Category: Press Releases

New application deadline adds flexibility for students dealing with pandemic

Lawrence University (photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is adding a new admissions deadline to lessen the pressure on prospective students who are dealing with unprecedented obstacles as they navigate college applications during a pandemic.

Lawrence’s traditional application deadline has already passed. But the school has added Feb. 16 as a new deadline for students who need the added flexibility due to complications in getting their first-semester grades, receiving letters of recommendation in a timely matter, accessing needed technology, or dealing with a myriad of other pandemic-related frustrations.

Three Lawrence professors part of video series for high school AP students: Read more here.

It’s an effort to be flexible toward student needs at a time when pressures are immense.

“We’re hearing from seniors in high school who need more time to complete their applications,” said Dean of Admissions Mary Beth Petrie. “They continue to experience extraordinary disruptions to their education, and we want to do what we can to provide a pathway to college.”

Students applying to Lawrence by the Feb. 16 deadline are still expected to get answers on their applications by April 1.

Petrie reports that applications for admission are currently keeping pace with previous years.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Kiese Laymon, author of “Heavy,” to deliver Convocation address Jan. 28

Kiese Laymon

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Kiese Laymon, the author of Heavy, a much-praised memoir that served as a recent community read across the Lawrence University campus, will deliver the school’s Winter Term Convocation address on Jan. 28.

His writing has been lauded for its richness in detail, its emotional complexity, and its honesty as Laymon lays bare his experiences growing up and making a life for himself as a Black man in America. He feels the forces of racism suffocating him while he navigates complex and often confounding family relationships and issues tied to abuse, body image, and addictive behavior.

Set for 11:15 a.m., the Convocation will be virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. Laymon’s recorded speech, The Radical Possibility and Democratic Necessity of Navel Gazing, will be followed by an interview hosted by Amy Ongiri, the Jill Beck Director of Film Studies and associate professor of film studies, and students Tania Sosa ’24 and Edwin Martinez ’24. That will be followed by an audience Q&A with Laymon, moderated by President Mark Burstein.

Laymon, a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Mississippi, recently released a new essay collection, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, an expanded and reworked version of an essay collection first released in 2013. It adds six essays and edits others from the initial release.

National Public Radio praised the new release, saying Laymon “takes on the messiness, richness, violence, and diversity of the South in his work, as well as the complex question of what it means to be Black and from Mississippi.” Jerald Walker of the New York Times called Laymon’s retooling of the essay collection a worthwhile undertaking “because by adding six rich new essays, deftly curating seven from the original book, and reworking the chronology, you have made a once solid collection superb.”

It was the release of Heavy in 2018 that first brought Laymon widespread acclaim. The memoir earned a bevy of literary honors, including winning the Christopher Isherwood Prize and being named a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the Chautauqua Prize. Written as a communication to his mother, the book rips open and digs deep into layers of family pain, abuse, success, wisdom, passion, addiction, and fear, much of it grounded in his love-hate relationship with Jackson, Mississippi, where he grew up, fled, and eventually returned.

Lawrence faculty, students, staff, and alumni joined together for a recent community read. Many then explored the complexities of Heavy in a virtual book discussion held on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Music at the Convocation will include Genius Child, performed by Preston Parker ’23 and Mandy Kung, and Set Me as a Seal, performed by the Lawrence University Concert Choir with members of the Appleton East High School Easterners, under the direction of Associate Professor of Music Stephen Sieck. The link for the Jan. 28 Convocation can be found here.

The live webcast will be accessible to the public, but a recording of the event will not be made public.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu.

30th annual MLK Celebration to go virtual; series of conversations planned

Bettina L. Love (left) and Griot B.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The 30th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, co-hosted by African Heritage Inc. and the Lawrence University Diversity and Intercultural Center, will be held virtually on Jan. 18.

Typically held in Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel on the evening of MLK Day, the community event is moving online this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those who would like to attend the virtual event will need to register in advance here. It’s set for 6 to 7:45 p.m.

“This upcoming MLK Day, it will be 30 years the Fox Cities has come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy and the dedication to racial equality,” said Dr. Brittany Bell, assistant dean of students and director of the Diversity and Intercultural Center at Lawrence and co-chair of the Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. “Although the pandemic has changed how we celebrate this year, let us continue to come together in unity. The unrest in our nation has shown us we have lots of work to do.”

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Bettina L. Love, delivering the address, Abolitionist Life: Resistance, Creativity, Hip Hop Civics Ed, Intersectionality, & Black Joy.

Love, an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia, will discuss how intersectionality and Abolitionist teaching “creates a space where Black lives matter and sensibilities are nurtured to engage communities in the work of fighting for visibility, inclusion, and justice.” Her talk will end by calling on people to engage in critical dialogues about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in our communities. She will challenge the audience to “envision a world built on Black joy, creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and the rebellious spirit and methods of Abolitionists.”

Music will be performed by Griot B, delivering Agitate: A Story Through Song.

There is no youth essay contest this year due to challenges posed by the pandemic. A book giveaway sponsored by Memorial Presbyterian Church in Appleton and the City of Appleton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be announced as part of the event.

At Lawrence, the event will be preceded with a series of online educational opportunities focused on antiracism, hosted by the Center for Community Engagement. No classes will be held on the day, and students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to partake in the virtual presentations and discussions. The events include:

10 to 11 a.m.: A virtual book discussion will be held featuring Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir, a book selected as a community read for Lawrence. The discussion comes in advance of the Jan. 28 virtual convocation featuring Laymon. Find more information here.

1 to 2:30 p.m.: A disability policy and advocacy event is planned. Alexandra Chand ’21 and the Disability Working Group will lead a session about advocacy and lobbying for disability rights-related legislation. Participants will learn how to call and write to elected officials and examine pieces of relevant legislation at the state and federal level. A follow-up event will be planned. Find more information here.

2:45 to 4 p.m.: An antiracist solutions and strategies workshop will be hosted by Kye Harris ’21. The workshop will address the history of leadership, movements, and protests, and explore action plans for individuals, collectives, and institutions to combat discrimination in all forms. Find more information here.

4 to 5:10 p.m.: Music for All: MLK Concert is planned. Hosted by Jacob Dikelsky and Music for All, the virtual concert will highlight music of BIPOC composers. Find more information here.

All of the Lawrence events require advance registration. You can find more information here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Celebrating the life of John Koopman, founder of Lawrence’s opera program

John Koopman, 1989 (Lawrence University Archives)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is mourning the death of John Koopman, the founder of Lawrence’s opera program and a longtime voice professor in the Conservatory of Music.

Koopman joined the faculty in 1960 and continued to teach until his retirement in 1994. He died Dec. 22 in Appleton at age 88.

“Professor John Koopman influenced generations of Lawrentians and created our wonderful opera program,” said Kenneth Bozeman, emeritus professor of music who worked with Koopman for more than a dozen years and maintained a friendship through the years. “We are so grateful for the immense impact he had on our Conservatory.”

Koopman served for many years as chair of the Voice Department.

He forged a second career following retirement, becoming a widely published opera journalist, with his writings appearing in publications around the world.

It was his deep love of opera that brought him to Lawrence more than 60 years ago and set him on his journey to create an opera program within the Conservatory, an endeavor that has since grown into the robust and renowned program it is today, led for the past seven years by Copeland Woodruff, the first director of opera studies in the program’s history.

“In the pioneering spirit of John Koopman and his legacy at Lawrence University, especially in founding an opera ensemble, we are dedicating this academic year’s productions to his memory,” Woodruff said. “Having to invent the wheel, again, because of the pandemic, by delving into film techniques, we can only imagine what it must have taken to forge a new theatrical ensemble when Mr. Koopman started the journey. Opera Studies at Lawrence stands on the shoulders of this passionate, kind, and talented maverick.”

Koopman was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth Jane (Hayes) Koopman, who, after retiring from public education, ran Lawrence’s sight-singing program for many years as an adjunct faculty member. He also was preceded in death by his daughter, Ann Koopman. He is survived by two sons, William and James, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Nancy Marsh Stowe ’61, a beloved companion of recent years, said Koopman cherished his enduring relationship with Lawrence and the hundreds of students he taught and mentored through the years.

“Teaching was paramount for John, and he had a remarkable ability to connect with students, both personally and with regard to their voice development and potential,” she said. “He did not impose on them his vision for them, but encouraged them to find that for themselves and supported their choices.”

For those who worked with Koopman in the halls of the Conservatory, the memories are indelible. Bozeman called him “broadly educated, literate, erudite, and witty” and said sharing the stage with him was a joy.

“As a performer, John was a solid, stylish, serious singer, but also a hilarious comedic actor,” Bozeman said. “I both thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from performing with him in recital and concert. The prioritized attention he gave to expression, elegant diction, and compelling communication were exemplary for us all. His friendship, humanity, and wit will be fondly remembered and dearly missed.”

The family expects to hold a memorial celebration in Appleton later in 2021 and asks that if you wish to make a gift in John Koopman’s memory, please make it to the Lawrence Conservatory of Music.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Celebrating the life of piano professor Robert Below; he had “virtuosic abilities”

Robert Below, 1990 (Lawrence University Archives)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is celebrating the many artistic and academic contributions of Robert Below, a retired piano professor who taught in the Conservatory of Music for 32 years before retiring in 1996.

He died Dec. 16 at home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 86.

Besides being a force in the classroom, Below is being remembered as a prolific performer and composer.

“Robert’s virtuosic abilities as both a performer and educator inspired generations of Lawrentians,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory.

In the classroom, Below taught nearly 1,200 Lawrence students. His teaching included piano studio work and classes in music history, literature of music, theory-analysis, and chamber music, among others.

His son, Andy Buelow ’84, now the executive director of the West Michigan Symphony, was among the Lawrence students Below inspired. He said his father found a welcoming home when he arrived at Lawrence in 1964, something he never took for granted.

“The university’s commitment to liberal arts was something in which he believed strongly, both for himself and his students,” Buelow said. “He felt that broader studies that included art, literature, history, theater, and the sciences would help them become better musicians and well-rounded human beings. He encouraged them not to spend their entire four years holed up in the music building.”

Buelow said he twice took classes taught by his father, both in music history.

“This is a memory I will always treasure — the opportunity to experience first-hand his amazing skills as a classroom teacher,” he said. “We, of course, spent a lot of time listening to recorded musical samples, but I still remember the day we were exploring 20th century piano literature and he sat down at the piano, without preamble or warm-up, and played the Copland Piano Sonata for the class. It was an unforgettable moment for us all.”

In addition to teaching, Below performed on stages in Appleton and across the United States, as well as in Europe and Latin America. He performed often with Lawrence colleagues and appeared as a concerto soloist with numerous orchestras, among them the Fox Valley Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony.

He also composed more than 50 works, many of which have been performed through the years by Lawrence ensembles.

His numerous anthems, hymns, and other sacred works were used at his beloved All Saints Episcopal Church in Appleton. His choral music has been performed at his alma mater, the University of Louisville, as well as by the Lawrence University Concert Choir.

He was selected as the winner of the 1990 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Wisconsin Composers Fanfare Competition and he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the School of Music at the University of Louisville.

In his obituary, former student Priscilla Peterson Weaver ’68 spoke glowingly of Below’s commitment to music education.

“The combination of grace and artistry and humanity that lived in Robert and that he passed on in his trademark forceful manner to all his students was a joy to witness,” she said. “For those of us privileged enough to have Robert as a mentor, and not just an occasional teacher, the experience was a blessing of immeasurable worth.”

Below reveled in the arts, at Lawrence and elsewhere, the family said. Poetry, ballet, classical music, and jazz were sources of inspiration during and after his time at Lawrence, and he continued to play the piano into his final days.

He and his wife, Barbara, relocated to Albuquerque shortly after his retirement. She preceded him in death in May. Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Alison, of Albuquerque.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

2020 in focus: Photographer shares 10 favorite Lawrence images of the year

By Danny Damiani / Communications

At the end of a year that included more than 1,000 edited photos taken in and around the Lawrence University campus, I was tasked with selecting my top 10 images of 2020. Narrowing this rather unusual year down to 10 photos was a difficult task, but below you will find my favorites, along with notes on how and why. A huge thank you to all the students, faculty, and staff who allow me to step into their world both digitally and in person to make all of my photos happen.

1. Aerial Landscape, the Wellness Center, and Sampson House reflected just before sundown on Aug. 6. One of my goals this year was to try to show campus in new ways. I spent many hours this summer looking for different angles to reflect this beautiful campus. It wasn’t until I spotted a portion of Aerial Landscape reflected in nearby glass that I stopped and worked the angle of the reflection to get this result.

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2. Students dance during the Feb. 1 President’s Ball in Warch Campus Center. Thinking back to winter term, a favorite memory is the smiling faces at the President’s Ball. Covering the event was a bit of a technical challenge because of the low light, but like many assignments, it’s all about waiting in the right place for the right moment.

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3. Ryan Erdmann ’22 wears a mask while taking part in a Chamber Music class in City Park on Oct. 7. Mask-wearing quickly became a vital aspect of 2020, so I always kept an eye out for students who were using their masks to show off a little of their personality. It took nearly the entire class before I was able to get the light to fall in just the right spot for this photo.

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4. Kelvin Maestre ’21, a Makerspace assistant, watches as a laser cutter starts its work on a piece of wood on Jan. 22 in the Seeley G. Mudd Library. Having the chance to document the interesting work that students do is a highlight of my job. That often goes hand in hand with our 2 Minutes With series of student features. I knew the Makerspace would have lots of interesting light sources, so I went in looking to take an image that utilized one of them.

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5. Ghania Imran ’21 poses for a May 22 portrait in her Chicago home via Zoom. Speaking of our 2 Minutes With series, many of the photos I take for those stories are portraits. Spring Term brought new challenges for taking portraits of students. For this photo, I decided to try a portrait through Zoom. It involved lighting the laptop with two separate lights, help from Ghania to find a good spot in her home, and finally positioning the laptop for the right angle.

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6. Sonja Klusman plays the piano with Matt Turner, instructor of music, during an Applied Musicianship II class on Feb. 17 in Shattuck Hall. I always take into account the amount of time that’s available to me when I get to an assignment. Do I need to get a photo within five minutes or, in the case of this image, do I have the time to really explore different angles?

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7. Nicholas Jatta ’21 kicks a soccer ball with friends Oct. 6 on the Quad. During Fall Term, I spent a good deal of time looking to document what students were up to in this Honor the Pledge environment. Finding Nicholas kicking the soccer ball with friends was a pleasant surprise. Not only was the afternoon light falling beautifully on the Quad, but it had been a long time since I had the chance to photograph anything related to sports.

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8. The moon rises above Main Hall on Jan. 7. This image came together as I was nearing the end of a workday. While walking to Brokaw Hall from the Warch Campus Center, I noticed the moon was bright, and close enough the cupola to capture a photo.

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9. Nathan Graff ’22 and Daniel Johnson ’23 rehearse outdoors with the Jazz Ensemble on Oct. 7. After taking photos of an outdoor music class in City Park (see earlier entry), I decided to edit the images on Main Hall Green. Not long into my edit I heard the sounds of brass behind me. After getting a few images of the Jazz Ensemble students as they practiced, I noticed the shadows against the white chapel, so I reset myself and took this photo.

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10. Sophia Driessen ’22 transplants leafy greens while working on a hydroponics research project on Dec. 10 in the Briggs Hall greenhouse. This was the first time I took photos in the greenhouse. The purples and greens are what pull this image together for me.

Danny Damiani is a multimedia specialist in the Communications office. Email: daniel.t.damiani@lawrence.edu

2020 Video Rewind: Our 10 favorite videos of the year

Here are our 10 favorite videos in 2020 produced by Lawrence University’s Communications video team.

Our video team captured and shared a lot of powerful moments in 2020, from outdoor fun to preparing our community for life during the pandemic. Here’s a look at 10 of our favorites.

1. Ormsby Lake (January)

A look at the creation of Ormsby Lake from wooden barriers and grass to broomball and ice skating.

2. Makerspace (February)

The Lawrence University Makerspace nurtures diverse interests, values, initiative, and celebrates accomplishment. All Lawrence students use the space free of charge, to creatively pursue their own interests (both in the classroom and independently). The Makerspace provides a collaborative environment where the entire Lawrence community comes together to create something entirely new.

3. Cultural Expressions (February)

A look in from behind the scenes to premiere night of Black Student Union’s Cultural Expressions at the end of People of Color Empowerment Week.
Created by student video fellows Louric Rankine ’21, Tien Tran ’20, and Ethan Dorer ’20.

4. Welcome To Spring Term (April)

Messages from the Lawrence community to welcome everyone back to spring term. Shine bright, Lawrentians.

5. Rivers and Trails (April)

The Lawrence University campus sits between downtown Appleton and the Fox River. With a variety of parks to explore, there’s always new adventure within reach.

6. Alex Gym Floor Reveal (May)

Take a look behind the scenes as Alexander Gymnasium’s floor is refinished with a new design.
Thank you to our generous donors who made this exciting transformation possible!

7. Congratulations Class of 2020 (June)

Kelci Page ’20 paints a mural for the Class of 2020 along Drew Street.

8. Honor the Pledge (August)

Ensuring the health and safety of the Lawrence University community and beyond only works when we all do our part, together.

9. Luminaries (September)

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

10. Student Orgs (November)

Lawrence has a variety of student-led organizations, embedded in every facet of the campus community. These groups empower student voices, celebrate culture and identity, and provide a launchpad for exploration.

Bonus: Public Art

Explore public art across the Lawrence campus and downtown Appleton.
Created by student video fellow Luke Le ’22.

Most-viewed Lawrence stories of 2020: Bright lights in midst of a daunting year

The President’s Handshake, a tradition of Welcome Week, was reimagined at the outset of Fall Term, one of many adjustments made to keep campus safe during the pandemic. President Mark Burstein met each incoming student and presented them with a luminary to be displayed. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

It’s been a different sort of year. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly altered life on the Lawrence campus.

But one thing proved true. Lawrentians (and future Lawrentians and friends of Lawrence) are hungry to read about Lawrence and their fellow Lawrentians. We’ve dived into the analytics to share today the most viewed stories of 2020 on the Lawrence news site. (A few of the stories that placed in the top 20 are partnered here because they are so closely related.)

Eight alumni, eight stories: See 2020 edition here.

From voice professor John Holiday’s success on NBC’s The Voice to Lawrence again being hailed as a world-class school to adjustments made to campus life in the midst of a pandemic, there was no shortage of Lawrence news that drew a lot of interest. We provide here links to those most popular stories. Check out what you missed or take another look at stories that remind us of what makes Lawrence shine.

1. John Holiday hits big on NBC’s The Voice.

“There are people who dare to dream bigger than themselves; they never stop learning, never stop growing. I wanted to show my students what that looked like.” See stories here and here.

2. Princeton Review names Lawrence one of nation’s Best Impact schools.

“I see it and hear it when I meet with our alumni around the world. They point back to their time at Lawrence as unlocking something for them, discovering an interest or talent they didn’t know they had until they started working with professors here who helped guide them in that discovery.” See story here.

3. We say farewell to beloved Lawrentians.

“I will always remember Lifongo as the warmest, kindest, and most generous, joyful, and magnanimous of colleagues and friends.” … “I know many Lawrentians join me in remembering moments when Terry’s advice provided exactly what you needed to hear to be the best version of yourself.” See stories here and here.

4. Campus life changes amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of us living, learning, and working on campus this fall need to understand and to honor the responsibilities outlined by the Pledge.” See stories here and here.

5. A professor’s guide offers look at Freshman Studies.

“The entire list shows a remarkable range and an admirable ambition.” See story here.

6. New trestle trail adds to trails, parks near campus.

“The abandoned railroad trestle has been transformed into a 10-foot-wide trail that spans the Fox River at the southern edge of campus.” See story here.

7. Bidding good-bye for now to retiring faculty.

“You have served as a steadying force, stepping into a host of academic leadership positions that have lent stability in moments of uncertainty and grace in times of worry.” See story here.

8. Six faculty earn tenure.

“I’m absolutely delighted that their contributions are being recognized through the awarding of tenure and promotion, and look forward to continuing together our rich, rewarding work for years to come.” See story here.

 9. Jake Woodford ’13 elected mayor of Appleton.

“It has been a pleasure to watch Jake’s energy turn toward the city he loves.” See story here.

10. Princeton Review names Lawrence to Best Colleges list.

“As we head into another academic year, albeit one that looks different from any other in history, it’s reassuring to see that some things have remained the same.” See story here.

11. President Mark Burstein announces plans to leave Lawrence.

“During Mark’s tenure, our curricular offerings became deeper and broader, applications and the endowment increased dramatically, and our community became more diverse, inclusive, and equity-minded.” See story here.

12. Lawrence offers assistance during pandemic.

“We have always risen to the challenges that face us with resilience and ingenuity.” See story here.

13. Conservatory named ‘hidden gem,’ adapts to life in pandemic.

“It’s beautiful, creative flexibility. We’re working with our students all the time to say, ‘This is what you’re going to need out there in the world, and this is what’s going to be exciting about being a musician in the world today.’” See story here.

14. Natasha Tretheway named 2020 Commencement speaker.

“Our journeys have been intertwined since I visited Lawrence four years ago, and I am delighted and honored to be able to reconnect with this class in such a meaningful way.” See story here.

15. Spencer Tweedy ’19 enjoys Kimmel appearance, Instagram show.

“One of the really, really cool things about my time at Lawrence was that the boundary between the Conservatory and the college is pretty permeable.” See story here.

16. Lawrence adds major in Creative Writing, minor in Statistics and Data Science.

“We’ve seen more prospective students articulating their desire to focus directly on creative writing.” … “Data scientists are working with bioinformatics, genetics; it’s huge in economics, and it’s become a huge thing in political science.” See story here.

17. Four alumni added to Board of Trustees.

“At this critical moment for higher education, I couldn’t be more appreciative for the diverse group of individuals who are giving so much of their time and talent as trustees to ensure that the college continues to distinguish and differentiate itself.” See story here.

18. Alexander Gym court gets a redesign.

“While resurfacing was certainly a maintenance requirement, the fresh new design work is an added bonus.” See story here.

19. Our 2020 Alumni Awards are announced.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the annual Reunion celebration, this year’s recipients are still being celebrated for their contributions to both the Lawrence community and the world.” See story here.

20. Alex Damisch ’16 cherishes her Jeopardy experience.

“After I taped the shows, I thought to myself, ‘Man, it went by so fast, and I was always so focused on my next move, I hope I remembered to smile.’ Spoiler alert: I did not.” See story here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Lawrence, Wisconsin School of Business collaborate to offer skills development

Lawrence University will be home to a series of business skills development courses.

Communications

Lawrence University and the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional and Executive Development (CPED) have launched a partnership to offer learning and development opportunities to the business community in the Fox Valley.

The partnership, facilitated through CPED, is providing immersive programs on critical skill development. The courses are being delivered online during the COVID-19 pandemic but will shift to in-person sessions on the Lawrence campus when it’s safe to do so.

Lawrence leadership first began talking with CPED Director of Corporate Partnerships Mark Seifert in late 2018, expressing interest in using Lawrence facilities and expertise to provide educational outreach in business skills development. Surveys and several rounds of meetings with executives from area organizations indicated there was interest.

Lawrence President Mark Burstein called the partnership a great opportunity for Lawrence to support area organizations in new ways.

“Many CEOs in northeastern Wisconsin have asked me over the past few years if Lawrence could offer learning opportunities for their staff that would be practical, tailored to their business needs, and locally delivered,” Burstein said. “Teaming with CPED has allowed us to fulfill this need, relying on the expertise of the Wisconsin School of Business and Lawrence’s local knowledge and talent.”

The first session in the partnership, How to Influence Without Direct Authority, held earlier this year, drew associates from Jewelers Mutual, Johnsonville Sausage, Michel’s Corporation and Schreiber Foods.

“This was a great cohort; each of them worked on creating a strategy for influencing something pretty big in their organizations,” said Susan Finerty, CPED instructor and author of Cross Functional Influence. “In a lot of ways, when it ended, I felt like I was leaving in the middle of a really great movie. I am anxious to know how all of these changes, ideas, and initiatives turn out.”

The responses from the course have been promising. It is traditionally a two-day immersive program helping leaders positively expand influence beyond their formal authority in order to ensure professional and organizational success. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program shifted to an online delivery, running six weeks via 75-minute weekly learning sessions.

The interactive sessions offered participants the opportunity to grow their professional networks and get real-time feedback on their progress. The Live Learning Sessions were complemented by pre- and post-work activities that included a multi-rater assessment tool, videos, readings, discussions, and a final project.

“I enjoyed the content presented and the time spent in the program,” said Rick Heck, business manager – enterprise projects at Schreiber Foods. “The content fit exceptionally well with my responsibilities of leading a team of dedicated project managers working cross-functionally in our organization. I recommend this program to others if their role requires them to truly influence others on a regular basis. The Influence Planner provides a framework from which to ‘script’ influence conversations and will be helpful going forward.”

A second cohort is scheduled to launch on Jan. 20. For information on this and other upcoming sessions, contact Mark Seifert at mark.seifert@uwcped.org or visit www.uwcped.org

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Can we talk? Student writers share their in-person, remote Fall Term experiences

Awa Badiane ’21 (left) and Isabella Mariani ’21

Like other Lawrence students, Awa Badiane ’21 and Isabella Mariani ’21 are navigating Fall Term amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Awa is doing so on campus in Appleton. Isabella is doing so remotely, having spent part of the term accessing classes while working on an organic farm in Hawaii before returning home to Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in early November. The two Communications Fellows talked to each other about their respective student experiences.

Story by Awa Badiane ’21 and Isabella Mariani ’21

Isabella: Hey, Awa, I’ve been seeing friends posting on social media about life on campus right now. How’s that going for you? 

Awa: Hey, Isabella! I can truthfully say it’s not like any other year I’ve had here at Lawrence, but I’m glad I can be closer to my friends. What’s it been like taking classes remotely? 

Isabella: The first thing that comes to mind is how hard it is to stay motivated. One of the biggest roadblocks to remote learning, I think, is losing motivation. There’s no right or wrong way to motivate yourself; it comes down to what works for you as an individual.  

Awa: I hear that. I remember during Spring Term when most students were off campus and all my classes were online. I would be up until about 6 a.m. trying to read before class because that was the only time motivation struck. Maybe it was something about watching the sunrise after spending all night on TikTok that gave me the real push I needed. 

Isabella: I love that. Maybe it comes down to dedicating that period of time when you put yourself in an academic mindset.  

Awa: How about staying organized? Have you been able to do that?

Isabella: This is another big one for me. I’ve found myself losing track of dates and deadlines when taking classes. That’s pretty natural, since no one else is around to hold me accountable for making it to class or turning things in on time. Honestly, writing in my planner every day is really the only thing keeping me on track with school. It might surprise you how much making lists can boost your confidence and productivity. 

 Awa: I still find myself losing track of dates and deadlines, even on campus. I’m glad you have found a way that works for you in keeping track of assignments as they are coming up. Having two in-person classes and my third class being synchronous on Zoom has definitely helped. I am able to create a schedule around my classes.  

Isabella: Yeah, I guess it’s comforting to know people struggle with this on campus, too. You’re lucky to have those class times that you can work around. Being on the farm or at home, it’s also been helpful to have a space where I keep all my school stuff. Just to create a “class space” where everything is kept in order. 

Awa: Have you felt connected to campus when you are so far away?

Isabella: Connecting to people and resources on campus definitely feels harder being remote. While Lawrence has lots of connective resources on campus, it’s easy to feel distant from that when you are at home. I just remind myself that I’m only an email away from the CAS staff, and you also can schedule Wellness Center telehealth appointments for counseling or health issues if you’re not on campus. And staying in touch with professors has been really helpful. 

Awa: I hope you’re not having FOMO about life on campus! It’s still pretty hard to see people here. We all want to stay safe, so seeing friends you don’t live with has been a challenge. 

Isabella: I do sometimes get FOMO seeing some of my friends posting on Instagram from campus. But as you say, it might be more painful if I was there and couldn’t spend time around them if they weren’t in my pod. Are you still in regular contact with your professors? Does being on campus make that different for you? 

Awa: I would say getting to see my professors in person is one of the biggest benefits from being on campus. I have two classes in person, so I get to ask any question I may have there, rather than waiting for an email.  

Isabella: How about developing a routine? That’s been another big one for me. It’s been one of the hardest things. Remote learning is full of distractions, and it can feel impossible for me to make time to get things done. At home, I’m so distracted by my dogs, and suddenly deciding to rearrange my room. That’s why I think creating your own routine is key when you’re remote. Again, I don’t think there’s a formula you have to follow for this. It’s just about knowing what works for you personally. 

Awa: That’s true. I think the same works for being on campus. Sometimes I get jealous of my friends who only have class online because they don’t have to leave their rooms, but I’ve found little things I can do before class like grabbing lunch to get me excited. And I also remember how I would be up until 6 a.m. when my classes were online and I thank myself for making the best decision for me. Do you think being off campus is working for you? 

Isabella: Ultimately, I think it was the best decision for me. I know plenty of people are making it work on campus right now, but I don’t think I could properly enjoy my time there right now. I’m glad you mentioned using lunch to get yourself ready for class. Building routines around mealtimes is definitely helpful, which reminds me of something I’m really curious about. Do you think your sleeping habits/routines are different on campus? 

Awa: Surprisingly, it has been better. My sleeping schedule during Spring Term in quarantine was all over the place, probably because of all the late-night snacks. But here I know I have to get up and get ready for class, so I try to make sure I get enough sleep to do that.   

Isabella: Finding personal time also is really big for me. When all is said and done, you’re still a person with needs before you’re a student. It’s crucial to find a balance between your academic responsibilities and your personal life, especially when those two become intertwined. Just because you’re not in an academic environment doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a nap on your couch or watch movies. 

Awa: I completely agree with you. Even though two of my classes are in person, I still find myself on Zoom calls quite often. From LUCC meetings, to committee meetings, to meetings with administration, etc., I am on Zoom A LOT. But I have found in between the many Zoom meetings, stepping away from my computer and phone and just going for a walk or curling my hair to be very relaxing. 

Isabella: Wow, I always forget how busy you are. You must actually be an expert at knowing when you need personal time.  

Awa: It’s been great catching up.  

Isabella: This has been interesting because I expected that students on campus wouldn’t be having the same problems as me. I even thought that students on campus were simply having an easier go of things because they’re physically at Lawrence. But that’s not always the case.  

Awa: Yeah, we are living in very interesting times. It’s been an adjustment for all of us. It helps that we are all going through it together.  

Awa Badiane ’21 and Isabella Mariani ’21 are student writers in the Communications office.