Category: Students

Burstein: Nurture a campus home that “spans geography, race, and all identities”

President Mark Burstein delivers his Matriculation Convocation address virtually from the Memorial Chapel stage.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

President Mark Burstein spoke of the need for Lawrence University to feel like home to all Lawrentians as he headlined a virtual edition of the 2020-21 Matriculation Convocation on Thursday morning.

Striving for that sense of belonging comes with additional challenges this year as the University adapts to life in a pandemic and the country continues to grapple with ongoing issues of racism and racial injustice and political divisions that grow deeper and more caustic by the day.

It’s critical, Burstein said, to make sure all members of the University feel they belong here. He called on students, faculty, staff, and alumni to be part of the conversation to help make sure that becomes reality—and is sustained.

“I look forward to hearing your ideas, reactions, and disagreements as we make Lawrence the ‘home’ we all need it to be—one that spans geography, race, and all identities,” he said. “One that helps us all to become ourselves.”

Under normal circumstances, Burstein’s address, Finding Home: Belonging During a Pandemic, would have been delivered to a full house at Memorial Chapel, per tradition. But with strict social distancing protocols in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and a portion of the campus community teaching and studying from afar, the convocation was streamed online.

Besides Burstein’s talk, the convocation included a beautiful and creative introduction of Burstein by Allison Fleshman, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Public Events Commitee, and a musical prelude by Conservatory faculty Estelí Gomez, Esther Oh Zabrowski, Stephen M. Sieck, Steven Paul Spears, and Phillip A. Swan (Show Us How to Love, Mark A. Miller). The virtual choir was individually recorded, then manually assembled for the composite performance.

Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, provided closing words, encouraging Lawrentians to rise to the challenges before us. “Together we have the ability to love each imperfect self,” she said. A postlude on piano was then delivered by Hung Phi Nguyen ’21.

The Matriculation Convocation, delivered each September to mark the launch of another academic year, will be one of three convocations to be held this year.

This marked Burstein’s final Matriculation Convocation. He announced recently that he will step away from his presidential post at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, a decision informed by the need for him and his husband, David Calle, to be closer to family on the East Coast.

“I began to think about the theme of belonging and home for this Matriculation Convocation last spring in response to the societal convulsion created by both the pandemic and the deepening recognition of systemic racism in our culture,” Burstein said. “At that moment, I had no idea how personal this topic would become for me. This summer has been a time for me to reassess my priorities and decide to prioritize family, specifically my mother and my in-laws, over a position I love.”

Burstein said he, like others, is feeling the strain of the political tenor that has gripped the country in recent years. It’s been particularly raw here in Wisconsin, a state he quickly adopted when he was named Lawrence’s 16th president in 2013.

“I expect many of you feel, as I do, the pain, the conflict, and the dislocation in our society,” he said. “The new presidential election cycle has unleashed overwhelming forces to divide us. Our country’s attempt to reckon with systemic racism brings both hope and conflicting views of an aspirational future. Environmental degradation continues to march on around the globe. And, the pandemic has curtailed ways to process all of this stress, has upended family life, and has created severe economic burdens on many of us and the institutions we serve.”

All the more reason, he said, for Lawrence to double down on its efforts to make sure inclusion and equity are part of daily life here. He cited the words of an array of writers who have addressed themes of home and belonging, among them Nira Yuval-Davis (The Politics of Belonging), Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection), Natasha Trethewey (he quotes from Theories of Time and Space), Kwame Anthony Appiah (In My Father’s House:  Africa in the Philosophy of Culture), Kath Weston (Families We Choose:  Lesbians, Gays, Kinship), and Toni Morrison (Home).

“Many theorists who have explored the concept of belonging find that one of its central aspects is the need to feel that your whole identity is recognized and affirmed,” Burstein said. “This recognition is seen as an invitation to create a deep connection. If this is true, how can belonging be created in a society in which racism and bias against minority identities continue to exist?”

That’s a challenge going forward, Burstein said, to make sure that sense of belonging is woven into this learning environment. And all of us need to play a role.

“Research has found that the smallest social belonging interventions can yield lasting positive effects on individuals,” he said.

Burstein said he will be locked into that work for the remainder of this academic year. And he pledged to remain connected to the Lawrence community and the work it’s doing after he departs in June, all the while maintaining his own sense of home and belonging here.

“Serving as your president has been the central privilege and pleasure of my professional career,” he said. “David and I want to thank all of you who have allowed us to join, to belong, and to call this university and Appleton our home. Lawrence will always be in our hearts and we will always be proud to call Appleton our home no matter where we reside.”

A replay of the Matriculation Convocation can be accessed here.

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

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

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

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National honor spotlights Lawrence affinity group. See details here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawrence University (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps a new tradition was born.

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

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

President Mark Burstein

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quarantine cookbook: Lawrence students share their summertime favorites

Story by Awa Badiane ’21

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

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

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

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

Sierra J. Johnson ’22: Creamy Broccoli Vegan Pasta

Sierra J. Johnson ’22

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

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

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

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

I’ll say this dish sounds very tasty!  

Here are Johnson’s instructions to making the dish: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Dig in!

Alli Boshell ’21: Gluten-Free Pancakes 

Alli Boshell ’21

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

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

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

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

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

Here are Boshell’s instructions to her recipe: 

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

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

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

Adjedmaa Ali ’22: Kale Salad 

Adjedmaa Ali ’22

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

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

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

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

Here are Ali’s instructions to her recipe: 

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

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

Maria Poimenidou ’20: Moussaka 

Maria Poimenidou ’20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are Poimenidou’s instructions to her moussaka: 

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

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

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

Layer 1 (The vegetables):

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

Layer 2 (The Meat):

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

Layer 3 (Bechamel Sauce): 

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

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


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

Meralis N. Alvarez-Morales ’22: Shrimp Pasta   

Meralis N. Alvarez-Morales ’22

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

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

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

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

Awa Badiane is a student writer in the Communication office.

From student leaders: 8 tips for living life on campus amid this pandemic

Signage is in place, adding reminders to the new protocols on campus. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

The Lawrence University Community Council’s Student Welfare Committee has a message of unity as students return to campus for Fall Term: We are Lawrentians, and we are up to the challenge of protecting our community.

With more than 850 students expected to be living on campus amid new safety protocols put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, the commitment to the practices set forth in the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge will be key to keeping campus as open as possible, said committee chair Sterling Clarke Elvin Ambrosius ’22.

Challenges, excitement mix as Fall Term arrives: Read more here.

Welcome Week greets Class of 2024. Read more here.

The Student Welfare Committee shares eight ways you can help protect the Lawrence community:

1. Stay within Lawrence community as much as possible. 

Bellin Health’s testing of every student, faculty, and staff member on campus, combined with plans to use quarantine and isolation spaces on campus, gives us the best chance of keeping the spread of the virus in check. If you must leave campus, remember to follow the same safety protocols you do on campus like wearing masks, maintaining social distance, avoiding crowded spaces.

2. Avoid large gatherings like parties. Don’t go to bars.

We need to think about our social priorities in a different way. There are lots of creative opportunities for fun and spending time with one another in a safe manner — sticking with our pods or taking part in larger campus events designed with physical distancing and other safety practices in place. Outdoor yoga, anyone?

A yoga class is conducted Friday on Main Hall Green.

3. Wear a mask. 

This is an easy one. Make it part of your routine when you leave your room in the morning. Phone, LU ID, wallet, mask. Make your mask a fashion statement. Have fun with it. Show if off. Wear it proudly.

4. You’re paying for your education, so don’t waste your money.

We all know this pandemic life isn’t ideal, here on campus or anywhere else. But we’re still Lawrentians. We’re in class with brilliant professors and sharing spaces – virtual or in person – with smart, curious, open-minded, diverse, and amazing classmates. Let’s all rise to the occasion together. We’ll be all the smarter for it. 

5. Have the courage to hold others accountable.

There’s been a lot of chatter among students at campuses across the country about how to respond to poor choices by fellow students. To snitch or not to snitch. Let’s not look at it that way. Let’s be respectful but vigilant. Let’s be appreciative when someone reminds us of the Pledge we signed. It’s not about me, it’s about we. The University has laid out consequences for students, faculty, and staff who fail to abide by the Pledge. Let’s work together, as a community, to make that unnecessary.

6. Be a responsible community member.

The decisions we make matter. We are connected to others on campus. And the campus is connected to those who call Appleton home. And Appleton to the greater Fox Valley. And so on. Let’s take pride in Lawrence setting the example of what is possible as we find our way through this pandemic.  

7. Avoid public transportation once in Appleton.

Use the LU Shuttle instead. It’s free! The LUCC Student Welfare Committee is running the shuttle to pick up students from Appleton International Airport and the Appleton Bus Terminal. There’s no need to grab a ride share. The shuttle is free, and it comes with snacks. Safety practices will be in place. It’s be available for students returning to campus now through Sept. 12.

8. Think of others and be generous.

We all need to think about how our actions affect everyone. Never before has it been clearer that we are a community, that we’re all connected in a myriad of ways despite our different interests, backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences. That togetherness is something we should be celebrating right now. The things that drew us to Lawrence – the chance to be a small, tight-knit, enthusiastic, and, yes, wonderfully quirky community on this gorgeous liberal arts campus – will be the things that see us through these difficult times.

Welcome Week greets Class of 2024 as “we learn new ways to be a community”

Todd Amell takes a photo of his daughter, Hannah Amell ’24, during Tuesday’s move-in at Colman Hall. Opening day of Welcome Week included move-in, mandatory COVID-19 tests, and a virtual President’s Welcome ceremony. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

There is nothing normal about the start of this academic year, but the message delivered to the more than 400 Lawrence University first-year and transfer students who arrived Tuesday for Welcome Week – some in person, some virtually – was plenty familiar.

You are now Lawrentians. The expectations and the opportunities are many, and through it all you will be welcomed, challenged, embraced, celebrated, and supported.

Lawrence lays out plan for Fall 2020 here.

Challenges, excitement mix as Fall Term arrives: Read more here.

“You will learn from the academic endeavors you ace, and from the ones you struggle through; from the close friendships you develop and from the ones that fall apart; from successes in athletic competitions and in performances, and from failures,” President Mark Burstein said in a Welcome Week address delivered virtually to the incoming students and their families. “Your life at Lawrence will not always be easy, but study after study shows it will provide a lifetime of dividends through higher compensation and, even more important, a greater sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. At each step you take, we will be here for you.”

For the nearly 80% of first-year students who opted to be on campus for Fall Term, masks, 6 feet of space, and a COVID-19 test upon arrival are among the most visible signs that this isn’t business as usual in September. But those in person and those accessing the term from a distance were assured they will find support at every turn as the Lawrence community adapts to these new protocols, as “we reinvent learning and community in this time of a pandemic,” Burstein said.

Photo gallery, from top left: Daniel Johnson ’23 hangs a banner for Welcome Week; students move into Sage Hall; Grace Fox ’24 gets an assist from her mother, Danielle Fox; signage shows the way outside Trever Hall; virus testing is done outside Alexander Gym; Kianni McCain ’24 carries boxes into Ormsby Hall; Amber Newman ’23 shows her CA mask; and Diego Leon ’24 gets a hug from his father outside Sage Hall.

Students and their families circled through the Alexander Gym horseshoe for drive-through COVID testing Tuesday morning before heading across the river to begin the process of moving into residence halls, all with the assistance of Lawrence staff and with tight restrictions on who could access the facilities and when.

Amid all the reminders to wear masks and maintain physical distancing, there were hugs and photos and tearful goodbyes.

The journey has begun

The Class of 2024 comes to Lawrence from around the country and around the world.

Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication, welcomed a class that hails from “families of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures.” Consider these numbers:

37: States, and the District of Columbia, represented in the class.

36: Countries represented by students who are citizens and dual-citizens.

24: The number of transfer students who have come to Lawrence from two- and four-year colleges.

21%: The percentage of first-year students from Illinois. Rounding out the top 10, in order: Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Texas, New York, Colorado, Missouri, South Korea, and Michigan.

81%: First-year students pursuing a degree in Lawrence’s College of Arts and Sciences. The other 19% will pursue a course of study in the Conservatory of Music (28 students are pursuing a double degree in both).

116: First-year students who will compete as student athletes (once athletics competition resumes). That’s about 28% of the class.

“All of us are here to learn”

In the President’s Welcome ceremony, typically held in Memorial Chapel but moved to a virtual format this year, Christopher Card, vice president for student life, said “welcome” is the key word in this very special week. And just as Lawrence welcomes its newest students, he urged those students to also welcome their classmates and their new community with open hearts and open minds.

“Communities like ours are at their best when we engage each other with mutual respect in our attempts to form lasting and meaningful relationships,” Card told the students. “We fail the educational process and ourselves when we draw conclusions from fear, stereotypes, or a refusal to engage. Fundamentally, all of us are here to learn – with each other and from each other.”

Being an intellectually honest and vibrant institution that values “open inquiry, free expression, and the respectful community that gives such inquiry and expression purpose and meaning” is part of the foundation that is Lawrence University, said Catherine G. Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty.

“These are tried and true principles for learning in community,” she said. “In this extraordinary year, though, we need to go beyond the tried and true, because the challenge facing us all in this moment is making the commitment not only to learn in community but also to learn new ways to be a community.”

A willingness to be creative and flexible and inclusive will play out in a myriad of ways as students find their rhythm on campus and online, all with the uncertainties of the pandemic and the ongoing pain of racial injustice front and center. It will be evident in in-person and virtual classrooms, in performance spaces, in faculty interactions, in athletic competitions, in residence halls, and in other social exchanges.

“Our community mirrors the world in which all races, ethnicities, and religions are represented,” Burstein said. “Take advantage of this rich diversity. Befriend someone who comes from a different background than yours. And please join us as we work to become an antiracist, equity-minded campus community. These experiences will enrich your time here and prepare you for life after Lawrence.”

Fall Term will begin on Monday.

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

These 13 beloved traditions keep Lawrentians connected

The Class of 2020 will hand off yellow to the Class of 2024 in the coming days, keeping the class colors tradition alive.

Story by Allison Boshell ’21

We have many traditions at Lawrence University that have carried on through the years. As we prepare to begin a new academic year, let’s celebrate 13 of them.

Allow me to be your tour guide as Lawrence welcomes the Class of 2024 with Welcome Week festivities that begin on Tuesday.

A quick aside: Many student organizations on campus have their own beloved traditions that are worth exploring. We aren’t going to get into all of those here. Rather, these are 13 annual campus-wide staples that are part of the Lawrentian experience. Some began well over a century ago and some were established more recently, but all are now part of what makes Lawrence so special.

The safety protocols in place during Fall Term to restrict the spread of COVID-19 will alter or postpone some of these traditions this year. But all are expected to carry on, even if they have to take a brief hiatus.

President’s handshake 

President Mark Burstein greets every incoming first-year student with a handshake during Welcome Week. It’ll be restructured this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the spirit of the tradition will live on. A presidential handshake also happens at Commencement, marking the other end of the Lawrence journey.

At the close of Welcome Week, before returning students move into the residence halls, the University president personally welcomes the incoming class to Lawrence in an event at Memorial Chapel, shaking each new student’s hand. This ceremony is a way to symbolize you joining the Lawrence community, similar to how seniors at commencement shake the president’s hand again to celebrate graduation. As a freshman, this ceremony made me feel like there was a clear beginning, a sign of my transition into college, where I would soon experience and learn more things than I could have ever imagined. 

LU Zoo Days 

The dunk tank is part of Zoo Days, a Spring Term tradition.

Organized by our student events organization SOUP during Spring Term when the weather is starting to warm up, Lawrentians from all over campus congregate on Ormsby Green to play games, listen to music, and enjoy an afternoon of fun in the sun. The best part about Zoo Days is that all of the money raised by student clubs and organizations goes toward nonprofit causes. Favorite things to do at Zoo Days include getting soaked by the “dunk tank,” having a hot dog at the barbecue, and making sand art. 

Winter Carnival 

The President’s Ball, the highlight of Winter Carnival, provides a chance to dress up and hit the dance floor.

Winter Carnival is a spark of warm joy in the cold of Winter Term here at Lawrence. Activities for the carnival vary year to year, from ice sculpting to building gingerbread houses to playing grocery BINGO. One of the most exciting events of the year comes at the end of Winter Carnival, when President’s Ball is held. It’s a night of dancing to a live jazz band and eating chocolate fondue. President’s Ball takes the cake because all students and faculty get dressed to the nines. It’s always exciting to see students get out of their winter clothes and study sweatpants and into their best formal wear. It’s the best night of Winter Term.  


Memorial Day Weekend is all about music and sun on the quad. The annual music festival, arriving just before Spring Term finals, is a favorite for many students.

Lawrentians look forward to Memorial Day weekend. Why? Because LUaroo, the much-anticipated, weekend-long mini music festival on the quad, is the highlight of all the annual events at Lawrence. Coming to enjoy artists from around the Midwest — and even bands from our own Conservatory of Music — students lay out on the quad or dance with friends from morning until night all weekend long. It’s a great stress-breaker right before Spring Term finals. LUaroo is by far my favorite event of the year because the whole campus comes together. One year there was a taco truck that came to campus, and Chicago-based artists Ric Wilson and Kweku Collins were spectacular as they headlined the festival. Great memories.


International students come together on stage each year to present a spectacular showcase of talents and customs from around the world.

Lawrence’s international students come together each year to put on a show of cultural expressions. Performed in Stansbury Theatre, the spectacle includes original and traditional dance choreography, musical offerings, and fashion. The Cabaret is different every year, with a changing theme to guide the “plot” of the show. This truly is a must-see event every year. My favorite thing about Cabaret is seeing friends and classmates show off amazing talents that I never knew they had.   

Cultural Expressions

Cultural Expressions has grown into an annual tradition that marks the close of People of Color Empowerment Week on campus.

This showcase of on-campus performance talent, ranging from music to dance to spoken-word, has become a tradition over the past half dozen years, a conclusion to the annual People of Color Empowerment Week. Two years ago, the Excellence Ball was added at the front end of the week, providing bookends to a week of films, art, and speakers on issues of equity, opportunity, and inclusion.

The Rock 

The Rock, located just north of Main Hall, is the longest tradition on this list. It dates back to 1895.

The 2-ton granite boulder next to Main Hall is back in its rightful place after having gone missing for about 20 years. The Rock was brought to campus 124 years ago by the Class of 1895 after students found it on a geology trip in New London, Wisconsin. It made its debut next to Main Hall a short time later. The Rock has been painted countless times for all kinds of causes. It’s been the subject of pranks and fraternity feuds, where it has been guarded and dragged across campus, and, yes, stolen. But mostly painted. We are excited to see the different ways students will paint it in the days, weeks, and years to come. 

Ormsby Lake 

The lawn in front of Ormsby Hall, just west of Main Hall (seen here), is transformed into an ice rink each winter. It draws ice skaters and broom ball combatants.

More like Ormsby Ice Rink during the winter. This classic nod to winter is a hot spot for fun on Ormsby Green during January and February. From skating and broomball to frolicking with friends, students come to the “lake” to get a break from studying during the dark days of Winter Term. I personally enjoy seeing my fellow Lawrentians participate in games on Ormsby Lake, some just trying to run or walk across the ice without falling.  

Class Colors 

Each class is assigned one of four colors. They rotate, with the graduating class handing off its color to the incoming class. It’s a tradition that dates back to the days of Milwaukee-Downer College.

Red, yellow, green, and purple: the class colors originate from a Milwaukee-Downer College tradition. Class colors at Milwaukee-Downer were given to each class to provide them a sense of unity, a tradition Lawrence would eventually embrace. The first colors at Lawrence were assigned in 1988, 24 years after the 1964 merger. It is cherished to this day. Each new class inherits the color of the newly graduated class, presented during Welcome Week in Memorial Chapel. Every new first-year class holds the flag in the class photo at the beginning of the year. My class color is purple, and at the beginning of my freshman year each student was given a purple T-shirt decorated with our graduation year.  

Weekends at Björklunden 

A weekend at Bjorklunden has been a cherished tradition for generations of Lawrence students.

Going to Björklunden for a weekend during a rigorous term of studying is a breath of fresh air all Lawrentians enjoy. Located in Door County, on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Björklunden is a Swedish-inspired lodge long popular among alumni and students. Whether it’s classes, clubs, organizations, or residence halls making the trip, it’s going to be both a learning and relaxing experience. Visiting “Björk,” as students call it, is always an honor because no other college I have heard of has a lodge on a 425-acre estate that students are free to go to on the weekends. When I have gone to Björk, I usually study by the fire, or go for walks by the lake, even in the cold of winter. It’s a treasured tradition.  

The Honor Code 

Lawrence students live by the Honor Code. It’s part of being a Lawrentian.

On each paper or project a Lawrentian submits, you can see “IHRTLUHC” adorning the cover, which stands for “I hereby reaffirm the Lawrence University Honor Code.” Upon their arrival to campus, each student commits themselves to the Honor Code: “No Lawrence student will unfairly advance their own academic performance or in any way limit or impede the academic pursuits of other students of the Lawrence community.” This code is what binds Lawrentians together academically and prompts social responsibility in all aspects of life. At the beginning of freshman year, every student is required to sign the Honor Code, which ties them to the Lawrence community through a fundamental social promise that shows they not only take their own development seriously but the development of their peers as well.  

The Viking Room 

For more than 50 years now, the Viking Room has been an on-campus hangout for students of age. Carving their names into the furniture is part of the tradition.

Founded in 1969 as a bar, the Viking Room (fondly referred to as the VR) is one of the campus’ eclectic, prime hang-out spots for students ages 21+. Located in the basement of Memorial Hall, the VR is managed, tended, and stocked by students who are looking for a fun service experience on campus. Although it first became a bar in 1969, the VR served as a popular lounge on campus for many years prior to that. It has carved out a rich history—literally. Just look for yourself! Climb into the booths or sit at the wooden tables and you can see the surfaces are covered in scratched signatures and carvings from students throughout Lawrence’s history.   

The Great Midwest Trivia Contest 

The Great Midwest Trivia Contest continues to connect current and former Lawrentians.

Established in 1966, this tradition is fully student run, but teams from all around the world participate annually. Broadcast online from Lawrence’s WLFM radio station in the Music-Drama Center, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest is a weekend-long event that is not for the weak of heart. Running around the clock and overseen by a team of dedicated trivia masters, it’s an annual frenzy of bizarre and off-the-beaten-path trivia. It remains a great connector with Lawrence alumni who return to the game year after year. Sleep is optional.  

Allison Boshell ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.