Tag: Alumni

Grateful Grads Index highlights generosity, commitment of Lawrence alumni

A graduate stands and applauds during Lawrence's 2019 commencement ceremony in June.
Rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Lawrence University graduates at the 2019 commencement ceremony. Lawrence alumni have a long history of staying connected to their alma mater.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The bonds between Lawrence University and its graduates are among the strongest and most enduring of any across the higher education landscape, according to a newly released report from Forbes magazine.

Lawrence landed at No. 26 on Forbes’ 2019 edition of the Grateful Graduates Index, which follows the money in terms of alumni giving at private, not-for-profit colleges. Lawrence is the only Wisconsin school to place in the top 70.

“When I meet with alumni and ask them why they give, two strong themes emerge,” said Cal Husmann, vice president for alumni and development. “The alumni reference the impact faculty members have had on their educations and lives — specifically, the strong relationships they’ve formed with faculty. Another theme is gratitude for the financial assistance they received as students and wanting to pay it forward.” 

Lawrence ranks high on U.S. News’ Best Value Schools list. Details here.

The Grateful Graduates Index takes a couple of factors into account — the seven-year median gifts per full-time enrolled student and the average percentage of alumni who give back, regardless of the amount.

“We boil down the analysis to a single factor,” Forbes says in its report. “Does your alma mater ‘spark joy’ in your heart, enough to cause you to reach into your wallet and show your gratitude in the form of a donation?”

This marks the seventh consecutive year Lawrence has made the Grateful Grads ranking. It has placed in the top 70 in each of those years, with this year’s No. 26 slot being the highest ranking yet.

From support of current and future students to partnerships with faculty and staff to enhancements of the university’s infrastructure, the generosity of alumni is critical to the ongoing financial health of any private college.

Lawrence has seen that generosity play out in multiple ways. The school’s recent 2018-19 fiscal report showed support topping $24.4 million, the fourth highest year to date.

The $220 million Be the Light! Campaign, which launched quietly in January 2014 and had its public launch in November 2018, has surpassed $184 million in gifts and pledges.

The Lawrence Fund, which plays a significant role in supporting the campus’s operation, from scholarships and study abroad opportunities to athletics and campus upkeep, is coming off a particularly strong year. Support reached $3.9 million in the last fiscal year, second only to the 2015-16 year. Without the fund, it’s estimated each student’s tuition would increase by more than $10,000 per year.

The Be the Light! Campaign includes the Lawrence Fund as one of its four cornerstones, along with the Full Speed to Full Need initiative to make Lawrence accessible and affordable to all academically qualifying students, the Student Journey, which has welcomed numerous endowed positions aimed at supporting cutting edge programs and course offerings, and Campus Renewal, targeting facility and infrastructure upgrade projects on campus.

Meanwhile, the recent $2.5 million gift from J. Thomas Hurvis ’60 to create an endowed professorship to teach the psychology of collaboration marked the latest in a string of endowed positions, supported by Lawrence alumni, that have boosted and diversified the school’s academic offerings.

Mike O’Connor is entering his first full academic year as Lawrence’s Riaz Waraich Dean of the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC), a recently endowed position that aims to better prepare students for life after Lawrence by, in part, enhancing connections with alumni in the students’ fields of interest.

The Forbes’ report comes one month before Lawrence’s sixth annual Giving Day, set for Oct. 10.

“Lawrence’s relationship with its alumni continues to be special,” Husmann said. “It’s a point of pride that those bonds don’t end when a student graduates. The ongoing support of current and future Lawrentians is critical, and our alumni rise to the occasion time after time.”

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

Richard Yatzeck, longtime professor of Russian at Lawrence, dies

Richard Yatzeck, professor emeritus of Russian, passed away on March 7, at the age of 86.

Yatzeck had one of the longest tenures in Lawrence University’s history. He joined the faculty in 1966, retiring in 2014 after a distinguished 48-year career at Lawrence that included leading students on multiple summer-long treks through Eastern Europe.

Richard Yatzeck

He was in his element teaching Russian literature and leading those biennial expeditions to Russia and Eastern Europe.

Upon his retirement nearly five years ago, Yatzeck noted that he wasn’t much of a fan of the modern world, preferring instead to savor the wonders of the 19th Century and the writings of Tolstoy, Pushkin and Dostoevsky.

“Basically, the only way to amuse yourself was to read and that’s what I’ve done all my life, and so in some ways I feel as if I still live in the 19th Century,” Yatzeck said just before his retirement in the summer of 2014 at the age of 81. He noted that he never owned a television.

“Part of being happy teaching at Lawrence is a lot of my work is spent reading and preparing for classes and the thinking that goes along with it,” he said. “When you read a book, you have to make your own pictures so that you’re exercising your imagination. What is this guy saying, what would it look like?”

To see obituary in The Post-Crescent, click here

Yatzeck began organizing every-other-year trips to Russia and Eastern Europe with former professor George Smalley shortly after he joined the faculty in 1966. Traveling in seven Volkswagen buses, as many as 35 students would participate in the trips throughout the continent.

“The (Lawrence) authorities at that time thought it would be a good idea. I’m not sure why they did because everybody else asked us if we’d get back alive,” said Yatzeck, who called the trips the highlight of his teaching career. “They were certainly good for my oral Russian.”

Those trips — as well as two stints (1991, 1997) as director of the ACM’s study-abroad program in Krasnodar — inspired him to chronicle his experiences in the 2012 book, “Russia in Private,” a collection of his observations of Russian life.

Yatzeck was also an avid hunter and fisherman.

“They are quite different things,” he said of teaching and his outdoor pursuits. “The business about hunting is you switch off your intellect and you listen to your senses. Something smells or you hear or taste something and your intellectual powers are in abeyance, and that’s a nice rest. But that isn’t how you teach.”

Yatzeck’s scholarly work included a dozen published poems, but he also wrote extensively about the outdoors, including 11 articles for Gray’s “Sporting Journal,” the “New Yorker” of outdoor literature. His first book was 1999’s “Hunting the Edges,” a collection of his musings about the philosophical, not the practical, aspects of the outdoors.

An on-campus memorial for Yatzeck is being planned for Reunion Weekend. It’s schedule for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 15 in Strange Commons in Main Hall.

Details will be included in the Reunion Weekend schedule.

Give. Share. Watch. Live 10-hour webcast highlights fourth annual Giving Day

For everyone who has ever wondered what Lawrence University is all about, a LIVE, 10-hour webcast Wednesday, Oct. 11 will provide an insider’s look at some of the people and programs that make the university an interesting and vibrant place.

Lawrence’s fourth annual Giving Day event, which will be webcast live at go.lawrence.edu/givingday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., features interviews with faculty, administrators, accomplished alumni and students, including some who currently are studying abroad. There also will be nearly a dozen live musical performances, hands-on demonstrations and maybe a surprise guest appearance or two.Giving Day studio

Kasey Corrado, Lawrence’s social media director, will be back in the hostess chair for the fourth year in a row. She’ll be joined by Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid, who returns for his second stint as co-host.

“Even though this is our fourth annual Giving Day and we’ve gotten into a bit of a groove when it comes to the live show, there is still that undeniable excitement about what is going to take place when the red light goes on,” said Corrado, who calls Giving Day “her favorite day of the year at Lawrence.”

“I love meeting with guests and showcasing how they contribute to the Lawrence community in a variety of ways” she added. “We’ve put together another wonderful line-up of student musicians, leaders and athletes, alumni and staff. I’m looking forward to sharing their stories with our audience.”

Anselment, whose lone battle scar from his initial Giving Day hosting duties — a scratchy throat from over talking — admitted that will serve as a helpful reminder to keep the focus on the guests.

“Giving Day is about letting members of the Lawrence community shine in all their multi-interested, multi-talented ways,” said Anselment. “My job is to set them up and let them be at their brightest.”

It’s the surprises that come with hours of planned, yet improvised, programming, where some of the best moments happen, said Anselment.

STudent musicians performing on Giving Day
Musical performances are always a staple of Lawrence’s Giving Day webcast.

“I knew last year the day was going to be special during our very first segment when President Burstein picked up the pom-poms and shook them right along with the dance team. Now that’s commitment,” he said, adding that getting lifted by Lawrence dance instructor Margaret Paek— who is about half his size — was a lesson in grace and physics “I won’t soon forget.”

An eclectic cast of Lawrence “celebrities” scheduled to visit with Corrado and Anselment include:
President Mark Burstein

Gary Vaughan, discussing Lawrence’s innovation and entrepreneurship program, including a presentation from a member of last spring’s winning team at The Pitch Competition.

Amy Ongiri from the film studies program, with staff videographer Chris Gore-Gammon, who will give a virtual reality demonstration.

Copeland Woodruff talking opera

Coaches from the athletic department

Biologist Israel Del Toro discussing the Pollinator Project.

Performances by the Faculty Brass, Cantala women’s choir, an ensemble of 19 cellists, and others.

The student bands Sol Studios and The Embers as well as singer Bernard Lilly, a student from the Academy of Music and the student duet Jerry Wang and Eva Tourangeau.

Garrett Katerzynske, Lawrence’s director of video production, not only juggled most of the proverbial chain saws in lining up the guests for this year’s production, he also steps into the director’s chair for the first time.

“The live show is a marathon of technical demands and I’ll be positioned at the epicenter of the creative storm, directing crew back stage and talent on screen,” said Katerzynske. “Beautiful moments and unexpected issues can unfold simultaneously and if we’re lucky, we’ll spin problems into happy accidents. The cameras keep rolling and the results are always entertaining.”

In scouring the campus the past several months for guests, Katerzynske said he uncovered some incredible stories and witnessed many remarkable performances.

A chemistry demonstration on Giving Day
Hands-on demonstrations always add an element of the unknown to the Giving Day webcast.

“The faculty and students on this campus surprise me every year,” he said. “I can’t wait to watch everything come together in the studio.”

Lawrence held its first Giving Day in 2014 as a one-day-only fundraising event for alumni and friends to show their support for Lawrence, its programs and students. Since that first event, Giving Day has generated more than $3.7 million from more than 6,400 students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of the university.

Many of the guests appearing on the webcast are grateful beneficiaries of the generosity of Giving Day donors and serve as examples of the way funding assists faculty, students and programs on campus.

As in previous years, Lawrence Giving Day 2017 has been made possible by a generous group of alumni, parents and friends who have committed to be “Game Changers,” providing matching funds as motivation for others to support the college.

“Giving Day’s goal isn’t just to raise money, although that is an important aspect,” said Kayla Schumacher, Lawrence’s director of annual giving. “This is a chance for everyone in the Lawrence community to come together for 24 hours and celebrate the things they care about here.

“The entire community is encouraged to take advantage of the fantastic giving challenges on Giving Day,” Schumacher added. “We hope participation in the day continues growing this year as more members of our community choose to give back. For the fourth time, Lawrence will show the world what we can accomplish when we all come together in just one day.”

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.” 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 hosts weekend reunion for Black Alumni Network

A photo of Lawrence University alumna.Lawrence University welcomes members of its Black Alumni Network to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for its second reunion. The weekend-long event is designed to provide opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and the college as well as interact with current students.

“This reunion provides a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence to support this engaged and successful group of graduates,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. “It also provides a way for these individuals to give back to the institution by contributing to the success of current students, particular those who identify as African-American.

Alumni attending the reunion can relive their college days by sitting in on one of three Fall Term classes with current students: “Democracy in Comparative Perspective,” “Introduction to Gender Studies” and “Literature and the Environment.”

Other reunion activities include campus tours, a lunch with small group conversations addressing campus issues related to identity development and diversity with Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity and students, a screening of author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Lawrence convocation “Race in America: A Deeper Black” followed by group discussion and a Diversity Circle program offering a contemporary approach to diversity training moderated by current Lawrence students.

A photo of Lawrence University alumnus.As part of the weekend festivities, the president and other senior administrators will join the alumni for lunch on Oct. 1, members of Lawrence’s Black Student Union will host an open house at Sankofa House for the alumni Saturday evening and members of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs will host a question-and-answer session in conjunction with a Sunday brunch.

“Those attending the reunion will be able to share key insights with university administrators to assist in our efforts to create a more inclusive Lawrence,” said Barrett. “I feel extremely fortunate to have access to this brain trust to inform my work as I begin my tenure at Lawrence as the college’s first chief diversity officer.”

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.”  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.”


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.

Healthcare expert, award-winning litigator elected to Lawrence Board of Trustees

Two new members have been elected to Lawrence University’s of Board of Trustees.

Healthcare consultant Omer Sayeed and nationally recognized attorney Anton Valukas join Shelley Davis ’92, Chicago, Ill., Dr. Richard Fessler ’74, Winnetka, Ill., and Andrew Wong ‘06, Chicago, Ill., who were elected to the board earlier this year, as members of the 2015 class of new trustees.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to welcome Omer and Tony to the Board,” said board chair Susie Stillman Kane ’72. “Omer brings extensive background in the health care industry and Tony is known in legal circles as the best trial lawyer in the country.

“In joining Andrew Wong, our second Recent Graduate Trustee, Shelley Davis and Rick Fessler, these five individuals comprise one of the largest new trustee classes in recent memory. It is a tribute to the loyalty and commitment Lawrence instills in its alumni and friends that each is willing to give so generously of his or her time and talent by taking on this important role for the university.”

The board will hold its annual fall meeting at Bjorklunden, Lawrence’s northern campus in Door County, Oct. 28-30.

Omer Sayeed ’87

Omer Sayeed, Altadena, Calif.
A management consultant with extensive expertise in the health care industry, including both payer and provider operations, Sayeed is senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Group, Optum.

Prior to Optum, Sayeed spent three years as senior vice president with AccretiveHealth, where he was responsible for revenue enhancement and administrative cost reduction solutions.

Sayeed also spent 11 years as a partner in Accenture’s Health and Public Services practice, where he worked with payer CEOs and CFOs and led efforts to identify and deliver cost reduction in claims, finance and procurement.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics from Lawrence in 1987, Sayeed earned a master’s degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in biology from Indiana University. He also received an appointment as a postdoctoral fellow in neurogenetics and behavior at the California Institute of Technology.

Sayeed spent a year on Lawrence’s President’s Advisory Council before his election to the Board of Trustees.

Anton Valukas, Evanston, Ill.
Valukas serves as chair of the law firm Jenner & Block, where he focuses on civil and criminal litigation.

Tony Valukas_newsblog_new trustee
Anton Valukas ’65

His history of litigation success earned him a 2009 federal appointment as the examiner for the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.  Valukas issued a nine-volume, 2,200-page report that was widely praised for its clarity and usefulness in determining what brought about Lehman’s demise, an event many commentators point to as the precipitating event triggering the economic crisis of 2008.

Valukas has been named one of the country’s leading litigation lawyers for eight consecutive years by Chambers USA, while Chicago Lawyer honored him as its “Person of the Year” in 2009. Other honors include being named as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal in 2013, and “Litigator of the Year” and “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2012 and 2011, respectively by The American Lawyer magazine.

Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Valukas held several positions with the U.S. Department of Justice, including Assistant United States Attorney (1970-74), Chief of the Special Prosecutions Division (1974), and First Assistant United States Attorney (1975-76).  In 1985, he left the firm to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, returning to Jenner & Block in 1989.

He previously served on the Lawrence Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1994 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Lawrence in 2012, when he also served as the college’s commencement speaker.

Valukas earned a degree in government from Lawrence in 1965 and his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1968.

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.


Forbes: Lawrence University Graduates Among Nation’s Most “Grateful”

Graduates of Lawrence University are among the most “grateful” in the country for the education they received according to Forbes magazine.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Dirck Vorenkamp and Sarah Wolfson at Lawrence’s 2012 commencement.

Lawrence was ranked 60th nationally among in Forbes’ 2014 “Grateful Grads Index,” the highest ranking of any college or university in Wisconsin.

In an attempt to measure the value of a college degree, Forbes devised a rate of return based on the amount of private gifts given to four-year, not-for-profit colleges with enrollments of at least 1,000 over the past 10 years, an institution’s full-time enrollment and its alumni participation rates.

“Lawrence has long prided itself on being a ‘grateful place,’” said Cal Husmann, vice president for alumni, development and communications. “As an institution, we are profoundly grateful for the support we receive, both in time and money from our alumni, the community and other friends of the college on behalf of our mission of educating students to lead productive, successful lives.”

Lawrence students contribute to that communal atmosphere of gratitude by regularly demonstrating their own grateful spirit. Husmann cited a question-and-answer session following a recent performance by 40 music students in Chicago as just one example.

“Gratitude was a theme common in every response, from students talking about how Lawrence is an accepting place and a college where faculty take a personal interest in the students to a community that encourages students to engage in multiple activities,” said Husmann. “After the show, I met a junior who told me with enthusiasm about the many activities and studies he was pursuing. He expressed wonder at his good fortune to have all the opportunities available at Lawrence.”

In compiling its “Grateful Grads Index,” Forbes examined government databases for information on private donations to post-secondary institutions during the past decade. The magazine also calculated the percentage of graduates who donate to their alma mater each year, giving up to an additional 20 percent weighting to any institution whose giving rate topped 30 percent.

From 2009 through 2013, Lawrence’s alumni participation rate averaged 39.3 percent, 19th-best among the top 100 ranked schools in the Forbes index.

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 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence University Honors Six Alumni for Career Achievement, Service at Annual Reunion Celebration

Arthur Ullian was living what many would call “the good life.” Running a successful real estate development company in Boston that included the Eliot Hotel provided a comfortable lifestyle — influential friends, sailing and skiing trips, frequent travels abroad.

That life, however, took a sudden and dramatic turn on the morning of July 5, 1991, when an innocent bicycle ride on a quiet country Massachusetts road ended tragically. Ullian was unexpectedly flipped over the handlebars of his bike, landed on his chin and hyper-extended his neck. Despite wearing a bike helmet, he suffered a bruised spinal cord that left him a quadriplegic.

Undeterred, Ullian turned his personal tragedy into public advocacy, putting his political, entrepreneurial and financial experience into helping others through neurological research.

Ullian will be among six Lawrence University alumni who will be honored for their career accomplishments and service June 16-18 when the college hosts its annual Reunion Weekend celebration. More than 900 alumni and guests from 38 states and six countries are expected to return to campus to participate in the weekend-long festivities. Two alumni will be recognized with distinguished achievement awards and four will he honored with service awards during the annual Reunion Convocation Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

A 1961 Lawrence graduate, Ullian will receive the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the Briggs award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to and achievements in a career field.

Since his accident, Ullian has devoted his life to advancing neuroscience research and raising public awareness on the cost of neurological disease through a variety of organizations and committees. For the past 13 years, Ullian has served as president of the National Council on Spinal Cord Injury, becoming a fixture at congressional hearings where he passionately advocates for increased funding for research. During his NCSCI tenure, he has collaborated with the Christopher Reeve Foundation, the Laskar Foundation and the Dana Alliance, among others.

In addition to his NCSCI presidency, Ullian is currently serving the second four-year term of an appointment that began in 1999 on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health. The committee advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the NIH on biomedical research, medical science and biomedical communications. From 1996-99, Ullian also served as a member of an advisory panel to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), helping review scientific applications for financial support for biomedical research and training on disorders of the brain and nervous system.

In 2005, he was named to the Harvard University Stem Cell Advisory Committee and currently serves as chairman of the Boston-based Task Force on Science, Health Care and the Economy, which examines factors related to biotechnological innovation that will combine to alter medical knowledge and practice, outcomes and costs in the coming decades.

The American Academy of Neurology Foundation recognized Ullian’s efforts on behalf of neurological disorders in 1996 with its Public Leadership in Neurology Award. In 1999, Ullian became just the second recipient of the “CURE” Award, which honors exemplary service and dedication to the field of spinal cord injury research. The Boston-based mentoring organization Partners for Youth with Disabilities honored him for his contributions to the disabilities community in 2004 and that same year, Rutgers University presented him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Growing up on a 50-head dairy farm in Sauk Prairie gave Catherine Statz an early appreciation for rural life and the value of cooperatives. Since graduating from Lawrence in 1996, Statz has dedicated her career to advancing the quality of life for farm families, rural communities and all people as the education director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union in Chippewa Falls.
Statz will receive the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to and achievements in a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

As the WFU’s education director, a position she has held since 1997, Statz coordinates a variety of cooperative education programs for its members, their children and the general public. Among her duties is serving as director of Kamp Kenwood on Lake Wissota, a camp she attended herself from the time she was nine years old until she graduated from high school. The camp, which specializes in securing products and services from local farmers, businesses and co-ops, was featured in the 2001 Wisconsin Public Television program “Camp Co-op.”

As camp director, Statz organizes and leads learning opportunities about family farms, cooperatives and social justice for more than 200 youngsters each summer. Among the array of educational and team-building activities she oversees are campfire sing-alongs, where she puts her B.M. in voice performance to work, and “theme nights,” when she utilizes her B.A. in English for a primer on Grendel by staging “Beowulf Night.”

For the past seven years, Statz has collaborated with the Minnesota Farmers Union to organize the annual College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis. Each year, 80 post-secondary students and faculty from throughout the Midwest meet for a three-day educational conference on the challenges facing the cooperative environment and the future face of co-ops.

She also has been instrumental in developing the international Building Cooperative Futures youth program. Started as a pilot program in 2003 with the help of a $5,000 grant from the Cooperative Foundation of St. Paul, Minn., the program has grown into an annual conference held each May to provide a collaborative, cross sectional approach to cooperative education for young adults.

Last month, Statz led a delegation of American representatives to this year’s conference in Manchester, England, where 100 participants gathered from 10 countries. Manchester is near Rochdale, widely considered the birthplace of the modern cooperative movement and conference participants visited the legendary store — now a small museum — on Toad Lane where the first co-op was launched.

In 1999, the Association of Cooperative Educators honored Statz with its William Hlusko Memorial Award to Young Cooperative Educators in recognition of outstanding achievement in cooperative education.

Jose Hernandez-Ugalde, a 1996 Lawrence graduate and native of Costa Rica, will receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Named in honor of Walter, a 1936 graduate, former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world, the award recognizes alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world.

For the past four years, Hernandez-Ugalde has served as Costa Rica’s country director for Cross-Cultural Solutions, an international organization founded in 1995 that provides individual and small-group volunteer experiences in 10 countries. The program is recognized for its on-site support and education for volunteers and the year-round presence it maintains in the communities it serves.

Since joining CCS, Hernandez-Ugalde has established two volunteer centers, one in his childhood hometown of Ciudad Quesada and a second in Cartago, the country’s oldest and third-largest city.

Praised as “an ambassador who connects North American and Latin American experiences” by those who have worked with him, Hernandez-Ugalde is responsible for hiring and supervising all in-country CCS staff members. He also matches volunteers from around the world with locally-run partner programs that include everything from working with deaf children and creating positive activities for at-risk youth to helping provide care for nursing homes patients. Beyond placing participants with volunteer opportunities, Hernandez-Ugalde plays a central role in immersing volunteers in the local culture and the lives of the people they are there to help.

His personal interests center around incorporating the arts into his home community and he serves as a liaison in nearby San Carlos for the National Theater Company located in the capital city of San Jose.

Prior to joining CCS, Hernandez-Ugalde worked with the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, where he specialized in conflict resolution and the elimination of child labor. He was a visiting faculty member at the Close-Up Foundation in Washington D.C., teaching courses on civic education and democracy and has served as a protocol official for the United Nations Conference on the Environment.

Margaret (Banta) Humleker, Kathleen (Karst) Larson, and Peter Kelly will each be presented the Gertrude B. Jupp Outstanding Service Award. The award honors Jupp, a 1918 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College who was named M-D Alumna of the Year in 1964 for her long volunteer service to the college and recognizes Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer alumni who have provided outstanding service to the college.

Humleker, Fond du Lac, a 1941 graduate, served the college as member of the Board of Trustees for 24 years and has spent more than 30 years as a class secretary. She has served on numerous reunion gift and steering committees over the years and has been a Lawrence representative at college presidential inaugurations. A second generation Lawrence graduate, Humleker also had two sons and a granddaughter earn degrees from Lawrence.

Larson, McAllen, Texas, a 1960 graduate, holds the distinction of being the longest serving class secretary in Lawrence history — 42 years and counting. In addition, she is a long-serving reunion steering committee member and former board member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association. She also has served as a Career Center contact, an admissions office volunteer and was instrumental in helping Lawrence launch LENS, an electronic alumni newsletter.

Kelly, West Newton, Mass., a 1987 graduate, will be recognized with the college’s highest alumni service award at the youngest possible age — during his 20th class reunion. He has served in numerous lead volunteer capacities since leaving Lawrence, including co-chair of his class’ 10th reunion gift committee. He spent three years as a member of the executive committee of the Lawrence University Alumni Association and has been an ambassador peer solicitor the past three years. He also has been active as a Career Center contact and admissions volunteer.

Lawrence University Saxophone Studio Recital Features World Premiere of Alumnus Composition

The world premiere of “We Fall…We Rise,” a commissioned work by award-winning composer Javier Arau, ‘98, will be performed Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. in Harper Hall as part of the second annual Lawrence University saxophone studio and alumni recital.

Arau’s work as a performer, composer and arranger has been recognized four times by Down Beat magazine. He earned back-to-back “DBs” in 1996 and 1997 as a student at Lawrence for solo performance (tenor saxophone) and original composition, respectively, and earned two more Down Beat awards as a graduate student at the New England Conservatory, where he earned a master’s degree in composition after graduating from Lawrence.

“We Fall…We Rise” is the product of a commission specifically for this recital that Lawrence saxophone alumni offered Arau, who will make the trip from his current home in New York City to attend Saturday’s recital. The composition will be performed by an 15-member ensemble of alumni and current students.

Arau, who moved to New York exactly 10 days before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says “We Fall…We Rise” is not a tribute to or partisan political statement about “9/11,” but more an expression of a common goal for an end to so much turmoil in the world. On a more personal level, it also represents his own struggle as a young musician trying to carve out his own niche in a city that is both exhilarating and rewarding as well as enormously challenging and unforgiving.

Since 2001, Arau has established himself as a sought-after composer, arranger, saxophonist and music teacher. He performs regularly with various bands at several of Manhattan’s top jazz clubs, his commissions have been performed around the world and his compositional output has expanded to include musical theater and feature films. In 2002, Arau was awarded ASCAP’s first annual Young Jazz Composer Award and two years later he was named a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop.

In addition to “We Fall…We Rise,” more than 30 alumni and current saxophonists will be joined by a three-member percussion ensemble and a pianist in a multi-media presentation of Louis Andriessen’s “Workers Union.” Alumni and current students also will also perform works by Philip Glass, Michael Torke, and current LU senior Jacob Teichroew.

Eight Alumni Recognized for Career Achievement, Service at Lawrence University Reunion Celebration

For nearly 30 years, Jean Schumaker has been working on mechanisms for improving the learning effectiveness of students with learning disabilities as well as the instructional effectiveness of teachers.

The co-founder of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, Schumaker is one of eight Lawrence University graduates who will be recognized Saturday June 19 for their accomplishments and service as part of the college’s annual Reunion Weekend celebration.

Lawrence will welcome nearly 1,000 alumni and guests from 42 states and four countries, including Australia and South Africa, back to campus for a variety of weekend-long activities. Three alumni will be recognized with distinguished achievement awards and five will he honored with service awards during the annual reunion convocation Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Schumaker and David Hawkanson, executive director of Chicago’sSteppenwolf Theatre, will receive the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the Briggs award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to and achievements in a career field.

A 1968 graduate with a major in psychology, Schumaker co-founded UK’s Center for Research Learning in 1978 and serves at its associate director today. Also an associate professor in the UK’s department of special education, Schumaker is regarded as one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of learning disabilities.

She has been principal investigator of research grants and contracts totaling nearly $60 million and has written more than 80 articles for professional journals, 29 book chapters and 45 books and instructional manuals for classroom teachers, including “Teaching Every Adolescent Every Day: Learning in Diverse High School Classrooms,” which she co-edited.

Schumaker also founded the International Training Network (ITN), whose 1,200 trainers teach educators throughout the world to use the scientifically based instructional practices developed by the CRL. In 1983, she established Edge Enterprises, an educational research and publishing organization that provides specialized instructional materials to educators.

She earned her Ph.D. in development and child psychology from the University of Kansas and was trained as a somatic experiencing practitioner in trauma therapy by the Ergos Institute. She is a member of the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame and have been a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities.

Hawkanson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre and drama in 1969, has enjoyed a distinguished 30-year professional career managing regional theatres across the country. Prior to being named executive director of Steppenwolf Theatre in 2003, Hawkanson spent six years (1996-2001) as managing director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where he first began his career as a house manager in 1970. He also has held managerial positions with the American Conservatory Theater, served as managing director of the Arizona Theater Company and spent eight years as managing director at the Hartford Stage Company, which received a special Tony Award in 1989 for outstanding achievement in regional theatre while under his management.

Before joining Steppenwolf, Hawkanson maintained a management consulting practice with clients in Arizona, Connecticut, Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico and Illinois. He has served as an artistic advisor to the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, been a program committee member for
the National Arts Stabilization Fund and worked as a panelist and advisor to both the Ford Foundation’s Working Capital Fund and the Minneapolis Foundation’s Working Capital Reserve Fund.

In addition, he is a former senior staff member at the National Endowment for the Arts and a former chairman and panelist for the theatre program of the NEA. He has served as an officer and board
member of the Alliance for Arts Advocates, Theater Trustees of America, the Theatre Communications Group, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, New York Stage and Film and the American Arts Alliance.

Mary Louise Knutson, a 1988 graduate and piano performance major, will receive the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to and achievements in a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

A jazz pianist and composer based in Minneapolis, Knutson has been called “one of the most exciting and innovative artists to happen to jazz piano in quite some time.” Her debut jazz trio CD, “Call Me When You Get There,” spent eight consecutive weeks in the top 50 in the United States and Canada following its 2001 release and earned Knutson “Top New Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year” honors. The CD’s title track composition was selected as the music for the art documentary “Wellington Lee: 60 Years of Artistic Photography” and soon will be heard at major art museums across the country. She has performed with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Slide Hampton, Richie Cole and Greg Abate, among others as well as Smoky Robinson, the Osmonds and Engelbert Humperdinck. She has toured internationally as lead keyboardist for Synergy (formerly known as Rupert’s Orchestra) and regularly plays clubs, festivals and concert halls around the country with her jazz trio or as a soloist.

Knutson has been honored numerous times as a composer, including two awards from Billboard magazine for her compositions “How Will I Know? and “Meridian.” In addition, her composition “Merle the Pearl” streams on the Internet as the theme music for “Jazz Release,” an interview program on JazzSteps.com.

A former instructor in jazz piano and improvisation at Carleton College, Knutson is a member of the International Association for Jazz Education and teaches a variety of masterclasses, including “Jazz Voicings and Scales: Freedom from the Written Page” for beginning jazz students and “What’s Up with Jazz?” for non-musicians.

William Mittlefehldt, a 1968 graduate, will receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Named in honor of Walter, a 1936 graduate and former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence, who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world, the award recognizes alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world. Since 1974, Mittlefehldt has taught social studies, futuristics, environmental issues and — by example — community service at Anoka High School in Minnesota with imagination, energy and personal commitment.

Widely recognized as the author of innovative and effective curricula, Mittlefehldt’s economics curriculum “Minnesota, Where Are We Growing?” earned first-prize honors in the 1987 National Economics Award Program. In 1992, he was honored by the Amway Corporation and Time magazine as one of nine “Earth Teachers of the Year” for his curricular unit “Energy: How Weather Is Created,” which also earned Anoka High School a $10,000 grant from Amway. In 2002, Mittlefehldt was named a regional winner of the NASDAQ Distinguished Teaching Award and most recently, he was a first-place winner at the secondary-school level of the 3M-sponsored Innovative Economic Education Awards.

Mittlefehldt has led student teams to testify before the United Nations, the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee and the Minnesota legislature and has directed numerous other student ventures into the realm of education through activism. He serves on the national advisory board for Rescue Mission Planet Earth, is an advisor to Vermont’s Center for a Sustainable Future and serves as a curriculum designer for the Water on the Web team at the University of Minnesota.

Kelly Carroll Rhodes, a 1989 graduate, and Gina Perri Jaeckl, a 1994 graduate, will each receive the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Service Award. Presented to alumni of 15 years or less who has provided significant service to the Lawrence, the award honors Marshall Hulbert, a 1926 graduate known as “Mr. Lawrence,” who contributed to thousands of Lawrentian lives and served the college and the conservatory in many significant capacities for 54 years.

Rhodes, Edina, Minn., has served as class secretary for her class for 11 of the 15 years since she graduated. She has served on all three reunion steering committees and has volunteered as a career contact and an admissions volunteer. In 2003, she completed a four-year term on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors, during which she was a member of the student relations committee and later assumed leadership of the careers committee, which included serving on the board’s executive committee.

Jaeckl, Chicago, has been active with her 5th- and 10th-year reunion steering committees and also served on the gift committee for her 10th Reunion this year. She has worked as a volunteer for the admissions program and served for three years as a career contact. In addition, she has helped organize and host alumni events in the Chicago region and been active the Viking Gift Committee, soliciting support from young alumni for The Lawrence Fund.

Husband and wife Walter and Barbara Ives Isaac, Lakewood, Colo., will share the Gertrude B. Jupp outstanding Service Award. Named in honor of Gertrude Jupp, a 1918 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College who was named M-D Alumna of the Year in 1964 for her long volunteer service to the college.

Both members of the class of 1964, the Isaacs have served as key alumni leaders, working on every reunion committee since they graduated. Barbara Isaac has served as a volunteer admissions worker in the Denver area for more than 20 years, coordinating countless admissions events and persuading many Denver high school students to enroll at Lawrence.

Walter Isaac served on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors for six years, where he chaired the communications committee for two years and served on the executive committee for four. He served as president of the LUAA from 2001-03.