed Riaz Waraich Deanship last year); and the Center for Academic Success has reached $735,550 (toward a goal of $1 million).
Four new members have joined the Lawrence University Board
of Trustees, including two alumni.
Mei Xian Gong ’11, a former Posse Foundation scholar who now works as a market manager for Mettler-Toledo, will serve on the board as a Recent Graduate Trustee, a position established in 2014 exclusively for Lawrence alumni within 2-10 years of graduation. She will serve one non-renewable, three-year term. She’s joined by new term trustees Frederick Fisher, an accomplished architect, Cheryl Wilson Kopecky ’72, a longtime K-12 education leader, and Jon M. Stellmacher, whose work as a top executive at Thrivent Financial spanned more than three decades.
“We are delighted to add four fantastic new trustees to Lawrence’s board who bring tremendous expertise in higher education dynamics, board governance, fundraising, and buildings and grounds,” said Board Chair David Blowers. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of the overall support of the college’s Board of Trustees and the quality of individuals we continue to attract to serve the college in this important and valuable way.”
The new trustees, elected at the May board meeting:
Mei Xian Gong ’11: A member of the first group of Posse Foundation scholars at Lawrence, Gong has worked for Mettler-Toledo in Columbus, Ohio, as a market manager since 2016. She has served as a class agent since 2012 and has continued her involvement and support of Lawrence in various volunteer roles in recent years. While a student, Gong served on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors and was a member of the LUAA Connecting to Campus Committee. She majored in chemistry and interdisciplinary chemistry/biology, later earning an MBA at Ohio State University. She serves on the board of the Pedal-With-Pete Foundation, an internationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to raising money for cerebral palsy research.
Frederick Fisher: A registered architect since 1978, Fisher is the founder of Frederick Fisher and Partners. His focus has been on designing spaces for the practice and exhibition of art as well as interdisciplinary study. He was a 2013 Gold Medal recipient of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, which supports innovative artists, writers, and scholars. Fisher received his bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College in art and art history and his masters of architecture from UCLA. He is chair of the Otis College Board of Governors and is a board member for both the Board of Councilors at the USC School of Architecture and the Board of Visitors at the UCLA School of the Arts.
Cheryl Wilson Kopecky ’72: Wilson Kopecky worked for 35 years in K-12 school districts as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, and has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in curriculum and instruction. She earned a bachelor of music degree from Lawrence in 1972. She later worked for a time as a major and planned giving officer in Lawrence’s Development Office. She has been a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Lawrence since 2015, serving as co-chair since 2016. She served as a liaison for her 40th Reunion Committee and a co-chair for her 45th Reunion, and has been a member of the Bjorklunden Advisory Committee since 2017. She also provides leadership for several nonprofit organizations. She received her master’s degree and a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.
Jon M. Stellmacher: Stellmacher spent more than three decades at Thrivent Financial, retiring in 2010 as senior vice president and chief of staff and administration. He also has been heavily involved in education through the years. He was a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care and was chair of the board and founding director of the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) of the Fox Valley. In 2016, he received the Thomas G. Scullen Leadership Award from the Appleton Education Foundation in recognition of his work helping create the CELC. Stellmacher also serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, on the LSS Foundation Board for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and is a member of Lawrence’s Advisory Committee on Public Affairs.
In addition to the election of trustees, the following
officers were elected to one-year terms: David C. Blowers, chair; Cory L.
Nettles, vice chair; Dale R. Schuh, secretary; Julia H. Messitte, assistant
secretary; Alice O. Boeckers, assistant secretary; Christopher S. Lee,
treasurer; and Amy Price, assistant treasurer.
Meanwhile, Michael Cisler ’78 and Steven Mech ’93 were appointed to two-year terms as non-trustee committee members of the Building and Grounds Subcommittee.
Derrell Acon ’10 stood shoulder to shoulder earlier this month with Antron McCray, one of the five New York City teenagers — now men in their 40s — wrongly convicted in the 1989 rape and beating of a Central Park jogger.
The Lawrence University alumnus was days away from performing as McCray in The Central Park Five, an operatic retelling of the emotionally charged criminal case, set to open in an opera house in southern California. An ACLU luncheon brought Acon and his castmates and the five men they’d be portraying into the same room for the first time.
“It gave me a little more weight in terms of the
responsibility I had to give an accurate picture to the audience and to be true
to how I explored and continue to explore that character,” Acon said of meeting
The Central Park Five story of the coerced confessions, the guilty verdicts, the Donald Trump call for the death penalty, the vacated judgments 13 years later, and the eventual settlement that set New York City back $41 million is getting plenty of renewed attention on the heels of the recent release of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series, When They See Us, the intense retelling of the case that dominated headlines 30 years ago.
While the Netflix series is getting the bulk of the attention, the jazz-infused opera production from composer Anthony Davis — more than three years in the making and separate from the DuVernay series — has drawn its fair share of looks as well. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times previewed the Long Beach Opera production in the days before it opened on June 15, and opening night saw reviews from both newspapers and the Wall Street Journal, among other outlets. The New Yorker is working on a story as well, according to a spokesperson with the opera.
Two more performances are scheduled for this weekend at the
Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro, California.
“I wasn’t really anticipating any particular response,” Acon said after getting an enthusiastic welcome on opening night. “I was more aware of my own responses, understanding that it would be a very emotional process for me. As a young black man in America, you know, a lot of these topics are very close to my own experience, and these struggles are very mirrored in my own life.
“I think a lot about the rehearsal process, tending to all
of these emotions, letting them out, having a lot of beautiful discussions with
my colleagues, especially the five of us in the lead roles.”
The timing is coincidental, Acon said, but that the opera arrives amid heightened attention on the Central Park Five case is certainly beneficial to the public conversation. An earlier effort by Davis to debut the opera — since retooled and renamed — in New Jersey drew little attention. But that was before the Netflix series arrived.
“I’m a firm believer that everything is happening when it needs to happen,” Acon said. “All of these things are happening at once. It’s almost because our society is so resistant to the truth being revealed that you almost need it to be thrown into the mix as an atomic bomb for people to really put their ears up and understand how important this is, how terribly, terribly unjust this was.”
A journey to Long Beach
After graduating summa cum laude from Lawrence in 2010 — he was a double major in voice performance and government — Acon went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in 19th-century opera history and performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
He spent the next two and a half years on the road, performing, lecturing and studying. The schedule began to wear on his voice. Ten months ago, he relocated to southern California, drawn by what he calls the area’s “laid-back culture” and the plethora of arts opportunities.
He connected immediately with the Long Beach Opera, which was in the midst of a season based on issues of injustice. The casting for The Central Park Five was just getting started.
“I sang for them and was invited to join the cast,” Acon said.
He was working with people he didn’t know while immersing himself in the West Coast arts scene. He jumped into the mix as the opera company’s manager of education and engagement, organizing and facilitating community conversations in the months leading up to the opening of The Central Park Five.
“The journey began there,” Acon said. “It was kind of a
crash course in introducing me to the classical music scene here. I am someone
who has spent a lot of time in the Midwest and on the East Coast, so the West
Coast scene was new for me, and this was just a beautiful introduction to that
The well-attended community conversations gave people a chance to speak their mind, to share with others in a very public and very cleansing way. To do it with the arts as an avenue to positive discourse on an emotionally charged topic was beautiful to see, Acon said.
“The key word is community,” he said. “The arts have this
ability to create a community. Especially something like opera, where what
you’re hearing is so visceral, it’s so emotional, so loud, as some of the
younger people who have seen my work would say. You don’t really have an
opportunity to do anything but listen. It’s so in your face, it’s in your soul,
it’s in your heart.
“You may not always agree with the topic being put forth, but you are put in a position of contemplation, of consideration, and that is a communal experience. … Having the community of the opera house and the guidance of the voices and actors on stage may be enough to spark the conversation and the courage needed to really dig into some of these topics.”
Opening night arrives
As the June 15 opener drew closer, the performance of The Central Park Five was being described as both emotional and powerful, with Acon and the other lead actors often singing in unison, a singular and pained collective character.
“I think operas work on multiple levels, and certainly a visceral level is one that I’m very concerned with,” said Davis, who created the production in partnership with Richard Wesley. “I want the audience to have an emotional experience that involves identifying with the characters and putting yourself in their place.”
After the opera opened, reviewer Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Most of the opera, which is in two acts, follows the five through their arbitrary apprehension, inappropriate questioning, dubious trial, conviction and harsh sentencing. The boys react much of the time in quintet, voices blending in disbelief and outrage. The most effective operatic innovation is the creation of the Masque, who is less a character than the embodiment of white racism, be it the police, a reporter or various others.”
The reviews from opening night have been mixed, with reviewer Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times suggesting that the tone and the angst was spot on but having the five leads often sing as a Greek chorus means they “never have the chance to come to life as individuals, either in music or words.”
complaint, Acon said, that he also heard from a high school student who was
part of a group he brought to a dress rehearsal. It’s a legitimate perspective,
he said, but one he doesn’t necessarily share.
believe the opera is very effective in the way it keeps the five in unison, for
the most part,” he said. “In a way, it’s saying this experience is not
individual. This experience happens to so many young black men and other men of
color in this country, so much to the point that we can sing the same words at
the same time, in a metaphorical sense, because we all have these same
sentiments as it relates to the American criminal justice system.”
Acon’s next chapter
When The Central Park Five performances conclude this weekend, Acon, a bass-baritone, said he’ll turn his attention to new opportunities in southern California.
The arts as a vehicle for education and understanding will almost certainly be part of that journey.
Acon, who serves on the Lawrence Board of Trustees as a Recent Graduate Trustee — a position established for alumni within two to 10 years of their graduation — earned multiple regional and national honors as a student and already has more than two dozen operatic roles on his resume.
His deep thinking on issues related to the arts, race and public policy was plenty evident during his time at Lawrence, and Brian Pertl, Lawrence’s dean of the Conservatory of Music, isn’t surprised that Acon is seeing early career success.
“At Lawrence, Derrell was already an outstanding scholar and stellar performer,” Pertl said. “The performance he created in association with his honors project, Whence Comes Black Art?: The Construction and Application of ‘Black Motivation,’ stands as one of the most important and compelling student productions I have seen in the past 10 years.”
Ten months after landing in southern California, Acon said he feels like he’s found his artistic groove. The work with Long Beach Opera is just the start of some promising things.
“I’m excited to see what comes next,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of opportunities, and they keep coming in. It’s very encouraging.”
More than 1,000 alumni, family and friends made their way back to Lawrence University for the annual Reunion Weekend.
Cooler than expected temperatures and sporadic rains didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Performances at Memorial Chapel, alumni award presentations and plenty of social opportunities kept things festive during the Thursday through Saturday reunion. Here are a few takeaways from the big weekend.
Back to college
Friday’s Alumni College, featuring a bevy of talks and presentations from faculty and/or alumni on a wide range of topics, is always a highlight of Reunion Weekend.
Glen Johnson ’85 provided a nice testimony to the value of the Lawrence experience during a session he presented. He shared photos and insights from his four years leading strategic communications for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a journey that took him to 91 countries between 2013 and early 2017 and led to the publication of his 2018 book, “Window Seat on the World: A View of U.S. Leadership and Diplomacy.”
As part of his work, the former Associated Press and Boston Globe reporter took on the duties of official photographer, giving him access to Kerry in public and private settings as they traveled across all seven continents. His presentation took the audience through dozens of beautiful and poignant photos from around the world and the stories behind them.
Johnson told the alumni gathered in the Warch Campus Center Cinema that his studies at Lawrence set him on a path to do “dramatic and interesting” things.
“I came to Lawrence because I wanted to go to a liberal arts school,” said Johnson, who grew up just outside of Boston. “I also knew I wanted to be a journalist. So I came to Lawrence to go to this liberal arts school but with an idea of preparing for a very specific vocation. And so I was able to take a breadth of classes that gave me an array of knowledge that helped me as a reporter, and then that success as a reporter gave me the credibility to have this opportunity down the road.”
A highlight of the annual Alumni Convocation, held Saturday morning at Memorial Chapel, is the presentation by each reunion class or cluster of financial gifts to the university.
The gift announcements often come with heartfelt testimonials.
Jeff Billings ’03, speaking for the cluster of the classes of 2003, ’04 and ’05, referenced a highway sign that points one direction to Freedom and the other to Lawrence. While the sign references the towns of Freedom and Lawrence, it always got a laugh from Lawrence students, he said.
“But the arrow should be pointing in the same direction,” he said, “because when you come to Lawrence, you are forever transformed. You’re taught to think, you’re taught to be creative, you’re taught to listen to other people — imagine that — you’re given lifelong skills that give you freedom to choose the life you want to have, whatever that life may be. I, for one, am extremely appreciative of that fact, and Lawrence has forever transformed my life.”
Andrea Powers Robertson ’94, speaking for the Class of 1994, said she savors the Lawrence experience 25 years after leaving campus and wants to pay it forward.
“As one who relied heavily on financial aid to make my Lawrence experience possible, I have a profound sense of gratitude for the Lawrence Fund supporters who preceded me,” she said.
The class representatives rattled off a series of class gifts to the university that added up to nearly $13 million, including $6.6 million coming from the Class of 1969 as it marked its 50-year reunion.
“The theme for our 50th reunion has been Bob Dylan’s song, The Times They Are A Changin‘, said Susan Voss Pappas ’69, “and we’re doing our best to keep up.”
President Mark Burstein called the class gifts “truly extraordinary.”
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is thanking Lawrentians for their investment in this university,” he said. “It means so much to this institution, and I think even more importantly to the students, generation after generation.”
Honoring outstanding alumni
Seven Lawrence alumni were honored during the Alumni Convocation with the annual Alumni Awards.
Jaime Nodarse Barrera, a 2005 graduate, received the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Outstanding Service Award. She is the assistant vice president of development at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and has been involved with many community service groups including the Kiwanis Club, Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill at-risk youth mentoring. She also served as the interim director of marketing and interim director of communications, and helped to coordinate communications efforts and crisis management during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
Elizabeth R. Benson, a 1969 graduate, received the Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. She is an expert in energy and international trade, with deep experience in issues ranging from the structure of electricity and natural gas markets to energy efficiency, renewable resources and climate change. She has operated a successful independent consulting practice since 2001.
Zoe Ganos, a 1955 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer, received one of two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards, presented to an alum of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence. She has been a teacher all her life, much of her time spent as an English as a Second Language teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools. In addition to using her language skills, Ganos has served on the LUAA Board of Directors and volunteered weekly at the Traveler’s Aid Desk at Mitchell Field Airport in Milwaukee.
Dr. Todd A. Mahr, a 1979 graduate, received the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. He is the director of pediatric allergy and clinical immunology at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He is also adjunct clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
Momodu E. Maligi, a 2004 graduate, received the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. He has been Sierra Leone’s minister for water resources since 2014, making him the youngest member of President Koiroma’s cabinet. Since his appointment, Maligi has overseen the reorganization of Sierra Leone’s water sector, rehabilitating damaged water facilities, bringing in private sector investors and changing the legal framework for water policy.
Chuck Merry, a 1957 graduate, received the Presidential Award, presented to an alum whose leadership has contributed to the betterment of Lawrence University. A Milwaukee native, Merry has been a fixture at LU events since he moved back to Appleton in 1962. He has served on the school’s Legacy Circle National Council, the Athletics Advisory Committee and the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He chaired the LUAA Capital Campaign Liaison Group and served as a member of the LUAA Nominations and Awards Committee. He serves on the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
Joseph F. Patterson, a 1969 graduate, received one of the two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards. He is a real estate management entrepreneur in greater New York City. He previously served one term on the LU Alumni Board of Trustees, and since 2000 has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the School of Visual Arts of NYC. Throughout his real estate career, Patterson has promoted diversity of students on college campuses and public high schools, creating support programs to ensure successful experiences and achievement for all students.
Kudos to Laura Caviani ’84, who gave the audience at Friday night’s Alumni Recital at Memorial Chapel a treat by performing one of her original pieces.
Caviani, a successful jazz pianist, composer and educator in Minneapolis, performed “Give Me Your Tired” with Max Wendt ’94 and Jim Guckenberg ’94.
It was part of a recital that saw numerous alumni from a wide range of graduating classes perform, a testament to the long and successful history of the Conservatory of Music.
Consider the numbers
Attendance over the weekend topped the 1,000 mark. That number includes alumni as well as family and friends who came along for the fun. Here are some attendance numbers from classes marking major milestones.
The Class of 1969, celebrating its 50th reunion, posted the highest number of attendees, fittingly hitting 69. Other notable numbers included the Class of 2009 (10th reunion) with 57; the Class of 1979 (40th reunion) with 53; the Class of 1994 (25th reunion) with 49, and the Class of 1964 (55th reunion) with 19.
Here are a few of our favorite photos from Reunion Weekend. For much more robust photo galleries from the weekend, click here.
Ed Berthiaume is director public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com