Category: Press Releases

UW Political Scientist Discusses Corruption in China in Lawrence University Address

Fourteen years to the day that the Chinese government used armed force against demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a scholar of contemporary China discusses the societal problems widespread corruption is causing the country and the difficult choices facing China’s leaders in an address at Lawrence University.

Melanie Manion, associate professor of affairs and associate director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, presents “The Dilemma of Corruption in Mainland China: Saving the Country or Saving the Party?” Wednesday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Despite more than two decades of reform efforts, Manion says China today ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, with corruption reaching the highest level of government. According to Manion, Chinese leaders acknowledge the problem is more serious than at any time since 1949 when the communist assumed power and they view corruption as one of the greatest threats today to communist rule.

On the anniversary of the 1989 massacre that ended the biggest anticorruption protest in Chinese communist history, Manion will examine how Chinese leaders have tried, largely unsuccessfully, to deal with the dilemma of the Chinese expression: “Don’t fight corruption and the country dies. Truly fight corruption and the communist party dies!”

A member of the La Follette School faculty since 2000, Manion is the author of the forthcoming book, “Corruption by Design: Building Clean Government in Mainland China and Hong Kong” and the 1993 book “Retirement of Revolutionaries in China: Public Policies, Social Norms, Private Interests.”

A graduate of Montreal’s McGill University, Manion studied for two years at the University of Peking before earning her master’s degree at the University of London and her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan.

Her visit is supported in part by the Henry M. Luce Foundation.

Lawrence University Pianist Wins Top Honors at State Competition

Lawrence University senior Rachel Bittner earned first prize honors Saturday, May 24 at the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association’s annual Badger Collegiate Piano Competition. It was the second straight year a Lawrence pianist was awarded the competition’s top prize.

In addition, Nicholas Towns and Erin Grier earned honorable mention recognition at the competition.

Conducted at Lawrence’s Memorial Chapel, the WMTA Badger Collegiate Competition featured 12 pianists from colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin. It was adjudicated by Fred Karpoff, chair of the keyboard department at Syracuse University.

Bittner, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., who earned honorable mention recognition in this same competition last year, received $200 for her winning performance. A student of Associate Professor Anthony Padilla’s piano studio, Bittner played Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata, Op. 57, Prokofieff’s Sonata No. 7, Op. 83 and Chopin’s Scherzo No. 3. She will pursue graduate studies this fall in piano performance at the University of Wisconsin, where she will study with former Lawrence music professor Catherine Kautsky.

Towns, a senior from Princeton, Ill., and Grier, a junior from Woodside, Del., are also students of Padillla’s piano studio.

Cultural Differences of Brain Death Focus of Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture

Anthropologist Margaret Lock compares the concept of brain death in Japan and North America and how culture and politics have influenced its recognition and impacted organ transplantation in the final installment of Lawrence University’s 2002-2003 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Lock, associate professor in social studies in medicine at Montreal’s McGill University, presents “Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death” Wednesday, May 28 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A specialist in the relationship between culture, technoscience, health and illness, Lock will examine the reasons behind widespread anxiety in Japan over the use of a brain-dead person as a resource for the procurement of organs, which until very recently had been illegal, including the traditional Japanese cultural relationship of the dead to the living and the process of dying as a social and familial event.

She will contrast the Japanese model with that found in North America where the widely agreed opinion that the clinical condition of a brain dead body is irreversible has allowed relatively easy utilitarian harvesting of organs for transplant.

Her address also will include discussion of a recently published position of several neurologists who argue that a brain dead body is not biologically dead and that death remains, as it must always be, elusive, subject only to socially constructed definitions designed to provide medical professionals with a sense of certainty and with legal protection.

Lock, who has taught in both the departments of social studies of medicine and anthropology at McGill for more than 25 years, was the 1997 recipient of the Wellcome Medal for research in medical anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and was the 2002 winner of the Molson Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities of the Canada Council for the Arts for her pioneering research in medical anthropology.

Lawrence University’s Jazz Studies Director Wins International Composition Commission

Lawrence University music professor Fred Sturm has been named the recipient of the 2003 ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones for Established Jazz Composers of International Prominence.

The commission, widely considered the world’s most prestigious jazz composition award for established composers, is presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in cooperation with the International Association of Jazz Educators.

Sturm, the director of jazz studies and improvisational music at Lawrence, will write a new composition in the coming months and conduct its premiere performed by an all-star ensemble of jazz musicians next January at the 2004 IAJE Conference in New York City. The commission prize includes a cash award of $7,500.

“The ASCAP/IAJE commission comes with no strings attached,” said Sturm. “It’s basically anything goes. It will be created completely from scratch, but I’m hoping to write something that is very cutting edge.”

In addition to his ASCAP jazz commission, Sturm was recently selected to work on a pair of upcoming recording projects.

In September, he travels to Frankfurt, Germany, where he will serve as arranger/conductor for the recording of “Bodacious Cowboys: 3 Decades of Steely Dan,” a tribute to one of rock music’s most creative and enduring ensembles. Sturm will conduct the Hessischer Rundfunk (Public Radio for the State of Hessen) Jazz Band for the project. Next March, the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble will perform the same program in a campus concert.

Sturm also will serve as arranger/conductor for the 2004 BMG/Arista Records release of Brazilian pianist, singer and composer Eliane Elias. In addition to arranging all the works on the Elias project, Sturm will travel to London in November to conduct the London Symphony in a recording of the CD’s orchestral components.

“Any of these three projects alone would be cause for celebration,” Sturm said. “Put all three together and you have a combination of sheer exhilaration and terror. If I had the luxury of spreading these projects out over a period of a couple of years, that would be heaven, but when the phone rings and you’re asked to contribute, you say ‘YES!’

“Opportunities like this don’t always come along and you may only be asked once, so you have to take advantage of them when they present themselves. The coming months are going to be extremely busy, but equally exciting and rewarding.”

A 1998 Grammy Award nominee, Sturm directed the Lawrence jazz studies program from 1977-91 and served as professor and chair of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music in New York from 1991-2002, directing the internationally acclaimed Eastman Jazz Ensemble, conducting the 70-piece Eastman Studio Orchestra and coordinating the Eastman jazz composition and arranging program. A 1973 Lawrence graduate, he returned to the Lawrence conservatory faculty in the fall of 2002.

In Sturm’s 25-year university teaching career, Downbeat Magazine has cited his ensembles as the finest in the United States and Canada eight times.

Professors Katz, Nordell Become First Honorary Faculty Members of Lawrence Chapter of Mortar Board

For the first time in the organization’s 81-year history, two faculty members were among the new inductees in Lawrence University’s chapter of Mortar Board.

Derek Katz, assistant professor music, and Karen Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, were initiated recently as honorary members at the organization’s annual spring program. They are the first two Lawrence faculty members to hold honorary membership in Lawrence’s Iota chapter of Mortar Board, a national honor society for seniors that recognizes outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the academic community.

“Although Lawrence has never selected Mortar Board honorary members before, the contributions Dr. Katz and Dr. Nordell make to this campus and the larger community could not go unrecognized by our current chapter,” said Sarah Krile, student president of Mortar Board. “We felt that both of them fully exemplify and promote the three ideals of Mortar Board, namely the pursuit of academic excellence, the encouragement and practice of leadership and commitment to service. They are dedicated to their students and are highly respected among their peers. It was with great enthusiasm that we nominated them for this honor.”

Katz, who joined the conservatory faculty in 2000, was cited for his role as an advisor to Mortar Board and Sinfonia, the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, his work in helping to organize music history lectures and forums, sharing his expertise and time with the Russian and Eastern European Club, his regular attendance at recitals and lectures of students, many of whom he serves as both a formal and informal advisor and his “widely recognized” commitment to academic excellence.

Nordell, who also joined the faculty in 2000, was recognized for her accessibilty to students outside of the classroom, her role in organizing a variety of outreach programs, including the new PRYSM (Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Mathematics) Program, which creates mentoring partnerships between Lawrence women undergraduates majoring in math and science and area eighth-grade girls, her leadership as the instigator in many Lawrence students presenting at their first undergraduate research conferences, her volunteer service as coach of the crew team as well as her role of “host Mom” for student dinners and outings for international students who cannot make it home for the holidays.

Noted Native American Author, Poet N. Scott Momaday Closes 2002-03 Convocation Series

Pulitzer Prize-winning Native American novelist, poet, playwright and painter N. Scott Momaday shares his Kiowa Indian perspective through his unique storytelling abilities Thursday, May 22 in the final Lawrence University convocation of the 2002-2003 series.

Momaday will speak at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

Hailed as “the dean of American Indian writers” by the New York Times, Momaday’s first novel, “House Made of Dawn,” — a story of a young American Indian struggling to reconcile the traditional ways of his people with the demands of the 20th century — earned him the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The son of a father who painted and a mother who wrote children’s books, both of whom also taught school on Indian reservations in Oklahoma and Arizona, Momaday was exposed to the Kiowa traditions of his father’s family as well as the Navajo, Apache and Pueblo Indian cultures of the Southwest.

Spanning nearly four decades, Momaday’s impressive body of creative work includes the novel “The Way to Rainy Mountain,” a collection of Kiowa tales illustrated by his father, Al Momaday; the children’s book “Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story”; four collections of poems; two stage plays, including “Children of the Sun,” which premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1997 and 1999’s “In the Bear’s House,” a mixed media collection of paintings, dialogue, poems and poetic prose that chronicles his personal quest to understand the spirit of the wilderness embodied in the bear, which holds spiritual significance among the Kiowa Indians.

In addition, he has written for The New York Review of Books, Natural History and American West, his paintings and drawings have been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad and he has served as a commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

A graduate of the University of New Mexico and Stanford University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1963, Momaday in 1974 became the first professor to teach American literature at the University of Moscow. Since 1982, he has taught English and comparative literature at the University of Arizona, where he serves as Regents Professor of Humanities.

He is the founder and chairman of The Buffalo Trust, a non-profit foundation for the preservation and restoration of Native American culture and heritage, and serves as president of the American Indian Hall of Fame.

In 1971, Lawrence awarded Momaday an honorary Doctor of Literature degree, one of 12 honorary degrees he has received in his career.

Lawrence University Faculty Promoted, Granted Tenured Appointments

Lawrence University faculty members Michael Orr and Alan Parks have been promoted to the rank of full professor by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Four other faculty — Jerald Podair, Matthew Stoneking, Timothy Troy and Dirck Vorenkamp — have been promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenured appointments.

Orr, a specialist in medieval art and illuminated manuscripts, joined the Lawrence faculty as an art historian in 1989. A native of England, Orr has served as an exhibition consultant to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., and been awarded two research grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1992, Orr was recognized with Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teacher award. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University.

Parks has taught mathematics and computer science at Lawrence since 1985. A member of the American Mathematical Society, Parks’ research interests in applied mathematics include dynamical systems and differential equations. As a computer programmer, he has focused on the theory of computation, coding theory, and the analysis of algorithms and he written applications in C++, Fortran, Pascal and MATLAB. He was cited for his teaching in 1987 as the recipient of Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teacher award. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Podair, a 20th-century American historian specializing in race relations, joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998. His Ph.D. dissertation was recognized in 1998 by the Society of American Historians with the Allan Nevin Prize, which honored his work as the single most outstanding dissertation in American history that year. It was published as the book “The Strike That Changed New York” last fall by Yale University Press. Podair, who earned his doctorate at Princeton University, served as a consultant scholar for the recent Joe McCarthy exhibition at the Outagamie County Museum.

Stoneking, a physicist whose research interest focus on plasma physics and magnetic confinements of non-neutral plasmas, joined the Lawrence faculty in 1997. He’s been the recipient of a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $37,000 grant from Research Corporation to support construction of his plasma physics laboratory, including a toroidal vacuum chamber. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Troy, a 1985 Lawrence graduate, returned to his alma mater’s theatre and drama department first from 1989-92 and again in 1997. He directs Lawrence opera, play and musical productions, as well as the “Plays on History” series staged at the Outagamie County Museum. In addition, he serves as community artist-in-residence for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and wrote the libretto for Samuel Barber’s “Excursions” Opus 20, which premiered in January. He earned a master of fine arts degree at the University of Iowa.

Vorenkamp, a member of the Lawrence religious studies department since 1997, specializes in Asian religions, especially Buddhism. His teaching was recognized with the Lawrence Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 2000 and his scholarly research has been published in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism, the Journal of Asian Studies and the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, among others. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lawrence University’s “Classics Week” Salutes Ancient Greece, Rome

Lawrence University pays homage to the glory of ancient Rome and Greece May 19-23 with its annual Classics Week celebration.

Lawrence President Richard Warch officially opens the week-long salute Monday, May 19 at 11 a.m. with an official proclamation from the steps of his Sampson House office, reaffirming Lawrence¹s commitment to, and the importance of, the study of the classics.

All Classics Week events are free and open to the public. The schedule includes:

Monday, May 19 — “150 Years of Classics in Main Hall.” Daniel Taylor, Hiram A. Jones Professor of Classics at Lawrence, traces the history and evolution of Latin and classics education at Lawrence, from its 1847 founding to the present. Main Hall 201, 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, May 20 — “Clash of the Titans.” The 1981 film classic that recounts the myth of legendary hero Perseus and the battle among the Greek gods with an all-star cast featuring Harry Hamlin, Maggie Smith, Sir Laurence Olivier and the work of special effects master Ray Harryhausen. Wriston Art Center auditorium, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21 — “Disorder in the Court: Performance and Calculation in Athenian Legal Trials.” Randall McNeill, Lawrence assistant professor of classics, discusses the legal proceedings typically found in ancient Athenian courts and the often off-beat measures plaintiffs and defendants would employ to garner jury sympathy. Main Hall Room 201, 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, May 22 — “The Frogs.” A student reading of Greek playwright Aristophanes’ tale of Dionysus’ journey to Hades in search of Euripides in hopes of bringing him back to earth to restore the lost art of tragedy in Athens. Main Hall south steps, 4:30 p.m. Rain site: Main Hall 104.

Friday, May 23 — “Latin Stories.” Junior Carrie Cleaveland and sophomore Suzanne Henrich present Latin versions of several Dr. Seuss classics. Main Hall south steps, 4:30 p.m. Rain site: Main Hall 104.

Legendary Performers The Skatalites Highlight Lawrence University Ska-Fest

One of the genre’s most legendary performers, Jamaica’s own Skatalites highlight “Skappleton 2003,” Lawrence University’s annual salute to ska Saturday, May 17.

The Skatalites will close an 11-hour “skavaganza” that features 13 bands on two stages in Lawrence’s Buchanan Kiewit Recreation Center. Doors open at 12 noon, music begins at 1 p.m. Tickets for the event, at $10 each, can be purchased in advanced by calling 920-832-6749.

Formed in the early 1960s, the Grammy-nominated Skatalites — the one-time backing band for reggae great Bob Marley — are counted among the earliest founders of the ska sound, an upbeat, danceable brand of music, an up-tempo cousin of reggae, with an affinity for horns and socially conscious lyrics. It combines the musical influences of calypso, jazz, blues and swing.

Another ska pioneer, The Toasters, who have churned out more than two dozen CDs and albums in their 20-year history, take the stage just before the Skatalites.

Lawrence University “Shack-a-thon” Aids Habitat for Humanity

Lawrence University’s Main Hall Green will be transformed into a temporary shantytown the weekend of May 17-18 when the Lawrence Volunteer and Community Service Center sponsors its second annual “Shack-a-thon” for Habitat for Humanity.

Teams of students will construct shacks from donated materials on 10-foot-by-10-foot plots near Main Hall beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. and remaining up until mid-morning Sunday. Teams will be soliciting pledges for having at least one member remain in the shack overnight to simulate the feeling of homelessness. Change jars also will be placed in front of each shack. Cash donations to the jars will be counted as “votes” for a best shack contest. A host tent on site will provide information on issues related to homelessness and the need for affordable housing.

Shack-a-thon organizers are hoping to construct 20 shacks and raise $10,000 at this year’s event. Last year’s Shack-a-thon featured 12 shacks and raised $5,000. All proceeds will to be applied toward the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home in the Fox Cities. For more information, contact the Lawrence VCSC at 920-832-6644.