Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist James Zwerg to Receive Honorary Degrees at Lawrence Commencement

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic Voting Rights Act, Lawrence University will honor two civil rights pioneers who were instrumental in the passage of that legislation.

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Congressman John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis, an iconic figure in civil rights activism, and Appleton native James Zwerg, one of the courageous Freedom Riders of the early 1960s, will each receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees June 14 at the college’s 165th commencement. Lewis also will deliver the principal commencement address.

This will be Lewis’ third appearance at Lawrence. He first visited in April 1964 as Head Field Secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to speak at a campus-sponsored “Civil Rights Week” event. He returned in February, 2005 to deliver the university convocation “Get in the Way.”

“Becoming an engaged citizen is one of the central tenets of a liberal arts education and so we are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 at this year’s commencement, which provided a path to an essential right for many people in this country,” said President Mark Burstein. “We look forward to welcoming Congressman Lewis back to campus and having Mr. Zwerg represent local participation in the events that led up to the legislative passage of The Act.”

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Congressman John Lewis spoke on the importance of student activism in the protection of human rights and civil liberties in the 2005 Lawrence convocation “Get in the Way.”

Lewis has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1986. He has been at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for more than 50 years, beginning with sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tenn., he organized as a student at Fisk University.

A participant in the 1965 march from Selma, Ala., to the capital in Montgomery, Lewis will be among a delegation of more than 90 members of Congress who will visit Alabama the weekend of March 6-8 for ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march that became known as “Bloody Sunday” after state troopers attacked marchers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Chronicled in the 2014 film “Selma,” the march, and its violent conclusion, galvanized the country and hastened the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year, prohibiting the denial or abridgment of the right to vote nationwide.

“Selma” was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar at last month’s Academy Awards ceremonies while “Glory” from the film’s soundtrack won the Oscar for Best Song.

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Freedom Rider James Zwerg was attacked by a mob in Montgomery, Ala., in 1961. The only white male student among the group, Zwerg stands outside the bus station after being beaten, resulting in numerous cuts, bruises and the loss of several teeth. Photo courtesy of The Montgomery Advertiser.

Lewis, whose forehead still bears a scar from Bloody Sunday, has spent his entire adult life fighting injustice and protecting human rights. While still in his early 20s, Lewis had established himself as a nationally recognized leader in the Civil Rights movement, organizing sit-ins and participating in the segregation-challenging Freedom Rides across the South.

As a 23-year old, Lewis helped organize and spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington, in which Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis is the lone surviving member among the speakers at that event.

His engagement with the Civil Rights Movement included three years (1963-66) as the chair of the SNCC. He later served as the director of the Voter Education Project, helping to add nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Lewis head of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.

Lewis’ efforts and contributions toward building what he as calls “the beloved community” in America have been recognized with dozens of prestigious awards, among them the 2010 Medal of Freedom, the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the National Education Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award and the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for lifetime achievement.

A graduate of Fisk University and the American Baptist Theological Seminary, Lewis is the author of “Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change,” which received the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Literary Work-Biography and the graphic novel memoir trilogy “March.”

The first volume of “March” reached no. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list and was included on lists of the best books of 2013 by the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The Horn Book Review, Booklist and others.

The trilogy’s second installment, which examines Lewis’ days as a Freedom Rider, was released last month.

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James Zwerg

Zwerg, who was born and raised in Appleton, became engaged in the Civil Rights Movement as a 21-year-old exchange student at Fisk University from Beloit College.

While at Fisk, Zwerg participated in lunch counter sit-ins and movie theater stand-ins in Nashville, resulting in repeated verbal abuse and physical assaults. He joined the Freedom Riders in1961 and was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., and severely beaten in Montgomery, Ala. Photos of Zwerg taken after his beating appeared in Time and Life magazines as well as newspapers around the world.

His efforts were widely chronicled in articles, television documentaries and the book “Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Rev. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference honored Zwerg in 1961 with the prestigious Freedom Award. He also has been recognized with the Church Women United, USA, Human Rights Award and the Martin-Springer Institute’s Moral Courage Award.

Zwerg graduated from Beloit College in 1962 and later earned a degree in theology at Garret Theological Seminary. Ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ, he served churches in Wisconsin until 1970 when he moved to Tucson, Ariz., to become minister of the Casas Adobes United Church of Christ.  Retired, he lives in rural New Mexico.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Student-written plays featured in Fred Gaines Playwrights Series

Four performances of three original one-act plays will be presented March 5-7 in Lawrence University’s Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center in conjunction with the college’s second biennial Fred Gaines Student Playwrights Series.

GainesSeriesArtwork_weblogCurtain times are 8 p.m. each day, with an additional 3 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 7. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, are available at the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

This iteration of the series explores the impact of genre, covering the gamut from melodrama to farce. It features the work of senior Nathan Lawrence and Claire Conard and Luke MacMillan, both 2014 Lawrence graduates. Timothy X. Troy, professor of theatre arts and the J. Thomas and Julie Esch-Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama, directs each of the three plays.

Lawrence’s play, “Happy Birthday, Stephen Jones,” critiques sexism in the work environment through physical comedy. Conard’s “Ren Rising” follows a young woman as she struggles to decide if she should accept her boyfriend’s hand in marriage. MacMillan explores the dangerous consequences of an abusive household environment in “Somewhere North.”

“Most people don’t realize that plays can’t be written in a vacuum,” said Lawrence, an English and film studies major. “It’s difficult to predict how an audience will respond until you see your work performed. Having this experience as an undergraduate is a unique opportunity. It’s rare you get to learn and entertain at the same time.”

The series honors the work of former theatre professor and department chair Fred Gaines, who taught at Lawrence from 1977-2000 and passed away in 2010. Troy, a 1985 Lawrence graduate, was inspired to launch the series as a way of passing on the wisdom Gaines shared with him as a student.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence grad discusses film score at Wisconsin premiere of “Pilot Error”

Emmy Award-winning composer and 2010 Lawrence University graduate Garth Neustadter discusses his work on the feature film “Pilot Error” when it makes its Wisconsin premiere Monday, March 2 at Marcus’ Appleton East Cinema.

Pilot-Error-Photo_newsblogThe movie also will be shown Wednesday, March 4 at the Green Bay East Cinema and Thursday, March 5 at the Oshkosh Cinema. The film will be shown at all three theaters at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Neustadter, a Manitowoc native now living in Pasadena, Calif., wrote the film’s score. Prior to all six screenings, he will lead an audience talkback related to the music in the film, including how composers collaborate with directors and how composers can enhance a film.

Following each screening, talkbacks also will be held with the film’s producer/screenwriter Roger Rapoport and veteran airline training pilot and accident investigator Robert Hesselbein of Madison.

Set in Wisconsin and filmed in part in Milwaukee and Appleton, the film was inspired by true events, most notably the 2009 Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris that mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 200 passengers and crew onboard.

The film explores many of the same questions raised following two other more recent air disasters:  the loss of Malaysia Air 370 in March 2014 and the Air Asia crash in the Java Sea last December.

Tom Boldt, is CEO of The Boldt Company based in Appleton, served as the film’s executive producer and recommended Neustadter to Rapoport.

“He’s off the charts as far as we’re concerned,” Rapoport said of Neustadter. “He’s a special composer.”

“Pilot Error” is the 10th film Neustadter has scored. He began working on it last August, and unlike some film projects that have deadlines as tight as two weeks, he had the luxury of a little more than two months to write approximately 60 minutes of music for this film. His score was performed and recorded live by Los Angeles studio musicians.

“I was extremely pleased with how the score turned out,” said Neustadter, who won a 2011 Emmy Award at the age of 25 for his film score for “John Muir in the New World,” a PBS American Masters documentary. “Having live musicians for the recording process was really important to the producer and the director. They (live musicians) definitely breathed a certain life into the score that you need for a film like this that you can’t get with synthesized instruments.”

Neustadter said one of the things that made his job on “Pilot Error” easier was that from the start, everyone involved with the project, from the director to the editor, was on the same page regarding the score.

“That’s not always the case,” said Neustadter, whose credits include scores for 2013 documentary “The Thingmaker” and the 2012 James Franco-Mila Kunis-Jessica Chastain feature “Tar,” as well as films from China and India, Progressive Insurance ads and an American Express commercial that debuted during Sunday’s (2/22) Academy Awards telecast. “As a composer, my goal is to realize what the director wants the music to be and can that align with what I envision the music to be. That was definitely the case with this film. We knew we wanted a larger orchestra score that could bring out the drama in the film but in a way that never became melodramatic or overplayed things too much.”

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Garth Neustadter ’10

While a student at Lawrence, Neustadter earned first-prize honors (second place behind the grand prize winner) in the 2007 Young Film Composers Competition sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. A year later, TCM commissioned him to write an original score for a restored version of the 1923 silent film “The White Sister.

The film’s other Wisconsin connection includes well-known Milwaukee Repertory Theater actress Deborah Staples.

Award-winning stage actress Kate Thomsen makes her screen debut as Nicola Wilson, an investigative reporter trying to find out why a jet headed from South America to Paris disappeared in the Atlantic, taking her close friend and 211 other passengers with it.

As she searches for answers as to how a plane can just disappear, Wilson puts her job, friends and career on the line. Even though she knows nothing about aviation, refuses to fly and doesn’t speak French, Wilson uncovers astonishing details about the missing flight. Was it preventable? Has it happened before? Could it happen again? Was it pilot error?

According to Rapoport, the goal of the movie is to “encourage more hands-on flying and simulator training for airline pilots at a time when the industry is increasingly focused on automation. At the screening we’ll be announcing some very good news about a major advance in weather forecasting technology that will benefit pilots everywhere.”

“Pilot Error” is based on five years of research and interviews with more than 200 pilots, airline executives, plane manufacturers, regulatory agencies and the team that found the missing Air France 447 in the Atlantic. The film provides an inside look at the fate of pilots unfortunately kept in the dark about failed automation.

“Top airline training pilots speaking at our preview events have been warmly received by audiences trying to understand how, in the most interconnected moment in human history, it’s never been easier to hide the truth,” said Rapoport, whose first film, “Waterwalk,” also was shot in Wisconsin.

Watch a trailer for the film.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence’s “Music for All” outreach program performs at Riverview Gardens Feb. 24

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Michael Mizrahi

Lawrence University’s “Music for All” community outreach project performs the first of three interactive chamber concerts at Appleton’s Riverview Gardens Community Center, 1101 S. Oneida St., Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The performance features Lawrence students and faculty, in collaboration with members of the New York City-based chamber ensemble Decoda. Light refreshments provided by Stone Cellar Brewing Co. will be served. The concert is free and open to the public.

Other Music for All concerts at Riverview Gardens are scheduled for April 20 and May 21 at 7 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

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Erin Lesser

Pianist Michael Mizrahi and flutist Erin Lesser, both assistant professors of music at Lawrence, are co-directing the Music for All project. Both are also members of Decoda, whose mission says Mizrahi, “is to create deep artistic connections in members’ home communities, especially in non-traditional locations where such music is rarely performed.”

The “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community” project is supported by a $16,700 Arts & Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

New Lawrence opera director makes debut with Copland’s “The Tender Land”

American composer Aaron Copland‘s classic folk opera “The Tender Land” comes to the stage of Stansbury Theatre Feb. 19-22 in a collaborative production of Lawrence University’s theatre, music and opera studies programs.

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Junior Mitchell Kasprzyk (left) portrays the drifter Top and senior Stephanie Popik portrays Laurie Moss in Lawrence’s production of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land.” Photo by Nathan B. Lawrence

Curtain times for performances Feb. 19-20-21 are 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday, Feb. 22 matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets, at $15 for adults and $8 for seniors and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749. The three-act performance runs approximately two hours with no intermission.

Well known for its soaring melodies, “The Tender Land” brings the Depression-era American Midwest to life. With Copland’s music and a libretto written by his romantic partner Erik Johns under the pseudonym Horace Everett, the story explores themes of the stranger among us and the stranger within. Under Copland’s sweeping, yet intimate score, characters dance between their own inner and outer worlds.

The story is told through the eyes of Laurie Moss, the eldest daughter of a Dust Bowl-era 1930s farming family, who feels unconnected to both her family and community. The arrival of two drifters turns Laurie’s thoughts to the freedom of the road and its possibilities. Smitten with one drifter, she plans to leave home with him, only to have him depart without her. Laurie soon realizes it was the dream of abandoning the farm and starting life on her own terms with which she was really in love, not the drifter.

The production is the Lawrence debut of award-winning opera director Copeland Woodruff, who was appointed the college’s first director of opera studies last spring. He joined the faculty in September. In November, Woodruff earned first-place honors in the prestigious National Opera Association’s Best Opera Production Competition for the fifth time in the past eight years. He was recognized for his 2014 production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” with University of Memphis Opera.

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Copeland Woodruff

Working with his team of set, lighting and costume designers, Woodruff said of the production “we’ve tried to create a world that allows a framework of the Midwestern farm, but leaves room for magical realism.”

The set incorporates the use of a large, opaque, translucent quilt, which serves as a surface for projections. Other elements of the set are skeletal/suggestive that function in different ways, including as projection surfaces.

“The use of the set and projections to create an interior life for the characters will help support the feelings of freedom that live nascent in Laurie: moments when she is alone, when she is feeling connected, and the final moments before her departure from this community.”

The opera will be performed with a split cast, with seniors Graycie Gardner and Stephanie Popik sharing the roles of Laurie Moss.  Seniors Kirsten O’Donnell and Melina Jaharis sing the role of Ma Moss, while junior Charlie Aldrich and 2010 Lawrence graduate Justin Berkowitz portray drifter Martin, Laurie’s love interest.

Dirk Durossette served as the production’s scenic designer. Barry Steele designed the lighting and projection while Karin Kopischke was the show’s costume designer.

The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Katherine Kilburn with music direction by associate professor of music Bonnie Koestner.

Prior to each performance, several area agencies who deal with marginalized and disenfranchised members of the Appleton and Lawrence communities will staff tables in the lobby of the Music-Drama Center to interacting with audience member as a way of setting a tone of how the stranger among us is perceived.

Following each performance, there will be a talk-back sessions led by representatives of Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities with the audience to facilitate discussions on moving from an “us-them” paradigm to a more inclusive “us” mentality.

“We hope to open up Lawrence’s doors to community members who well may have never been on our campus,” said Woodruff.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence Student Cost Increase Smallest in 20 Years

The cost to attend Lawrence University for the 2015-16 academic year will reflect the smallest rate increase in 20 years based on the recently approved budget by the college’s Board of Trustees.

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At 9:1, Lawrence has one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios of any college in the country.

The comprehensive fee for the next school year will be $52,950, an increase of 2.89 percent over the current year. The increase is the smallest since a 2.84 percent change for the 1996-97 academic year and is the second smallest in more than 30 years.

This moderate increase is due in part to the Lawrence community’s efforts to decrease operating expenses by 7 percent or $3.75 million over the next three years while preserving the quality of the education.

The comprehensive fee covers tuition, room, board, student activity and sustainability fees.

“I realize the financial burden that many of our students and families face, and I take seriously any increase to the comprehensive fee,” said Burstein, who has made affordability a cornerstone of his presidency since assuming the office in July 2013. “The cost of providing a rigorous and challenging academic experience, with a student-to-faculty ratio (9:1) that is among the lowest in the country, is indeed great. As we continue to improve this institution and its offerings to students, it is imperative that we work to find ways to moderate the increasing cost of the transformative education we provide.”

A focused campaign to raise student scholarship funds was launched last September with a gift of $25 million, the largest in school history. Lawrence alumni and friends have contributed more than $18 million to match this extraordinarily generous gift. These funds will be used solely to create endowed scholarships that help meet students’ demonstrated financial need.

“Efforts to raise funds and decrease operating costs are essential to the continued health of Lawrence and to the affordability of the education we offer for future Lawrentians and their families,” Burstein said.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Acclaimed philosopher, author Kwame Anthony Appiah discusses honor, citizenship in Lawrence convocation

Award-winning philosopher and foreign policy writer Kwame Anthony Appiah examines questions of honor and societal obligation Tuesday, Feb. 17 in a Lawrence University convocation.

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Scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah examines questions of honor and societal obligation in a Feb. 17 Lawrence University convocation.

A professor of philosophy and law at New York University, Appiah presents “A Decent Respect: Honor and Citizenship at Home and Abroad” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will also conduct a question-and-answer session in the Warch Campus Center cinema at 2:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Named one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in 2010 by Foreign Policy magazine, the London-born Appiah challenges audiences to consider the big questions: what does it mean to be a citizen of the world?; what is a person’s obligations to others?; should larger obligations always trump concerns for family, friends and local communities?

Cambridge University educated — he earned both his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. there — Appiah has written extensively on a wide range of topics, from foundations of probabilistic semantics to African and African-American literary and cultural studies.

Included on Forbes magazine’s 2009 list of the world’s “seven most powerful thinkers,” Appiah was honored with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his 1992 book “In My Father’s House.”  Charles Johnson of The New York Times declared it “one of the handful of theoretical works on race that will help preserve our humanity.”

His 2010 book, “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen,” focuses on how human morality is continuously shaped and altered around definitions and traditions of honor.

Appiah has been recognized with dozens of honors and awards, among them the 2011 National Humanities Medal “for seeking eternal truths in the contemporary world,” election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

Lawrence Librarian Honored with Local Historian of the Year Award

Antoinette Powell excels at using history to tell stories. Her expertise at doing so has been recognized by the Outagamie County Historical Society.

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Lawrence music librarian Antoinette Powell will be honored March 18 with an Outagamie County Historian of the Year award.

Powell, music librarian and associate professor at Lawrence University, has been named the 2015 recipient of the historical society’s annual Lillian F. Mackesy Historian of the Year Award, which honors outstanding contributions to Outagamie County history.

Nominated by the staff of the History Museum at the Castle, Powell will receive her award March 18 at a meeting of the Outagamie County History Society.

Powell, who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2002, was selected for her contributions to three local history projects:

• she conducted critical research on the Cleggett-Hollensworth-Newman families in support of the History Museum’s “Stone of Hope” pop-up exhibition.

• she organized a Marian Anderson Tribute Concert last October at Lawrence that featured repertoire from a recital Anderson sang at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in 1941.

• her ongoing efforts as webmaster to maintain Appleton’s Historic Old Third Ward website.

Established in 1976 by the Outagamie County Historical Society, the award is named in honor of Lillian Mackesy, a former columnist and editor for The Post Crescent, whose columns included “Looking Back 100 Years,” “Historically Speaking” and “Remember When?”

“Through her Post Crescent articles, Lillian Mackesy made local history appealing and accessible to two generations of Fox Valley residents,” said Matt Carpenter, executive director of the History Museum at the Castle. “Antoinette follows Mackesy’s example. Employing her meticulous research and documentary skills, she focuses her passion for history on untold or misunderstood stories. Her talents for research and storytelling have made her projects especially credible and engaging.”

Mackesy, the award’s first recipient, was devoted to the preservation and promotion of the region’s historical heritage. Her personal collection forms the core of the History Museum’s research files and photograph collection.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Pianist Michael Mizrahi Selected for National Arts Award

Lawrence University pianist Michael Mizrahi has been named one of five international recipients of the S&R Foundations 2014 Washington Award.

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Assistant Professor of Music Michael Mizrahi was among five national recipients of the Washington Award presented by the S&R Foundation.

Presented annually by the Washington, D.C.-based foundation, the Washington Award recognizes individuals who display outstanding ability and artistic excellence. It supports those who contribute to an international cultural dialogue.

Mizrahi, assistant professor of music at Lawrence, will be formally honored May 30 at the S&R Washington Awards Gala at the Halcyon House in the Georgetown district of the nation’s capital. He will receive a $5,000 cash prize in support of his career.

“We are thrilled that Michael has won the Washington Award,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. “Since the award is specifically for talented individuals with high aspirations in the arts, I can’t imagine a better recipient. Michael is always pushing musical boundaries, working closely with composers to create new works, redefining the relationship between audience and performer and bringing live performance to underserved audiences. This award will help him take his musical aspirations to the next level.”

According to Sachiko Kuno, CEO and president of the S&R Foundation, the 2014 Washington Award winners “are dynamic artists who are engaged with their communities and with audiences worldwide.

“We applaud their drive and aspirations and are proud to support them towards the next steps in their creative development,” said Kuno in announcing the award winners.

Mizrahi joined the conservatory of music faculty in 2009. His debut album, “The Bright Motion” on New Amsterdam Records, was included on both Time Out New York’s and Time Out Chicago’s list of best classical albums for 2012. The video of the album’s title track was featured on National Public Radio’s “Deceptive Cadence,” which hailed it as “a meditation on quietude amidst unceasing movement, a thick-walled cell of solitary contentment in the churn of daily life.”

His recording portfolio also includes the world premiere of three works for violin and piano by Aaron Copland.

He is a founding member of both NOW Ensemble, a chamber group devoted to commissioning and performing new music by emerging composers, and the Moët Trio. He also is a member of the New York City-based chamber ensemble Decoda, which creates innovative performances and engaging projects with partners around the world.

Mizrahi is currently co-directing the project “Music for All: Connecting Musicians and Community.” The project is supported by a $16,700 Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and is designed to bring classical chamber music to settings where such music is not normally performed.

Joining Mizrahi as 2014 Washington Award winners were:

The S&R Washington Award recipients for 2014 are:

Nabil Shehata, double bassist and conductor

Tamás Krizsa, dancer, choreographer

Erzhan Kulibaev, violinist

Huanhuan Ma, soprano

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Two New Champions Crowned in 50th Annual Lawrence Trivia Contest

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First-year trivia masters get ready to award this year’s prizes to the top three finishing on- and off-campus teams during Lawrence’s 50th edition of its Great Midwest Trivia contest.

After placing second in 2013 and third in 2014, Hobgoblin of Little Minds claimed first-place honors with 1,236 points among 65 off-campus teams in Lawrence University’s 50th annual Great Midwest Trivia contest held over the weekend. 50 Shades of Trivia (1,225 points) finished second while Je suis Iowans, last year’s runner-up, placed third (1,217).

Bucky’s Brood of Burgeoning Butt Brigadiers’ Bizarre Belligerants Bird-Bondage-Base Burlesque Bonanza moved up from last year’s second-place finish to win the on-campus title (1,374 points), while Shrek/10 3: We Bought a Sherk, last year’s champion, settled for second place this year (1,347). Taking the Hobbits to #Octopunks is not Death placed third among 29 on-campus teams (1,141.5).

Hobgoblin of Little Minds was awarded a bowl spray painted gold for its first-place prize, while 50 Shades of Trivia received a gold-painted ghost wall décor and Je Suis Iowans earned a gold-painted mini wooden chair.

Bucky’s was presented a gold-painted old phone for winning the off-campus title while Shrek received a large, gold-painted car part and Taking the Hobbits to #Octopunks is not Death earned a gold-painted angel candle holder.

Once again, the contest’s final question, the Super Garruda, proved to be a stumper. No team was able to answer this ultimate brain tester:  Near property previously owned by Rockwell Lime Company is a manhole built in 1921 with an 8 inch diameter pipe leading downstream 226 feet. What is the Manhole Label and what is written on the cover of the manhole?

Make a note for next year since this will be the first question of the 2016 contest. The answer is “15-47″ “Richards Iron Wks” (works).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.