Fox Cities students to benefit from Lawrence scholarship initiative; matching gift campaign raises nearly $52M

Mission accomplished.

Less than 15 months after presented a challenge of matching a $25 million gift from an anonymous donor for student scholarships, Lawrence University has more than met the challenge of its “Full Speed to Full Need” initiative.

Paulson-family_newsblog
The Paulson family — Sarah, Nick ’14, Tom, Mary and Erik ’16 — have established a scholarship that will target students in their hometown of Kaukauna.

Several recent gifts pushed the match total to $26.9 million, enabling Lawrence to establish an endowment of just under $52 million that will be used exclusively for scholarships to help meet students’ demonstrated financial need.

During the Full Speed to Full Need campaign, 48 new student scholarships were created, including one by a Kaukauna family that will directly benefit local students.

The Paulson Family Scholarship, established by Tom and Mary Paulson, and their three children, Sarah, Nick and Erik, will provide the full demonstrated financial need for four years to a Kaukauna High School graduate attending Lawrence.

With a focus on high-need applicants, the scholarship will be awarded once each year to a student for a total of up to four recipients. The goal after four years is a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior will attend Lawrence as a Paulson Scholar.

In the absence of a qualified student from Kaukauna High School, the full-need scholarship will be awarded to a student from any Fox Valley high school.

“Having a local family support Fox Cities’ students is extremely moving to me,” said Lawrence President Mark Burstein. “While Lawrence attracts applicants from across the country and around the world, we are honored that every year many local residents choose Lawrence. The Paulson Family Scholarship will help us attract and support excellent students from our own back yard.”

Tom Paulson said he wanted to create the scholarship in part because “Lawrence is often overlooked due to the financial barrier.”

“Our vision is to make Lawrence accessible to motivated students who may not have the financial means for a Lawrence education,” said Paulson, who graduated from Lawrence as a non-traditional student at the age of 32 in 1993 thanks in part to the financial support he received from the college.

Paulson-Scholarship_newsblog2Beyond Tom, the Paulson family connection to Lawrence includes son Nick, a 2014 Lawrence graduate who is employed at the college as a residence hall director and campus life student organizations coordinator, and son Erik, a senior at Lawrence. Sarah is a graduate of St. Norbert College. Like their parents, Nick, Erik and Sarah are all Kaukauna High School graduates.

Tom Paulson enrolled at Lawrence on a part-time basis in 1983 through a tuition remission program set up with the Institute of Paper Chemistry, where he was employed as a research technician. When the IPC relocated from Appleton to Georgia Tech in 1989, he and his wife remained in town but were left without the tuition remission program. Students must be enrolled full time to be eligible for scholarships and grants at Lawrence.

“The creative financial assistance Lawrence brought to the table enabled me to continue my education,” said Paulson, who re-enrolled in 1989 while also working full time as lab manager at Integrated Paper Services. “My professors were extremely generous and sensitive to my needs in balancing full-time work, class schedule, lab schedules and my family life. I can’t envision this type of accommodation at any other institution.”

“While Lawrence attracts applicants from across the country and around the world, we are honored that every year many local residents choose Lawrence. The Paulson Family Scholarship will help us attract and support excellent students from our own back yard.”
— President Mark Burstein

Paulson said Lawrence’s style of education and its focus on fostering creativity were important factors in his two sons following in his footsteps.

“Building strong personal bonds with administrators, professors and peers is vital for success academically, personally and professionally,” said Paulson. “Both of my sons thrived at Lawrence and have become critical thinkers with a passion for learning.”

Since announcing the Full Speed to Full Need matching gift challenge in September 2014, Lawrence received a total of 426 gifts. The support for the scholarship initiative was as broad as it was swift, with more than half the donors (236) contributing $500 or less. The college did receive 48 gifts of $100,000 or more, including seven of $1 million or more.

“When we embarked on this $25 million challenge, we thought it would take five years to accomplish,” said Cal Husmann, vice president for alumni, development and communications. “We are amazed that we were able to raise this amount of money in 15 months. We are so honored and inspired by the response of the Lawrence community who contributed to this initiative which makes Lawrence more affordable to more students. Every gift of every size makes a difference.”

For the 2015-16 academic year, 69 percent of Lawrence’s 1,500 students are receiving need-based financial aid packages that average $35,483.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Christyn Abaray named director of athletics

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Christyn Abaray

Christyn Abaray is the new Lawrence University Director of Athletics, President Mark Burstein announced today.

Abaray takes over for Mike Szkodzinski, who announced this past spring he was stepping down to devote his full attention to coaching the Vikings’ ice hockey team. Abaray has served as director of athletics at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, since June 2012.

“Lawrence University’s liberal arts focus comes to life for me in the engaged learning process both on the playing field and in the classroom,” Abaray said. “I find myself drawn to this type of environment, where students are learning for the sake of learning and are developing the skills necessary to be the future leaders of our ever-changing and interconnected world. It’s exciting to join the Lawrence community and become a part of their journey, learning along the way myself.”

Abaray was selected after a national search that resulted in an applicant pool ranging from coast to coast, according to Burstein.

“We were very fortunate to have many talented individuals interested in joining Lawrence thanks to the momentum established by Mike Szkodzinski and our coaching staff,” Burstein said.

“It was clear from our first conversation with Christyn that she knew how to lead a successful athletic program within a liberal arts college environment. Her passion for the scholar-athlete experience, her focus on excellence, both on the playing field and in the classroom, and her interest in sustaining a welcoming campus community for all Lawrence students made her the perfect choice.”

Part of Abaray’s motivation for joining the team at Lawrence was the potential of the Vikings’ athletic program.

“I truly feel that Lawrence is in prime position for athletics success with its dedicated coaching staff and its aspirations for more, with its commitment illustrated by resource allocation to human capital and by improvements in the physical plant,” Abaray said.

Abaray currently oversees 19 intercollegiate teams and a group of more than 40 coaches and staff at Buena Vista, an institution of 1,225 students that competes in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. She also serves as the college’s Title IX coordinator.

During more than three years at Buena Vista, Abaray oversaw the conversion of the athletic department’s in-house website to PrestoSports and was a player in a fundraising effort for new lights at the baseball and softball complex. Abaray noted that during her tenure at Buena Vista, she has worked to build a strong sense of community within the athletic department along with more integration of athletics into the larger fabric of the university.

“Christyn’s commitment to having a high-quality athletics program that contributes to the education of our students is very exciting for all of us here at Lawrence,” Provost Dave Burrows said. Abaray reports directly to Burrows, who added, “She clearly has great energy and is very positive about the future of athletics at Lawrence.”

In speaking with Abaray’s colleagues, praise was universal for her and her work. Abaray’s associates describe a woman who “understands that athletics is about student development first and foremost.” Another colleague said, “her vision is two-fold. It’s all about the student-athlete experience, but she is also very competitive. She wants winning programs.”

[Christyn’s] passion for the scholar-athlete experience, her focus on excellence, both on the playing field and in the classroom, and her interest in sustaining a welcoming campus community for all Lawrence students made her the perfect choice.”
— President Mark Burstein

Colleagues at Buena Vista describe Abaray as a great thinker, honest, tough, compassionate, accessible and a wonderful advocate for her department.

“Hopefully that is who I am,” said Abaray, who has a husband, Chris, and two children, Jackson and Jade. “I know that’s who I think I am, and that’s who I try to be every day.”

Abaray spent nearly eight years working at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania before her stint at Buena Vista. She joined the Swarthmore staff as the assistant director of athletics in August 2004 and was promoted to associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator in 2007. From that point, Abaray supervised all sports, coaches and fundraising accounts. Abaray also served as the department’s compliance coordinator, was a liaison for the Dean’s Office and the adviser for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

While completing her master’s degree in exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina from 2001-03, Abaray served as an intern in the athletics business office.

Abaray is a 2001 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she earned bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and environmental studies. Abaray, who was inducted into WashU Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, was a four-year starting defender for the women’s soccer team.

A three-time first-team All-University Athletic Association and All-Central Region selection, Abaray earned All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 1998.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Give. Watch. Share. 12-hour live Giving Day show celebrates all things Lawrence

With apologies to Lorne Michaels and the late great Don Pardo, “LIVE…from the Hurvis Center…it’s Giving Day.”

It’s the Little Apple(ton), not the Big Apple, but starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, Lawrence University will stage its second annual “Giving Day,” a 12-hour live extravaganza webcast worldwide, featuring a cast of thousands, or at least dozens, ranging from President Mark Burstein and Mile of Music co-founder Cory Chisel to head football coach Rob McCarthy and the Lawrence Faculty Jazz Quartet.

Giving Day newsblog
Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado (right) gets ready to try out a pair of hip waders courtesy of biologist Bart De Stasio (center) as he gives her a primer on doing research out in the field during 2014’s Giving Day live show..

The show will include interesting interviews and eclectic performances celebrating things happening at the college and showcasing the people and programs that make Lawrence distinctive.

Held for the first time in November, 2014, Giving Day is a special one-day opportunity for alumni and friends to show their support for Lawrence and its programs. Last year’s Giving Day, with the help of “game changers” who matched donations, raised $1.1 million for the college.

Kasey Corrado, Lawrence’s social media specialist, returns for her second stint as co-host of the 12-hour live show. She will be joined by senior Jon Hanrahan, a piano performance major from Johnsburg, Ill.

The webcast, available at go.lawrence.edu/givingday, will feature hourly “themes” on such topics as diversity, the arts, community service and of course, academics. From 7-8 p.m., everyone will be asked to don their thinking caps for a 60-minute trivia warm-up for Lawrence’s real deal 50-hour contest coming in late January.

Last year’s Giving Day was such a surprising success. Although we had planned for months, nothing really prepared us for what it turned out to be,” said Corrado, who is looking forward to reprising her one-part Barbara Walters, one-part Ellen DeGeneres role of a year ago. “I’m excited to see what happens this year.”

During the course of the show, Corrado will be more than just a passive host. She’s planning on learning a little Mandarin, creating a work of art with the help of sculptor Rob Neilson and boning up on her chemistry knowledge with chemist Stefan Debbert.

“I love that I get to co-host this show again,” said Corrado, whose first hosting stint came less than six months after getting hired at Lawrence. “As corny as it sounds, I feel like I’m getting to help make history at Lawrence.”

“Compared to last year, this is a far more ambitious undertaking, so I fully expect all kinds of interesting things to go wrong. It is 12 straight hours after all.”
— Rachel Crowl

Hanrahan, whose qualifications for his co-host role include four year’s performing with Lawrence’s improvisational troupe Optimistic Feral Children and three years as a trivia master, says his game plan is simple: Just dive in.

“I’m going to keep a curious mind turned on and gently nudge guests to the point where they have no choice but to share what they think, deep down, makes Lawrence such a weird, wonderful, impactful place,” said Hanrahan, who claims he’s made it through an entire trivia contest weekend without the aid of caffeine.Giving-Day_newsblog

Hanrahan says he’s excited about interacting with what he calls a line-up of “funny, smart, or strange people.”

Amid all the fun and games, Hanrahan wants the viewers to also appreciate the purpose of Giving Day.

“I really want our older viewers to come away with a reminder of what a transformative place Lawrence can be and I hope that current students get a glimpse of what goes on in the buildings that they don’t typically enter.”

Rachel Crowl, one of the masterminds behind this year’s Giving Day live show, will again handle all the off-camera chain saw juggling that goes with staging such a production.

“Compared to last year, this is a far more ambitious undertaking, so I fully expect all kinds of interesting things to go wrong. It is 12 straight hours after all,” Crowl said with a laugh.

Since July, Crowl has donned her executive producer/director/writer hat, scouring the campus for “talent.”

“I just used my institutional Rolodex to cajole, bribe and otherwise convince friends on the faculty and in the student body to appear on the show so we could cram as many facets of life at Lawrence as possible into 12 hours,” said Crowl, who promises a few surprises along the way. “I feel it’s my responsibility to put on a show that’s crazy entertaining, informative and one that makes the viewers want to support the institution.”

#LUGives15

According to Cara Gosse, director of annual giving, last year’s Giving Day trial run “surpassed our wildest expectations.”

“We were blown away by the way the college community pulled together to celebrate Lawrence, past and present,” said Gosse. “This year we have more than 200 Game Changers—alumni, parents and friends — who are providing matching funds to motivate others to support our students and the school they love. We’re so excited to do it all again. We want this year to be bigger, better, and bLUer.”

The complete Giving Day webcast schedule can be found here.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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 hosting state-wide bicycling summit

Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center will host the 2016 Wisconsin Bike Summit Friday, Nov. 6.

This is the first time in its history, the Wisconsin Bike Federation is holding its annual summit outside of Madison.bikesummit_newsblog_1

The theme for this year’s summit, which beings at 9 a.m., is “Shifting Gears.” Conference presentations will cover topics ranging from advocacy and planning to equity and community.

Keynote speakers for the summit include Charlie Cooper of PeopleForBikes, who will discuss the current state of bicycling in the United States, and Kelsey Regan, who holds the UltraMarathon Cycling record for the fastest point-to-point ride across Wisconsin.

Summit sessions will include:

How to Start a Trips for Kids Mountain Bike Ride Chapter for Underserved Youth

A Non-Traditional Approach to Bike-to-Work Day

An In-Depth Study of Wisconsin Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes

Women in Cycling – the Ladies Revolution!

Slow Roll Chicago: The Transformative Power of Bicycles

HealthTIDE – the New Wave; Weight of the Fox Valley – To Win, We Need to Lose

A complete summit schedule, including registration information, can be found here.

Lawrence collaborated with the Fox Cities Cycling Association, the History Museum at the Castle, the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Appleton and others in luring the summit to Appleton.

Concluding the summit will be an exclusive tour and reception at the History Museum at the Castle featuring its current exhibit “Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Cycling.”

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

 

 

35 and counting: Annual jazz festival welcomes guest artists Cyrille Aimée and Rufus Reid

The name has changed — slightly— but the mission remains the same.

Lawrence University’s annual salute to all things jazz celebrates its 35th year with a new name— Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend —  in honor of its founder and mentor who passed away in 2014.

This year’s weekend celebration welcomes vocalist Cyrille Aimée Friday, Nov. 6 and bass legend Rufus Reid, Saturday, Nov. 7. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Tickets, ranging from $18 to $30, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Cyrille-Aimee_newsblogIn addition to the two evening concerts, Lawrence will host more than 350 students from 23 high schools on Saturday, Nov. 7 who will participate a series of educational clinics and performances. The schedule includes free performances by the Lawrence jazz faculty and the Lawrence Jazz Band.

French-born Aimée has established herself as one of the most promising jazz singers of her generation. Raised in the village of Samois sur Seine, Aimée’s culturally rich background — her mother is Dominican, her father French — has provided her with a distinctive vocal combination: the driving force of Dominican rhythm and the incredible swing of the French Gypsies.

Accomplished jazz singer Janet Planet, who teaches vocal technique and jazz history at Lawrence, says Aimée clearly “enjoys making music” and describes her style as “infectious.”

“She is the ‘hot ticket’ in the world of jazz today and brings her youth and obvious hunger for the music to her performances,” said Planet. “She also shows a respect for singers that have come before her, such as Ella Fitzgerald.

“Cyrille brings her joy to stage as she unveils each moment of each song.  She emotes a certain fearlessness, a requisite characteristic for improvisation,” Planet added. “Along with the ability to improvise in the scat format, she utilizes technology by incorporating looping devices in her concerts, stacking her vocals as she builds live tracks.”

“She is the ‘hot ticket’ in the world of jazz today and brings her youth and obvious hunger for the music to her performances.”
— Janet Planet

Inspired by the musical legacy of renowned guitarist Django Reinhardt, Aimée is a past winner of both the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Vocal Competition and the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. Her 2014 major label debut, “It’s a Good Day,” showcases Aimée’s incredible range of musical styles, eras, continents and moods.

Reid, a Grammy Award-nominated bass player whose career spans five decades, and his quartet, will be joined on stage by the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble during the direction of Patty Darling.  Nearly the entire program will feature works composed or arranged by Reid.Rufus Reid_newsblog

As a leader or co-leader, Reid has recorded more than 20 albums, including 2014’s “Quiet Pride – The Elizabeth Catlett Project,” which was inspired by the legendary sculptor and civil rights activist.

“We are so fortunate to have Rufus Reid and his Quartet joining us for the Saturday evening concert,” said Darling. “Not only is Rufus one of today’s premiere bassists, he is also one of the world’s leaders in jazz education and jazz history, as well as an inspiring clinician and accomplished composer.  His passion for performance and jazz education make him the perfect choice as one of this year’s guest artists for our 35th festival.”

Reid is the author of “The Evolving Bassist,” the definitive bible for every jazz bassist and the industry standard since 1974. He has lent his signature sound to the music of a litany of jazz icons, including Thad Jones, Stan Getz, Benny Golson and Nancy Wilson, among others.

Sturm created jazz celebration weekend in 1981 as a way to bring renowned professional jazz artists to the Lawrence campus and the roster of guests reads like a Who’s Who of jazz greats: Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Slide Hampton, Bobby McFerrin, Diana Krall, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea and others.

Beyond the concerts, Sturm established a completely non-competitive jazz educational festival featuring renowned clinicians for students as a way to provide an inspirational jump-start for school jazz groups and promote improvisation as a primary focus in school jazz ensembles.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Melissa Range wins National Poetry Series competition

Lawrence University Assistant Professor of English Melissa Range has been named one of five national winners in the annual Open Competition sponsored by the National Poetry Series.

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Melissa Range

Range was selected for her second collection of poems entitled “Scriptorium,” which was selected for the award by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith. The award includes a $10,000 prize. “Scriptorium” will be published next fall by Beacon Press.

“Scriptorium,” which Range started in 2006 and completed earlier this year, takes its name from the medieval scriptorium, where monks would create illuminated manuscripts and other written works. Range’s “Scriptorium” explores the relationship between standardized, official languages and vernacular languages, particularly as they play out in religious settings. It features poems about medieval art, poetry and theology, as well as poems about the Appalachian slang of Range’s upbringing.

“It’s both humbling and incredibly affirming to be chosen for the National Poetry Series, particularly by judge Tracy Smith, a poet whose work I admire,” said Range, who joined the Lawrence faculty in 2014. “The journey from a jumble of poems to a book of poems is arduous and takes a great amount of time, from writing it, revising it, figuring out how it fits together, what its arc is, what it’s trying to say. Even when you’ve finished a book, there’s no guarantee it will be published. Publication is a gift and one for which I’m extremely grateful.”

This is the second major award Range has received in the past year. Last December, she was named one of 36 national recipients of a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing.

“Melissa is an extraordinarily talented creative artist,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “She has helped make our writing and poetry program extremely strong. We are very proud of her achievement as the winner of this award.”

Range earned her Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from the University of Tennessee, her master’s degree in creative writing from Old Dominion University and also holds a master of theological studies from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University.

She previously has been recognized for her creative writing for poetry with the 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize and the University of Missouri’s teaching award for creative writing in 2013.

Her first book of poetry, “Horse and Rider: Poems,” centers on violence and power in religion and the natural world.

Based in Princeton, N.J., the nonprofit National Poetry Series was founded in 1978 to promote “excellence in contemporary poetry” by publishing five poetry books annually through its Open Competition. Previous notable winners of the prize include Terrance Hayes, Adrian Matejka, Marie Howe and Eleni Sikelianos.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

 

Four November performances designated “Music for Food” concerts to benefit St. Joseph’s Food Program

For the third consecutive year, the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music will help combat hunger in the Fox Cities during the upcoming holiday season by dedicating four November concerts to benefit the St. Joseph Food Program.

The concerts, all in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, are presented in partnership with Music for Food, a national program for local hunger relief.

Audience members are encouraged to make a charitable donation — monetary or a non-perishable food item. All monetary donations are tax deductible, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to St. Joseph Food Program.

wind-ensemble
The Lawrence Wind Ensemble’s Nov. 17 performance will be one of four Music for Food concerts the college is sponsoring this month.

This year’s Music for Food concerts are:

• Saturday, Nov. 7, Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend: Rufus Reid with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 p.m. 920-832-6749 for tickets.

• Friday, Nov. 13, Lawrence Concert Choir, Cantala women’s choir, Viking Chorale, 8 p.m. Free.

• Saturday, Nov. 14, Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. Free.

• Tuesday, Nov. 17, Lawrence Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, 8 p.m. Free.

“I’m so delighted and proud that Lawrence will be collecting once again for Music for Food at its November concerts,” said Lawrence Professor of Music Catherine Kautsky, one of the program’s organizers. “This is our third year working with this terrific national organization of musicians, and we, as well as the community, have benefitted enormously. We all believe that music lifts the spirit; how wonderful when it also can contribute materially to the community’s well-being.”

During the first two years of the program, Lawrence concerts have generated nearly 350 pounds of donated food to St. Joe’s.

Music for Food is a musician-led initiative founded in 2010 by violist Kim Kashkashian in collaboration with the New England Conservatory. Concerts raise funds and awareness to combat  hunger, empowering musicians who use their artistry to further social justice. Now in its sixth season, Music for Food has provided more than 200,000 meals through donations made at certs on behalf of more than a dozen hunger-relief organizations.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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 convocation series welcomes award-winning journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the nation’s most important contemporary writers on the subject of race, examines the conflicted and hopeful state of black America in a Lawrence University convocation.

Ta-Nehisi Coates_newsblog
Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates presents “Race in America: A Deeper Black” Thursday, Nov. 5 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He will conduct a question-and-answer session immediately following his remarks. The event is free and open to the public.

A correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates has written about subjects ranging from the call to remove Confederate flags from state capitol grounds to what constitutes a public intellectual. His June 2014 story on slavery reparations vaulted him to national prominence.

He earned national acclaim for his 2015 book “Between the World and Me,” an open letter to his son about his hopes, dreams and what it means to be black in America. The book was recently named a finalist for the National Book Awards’ nonfiction prize.

His first book, the memoir, “The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood,” was published in 2008.

In September, Coates was named a recipient of a $625,000 MacArthur Fellows Program “genius” grant. In announcing its recipients, the foundation hailed Coates as “a highly distinctive voice [who is] emerging as a leading interpreter of American concerns to a new generation of media-savvy audiences and having a profound impact on the discussion of race and racism in this country.”

Born and raised in Baltimore, Md., Coates attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., but left before earning a degree to pursue writing and journalism. He began his journalism career working as a reporter for the Washington City Paper. He later wrote for The Village Voice and Time magazine and has contributed to numerous publications, among them the New York Times Magazine, O magazine and the Washington Post before joining The Atlantic.

He holds a journalist-in-residence position at the City University of New York.

As a follow-up to Coates’ convocation, Lawrence faculty will host a panel discussion Monday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium.

Participating in the panel will be Carla Daughtry, associate professor of anthropology; Karen Hoffman, associate professor of English, and Amy Ongiri, Jill Beck Director of Film Studies and associate professor of film studies

Each faculty panelist will share some observations about Coates’ address followed by questions and comments from the audience.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Expressions of Acceptance: Micro-opera event celebrates community unity

As part of his first production at Lawrence University last spring, Copeland Woodruff, the college’s new director of opera studies, surveyed his audience, asking them to share instances of feeling unwelcomed or as an outsider.

He was so moved by the outpouring of responses he received, he knew he had to do something to further address some of the experiences that were shared.

Micro-opera_newsblogThat “something” became the  collaborative project “Expressions of Acceptance” that will feature more than 40 Lawrence student singers, including 30 from the Improvisational Group of Lawrence University (IGLU), and instrumentalists simultaneously performing 13 “micro-operas” — each about 5-8 minutes in length — in the lobby of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton. Every nook and cranny of the four-story lobby will be utilized for performances, including stairwells, seating areas, the bars and even the elevator.

The performance, Monday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., will be preceded by a walk through downtown Appleton by organizers and community partners starting at 7 p.m. in front of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and ending at the PAC. Anyone is welcome to participate in the walk, which is designed to embrace community and celebrate Appleton.

Following the performances, the audience will meet the cast and creative team and spend time together digesting the experience with community leaders in the Kimberly-Clark theatre.

“I was so excited and inspired by the audiences’ need to reach out and tell their stories last spring, that I knew that we had to continue the dialogue,” said Woodruff, director of opera studies and associate professor of music. “We are all strangers, even to ourselves sometimes. When we recognize that, it gives us courage to reach out to another soul, who is also a stranger.”

“Expressions of Acceptance” grew out of Woodruff’s production of Aaron Copland’s “The Tender Land” last February, an opera written during the Senator Joseph McCarthy trials that explores themes of “the stranger among us” as well as “the stranger within.”

“I hope through this event we can find ways to reach out and connect with others regardless
of any perceived difference, either in others or ourselves and be open
to the miraculous, healing qualities that each of us possesses.”

— Copeland Woodruff

A collaboration between Lawrence’s student organization GLOW and Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities (CDFC), Riverview Gardens and COTS, the campus and local organizations hosted pre-show and post-show events. Each audience member was asked to complete a four-question survey that asked them to describe a time in their life when they felt like an outsider, why it’s common for people to be wary of strangers or newcomers, what can be done to help people feel welcome and accepted and what obstacles do newcomers to Lawrence or the Fox Cities face that might prevent them from enjoying all that the community can offer.

“I would like for us not only to celebrate our differences, but to find the common threads we all share: we all want to love, be loved, be accepted for who we are, and be allowed to grow with regard to our varied experiences,” said Woodruff. “I hope through this event we can find ways to reach out and connect with others regardless of any perceived difference, either in others or ourselves and be open to the miraculous, healing qualities that each of us possesses. We are so much more than what appears at first glance, or second glance, or one-thousandth glance.”

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Copeland Woodruff

While Copeland has produced and directed walk-through events before coming to Lawrence, “the level of integrated involvement with so many different community and university organizations is a first for me.”

The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is a co-sponsor of the “Expressions of Acceptance” project, supporting it with a $2,500 grant.

In addition to the partners who worked with Woodruff on “The Tender Land,” additional community collaborators assisting with the “Expressions of Acceptance” production are Kathy Flores, the diversity and inclusion coordinator for the city of Appleton, African Heritage, Inc., INCLUDE, Casa Hispana, E.S.T.H.E.R., Goodwill, and CODA.

“It has been a life-changing experience for me working together with Matt Turner, Margaret Paek and the IGLU students,” said Woodruff, who earned first-place honors in the prestigious National Opera Association’s Best Opera Production Competition, Division V last year for the  fifth time in the past eight years. “Many of the students didn’t know each other until this project and to see them learn from each other is mind-blowing. Watching them work together, reaching across many performance-practice boundaries to swim in the scary deep end of the improvisation and post-modern theatre pool has been a landmark in my career as an artist and an educator.”

“Getting out and working with the community has helped this outsider feel more a part of the conversation in Appleton and the surrounding area,” Woodruff added. “Finding similar and differing opinions and points of view, learning and growing from them, that’s what the human experience is for me.”

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.

Training your brain for a better you the focus of lecture series presentation

Would you like to “change your brain” to make yourself happier, more creative, more compassionate?

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Richard Davidson

Renowned psychology researcher Richard Davidson says scientific evidence suggests you can do just that by cultivating positive habits of mind.

Davidson presents “Well-being is a Skill” Thursday, Oct. 29 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in the second installment of Lawrence University’s Liberal Arts in the Century of the Brain lecture series. He also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. Both events are free and open to the public.

Research conducted by Davidson show a range of characteristics, including a person’s happiness, resilience, compassion and emotional balance, can all be shaped, modified and improved within one’s brain. Davidson will share how using mental training techniques to cultivate well-being can positively impact an individual’s happiness, creativity and productivity in the work place and at home.

“Dr. Davidson is a pioneer in the scientific study of emotion and has applied a neuroscientific lens to the study of ancient traditions for cultivating attention and compassion,” said Lori Hilt, assistant professor of psychology at Lawrence. “We are fortunate to have him speak on a topic sure to be broadly appealing.”

The William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UW-Madison, Davidson is one of the country’s leading experts in the field of neuroplasticity — the capacity of the brain to develop and change throughout life — as well as methods to promote human betterment, including meditation and related contemplative practices.

A member of the UW faculty since 1984, Davidson is the director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the UW’s Waisman Center.

In 2006, Time magazine named Davidson one of the “100 most influential people in the world” and the following year Madison Magazine named him its Person of the Year. The American Psychological Association recognized him with its highest honor — the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award — in 2000.

His scholarship has resulted in more than 320 articles, numerous book chapters and reviews. He is the author of the 2012 book “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” and has edited 14 other books.

The Liberal Arts in the Century of the Brain series will incorporate the interdisciplinary areas of neuroscience and cognitive science to create connections with other disciplines at Lawrence by examining questions ranging from whether the brain processes literary fiction differently than formula fiction to how perception, emotion and cognitive processing impact creative expression.

Other series speakers include:

Darya Zabelina, post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University, Feb. 17, 2016. Zabelina’s presentation will examine the neural aspects of creativity. Her research focuses on ways of enhancing and fostering the development of creative thinking and problem-solving ability.

• John Iverson, associate project scientist at University of California-San Diego’s Institute for Neural Computation. February 2016. A cognitive neuroscientist, Iverson will discuss his research on rhythm perception and production in music and language, work that spans behavioral and neuroscience approaches. He is currently overseeing a study of the effect of music training on children’s brain and cognitive development.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the department of philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. April 12, 2016. The author of five books and more than 100 published articles, Sinnott-Armstrong is a scholar of moral psychology and brain science, which his presentation will focus on, as well as uses of neuroscience in the legal system.

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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.