Tag: art history

Lawrence welcomes eight new tenure-track appointments to the faculty

Lawrence University welcomes eight new scholars to tenure-track faculty appointments this fall for the 2018-19 academic year. The first day of classes for Lawrence’s 170th year is Sept. 11.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn); Danielle Joyner, art history; Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe); Linnet Ramos, neuroscience; Andrew Sage, statistics; Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics; Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies; and Allison Yakel, Spanish. Each joins the faculty at the rank of assistant professor, except for Lewis, who will start her Lawrence career as an associate professor.

“Over the past year, I had the great pleasure and privilege to work closely with search committees in the college and conservatory to identify and recruit talented candidates to our tenure track faculty rank,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “These eight new faculty members will enrich the university in myriad ways, introducing new fields of study and fresh perspectives on traditional subjects. I’m thrilled to be able to welcome our newest colleagues to campus.”

Ann Ellsworth
Ann Ellsworth

Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn)
An international performer and recording artist, Ellsworth also brings nearly 30 years of teaching experience to the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. She joins the faculty from New York City, where she teaches at New York University, the Brooklyn College Conservatory and the City University of New York Graduate Center.

With a focus on new music, overlooked or rarely played pieces and arrangements, Ellsworth has recorded four solo albums, including “Rain Coming,” which was released in 2017. She has performed in music festivals around the world, been a guest artist or principal horn with nearly 20 orchestras or symphonies, including Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and the Oslo Philharmonic, among others. She also has performed for more than a dozen Broadway shows, as well as in concert with touring artists ranging from Shakira and Aretha Franklin to Diana Ross and Johnny Mathis.

A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Ellsworth earned a bachelor of music degree from Eastman School of Music, a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Rochester, took graduate studies at Juilliard School of Music and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Russia and earned a master of music degree from the University of Maryland.re

Danielle Joyner
Danielle Joyner

Danielle Joyner, art history
Joyner, whose scholarship interests include ecocriticism, environmental history and conceptions of the natural world, spent eight years in the department of art, art history and design at the University of Notre Dame and since 2015 has taught in the art history department of Southern Methodist University.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Joyner is the author of the 2016 book “Painting the Hortus Deliciarum: Medieval Women, Wisdom and Time,” and has a second book “Before there was Nature: Rethinking Landscapes and Early Medieval Arts” in progress.

She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Toronto, and a master’s and doctorate degree in art history from Harvard University.

Nora Lewis
Nora Lewis ’99

Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe)
It will be a homecoming for Lewis, a 1999 Lawrence graduate who returns to her alma mater, replacing her former oboe professor, Howard Niblock, who retired earlier this year. She has taught oboe the past two years at Western Michigan University. Prior to that, Lewis spent nine years building oboe studios at Austin Peay State University (2007-08) and Kansas State University (2008-13).

During her career, Lewis has engaged extensively in national and global outreach, including artist residencies in Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, India and Panama and has delivered scores of master classes throughout the United States.

Since 2010, she has performed with the PEN Trio, touring with the chamber ensemble across the country. Her first book, “Notes for Oboists: A Guide to the Repertoire,” is in progress with Oxford University Press.

A double degree graduate of Lawrence — she earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.M. in performance — Lewis also holds a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Music and a doctor of music degree from Northwestern University.

Linnett Ramos
Linnet Ramos

Linnet Ramos, neuroscience
Ramos joins the faculty from Temple University, where she held an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher. She also held an adjunct professorship in the psychology department at Temple. Prior to Temple, Ramos worked as a postdoctoral researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2015-17. She served as a member of the diversity committees at both Temple and Children’s Hospital.

Her scholarship interests focus on identifying novel therapeutics to manage various mental health disorders, including drug addiction. Her research has examined the effects of these therapeutics on the neural circuits underlying social behavior.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Temple University, a master’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Hartford and a Ph.D. in behavioral pharmacology from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Andrew Sage
Andrew Sage

Andrew Sage, statistics
A former high school math teacher, Sage has taught statistics courses at Iowa State University since 2014. As a graduate teaching assistant at Miami University prior to Iowa State, Sage was recognized with the mathematics department’s “Effective Graduate Teaching Award.

Sage’s research interests include data mining, statistical machine learning and statistics education. While at Iowa State, he was involved in a project using data analytics to help improve student retention among STEM majors.

Originally from Chardon, Ohio, Sage graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The College of Wooster, where as an undergraduate, he wrote a computer program to project complete times for tire tests at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics at Iowa State.

Elizabeth Sattler
Elizabeth Sattler

Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics
Sattler joins the mathematics department with research interests in symbolic dynamics, ergodic theory and fractal geometry.

A native of Dickinson, N.D., Sattler has spent the past two years on the faculty at Carleton College, where she’s taught courses in calculus, real analysis and complex analysis. From 2011-2014, she taught at North Dakota State University, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics.

While at NDSU, she was the recipient of two graduate student teaching awards. She’s been involved as a faculty advisor and mentor for undergraduate research projects at Carleton and NDSU. As a proponent of fostering an inclusive environment, Sattler co-founded the Society of Women in Math and Statistics (SWiMS) at Carleton for women and non-binary math students.

Katherine Schweighofer
Katherine Schweighofer

Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies
Schweighofer brings teaching and research interests in histories of sex and gender, feminist and queer theory, LGBTQ studies, queer geography and gender and sports cultures to the Lawrence faculty. She is especially focused on the histories of sexual identity, geography and political resistance and how it reframes the impact of the U.S. women’s land movement of the 1970s and ’80s.

Since 2015, Schweighofer has taught at Dickinson College following appointments at Butler University and Indiana University, where she received the Barbara C. Gray Award for Teaching Excellence. At Dickinson, she served on the college’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and was recognized in 2017 with a service award by the office of LGBTQ Student Services.

Schweighofer, who grew up in Rochester, Mich., earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a certificate in women’s studies from Princeton University. She also holds a master of arts from New York University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in gender studies from Indiana University.

Allison Yakel
Allison Yakel ’06

Allison Yakel, Spanish
Like Lewis, Yakel is returning to alma mater, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and government in 2006. Since 2014, she has taught Spanish courses as a graduate assistant at the University of Houston.

With an interdisciplinary approach, Yakel’s scholarship unites phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics as it pertains to Spanish and English in contact, and applied linguistics. Her teaching experience includes teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language.

While a student at Lawrence, Yakel spent three years as a Spanish/Italian tutor in the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning. After graduating from Lawrence, she earned a master’s degree in Spanish at Texas State University and a Ph.D. in Hispanic linguistics at the University of Houston.

A Wisconsin native, Yakel grew up in Edgerton.

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.

 

 

Six retiring faculty, 191 years of combined teaching experience celebrated at 2018 commencement

The breadth of knowledge and teaching experience immeasurable. The number of classes taught, studio lessons given, recitals and concerts performed virtually incalculable.

Six retiring faculty members — including four from the conservatory — with an incredible 191 years of combined service will be recognized Sunday, June 10 by Lawrence University at its 169th commencement. Each will receive an honorary master of arts degree, ad eundem.

This is the most faculty retirements in one year since 1993, when eight left the academy.

“Retirements are always bittersweet events and that is even more the case this year,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “These faculty leave sterling legacies in excellent teaching, superior scholarly and artistic accomplishment, and selfless institutional service. It is impossible to imagine Lawrence without their contributions—contributions that will continue to inspire and motivate us for many years to come. They have made Lawrence a better place than it would have been otherwise, and we—their colleagues and students alike—will be eternally grateful.”

Janet Anthony, George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professor of Music and cello teacher

Janet Anthony
Janet Anthony

Anthony joined the Lawrence conservatory in 1984 as a 27-year old cellist from Vienna, Austria, via graduate school in New York. During her 34-year career, Anthony has mentored some 300 aspiring cellists, performed on the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage countless times, played live on Wisconsin Public Radio and entertained audiences in well-known music venues around the world, including throughout Europe, South America as well as in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

“Music is a wonderful way to remove borders and remove blocks,” said Anthony, a native of Tucson, Ariz. “For me, personally, it has mainly been through music that I’ve traveled and gotten to know other cultures and see other things.

“The chance to perform with remarkable colleagues has been one of the greatest gifts of my time at Lawrence,” she added. “Performing with the Lawrence Chamber Players for some 30 years was a rich part of my life.”

When it comes to career highlights her thoughts turn immediately to students.

“It’s really always about the students and the amazing individuals who have come through the studio over the past 34 years,” said Anthony, who earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Arizona after three years of study at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. She earned a master’s degree in music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

“There have been so many people of such varied interests and varied gifts. Keeping in touch with a number of them through the years has been very gratifying and rewarding.”

Much of the last third of Anthony’s career focused on what she calls her “obsession.” The country of Haiti, where she’s compassionately cultivated a variety of youth music programs both before and after the devastating earthquake in 2010, has occupied copious amounts of Anthony’s free time. While on sabbatical this spring, she spent three months there assembling an orchestra for the 2nd Annual Haitian National Orchestra Institute.

“We had members of the Utah Symphony and their music director, a bass player from the Cleveland Orchestra and 100 participants from 23 different music schools in Haiti,” said Anthony. “They played so well.”

Before her involvement, Haiti had one primary music school in the country.

“Since then, there have probably been 20 music programs that have blossomed and are doing very well,” she said while deflecting credit.

“I think the work that I’ve done with a lot of other people has had something to do with it, but really these are organically grown programs. They arrive out of the desire of specific communities to do something in music. We don’t implant things. It all comes from within the community. But there is a burgeoning interest in music there.”

““What I will miss about teaching at Lawrence is the incredible students we have, the camaraderie that develops in the studio, the fun we have and the hard work we do.”
— Janet Anthony

When the subject of legacy comes up, Anthony turns philosophical.

“I hope that it has something to do with striving for beauty, striving to create beauty in the world around us. Bringing that home and further afield, and making what music brings to our lives more accessible to people,” said Anthony, co-recipient of the 2017 Faculty Convocation Award.

She will return to the southwest in retirement — just outside Albuquerque, N.M — and plans to continue teaching locally there and in Haiti, and performing with her piano partner of 36 years.

“What I will miss about teaching at Lawrence is the incredible students we have, the camaraderie that develops in the studio, the fun we have and the hard work we do. Everybody throws themselves wholeheartedly into what happens here. I don’t know if it is that rare, but it’s something that I treasure about Lawrence.”

James DeCorsey, associate professor of music and horn teacher

James DeCorsey
James DeCorsey

Growing up in Palm Springs, Calif., DeCorsey often crossed paths with celebrity A-listers. As a teen, he delivered flowers and groceries to Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Natalie Wood. He frequently sat on the roof of his house to watch the likes of President Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon land at the airport a few blocks away. His next-door neighbors included Liberace’s brother and old-time Hollywood director Eddie Sutherland.

After graduating from Stanford University, DeCorsey enjoyed a 15-year career as a professional musician. It was a life that saw him share a stage with Sinatra for a two-week gig, play with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Ballet during a five-year stay in England and perform in the orchestra pit for the Broadway smashes “Cats,” “Evita,” and his personal favorite, “Sugar Babies” with Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney, who handed him a note each night from the stage.

While living in New York City, where he played horn with the American Symphony, Musica Sacra (under the direction of 1954 Lawrence graduate Richard Westenburg) and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, DeCorsey developed an itch…to teach.

“My wife and I had grown up in much smaller places than any of these large metropolitan areas we’d been living in the past 15 years,” said DeCorsey. “The idea occurred that I might like to teach, particularly at the college level.”

A colleague encouraged an audition, which led to DeCorsey’s acceptance as a non-traditional student to Yale University, where he eventually earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate of musical arts degree.

“I hadn’t been in school for over 15 years and certainly wondered how I would do,” he said, “but I found that I instantly felt at home in the academic setting.”

While most students start looking for performing opportunities upon earning their master’s degree, DeCorsey already had a substantial performance resume.

“I made it very clear I wanted to teach,” he recalled. “They said, ‘Great, go find yourself a job.’ There were three openings that year for college teaching jobs for horn specialists. Amazingly I got interviewed for all of them and of the three, Lawrence was obviously the right fit.”

He still considers his undergraduate degree in English — instead of music — something that worked to his advantage when he interviewed here.

“I grasped the concept of Freshman Studies and was lucky enough to teach it a few times over the years until the horn studio grew,” said DeCorsey, whose daughter works at 30 Rockefeller Center and whose son makes violins in northern Wisconsin.

DeCorsey’s time living in London before embarking on his teaching career left an indelible imprint on his life. He called the opportunity to return — twice — to England’s capital via Lawrence’s London Centre “the two undoubted highlights of my time at Lawrence.”

“Living overseas hugely effected my eventual path in life and so I wanted to help create similar life-changing, world-expanding experiences for the Lawrentians I worked with in London,” said DeCorsey, who served as the centre’s director in 2001-02 and co-taught there with Professor of English Tim Spurgin in 2009-10. “One of the things I assuredly will do in retirement is to return to London whenever possible to take advantage of my reader’s card at the British Library, which I should be able to renew in perpetuity due to emeritus faculty status.”

While he may have arrived a bit later to the teaching game than some of his colleagues, the impact of the students he’s worked with is much the same.

“The thing I’ll miss the most is the students. They are wonderful, keen, hard-working,” said DeCorsey, who spent 2015-17 honing his administrative skills as associate dean of the conservatory. “They often come in very bright, very talented, but rather unsophisticated. But to watch them grow over the next four or five years is the most gratifying experience.”

Coming to Lawrence to scratch his teaching itch did not extinguish his desire to still perform and his association with various ensembles remains a bright spot on his 28-year tenure.

“Playing chamber music with my colleagues certainly is one of the highlights for me over the years. I’m surrounded by this terrific faculty and the Lawrence Brass has been a very important part of my time here.”

“The thing I’ll miss the most is the students. They are wonderful, keen, hard-working.”
— James DeCorsey

DeCorsey plans to relocate to Vancouver, Wash., to rejoin his wife, Patricia, who is an international Montessori teacher there.

Nick Keelan, associate professor of music, trombone teacher

Nick Keelan
Nick Keelan

Anyone who has enjoyed the Tuesday night jazz at Frank’s Pizza Palace in downtown Appleton played by the Big Band Reunion, can thank Keelan. It was his idea to start the group, which he co-led for a decade and still performs with occasionally.

His arrival at Lawrence in 1985 came after 10 years of teaching music in high school in Texas and Colorado and with a word-of-mouth assist from Bob Levy, the former long-time director of bands at Lawrence, who was once one of Keelan’s undergraduate professors at Henderson State University.

Keelan’s initial teaching load included trombone, euphonium, tuba and running the instrumental music education program, including formulating a new system of education based on a new state law.

“I got real busy. At one point, I had 29 trombone students and there weren’t enough hours in the day,” said Keelan, who estimates he’s worked with some 500 trombonists in his 33 years at Lawrence.

At various times along the way, Keelan served as conductor of Lawrence’s Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band and Jazz Workshop. He is a founding member of the Lawrence Brass, the faculty brass quintet, and the Faculty Jazz Group.

“The Lawrence Brass has been very active here as a resident performing brass quintet,” said Keelan. “As a group we’ve rehearsed twice a week for the last 25 years or so.”

Speaking of rehearsals, Keelan makes sure to find time to blow his own trombone every day, anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours.

“Some days, when I play with students, it could be an eight-hour day with a horn on the face. That’s just what it takes,” Keenlan said with a hint of a drawl from his time growing up in Arkansas and Texas. He attended and graduated from Little Rock Central High School, 10 years after the group of African-American students known as the “Little Rock Nine” enrolled in the then-all-white school. “I’m a night owl so my practice would often start at 10 at night and often go to two or three o’clock in the morning. Then I’d have to get up and go teach.”

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of cool things — concerts, clinics, performances off campus. It’s that regular schedule of getting together with people you like to work with that I’ll miss a lot.”
— Nick Keelan

When on that rare occasion he’s not in his office, the studio or rehearsal room, Keelan is likely at a clinic, mentoring an aspiring elementary or high school trombonist. Despite his busy schedule, he typically manages to shoehorn in about 25 clinics a year, some in Wisconsin, others out of state.

“I do a lot of clinics at the schools,” said Keelan, who was recognized with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 1988, “But I have to be cautious with how much I leave campus. That’s why Jazz Celebration Weekend is nice. The students come to us.”

Music may be central to Keelan’s life, but he has other interests that provide an adrenaline rush that’s different than a standing ovation. He drives Formula Ford race cars. He flew his own airplanes for a decade, although he’s since given those up for a motorcycle and a dirt bike. He enjoys four-wheeling and remodeling projects.

Retirement will find him in Colorado at a home he’s owned for 16 years “in the boonies up on a cliff” overlooking Twin Lakes. He plans to continue playing and conducting with the local Summit County Band and the Colorado Brass Band.

“I’ve enjoyed a lot of cool things — concerts, clinics, performances off campus,” Keelan said of his three-plus decades at Lawrence. “It’s that regular schedule of getting together with people you like to work with that I’ll miss a lot. And the students, you see their progress, their successes and you stay in touch with them. I’ll miss those interactions I get once they leave. I’ll miss a lot of that stuff.”

Carol Lawton, Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies and professor of art history

Carol Lawton
Carol Lawton

The longest-serving of the six retirees, Lawton has called the Agora —the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens — her home every summer of her 38 years at Lawrence. It’s there she’s conducted much of her life’s work, studying sculpture from the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.

“I specialize not in the big names in Greek art, but in so-called anonymous sculpture, unsigned works like votive reliefs that give us important insight into the concerns of their dedicators,” said Lawton, who grew up in tiny Oakland, Md.

Much of Lawton’s more recent work concerns the sculpture from the excavations begun in 1931 by the American School of Classical Studies, which have uncovered more than 3,500 pieces, only a fraction of which has been published. In her 2006 book “Marbleworkers in the Athenian Agora,” Lawton presented the archaeological evidence for sculptors’ workshops in the area of the Agora.

Her most recent book, 2017’s “Agora XXXVIII: Votive Reliefs,detail how most of the reliefs weren’t dedicated to Olympian deities but rather to gods and heroes who were closer to the people and who were concerned with the daily aspects of the people’s lives such as healing, fertility and prosperity. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim, Kress and Loeb Foundations and the Archaeological Institute of America.

Her interest in art history was cultivated as an undergraduate at Vassar College, where she enrolled with political science major intentions.

“Vassar had a requirement that you had to take two languages – the one you took in high school and another foreign language,” said Lawton. “I thought why not take Greek?  Simultaneously, I took the intro to art history course, just as people do. The two kind of went together. So, I became an art history major and classics minor. It all just worked out that way.”

Beyond her yearly field research in Greece, Lawton also has been the caretaker of Lawrence’s stunning collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins, donated by alumna Ottilia Buerger ’38. Over the years Lawton has supervised 25 students who have contributed to the online publication of the coins, which has been viewed by more than four million readers.

“I’m very proud of the work that the students have done for this collection,” said Lawton, who earned a master’s degree in art history at the University of Pittsburgh and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in art history at Princeton University. “Ottilia was very clear that the collection be used for teaching. This is not easy material to study. Most publications on ancient coins are simply lists with very abbreviated information that nobody could ever read. Our goal is to explain what the images are and who issued them so that an interested high school student who is taking Latin could look up our collection and understand what that coin is all about.

“I’d like to think I did a pretty good job of teaching them how to do research and how to write it up in a way that by publishing the catalog the collection was made accessible to the public,” she added.

“I’m very proud of the work that the students have done for this collection.”
— Carol Lawton on the Ottilia Buerger Collection of Ancient and Byzantine Coins

If recognition is any indication, Lawton did considerably better than “pretty good.” She is one of only four faculty members in the university’s history to receive Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award (1982), the Award for Excellence in Teaching (2004) and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award (1998).

Shortly after commencement, Lawton will leave for a full year in Athens, with her husband Jere Wickens, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, where she hopes to finish two more books about her research that are in progress.

“It’s going to be odd not being in the classroom,” said Lawton, who was the entire art history department when she started in 1980. “I do some teaching in Greece when people come through to see the Agora, but it’s not the same as introducing students who have never seen these things before to something new. I will miss that.”

Howard Niblock, professor of music and oboe teacher

Howard Niblock
Howard Niblock

It took eight years of teaching — five at Luther College and three at Ohio University —  before Niblock arrived at Lawrence in 1981, a place he described as “perfect.”

“It was a more professionally oriented music program, but it gave me the ability to exercise my interdisciplinary liberal arts roots,” said Niblock, whose undergraduate degree was in English and philosophy, although he did earn a master’s degree in oboe performance at Michigan State University and took additional music classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a performance career spanning 50 years, Niblock has served as principal oboe with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra and Band for 17 years and has played with nearly two dozen symphonies and orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony, the Pamiro Opera and the Fox Valley Symphony.

He counts the simple, daily interactions with students among the things that he will miss the most in retirement.

“It’s not just the interaction of teaching them, but all of the other kinds of interactions, too,” said Niblock. “We’re fortunate at Lawrence in that we get a really special brand of young person. I’ve just been lucky enough to get to know so many of them so well.”

Weekend road trips to Björklunden — Lawrence’s northern campus in Door County —  with his oboe studio students red-line the needle on Niblock’s memory meter.

“The very first year that the new lodge opened, I took a bunch of woodwind quintets up there,” recalled Niblock, citing guest visits by some of his first oboe students, Katherine Hopkins ’85 and John Perkins ’83 among them, on some of his Björklunden trips as special highlights. “Every time I’ve gone up there, it’s been a wonderful memory.”

An avid Freshman Studies teacher — he’s taught Lawrence’s signature course some 30 times in his 37 years on the faculty and was recognized in 2003 with the university’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award — Niblock established a tradition in the late 1990s, reuniting graduating seniors each spring who were in his Freshman Studies section for group toast in the Viking Room. “That’s always been a blast to do,” he says.

“We’re fortunate at Lawrence in that we get a really special brand of young person. I’ve just been lucky enough to get to know so many of them so well.”
— Howard Niblock

One of the things Niblock is best known for is offering the opening words — usually an appropriate excerpt from a poem — at the start of commencement and the annual matriculation convocation. It came to him in the form of a request from then-President Richard Warch in the early 1990s.

“After I did it the first time, Rik came up to me and said, ‘I want you to do this again.’ And then he asked me every year,” said Niblock, a self-described poetry lover. “When Jill Beck came, she said, ‘We want to keep a number of things the same, have some continuity here. Would you do it?’ And when Mark Burstein came, he kept the same continuity. It’s turned into quite a long time.”

As a fitting ending to his career as a music teacher and “opening words” speaker, Niblock is considering reading a poem written by his son, a poet, at the 2018 commencement.

As he looks back, one thing that generates a proud smile is the fact his incoming successor for next year, Nora Lewis, is a former student of his.

“That really puts a nice glow on the whole thing,” said Niblock, who grew up in East Lansing, Mich. “It kind of closes the loop, but also continues it. It’s hard to top that.”

While he’s played the oboe since the age of 11, his crystal ball hints at more writing — music and otherwise — in his immediate future.

“I’m going to spend some times composing,” said Niblock, who plans to still call Appleton home for the near future. “I have some music in my head that I haven’t had time to write.”

Dirck Vorenkamp, associate professor of religious studies

Dirck Vorenkamp
Dirck Vorenkamp

Maybe his imposing stature has something to do with it. A former Tulsa, Okla., police officer, Vorenkamp casts a large shadow. He is known among the student body as being one of the toughest graders on the faculty.

“That’s my reputation,” laughs Vorenkamp at the suggestion. “The truth of the matter is, if you look at the grade distribution, I give pretty much as many As and Bs as my colleagues in the humanities. This ‘tough thing,’ a lot of it just has to do with personality.”

A specialist in East Asian Buddhism, Vorenkamp lived in Taiwan for a year while completing his Ph.D. He spent a combined five years teaching at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee before joining the Lawrence faculty in 1997, when he learned quickly he was no longer at a public institution.

“I was teaching the Intro to East Asian Religions course and in the very first week, one of the upperclassmen came up to me and asked ‘Why aren’t we reading original sources in this class?,’” recalled Vorenkamp, who was born in Baton Rouge, La., but grew up in Tulsa. “If somebody had taken my picture right then, I’m pretty sure my jaw would have been on the floor. I taught at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee and never had a student ask me something like that. In my first week here, students clued me in about some of the important differences between Lawrence and those schools.”

He credits bright and motivated students for keeping the classroom energized and counts them among the highlights of his Lawrence tenure.

“It’s really a joy to work with students like that, as well as so many colleagues who are doing interesting things in their classes. Just in our everyday interactions, getting to know and work with smart, talented folks, learn about some of the things they’ve succeeded in has been a real pleasure. And the freedom to pursue lines of intellectual inquiry that are personally interesting to me has all helped make this a wonderful way to spend the last 21 years.”

A major grant Lawrence received allowed for numerous trips to East Asia in the early 2000s. Vorenkamp was able to participate in eight of the trips.

“I was a part of the Freeman group that helped put things together and I got to guide a number of those trips,” he said. “That was just an amazing opportunity for all of us.”

“It’s really a joy to work with [bright, movitated] students, as well as so many colleagues who are doing interesting things in their classes.”
— Dirck Vorenkamp

Vorenkamp also guided Lawrence’s signature Freshman Studies program as its director from 2005-07 and was recognized with the university’s “Freshman Studies Teaching Award” for the 1999-2000 academic year.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in education, Vorenkamp spent four years as an officer with the Tulsa Police Department, earning two “Chief’s Commendations” for outstanding performance in the line of duty, before turning his career interests toward higher education. He earned a master’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Kansas and completed his doctorate in Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

The siren call of two young grandchildren and the chance to be a full-time “Opa” is luring Vorenkamp to suburban Detroit this summer.

“As much as I enjoy working, I’ve never been one of those folks who felt that work was the primary thing in my life,” said Vorenkamp, who’s looking forward to more time for riding his motorcycle. “My wife and I are ready to move on to the next chapter of our lives, as much as we’ve enjoyed the years thus far.”

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.

 

 

Underground Comix Examined in Visiting Artist Series Lecture

The evolution of underground comix into a popular art form will be the focus of the latest Lawrence University visiting artists series lecture.

James-Danky_web

James Danky, who teaches in the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism and Mass Communication, presents “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix” Thursday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation is based on Danky’s 2009 book of the same name. The book, co-written with Denis Kitchen, explores the work of generations of cartoonists, the impact of American underground comix on the economics of mainstream comic book publishing and their influence on modern culture.

Underground comix — small press or self-published, socially relevant or satirical comic books — gained popularity in the late 1960s and early ’70s in the United States and Great Britain. They often include content forbidden by the Comics Code Authority. Danky’s new book is the first serious survey of this often overlooked art form.

Danky is the founder and director of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at UW-Madison. He spent 35 years as newspapers and periodicals librarian for the Wisconsin Historical Society, developing a nationally recognized collection in the field of American History, before retiring in 2007. He has written or edited dozens of books on topics ranging from African American newspapers to women’s publications to the Native American press.

His appearance is supported by the department of art and art history.

Lawrence University Art Historian Named 2006 Guggenheim Fellow

For the past 10 years, Lawrence University art historian Carol Lawton has been carefully studying the Greek and Roman votive reliefs of lesser-known gods and heroes unearthed in excavations of the Greek Agora, the civic, commercial and religious center of ancient Athens.

Starting this September, Lawton will be able to devote a year’s worth of undivided attention to her ongoing research as a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow.

Professor of art history and holder of the Ottilia Buerger Professorship in Classical Studies, Lawton recently was named one of 187 national recipients of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship by the New York-based foundation. She is the second member of the Lawrence art department in the past 10 years to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Sculptor Todd McGrain was named a recipient in 1996.

Lawton was selected for the $38,000 grant from among nearly 3,000 artists, scholars and scientists who applied. The fellowship will enable her to complete work on her book “Popular Greek Religion and the Votive Reliefs from the Athenian Agora.”

Since undertaking her research, Lawton has studied more than 400 marble reliefs that have been discovered among the excavations of the Agora. Her research focuses on understanding the function and role of sculptural art in ancient Athens.

“These reliefs are dedications created by individuals in request of, or in thanks for, help from deities and heroes,” said Lawton, who spends most of her summers in Greece working on the project. “They are of interest primarily for what they tell us about Athenian popular religion. They were dedicated not so much to the more familiar Olympian deities such as Athena and Apollo, but rather to gods and heroes who were more immediately important and accessible to the people. They tend to honor healing and fertility gods or the heroes and gods who were thought to ensure prosperity.

“I am certainly thrilled as well as very grateful to have been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship,” she added. “This grant will give me the opportunity to dedicate an entire year of uninterrupted work on my project and as any researcher will tell you, that is invaluable.”

Lawton joined the Lawrence art department in 1980 and serves as curator of Lawrence’s Ottilia Buerger Collection of ancient and Byzantine coins. She has previously received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the J. Paul Getty Trust and is the author of the 1995 book “Attic Document Reliefs of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods” (Oxford University Press).

In 2004, Lawton was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, becoming the only faculty member to earn all three of the college’s major teaching awards. She was the recipient of the college’s Young Teacher Award in 1982 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University.

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded “to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability” across a wide range of interests, from the natural sciences to the creative arts. Fellow selections are based on the recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors.

Since its founding in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has awarded more than $247 million in fellowships to more than 16,000 individuals, among them Ansel Adams, Martha Graham, Linus Pauling, Aaron Copland and Langston Hughes.

Cultural Contributions of Medieval Scribe Focus of Lawrence University Address

Medieval art scholar Lawrence Nees will examine the life and cultural contributions of Godescalc, a talented, but largely unknown, 8th-century scribe of King Charlemagne, in a Lawrence University address.

Nees, professor of art history at the University of Delaware, presents “The Career of Godescalc, Artist at the Court of Charlemagne,” Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Nees will trace the works of Godescalc, the “ultimate servant,” during the “cultural flowering” of Charlemagne’s reign. The presentation will focus on Godescalc’s role in the creation of numerous important works of art for Charlemagne and his circle of advisors, especially the “Godescalc Evangeliary,” a set of illuminated gospels commissioned by Charlemagne and his wife, Hildegard.

A specialist in the art of the early Middle Ages, Nees is the author of several books, including “The Gundohinus Gospels; From Justinian to Charlemagne: European Art A.D. 565-787” and “A Tainted Mantle: Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court and Early Medieval Art 300-1000.” A member of the University of Delaware’s art history department since 1978, Nees earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D from Harvard University.

Nees’ appearance is supported by the William A. Chaney Lectureship, which brings distinguished speakers in the humanities to the Lawrence campus. The lectureship was established in 1999 in honor of Chaney’s retirement as the George McKendree Steele Professor of History. He was the longest serving faculty member at the time of his retirement, having taught at the college for 47 years.

Art History Lecture Examines Famous German Church and its Importance to the Nazi SS

Annie Krieg, a 2001 Lawrence University graduate and former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, returns to campus to discuss in recent research on the appropriation of medieval architecture by the Nazi SS.

Krieg presents “‘As the Blood Speaks, So the People Build’: King Heinrich I, Heinrich Himmler and the Construction of the 1,000-Year Reich in Quedlinburg,” Thursday, May 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Krieg, who spent 10 months teaching English in Germany on her Fulbright Fellowship, will discuss the 12th-century collegiate church of St. Servatius in Quedlinburg, Germany, a small town 125 miles west of Berlin, and its importance to Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich.

St. Servatius Church houses the tomb of King Heinrich I, the first medieval German king who unified the Saxon, Bavarian and Swabian groups, among others, into the first German Reich in the 10th century. Heinrich Himmler, leader of Hitler’s infamous SS troops, took great personal interest in King Heinrich and fashioned himself the modern reincarnation of the medieval ruler.

The 1000th anniversary of Heinrich I’s death in 1936 became an official Nazi party celebration and extensive renovations were made to the structure of the church to better accommodate Himmler’s notion of medieval history and national heritage.

Krieg will address questions raised by the SS-led renovations of St. Servatius, including concepts of the modern and the reactionary and the looming shadow of the Third Reich over Western civilization.

A German and art history major at Lawrence, Krieg recently completed her master’s degree in art history from the University of Pittsburgh.