Tag: Appleton

37 reasons Great Midwest Trivia most fun you can have on a cold January weekend

As campus traditions go, the 50-hour sleep-deprived, mind-bending adrenaline rush that is the Great Midwest Trivia Contest is tough to beat.

Those who don’t play may never understand.

Those who do play, well, pick your descriptor. Addictive. Obsessive. Weirdly soothing.

Lawrence University’s annual deep dive into obscure, insignificant, irresistible trivia is upon us. The 54th edition of the Great Midwest Trivia Contest kicks off at the very specific time of 10:00.37 p.m. Jan. 25 and closes at midnight Jan. 27.

Group photo of 2019 trivia masters
The 2019 trivia masters, led by Miranda Salazar ’19 (front row center) are ready to work.

This we know. The annual contest, organized and executed each year by a team of student trivia masters, is weaved into the rich history of Lawrence, a quirky Friday-to-Sunday blitz that is part of the student experience, a connection to alumni and an odd but fun connector to the greater Fox Valley community.

Started in the spring of 1966, it’s drawn attention in recent years from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others.

In honor of those bonus 37 seconds of anticipation on Friday night, we’ve pulled together 37 reasons why you should embrace the 2019 trivia spectacle for what it is: Fun.

1: Indoor diversions can be good. It’s a late January weekend in Wisconsin. Have you seen the forecast?

2: The world is ours. The contest draws nearly 100 teams, more than three-fourths coming from off campus. While most teams set up shop in or around Appleton, the webcast at WLFM Radio brings in off-campus teams from across the country and sometimes around the world.

3: Campus royalty. Being named head trivia master is, well, huge. Miranda Salazar ’19 has picked up the challenge this year. And it’s no small challenge. “It’s a 50-hour continuous event, and I’ve spent five times that on this contest getting it where it should be,” she said.

4 through 15: High honor. Salazar isn’t alone in her dedication, of course. She has a team of 12 carefully selected trivia masters helping her craft questions, doing the leg work and working throughout the marathon weekend at WLFM headquarters.

16: The president is all in. As part of the five-decade-plus tradition, President Mark Burstein will launch the contest by asking the first question on Friday night. Veterans of the annual contest know there is a head start – the final question from a year ago, known as the Super Garuda, is the first question of this year’s contest. More on that later.

17: It moves fast. Questions come every five minutes. Teams have three minutes to find the answer and call it in. “This year’s theme is fast, efficient, streamlined,” Salazar said. “We’re taking everything people like about trivia, everything we like about trivia and distilling it down. We’re trying to ask as many questions as possible, take as many song requests as possible and be as responsive as possible.”

18: Connections. Those who work the contest forge connections with those who came before. Way before. “I was emailing with the guy who founded it (in 1966), J.B. deRosset … and even he doesn’t really know why it’s still around,” Salazar said of the contest’s enduring appeal. “He remarks that it’s still living. That’s what he calls it, like a living thing.”

19: Seriously, not everything has to be, you know, serious. “I think it’s really that once you start playing, it’s infectiously fun,” Salazar said. “Once you have the bug it’s really so much fun. It’s a way to hang out with friends, to rally around silly things, to not take yourself too seriously while also dedicating your time to something.”

20: Cameras on campus: Spectrum TV was on campus last week to capture some of the fun in advance of the big weekend. Watch for it to air this week.

21: A podcast is born. Brothers Bryan and Matt Peters, Great Midwest Trivia veterans of more than a decade, love the contest so much they’ve launched a podcast in its honor. “We love trivia and the history around it and we want to see the contest grow,” Bryan said. “That is our goal with the podcast. Bring new people to the contest and bring back the people who have left.” The first two episodes of the Trivia Brothers podcast are up. Find a related Facebook page by searching The Trivia Brothers.

Head trivia master Miranda Salazar poses for a publicity photo.
Miranda Salazar ’19 is this year’s head trivia master.

22: Traditions rule. Part of the ongoing appeal is tied to the traditions passed down each year. Some are public, some a little more inside. The worthless prizes, the armadillo, the song “Africa” by Toto. “We have a pretty big community of alumni,” Salazar said. “We really kind of operate like a fraternity or sorority in as much as we have a group of alumni who we rely on and ask questions of and talk to.”

23: A recruiting tool? You bet. Salazar knows first-hand how the trivia contest can be a calling card for prospective Lawrentians. As a high school senior in Delaware four years ago, the trivia contest was that quirky thing that separated Lawrence from other schools, she said. “I knew I wanted to play trivia when I was touring Lawrence. It was one of the things that made me want to come here, that made it special or unique to me.”

24: Google is your friend. The contest has evolved through the years. Not only is Google now encouraged, it’s sort of required. The thrill is in the hunt.

25: A team is a team is a team. You can go solo. You can start a new team with friends. You can join an existing team. “My freshman year … I got seven of us together and we piled into a room and got snacks and made it our home base for the weekend,” Salazar said. “That’s how I got hooked on it.”

26: Victors are crowned: Come midnight on Sunday, a gathering will be held to announce the new champions and hand out those useless prizes, mostly found items from around the WLFM studio. A broken bagel, anyone? “The prizes are less than valuable,” Salazar said. “Also, there is a tradition to break the first prize.”

27: It’s not everybody’s thing, but it’s not boring. “When I started researching colleges, I always looked for something quirky or different and some of them are kind of boring,” Salazar said. “Schools will say we have a tradition that we all have a picnic at the end of the year, which isn’t really all that fun. But when I read about this (trivia contest), I said I want to do that.”

28: You can still get in. Registration takes place at 8 p.m. Friday. A team rep needs to call in to give needed team info. It’s as simple as that. Find details at

29: Creativity is in play. The action questions may require some dress up or perhaps some video production or in-the-moment songwriting. So that’s fun.

30: There is wiggle room. When calling in an answer, teams get three guesses.

31: Winning is cool, names are fun. Last year’s off-campus champ was The Holy Broman Lonestar Republic Presents: Cardboard Davy Crocket Remembers the Alamo. The on-campus title went to The Cult of the Pink Shoe.

32: Friends stay friends. Trivia remains a great connector once you leave Lawrence. “I’ll keep playing,” Salazar said. “There’s a big alumni team out there with a lot of my friends on it. But if everyone keeps playing on the same team, it’ll just be too powerful. So, I’ll start my own alumni team. I’ll give them some competition.”

33 to 35: Know your Garudas. Come late Sunday, things get tough. The three Garudas are billed as super difficult questions and come with elevated scoring (25 to 50 points instead of the usual five) and extra time (10 minutes to answer instead of the usual three).

36: The big one. The Super Garuda question always closes the show and then opens the following year’s contest. The 2018 Super Garuda, written by Salazar, drew no correct answers to close last year’s contest (it’s worth 100 points). The question: In the Tanzanian city whose name is an anagram for “A Salad Smear,” there is an intersection of two roads near the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco. One road shares the first name with the former Supreme Chief of the Gogo and the other road is named for a Tanzanian Sultan whose skull’s return is discussed in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. On the wall in front of the intersection there are three large legibly scrawled words in English, what are they? The answer: “The Jungle, Bob.”

37: There is pressure. Salazar is feeling it. “It’s a big job,” she said of this grand master thing. “This is a 54-year tradition, don’t mess it up.”

If you play

What: Lawrence University’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest

When: Begins at 10:00.37 p.m. Friday and runs through midnight on Sunday.

Where: Streams live on WLFM, the school’s radio station,




‘Do your work’: Lawrence students, faculty, staff reach out on MLK Day

Lawrence University students, faculty and staff were out and about in big numbers Monday as they responded to the call to service in honor of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

They took part in multiple volunteer efforts at area Boys and Girls Clubs, Feeding America, Brewster Village and Riverview Gardens, participated in an OxFam Hunger Banquet to get a deeper understanding of issues that keep families trapped in poverty and took part in faculty teach-in sessions on topics ranging from systematic racism to youth mental health.

That was a lead-up to Monday evening’s celebration at Memorial Chapel, a chance to embrace Dr. King’s legacy and reaffirm a commitment to carry his message forward.

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. speaks at podium.
Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. speaks during Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Memorial Chapel.

Keynote speaker Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. implored the nearly full house at the chapel to be active and vocal in pushing King’s messages of inclusion and equality.

“The people who really have me concerned are good people with good hearts who say nothing,” Moore said. “The best friend that hate has is silence.”

A Lawrence tradition

The day of service on MLK Day has been a tradition at Lawrence since 2003.

“It’s a day on, not a day off, for service,” said Kristi Hill, director of Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change.

Nearly 300 students, faculty and staff took part in the various service projects.

“Lawrence has made a commitment to build students who are change makers,” Hill said, calling Monday’s activities an opportunity for students and faculty to “learn, serve and celebrate” in Dr. King’s name.

The OxFam Hunger Banquet, held at the Warch Campus Center, featured a simulation to highlight issues and laws that keep people cut off from needed resources, stifling opportunities to escape the brutal cycle of poverty. The session looked to raise awareness of poverty and hunger issues here and around the world and inspire those participating to become active in fighting inequalities in access to resources.

Organized by the LU Food Recovery Network, it was a first-time event and drew upwards of 90 participants.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about equity in our communities,” Hill said.

Getting into the community

The service excursions around the Fox Cities gave participants a chance to engage with youth, interact with community elders and do work that assists area food pantries.

The Brewster Village program, created by Vicky Liang ’19 as part of the Building Intergenerational Relationships partnership between Lawrence and the Outagamie County rehabilitation and long-term nursing facility, had Lawrence students working with elders to create six-word memoirs to reflect their lives.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the loneliness,” Liang said as Brewster Village residents paired up with Lawrence students around tables in the community room, engaging in conversations that tapped into memories and brought reflections of lives lived.

“With the MLK message, we usually think of the ‘I Have a Dream,'” Liang said. “But he fought for justice and equal resources for everyone.”

Lawrence volunteer talks with students at Boys and Girls Club.
Lawrence University student Beatrice Gee interacts Monday with kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Menasha.

At the Boys and Girls Clubs in Appleton and Menasha, a program organized by Sam Taylor ’19 had about 50 Lawrence volunteers talking with about 300 K-6 students about the work and legacy of MLK.

At the Menasha club, students in one room gathered in circles to talk through “Wings,” a book by Christopher Myers that tells the story of a boy born with wings who is shunned and mocked by his peers because he’s different and a young girl who finally gathers the confidence to speak up on his behalf.

Sophie Dion-Kirschner ’20, one of the Lawrence volunteers, said she believes the messages being delivered and the connections being made are a benefit to both the youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club and the Lawrentians who stepped up to volunteer.

“They all get something out of it that they weren’t expecting,” she said.

Teach-ins close to home

Five professors, meanwhile, hosted teach-ins in various residence halls, informal gatherings to talk about issues of education, diversity and inclusion. Students were able to come and go, joining in the conversation as they saw fit.

Professor Lori Hilt talks with students at Hiett Hall.
Professor Lori Hilt conducts a teach-in Monday at Hiett Hall.

Professor Stephanie Burdick-Shepherd talked about systematic inequalities in education; Professor Mark Jenike talked on hunger in a wealthy nation; Professor Lori Hilt on improving youth mental health; Professor Jason Brozek on the global climate justice movement; and Professor Jesus Gregorio Smith on systematic racism.

The teach-ins, a first-time offering on MLK Day, resonated with the students, Dion-Kirschner said. “The professors are showing people, I teach you this material, but here is what I can do with it. Here are the things that you can do to make this world a better place.”

A Dr. King celebration

That all led to Monday night’s community celebration at the chapel, a partnership between Lawrence, African Heritage Inc. and various community organizations, to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Moore, a noted activist who has forged a career as a speaker and consultant on issues of race and equality, was the keynote speaker for the 28th annual event, addressing the theme, “Why Keep Dreaming? A Time for Action.”

Turning that dream into action takes work, Moore said.

“When you’re committed, everybody has work to do,” he said. “It’s not just black friends or listening to Tina Turner or doing one thing with one person. It’s work.”

That’s true, he said, no matter how committed you are or how deeply you believe in all that King preached.

“I can’t just get there because I say I’m a good person,” Moore said. “Do your work.”

Speaking of doing the work, the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty MLK Community Leader Award was presented to Norys Pina, who has been a leading advocate in the Fox Cities on immigration issues and a vocal resource in the areas of access and equality. She’s a lead organizer of Unidos por un Futuro Mejor – Fox Cities and works as a volunteer coordinator for the Fox Valley Literacy Council. She is the 25th recipient of the honor, first awarded in 1995.

Winners of the annual youth essay contest read their essays during the MLK celebration. They included Feyikemi Delano-Oriaran, a second-grader at Classical School in Appleton, Lilyanna Pieper, a sixth-grader at Huntley Elementary School in Appleton, and Catlin Yang, a senior at Kimberly High School.

More photos: See photos from Monday’s MLK Day events here.

Video: Lawrence students volunteer in the community on MLK Day


An Exciting New Year


While most of the world is counting down to the end of 2013, the Lawrence University admissions team is hitting the fast forward button to 2018. Admit packets are in the mail to 600 seniors who applied for Early Action admission—inviting them to join the Lawrence Class of 2018. Members of the admissions staff (pictured) merrily carried admit packets to the Lawrence mailroom earlier this week.

“While holiday cards and letters fill mailboxes this holiday season, we suspect there’s a little more joy when that envelope comes from Lawrence,” said Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Ken Anselment. “We hope that for these students and their families, receiving an admit packet from Lawrence makes for a nice holiday gift.”

For those students still considering Lawrence, there’s still time! The deadline for Regular Decision is January 15.

Author, Scholar Martha Nussbaum Receiving Honorary Degree at Lawrence’s 164th Commencement

Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars, public intellectuals and an award-winning author, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 9 at Lawrence University’s 164th commencement.

Martha Nussbaum will receive an honorary degree from Lawrence June 9 at its 164th commencement.

Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, Nussbaum also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Nussbaum’s second appearance at Lawrence. She was a speaker on Lawrence’s 2000-01 convocation series.

Lawrence is expected to award 308 bachelor degrees to 290 students from 32 states and nine countries during commencement exercises that begin at 10:30 a.m. on Main Hall green. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

For the second straight year, Lawrence will provide a live webcast of its commencement ceremony.

Lawrence will hold a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Joy Jordan, associate professor of statistics, presents “Your One Wild and Precious Life.”  The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Retiring President Jill Beck, who is presiding over her ninth and final commencement, along with Lawrence Board of Trustees Chair Terry Franke ’68 and senior Yagmur Esemen from Nicosia, Cyprus, also will address the graduates.

Before joining the University of Chicago in 1995, Nussbaum taught at Harvard and Brown universities. At the same time, she served seven years as a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, which is part of the United Nations University.

As the holder of the Freund chair, Nussbaum has full appointments in the University of Chicago’s philosophy department and the law school, as well as associate appointments in the political science and classics departments and the divinity school. She is also a member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and a board member of the Human Rights Program.

A Champion of Liberal Education

Beck called Nussbaum “a great defender of the liberal arts and exemplary role model for our students.”

“She demonstrates how to bridge effectively scholarly interests with issues of the day and with the need for taking informed positions in our lives and societies. In Dr. Nussbaum’s case, she uses her knowledge of classics to generate contemporary political critique. I’m sure the graduating students will enjoy meeting her and hearing her perspectives.”

Nussbaum is widely regarded as one of the country’s most celebrated philosophers and celebrated thinkers. She believes philosophers should act as “lawyers for humanity” to address questions of justice, basing her work on a political philosophy of human capability and functioning that has both Aristotelian and Kantian roots. Her scholarship also has focused on the transformative aspects of the connections between literature and philosophy.

“As we tell stories about the lives of others,” Nussbaum has said, “we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events.  At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.”

Award-winning author

A prolific writer with more than 350 published scholarly articles, Nussbaum is the author of nearly three dozen books, including 2010’s “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities,” in which she argues that the humanities are an essential element for the quality of democracy. Her book “Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education,” was recognized with the Ness Book Award of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education.

Nussbaum has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the 2012 Phi Beta Kappa’s Sidney Hook Memorial Award, which honors national distinction by a scholar in the areas of scholarship, undergraduate teaching and leadership in the cause of liberal arts education. In 2012 she also received Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Social Science. The award honors a person whose work “constitutes a significant contribution to the benefit of mankind.”

A native of New York City, Nussbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in 1969 from New York University, where she studied theatre and classics. She went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in classical philology from Harvard University.

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 2013 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. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

From Blues to Broadway: Six-week Series Explores History of America’s Music

Think of it as that really cool college course on American pop music you never had a chance to take.

Lawrence University opens a six-week program — “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” — Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th-century American popular music.

Each weekly session will begin with an introduction to the film and musical topic by Lawrence Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Erica Scheinberg. The film screening (approximately 50 minutes) and audience discussion (45 minutes) follows. The series is free and open to the public. All programs will be held in Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center cinema except for the Feb. 28 session, which will be conducted at the Appleton Public Library.

Designed for a general audience, the “America’s Music” series examines six 20th-century American musical topics that are deeply connected to the history, culture and geography of the United States: blues and gospel; jazz; mambo and hip hop; rock n’ roll; bluegrass and country; and Broadway. The series allows participants the opportunity to learn how today’s cultural landscape has been influenced by the development of the popular musical forms through film excerpts and interactive discussion.

“American popular music is a particularly exciting topic for a film and discussion series,” said Scheinberg.  “We’ve all experienced the ways that music moves us, triggers memories, creates a sense of shared experience and community. But music also has a lot to tell us about the particular time and place in which it was created — the social, political and cultural forces that shaped it.

“The America’s Music series welcomes community members of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to watch and discuss music documentaries that portray the sights and sounds of a diverse array of artists and musical styles,” Scheinberg added. “It’s an opportunity to explore American history and to share and reflect upon our own experiences as music listeners.”

The onset of the 20th-century brought pervasive changes to American society. During the early part of the century, these social changes combined with new technologies to create a mass market for popular music that evolved over the next 100 years.

Each weekly screening and discussion session examines a musical topic in the context of key social and historical developments, with events in American music history acting as a catalyst for that examination.

In conjunction with the series and prior to the Feb. 28 program, the five-member Oshkosh-based bluegrass band Dead Horses will perform a free concert on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Appleton Public Library.

Lawrence was one of 50 sites nationally selected to host the “American Music” program. It is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint and the Society for American Music.

The “American Music” schedule:

 Jan. 31 — The Blues and Gospel Music, featuring excerpts from the films “Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, Feel Like Going Home” and “Say Amen, Somebody,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 — Swing Jazz, featuring excerpts from the films “The Velocity of Celebration,” by Ken Burns and “International Sweethearts of Rhythm,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 14 — Latin Rhythms from Mambo to Hip-Hop, featuring excerpts from the films “Latin Music USA” and the documentary “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 21 — Rock, featuring excerpts from the film “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 28 — Country and Bluegrass, featuring excerpts from the documentary “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music,” Appleton Public Library, 6:30 p.m.

March 7 — Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, featuring “Syncopated City,” the second episode of the award-winning series “Broadway: The American Musical.”  This program is a prelude to the appearance of five-time Tony Award-winning singer Audra McDonald on the Lawrence University Artists Series, Sunday, March 10.  Warch Campus Center, 6:30 p.m.

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 2013 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. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Renowned Performers, Rising Stars Featured in 2012-13 Artist and Jazz Series

Three-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and a dynamic doubleheader weekend of award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and the renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra are among the celebrated performers on the 2012-13 Lawrence University Performing Artist and Jazz Series.

Subscriptions for both series are on sale now and subscribers may choose from the Artist, Jazz, or “Favorite 4” concert packages, with discounts available to senior citizens and students. Single-concert tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 2012. Contact the Lawrence University Box Office at 920-832-6749 or visit the Lawrence Performing Arts page for more information.

Kelli O'Hara

After starring runs in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific,” “The Pajama Game” and “The Light in the Piazza,” O’Hara has established herself as one of Broadway’s great leading ladies.

Hailed as Broadway’s “golden girl” by the New York Times, O’Hara brings her soulful soprano voice to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel March 9, 2013 as part of the four-concert Lawrence Artist Series.

Artist Series Opens Oct. 27

Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley open the Artist Series Oct. 27 in an eclectic collaboration that crisscrosses classical and pop music genres, showcasing their talents as collaborators and soloists.  Their program will feature works by Bach and Gabrielli, Radiohead and Arcade Fire, Piazzolla and Stravinsky.

A pair of April 2013 concerts rounds out the Artist Series schedule. The Jupiter String Quartet, winners of both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, performs April 12, 2013 while the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, hailed as “arguably the best ensemble of its kind in the world” by the Manchester Evening News, takes the Memorial Chapel stage April 26, 2013.

Formed in 2001, Boston-based Jupiter added winners of the Young Concert Artists International auditions to its resume in 2005. One of America’ most dynamic young string quartets, Jupiter performed the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets — all 16 — last summer for the Aspen Music Festival.

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet — the first permanently established wind quintet in the Berlin Philharmonic’s long history of chamber music — has been dazzling audiences around the world since 1988 with an uncanny ability to unite five disparate sounds into a collective smoothness.

Redefining the sound of the classic wind quintet, the ensemble’s repertoire includes the full spectrum of the wind quintet literature as well as works for enlarged ensemble, among them the sextets of Janácek and Reinicke or the septets of Hindemith and Koechlin.

“The 100-year-old tradition of excellence continues with next year’s exceptional Artist Series line-up,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “It is amazing to think that we can experience, right in our own Memorial Chapel, the same performers who are playing to sold-out houses in New York, Los Angeles or Berlin just the week before. These are musical opportunities not to be missed.”

Jazz Celebration Weekend Kicks off Jazz Series

The Kurt Elling Quartet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra headline the Lawrence’s 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend Nov. 2-3, respectively.

Kurt Elling

Elling, described as “the standout male vocalist of our time”‘ by the New York Times, performs with the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 years (2000-2011) in a row. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.

An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005’s “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year”‘ award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007’s “Sky Blue” earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the Downbeat Critics Poll.

Maria Schneider

“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” said Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

The Bad Plus, a jazz trio born in 2000 that includes Wisconsin native Ethan Iverson on piano, brings its eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences to the Memorial Chapel Feb. 1, 2013. The band has recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato closes the four-concert Jazz Series May 10, 2013. A Los Angeles native, Parlato won the 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and two years later released her debut self-titled album to critical acclaim. Following the release of her second CD, 2011’s “The Lost and Found,” Parlato was named No. 1 Rising Star Female Vocalist in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll.

“Gretchen is one of the most unique, provocative, and hip singers on the scene today,” said Dane Richeson, professor of music in Lawrence’s jazz studies department. “She pulls together great musicians to work with her in her band and I promise hers will be a great concert.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Passion for Canoes Earns Will Meadows $25,000 Watson Fellowship

Unabashed nature enthusiast Will Meadows speaks of canoes in near reverential tones.  In his mind, canoes are as centric to the ecosystem as a bird’s nest or a beaver dam.

“Canoes represent the coexistence of creativity and nature,” says the Lawrence University senior. “They lie at the intersection of human ingenuity and place, vessels for exploration, artistic expression and sustenance.”

Will Meadows '12

Beginning in August, Meadows will spend a year immersing himself in canoe-building communities across five distinct environmental regions of the world as a 2012 Watson Fellow.

Meadows, an environmental studies major from Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of 40 undergraduates nationally awarded a $25,000 fellowship from the Rhode Island-based Thomas J. Watson Foundation for a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States on a topic of the student’s choosing.

His proposal —”Humanity’s Vessel: The Art and Ecology of Canoes” — was selected from among 147 finalists representing 40 of the nation’s premier private liberal arts colleges and universities. More than 700 students applied for this year’s Watson Fellowship.

For much of his still-young life, Meadows has used canoes and rivers for his method and means of exploring the world, whether it was the Chao Phraya River in Thailand, the Jong River in Sierra Leone, the Rogue River in Oregon or the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Canoe Area in northern Minnesota.

“I would often escape to the river after school, looking for my true education,” said Meadows, who is spending his spring break on a 100-mile canoe trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. “In every way, rivers have been my teachers, my schools. Rivers define me. Moving steadily in a canoe is my natural experience.”

First Stop Lake Titicaca
Meadows will begin his “wanderjahr” at Lake Titicaca, on the border of Bolivia and Peru, working with the indigenous Uros peoples, who build reed canoes. There he also hopes to use his talents as a sculpture artist to create beautifully intricate reed dragon headed vessels with the Uros.

Next fall he will travel to the Solomon Islands, immersing himself in the ocean voyaging Polynesian canoe culture.

“I want to explore the art of the open-ocean canoe and the issues affecting the people of the sea as the struggle continues to preserve ancient voyaging knowledge and artisanship.”

On Tanzania’s ocean island of Zanzibar, Meadows will help construct outrigger dugout canoes and sail among Tanzania’s native fishing communities while studying the ecological issues affecting these peoples.

“My academic background in the environmental sciences as well as my professional experiences in sustainable agriculture, forestry, water and land management, will help me explore the conservation issues affecting the canoe-building natives,” said Meadows, who has been active in Lawrence’s on-campus sustainable garden and instrumental in the establishment of an on-campus orchard.

The diverse designs of North American native bark canoes will be Meadows’ focus for two months beginning in April 2013. Using Toronto as his base, Meadows will work with two world-renowned canoe builders, Rick Nash and Pinnock Smith of the Algonquin First Nation.

Meadows concludes his fellowship next summer in northern Norway with an apprenticeship in skin and canvas boat building with Anders Thygesen, founder of Kajakkspesialisten (the kayak specialist), a company renowned for its work in building traditional skin-on-frame sea kayaks and traditional paddles.

“As the final location in my journey,” said Meadows, “Kajakspecialisten will be a place to really consider what my role will be in this world after the Watson experience.”

An “ideal Watson Fellow”
Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music and Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson Foundation, described Meadows as “an ideal Watson Fellow.”

“Will’s proposed canoe-building odyssey perfectly channels his deepest passion into an immersive multi-cultural experience,” said Pertl. “His endless curiosity, love of life and affable nature will make him an ideal ambassador for this most prestigious of fellowships. I am so excited for his success and can’t wait to see how this year changes his life.”

Over the course of the past year and a half, Meadows and a four-person crew, with help from the father of Lawrence geologist Marcia Bjornerud, constructed a 16-foot pine and walnut strip canoe on campus — a project he described as “the most meaningful and enveloping of my life. When she finally rode the water for the first time, I remember lying on my back looking at the sky from her seatless belly, and the border between river, canoe and person faded with the setting sun.”

According to Meadows, his Watson proposal is in many ways a paradoxical project.

“A global comparison of handcrafted vessels hasn’t been thoroughly conducted, so in that way this is a new and cutting edge idea. But it’s also the desire to transfer knowledge of some of the oldest practices of humankind. I might be one of the only people with the chance to learn techniques in all these diverse world canoe styles. This is an opportunity to find new meaning at the crossroads of all my passions, including writing, ecology, art, people and exploration. I can’t wait to dive in and challenge myself to the absolutely fullest during my Watson year.

“I encourage everyone to ask themselves the question, ‘what is my ultimate passion?,'” Meadows added. “Putting this proposal together has helped me answer that question, but more importantly it showed me the beauty in other people’s passions. What’s your Watson?”

Meadows is the 68th Lawrence student awarded a Watson Fellowship since the program’s inception in 1969. It was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of International Business Machines Corp., and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs.

Watson Fellows are selected on the basis of the nominee’s character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture and the personal significance of the project proposal. Since its founding, nearly 2,600 fellowships have been awarded.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence University Named to National Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

For the sixth consecutive year, Lawrence University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Lawrence is one of only two Wisconsin institutions that has been recognized every year by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) since it launched the program in 2006.

The honor roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities on issues ranging from supporting at-risk youth to neighborhood revitalization.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 967 Lawrence students provided more than 27,400 service hours to community volunteer and service-learning programs, including completion of student-teaching requirements for certification.

Honorees are chosen on the basis of several factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Lawrence was among 642 colleges and universities honored for their impact on issues of literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.

“Community engagement and service is a distinguishable characteristic of the Lawrence educational experience and it speaks to the dedication of our students to once again be nationally recognized for their efforts,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck.

Among the initiatives for which Lawrence was cited:

A research initiative supported by the Mielke Foundation that evaluated the effects of after-school programming on confidence, problem-solving and creativity. Professor of Psychology Beth Haines collaborated with UW Fox Valley, the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley and the Building for Kids Children’s Museum. Lawrence students provide the enrichment at the BFK, assess the children’s development and assist in the analysis of the data, which will be used to develop more effective after-school programming and make better use of volunteer resources.

The Volunteers in Tutoring at Lawrence (VITAL) Program, a student-run initiative providing free tutoring services to area K-12 students, with a priority placed on disadvantaged students who may not have the financial means for other tutoring services. Lawrence volunteers work with students in need of help in academic subjects ranging from basic math to linguistics. VITAL is the area’s only free tutoring program that accepts all applicants.

The Lawrence Academy of Music, which strengthens children’s creativity, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership skills through comprehensive music instruction and performance opportunities for K-12 students. Last year the Academy’s Young Band Program, which provides free regular band instruction at Appleton’s Lincoln Elementary School, was expanded to also include band instruction at Edison Elementary School.

“This honor belongs to everyone at Lawrence who goes that extra step to reach out to the community and meet our neighbors’ needs,” said Monica Rico, Lawrence’s Pieper Family Professor of Servant Leadership and director of the college’s Office for Engaged Learning. “I’m grateful to all of our inspiring students, faculty and staff, especially the Director of Volunteer and Community Service, Kristi Hill. The leadership that she has provided, along with the commitment of my faculty colleagues and our outstanding students, has once again earned us this important recognition.”

According to the CNCS, a federal agency, 3.1 million students performed more than 312 million hours of service across the country, providing services valued at $6.6 billion.

The CNCS compiles the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.


Lawrence University Hires Presidential Search Firm, Forms Search Committee

Trustee Dale Schuh '70 will chair the LU Presidential Search Committee

Following a review of national executive search firms, Lawrence University has selected the highly regarded firm of Isaacson, Miller to assist it in its search for its next president. Jane Gruenebaum, who has considerable experience in searches for educational institutions and other non-profit organizations, will lead the Isaacson, Miller team for Lawrence, with assistance from Jackie Mildner.

A 15-member Presidential Search Committee also has been formed and will be chaired by Trustee Dale Schuh ’70. The committee is composed of trustees, faculty, students and alumni.

The search for the successor to President Jill Beck, who announced last month she will retire in June, 2013, will officially commence in early April with progress updates issued during the process.


About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Sculptor Rob Neilson Named One of 13 Fox Cities’ “Creatives”

Sculptor Rob Neilson

Sculptor Rob Neilson, associate professor of art and Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art, was among 13 “creatives” spotlighted in the March edition of Fox Cities Magazine for helping define “the Fox Cities’ new wave of artistic ambition.”

Best known for his public art, including last year’s “compassionate manhole covers,” which can be found in the sidewalks along College Ave. in downtown Appleton and on the Lawrence campus, Neilson was featured in a story examining community artists, creators and innovators who represent the potential the Fox Cities has “to make its mark on the creative world map.”

Download a PDF to read the article and check out this online only follow-up to the story.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.