Tag: Commencement

Lee Chemel: Commencement speaker on her spark for the arts, early struggles and working with TV’s biggest stars

Lee Chemel

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lee Shallat Chemel ’65 has been doing a fair bit of soul searching.

Since graduating from Lawrence University 54 years ago, Chemel has forged an impressive career as a director, first in theater and then in television — a 10-year stint as a conservatory director at South Coast Repertory in Orange County, California, eventually led to a more than three-decade run working behind the scenes on some of the most iconic shows in TV history.

Now she returns to Lawrence as the 2019 Commencement speaker on Sunday, June 9, ready to impart insight and wisdom drawn from a professional career that she says has everything to do with the liberal arts education she received at Milwaukee-Downer College and then Lawrence.

“It’s forced me to investigate my entire life,” she said with a laugh. “It’s been a fascinating experience.”

She’ll be joined at the Lawrence Commencement ceremony by her husband, David, and her daughter, Lizzy. Her son, Tucker, won’t be able to make it.

Details on 2019 Commencement, related events

19 things to know about Lawrence’s 2019 Commencement

Without stealing from her Commencement speech —no spoiler alerts here — we chatted with Chemel, an English major as an undergraduate, about her journey, her deep affection for Lawrence and why she has a special fondness for Michael J. Fox, Lauren Graham and Jason Bateman.

On how Milwaukee-Downer and Lawrence — she was part of the first Downer class to merge with Lawrence, spending her first three years in Milwaukee and her senior year in Appleton — lit a fire in her for the arts and planted the seed that a career in the arts might be possible: 

“My path to theater happened because of Lawrence. And that’s kind of significant. I never thought I would ever enter the arts of any kind as a way to live. Being a woman who was brought up in the ’40s and then the ’50s, I didn’t even foresee that possibility for myself. 

“I grew up in very modest circumstances, five people in a one-bedroom apartment when I was young. I didn’t have big dreams of anything except going to college. That was a big deal to me. I loved my teachers, so I thought I really want to teach. I never had the dream of doing anything in the arts. It didn’t seem like it would be practical enough. It just never occurred to me that that would be something I would do.”

On seeing her first theater production at Lawrence, a staging of Macbeth directed by David Mayer III:

“I was just blown away by it. I had done some theater. I wasn’t one of those kids who did musicals and stuff in high school, but at Downer I had done theater. And I was just blown away by this production.”

On her early mentors in theater at Lawrence, Mayer and Ted Cloak:

“When I got to Lawrence, I decided I would take an acting class from Ted Cloak, who was probably one of the best acting teachers I have ever had, even including the three years I spent with Duncan Ross (in a professional acting program in Seattle) and all these other fabulous people. But Ted Cloak was a wonderful acting teacher, and he loved theater and understood it, and the productions they did, they were just phenomenal.

“I really believe that because of David Mayer and Ted Cloak, I found that theater was more than I thought it was. I really loved it although I still didn’t buy the idea of it as a career at that point. But I became much closer to that idea. Lawrence opened my eyes completely to the richness of the arts, particularly the theater and the film arts. It was remarkable what an influence it had on me.”

On making the transition from Milwaukee-Downer to Lawrence:

“I was only at Lawrence for one year. But it was a year that was packed with amazing things for me. Downer was a very good school in that the professors there were kind of radical. … They were sharp people. They radicalized me politically. Got me involved in the Civil Rights movement. Linus Pauling came to talk with us, Upton Sinclair. It was amazingly rich for a tiny, tiny school. But Lawrence took that and just broadened it – everything became broadened and deepened.”

On ditching her teaching career for theater after she and then-husband Phil Shallat moved to Seattle so he could study theater in graduate school:

“I was teaching high school there. … He said, there’s a new thing they’re doing (at the University of Washington School of Drama), a professional acting training program. I said, wow, that is so cool. Meanwhile, I had applied to teach at a terrific private school there. … But Phil suggested I also audition for that M.F.A. program. And I did, just on a lark. And on the same week, I got an acceptance into the (acting) program and an offer for my total dream teaching job. I held those two envelopes up and went back and forth and said, oh, heck, I’m going to do the acting thing. It was a whim almost.”

On her forays into acting after earning a master’s in fine arts from Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program:

“I acted in Seattle, but I knew somewhere in my head that acting, I just didn’t have a tremendous passion for it. I liked it. I loved doing it. But it wasn’t complete for me. I wasn’t secure with it or something.”

On her introduction to directing:

“I moved away from Seattle and down to San Francisco and then I got a job at South Coast Repertory in 1975, and they didn’t hire me for acting but they hired me to teach in the conservatory. And that led me to teaching at the colleges around there, so I was kind of cobbling together a bunch of teaching jobs but then what happened is Orange Coast College said we don’t have the money for you to teach next quarter but do you want to direct a play? So, I directed The Rivals, an 18th Century English play that I really liked. And I fell in love with directing right then and there.”

On embracing and thriving as a theater director, earning five L.A. Drama Critics Awards along the way:

“It all happened through my education in a way. If I hadn’t had the background of this liberal arts education I wouldn’t have been able to make a living doing the teaching part while I searched for what finally struck home for me — the directing.”

On turning to TV directing in the mid-1980s:

“That was another leap. That was like a crazy leap where I was now a resident director at South Coast Repertory. … I’d done some good directing, a lot of directing, to the point where in L.A., I had a little bit of a name. There weren’t a lot of women directing in theater then. 

“But I began to wish sometimes in productions I directed that I could do a close up. That sort of made me realize, maybe you really need to look at film. I applied to the AFI, the American Film Institute; they had a program for helping women get into film. But I didn’t get accepted. I continued to direct in L.A., and my friend Joe Stern, who was a producer on Law and Order, knew TV people as well as theater people. He said, Gary Goldberg has this new show called Family Ties. He’s looking for a woman director because there was some pressure at the time to start hiring women. You can see how far that got after 35 years.

“He said he wants someone who was good with actors, not just technical. I went in and I met Gary Goldberg, and he liked me, and we were the same age, so that was cool. He said, come in and observe. … So, after almost 10 years (at South Coast), I just quit. I had no idea if this was going to take me anywhere or whether I would succeed or not. I just moved up to L.A. and started observing on Family Ties, and I remember I was observing that show from August until, I think, October. … I started borrowing money from my boyfriend, … and then finally on the schedule my name came up for a show in February. So that’s how it all started.”

On how difficult the transition to TV proved to be:

“I think I did six to eight episodes of Family Ties. But not all before I moved on. That year I did one, then the next year I did two. Family Ties people knew me before I stepped up and they were there to support me because I’d been observing there and they were kind to someone just starting out. You go to other shows and they don’t know that. They just know that you don’t know what you’re doing yet. So those are tough times. Part of my speech is how tough it was. You get a few episodes and you try to develop. … You try to get as many gigs as you can and hopefully make a good impression so they’ll ask you back. What I realized is it takes 10 years to be good at that. And we were live-cutting shows. That was really, really hard.

“I had the support of knowing that I was educated. And that sounds weird, but it was actually quite significant to me that I knew things. I knew I could analyze a script, I knew that I could understand things. I could communicate well, I understood tone, I understood people. I was older than a lot of people who start. So, I had lived some life, too. And these were the things that buoyed me up during these very tough times.”

On highlights of a career that would include directing and/or producing work on Murphy Brown, Spin City, Northern Exposure, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, and The Middle, among others:

“Murphy Brown was certainly a big jump up for me. That’s when my agent finally talked somebody into getting me onto what you’d call a real major show. Working with such good writers. … And once I had Murphy Brown under my belt, that got me an Emmy nomination, and, all of a sudden, I was kind of accepted. I was brought into the club, I guess you could say.”

On her latest work, a nine-year run as director on The Middle:

“I got to be full-time on that for nine years, and we all became a family. That was a wonderful experience.”

On directing Michael J. Fox, first on Family Ties and later on Spin City, when, unbeknownst to most, he was beginning his battle with Parkinson’s disease:

“Michael J. Fox, I love to talk about him. Initially, Family Ties was supposed to be about two hippie parents who all of a sudden discovered that their kids are conservative. It was that reversal thing. But here comes this guy playing the conservative son who likes Nixon and stuff, and he was so funny and so inventive, and what happens in comedy is that the writers want their jokes to sail, so they start writing for that guy because he’s so good. All of a sudden, the show flipped, because Michael was so damn funny it became more centered on him. He became the star of the show.

“Michael is an interesting guy. He plays the comedy so well and it was a delight to watch him develop and sail, and you take good writers and then you take this great young actor and you watch it as they just start feeding each other. That was quite a wonderful thing to see. I loved watching that.

“Then I got to work with him on Spin City for a whole year in New York. And that’s when I learned that he had Parkinson’s. Nobody knew about it except me and Gary Goldberg because they didn’t want to make it public yet. And it was very challenging for Michael. But he was ever wonderful and I admire him so much.”

On working with Lauren Graham on Gilmore Girls, first as a director, then as an executive producer:

“Lauren Graham and I became friends during that last season on Gilmore Girls. It was very challenging because Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of the show, went away and that took the heart of the writing with it. Now she’s doing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and she’s a brilliant writer. But here we were with a whole year to do the final season of the show; the actors and writers worked incredibly hard to keep the tone of the show consistent. That is a very hard thing to do when for all previous years, Amy had written most of the scripts. Bless those writers and Lauren, they did a phenomenal job.”

On her respect for Jason Bateman, who she directed on Arrested Development:

“I love Jason Bateman. I adore him. Jason and I did a few pilots together before Arrested Development. A lot of the network people thought he was going to be or should be the next Michael J. Fox. But he wasn’t, that wasn’t Jason’s humor.

“I think he went through some real struggles, and then all of a sudden Mitch Hurwitz writes this brilliant series called Arrested Development and it taps into the real place where Jason can shine. I was so happy for him because it validated him, and now he’s got a great, great career. And he’s the nicest guy in the world and he was just very lovely to work with always.” 

On whether last year’s series finale of The Middle means the end of her career:

“I don’t know. I did the pilot for a spinoff from The Middle this fall, with the Sue character. It didn’t get picked up. I wrote a note to my agents and said, I’m not dead yet. But I don’t know. I feel maybe it’s time to give back again and do some other things. I’m at a crossroads, but I’ll see what comes up next season.”

On returning to Lawrence while not knowing what comes next:

“I’m like the graduates in a way. What am I going to do now? I just want to be open to stuff. I feel like I am in an interesting place in my life.”

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

Sunshine, please: 19 things to know as you prep for Lawrence’s 2019 Commencement

The march across College Avenue to the Main Hall green, led by Faculty Marshal Kathy Privatt and President Mark Burstein (right), will again be part of Lawrence University’s Commencement. The ceremony, the 170th in the school’s history, is set for 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 9.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

We’re just a couple of short weeks away from Lawrence University’s 2019 Commencement, the 170th in the school’s storied history.

Here are 19 things to know as you prepare for the big day.

1. Sunday morning celebration: The ceremony on the Main Hall green will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 9. All comers are welcome. The big tent that usually covers the seating area is not available this year, so it’ll be an open-air event. An alternate indoor site on campus — with limited seating — will be prepped for use should the weather be such that an outdoor ceremony is not possible. Watch for details on the Commencement page of the Lawrence website.

2. A class of brilliance: More than 330 students are expected to take that magical walk across the stage. Of those, 288 are bachelor of arts grads, 28 are bachelor of music grads and 15 are combo B.A./B.Mus. grads. Another 11 are participating in the ceremony but not receiving degrees until December.

Lee Shallat Chemel ’65

3. A speaker from stage and screen: Commencement speaker Lee Shallat Chemel ’65 will return to campus with stories to tell and wisdom to mine from an impressive career directing theater and television productions. Her deep love of theater was first sparked during her time at Milwaukee-Downer College and then Lawrence. After more than 15 years directing theater, most notably during a 10-year stint as conservatory director at South Coast Repertory in Orange County, California, she transitioned to the small screen, directing for such notable TV shows as “Family Ties,” “Murphy Brown,” “Arrested Development,” “The Bernie Mac Show,” “Gilmore Girls” and, most recently, “The Middle.”

Jordyn Pleiseis

4. From the senior class: Commencement also features words of insight and wisdom from a member of the senior class. This year’s speaker, selected by her peers, will be Jordyn Pleiseis ’19, an anthropology major from Milwaukee.

5. Saying goodbye: Honoring retiring faculty is always a significant — and often emotional — part of Commencement. The Lawrence community will be celebrating two long-serving tenured faculty as they bid adieu to the classroom, Bruce Hetzler, professor of psychology, and Kenneth Bozeman, the Shattuck Professor of Music in the Conservatory of Music’s voice department. Both have taught hundreds (maybe thousands) of Lawrentians during their celebrated four decades-plus at Lawrence.

6. Livestream available: A livestream of the ceremony will be available for viewing in real time. It’s an opportunity to watch the ceremony online if you can’t be in attendance. The livestream can be accessed at the time of the event from the Commencement page.

There will again be plenty of opportunities for photos following Commencement.

7. Smile, you’re on camera: Yes, there will be plenty of opportunities for family and friends to take photos of their graduates. There are lots of picturesque locations across campus.

8. Talent on display: Commencement weekend is a chance for seniors to show some skills, with a Senior Art Exhibition in the Wriston Art Center Galleries set for Friday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 4 p.m.) and a Commencement Concert featuring members of the Class of 2019 planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Memorial Chapel. Look for a reception following the concert in Shattuck Hall, Room 163.

9. Spiritual journey: On Saturday, the 11 a.m. Baccalaureate Service, a multi-faith celebration of the spiritual journey of the Class of 2019, will be held in Memorial Chapel. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Constance Kassor will deliver the address. It’s presented for seniors and their families.

10. Picnic moves indoors: The annual Commencement weekend picnic at noon on Saturday, held on the Main Hall green in past years, has been moved inside the Warch Campus Center. Seniors and their families, as well as faculty and staff, are invited. Following the picnic, President Mark Burstein will host a reception for seniors and their families at the president’s home from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

11. In search of parking: Parking is available in the city parking ramp just west of campus. Some street parking is available around campus but availability can’t be guaranteed. Here is some helpful parking info from the City of Appleton.

12. There will be awards: As per tradition, several of Lawrence’s most cherished awards will be handed out to faculty during the Commencement ceremony — the University Award for Excellence in Teaching, Award for Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity, and Excellence in Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member. The winners are not announced until Commencement.

Graduation hats are part of the Commencement day attire. Decorations are optional.

13. Dressed for success: The regalia of Commencement is among the great traditions of higher education — the gowns, the caps, the hoods, the cords all signaling a particular accomplishment along the journey of academia.

14. Music to come and go: Speaking of grand traditions, the music of the processional and the recessional will embrace this group of graduates, courtesy of the Lawrence University Graduation Band. Andrew Mast will again conduct as the band performs Crown Imperial by William Walton for the processional and Procession of the Nobles by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for the recessional.

15. Familiar and new faces: Led by President Mark Burstein, there will be familiarity in the ceremony. Kathy Privatt, the James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, will again serve as faculty marshal. David C. Blowers, chair of the Board of Trustees, will offer the convocation for the second year in a row. Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Kodat will present the faculty awards. One notable change will come in the opening and closing words, a duty handled for many years by Howard E. Niblock. He retired last year, and that honor now falls to Linda Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life.

The Class of 2019 displays its green flag during Welcome Week four years ago. Per tradition, each class is assigned one of four colors.

16. Class colors: Look for plenty of green to be on display during Commencement. The tradition of assigning a color — red, green, yellow, or purple — to each class at Lawrence has its roots in Milwaukee-Downer history. It was reinstated at Lawrence in 1988 and has continued since. The color of the Class of 2019 is green.

17. Conferring of degrees: That magical moment when the graduates’ names are called and they make the walk across the stage and the degrees are conferred is the heart and soul of any Commencement ceremony. Handling those duties for bachelor of music recipients will be Burstein and Dean of Conservatory Brian Pertl ’86. Handling for bachelor of arts recipients will be Burstein and Kodat.

18. A parade of another sort: A parade of graduates isn’t the only parade during the June 8-9 weekend that might get your attention. The 68th annual Flag Day Parade will march through downtown Appleton beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. It will affect traffic in the downtown area as thousands of onlookers line the streets to watch the state’s oldest Flag Day parade. It’ll start on Oneida Street at Wisconsin Avenue, make its way to College Avenue, then proceed through the downtown, turning north at Drew Street and ending at City Park. See details here.

19. A Juneteenth celebration: Speaking of city events near campus, you may also want to note this one on your calendar. Appleton’s ninth annual Juneteenth Celebration will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in City Park, providing a possible post-Commencement destination. It also will affect parking near the campus in the afternoon hours.

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

NYC environmental justice advocate Peggy Shepard to be honored at Lawrence’s 169th commencement

As a strong supporter of community-based efforts, Peggy Shepard believes if you want to find a solution to a problem, go directly to the people most affected.

Shepard, the executive director of the New York City-based organization WE ACT For Environmental Justice, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 10 by Lawrence University and serve as the principal speaker during its 169th commencement ceremonies at begin at 10 a.m. on the Main Hall green.

Peggy Shepard
Peggy Shepard, executive director of New York City-based WE ACT For Environmental Justice, will receive an honorary degree June 10 at Lawrence’s 169th commencement.

This will be Shepard’s second honorary degree, having previously been recognized by Smith College in 2010.

A total of 335 bachelor degrees are expected to be awarded to the class of 2018. Seventeen graduates are earning both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of music degree.

A live webcast of the commencement ceremony will be available at go.lawrence.edu/livestream.

A baccalaureate service will be conducted Saturday, June 9 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. David McGlynn, associate professor of English, will deliver the main address, “Two Words.”  The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Six retiring faculty members — Janet Anthony, James DeCorsey, Nick Keelan, Carol Lawton, Howard Niblock and Dirck Vorenkamp — representing 191 years of teaching experience will be recognized with honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem.

In addition to Shepard, Lawrence President Mark Burstein, Board of Trustees Chair Susan Stillman Kane and senior Hitkarsh Kumar from Chandigarh, India, also will address the graduates.

Shepard’s initiation into environmental justice started in the mid-1980s over a sewage treatment plant in West Harlem, from which the odors and emissions were making people sick. A research report released at the time talked about environmental racism and how the primary predictor of where toxic sites are typically located were communities of color and low-income.

“That’s when I began to understand the environmental impact and that we were being disproportionately impacted by those issues,” said Shepard.

“That really gave us some of the thinking and research behind what was going on, behind what we saw happening in our community around air quality and housing.”

Shepard co-founded WE ACT in 1998 and three years later, was among 1,000 delegates who met in Washington, D.C., where they developed 17 principles of environmental justice.

“Our mandate was to go back home and develop a grass-roots space of support,” said Shepard. “We didn’t want to have a centralized movement where you had one person or celebrity speaking for everyone. We all spoke for ourselves individually and it was about a movement.”

A graduating student in cap and gown with a flower on her mortar boardFor young people interested in pursuing an environmental-related career, Shepard encourages them to test drive opportunities with different organizations to see what area would best suit their interests and talents.

“I’m on the board of the Environmental Defense Fund and we talk about environmental groups that have different approaches,” said Shepard. “Some have a justice approach, some have a policy approach, some have a business approach or a legal approach. If they’re really interested in these issues, they should try volunteering or interning, or getting a fellowship at these organizations so they really understand the differences.”

A former journalist, Shepard’s efforts to affect environmental protection and health policy have been recognized with numerous honors.

She was the recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment in recognition of her “courageous advocacy and determined leadership in combating environmental injustice in urban America.” In 2008, she received the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rockefeller Foundation for her activism to build healthier communities by engaging residents in environmental and land-use decision. The National Audubon Society presented Shepard its Rachel Carson Award, which recognizes female environmental leaders and promotes women’s roles in the environmental movement.

Her passion for environmental health and justice extends beyond WE ACT. Shepard is a former chair of the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. She has worked with the National Institutes of Health, serving on its National Children’s Study Advisory Committee and its National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council.

A graduate of Howard University, Shepard has contributed her expertise to numerous non-profit boards, including the Environmental Defense Fund, New York League of Conservation Voters and the News Corporation Diversity Council, among others. She’s also served as a member of the New York City Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Board and the New York City Waterfront Management Advisory Board.

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.

 

Class of 2017: International refugee expert receiving honorary degree at Lawrence’s 168th commencement

Amid growing global concerns of displaced persons and their impact on the countries they’re entering and those they’re leaving, Lawrence University will honor an international expert on refugee policy Sunday, June 11 at its 168th commencement.

Photo of Gil Loescher
2017 honorary degree recipient Gil Loescher

Gil Loescher, a visiting professor at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during commencement ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green. Loescher also will deliver the principal commencement address.

This will be Loesher’s second honorary degree. He received an honorary doctorate of law in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame.

Lawrence is expected to award 344 bachelor degrees to 335 students from 28 states, the District of Columbia and 17 countries. A live webcast of the commencement ceremony will be available at go.lawrence.edu/commencement2017.

Peter Thomas, associate professor of Russian Studies at Lawrence, will deliver the main address at a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Retiring faculty member Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, will be recognized with an honorary master of arts degree, ad eundem, as part of the ceremonies.

In addition to Loescher, Lawrence President Mark Burstein, Board of Trustees Chair Susan Stillman Kane and senior Andres Capous of San Jose, Costa Rica, also will address the graduates.

During a 40-plus-year career, Loescher has established himself as an authority on refugee policy. Prior to joining Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre in 2008, Loescher held appointments as Senior Fellow for Forced Migration and International Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and as senior researcher at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.

According to Loescher, containing refugees in camps prevents them from contributing to regional development and state-building.

“Refugees frequently have skills that are critical to future peace-building and development efforts, either where they are or in their countries of origin following their return home,” he has said.

A miraculous survivor of a suicide bomber attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Loescher has a long history of working with the United Nations, especially the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In August, 2003, Loescher was in the office of then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sérgio Vieira de Mello at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad when a suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb outside the building. The blast killed more than 20 people and injured more than 100.

“Refugees frequently have skills that are critical to future peace-building and development efforts, either where they are or in their countries of origin following their return home.”
— Gil Loescher

Loescher was one of nine people in the office, seven of whom were killed instantly. He and Vieria de Mello were trapped in the debris of the collapsed building as American soldiers spent more than three hours trying to rescue them. Vieria de Mello died before he could be extricated. While Loescher survived, his legs were crushed and had to be amputated by the soldiers.

A native of San Francisco, Loescher began his career at the University of Notre Dame, where he spent 26 years teaching in the political science department. During his tenure, he held appointments in the Notre Dame’s Helen Kellogg Institute of International Studies, the Joan Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.Photo of procession of graduating Lawrence seniors

He also has served as a visiting fellow at Princeton University, the London School of Economics and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. State Department.

He has been the recipient of numerous honors and research grants from organizations ranging from the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to the Fulbright Program and the British Academy.

A graduate of St. Mary’s College of California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, Loescher also holds a master’s degree in politics and Asian studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics.

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.

 

 

President Mark Burstein stresses the value of inner character in charge to UW-Fox Valley graduates

Mark-Burstein-_podium_newsblog
Lawrence University President Mark Burstein served as principal speaker at UW-Fox’s 2015 commencement ceremonies. Photo by Max Hermans.

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein told graduates at UW-Fox Valley that “striving for inner character – to be kind, brave, honest or faithful – is as important or maybe more for your success than the degree you receive tonight” during the college’s spring commencement ceremonies.

Burstein served as the principal speaker May 20 for the Menasha campus’ annual graduation exercise held in the UW-Fox Fieldhouse, during which 224 Associate of Arts and Science degrees were awarded.

As part of the festivities, UW-Fox surprised Burstein by awarding him an honorary Associate of Arts and Science degree.

Burstein is the second Lawrence president to deliver UW-Fox Valley’s commencement address, joining Richard Warch (1979-2004), who served as commencement speaker for the 1989 ceremony.

In his remarks, Burstein assured the graduates that their experience at UW-Fox Valley helped build their inner character “as you read and listened and talked to each other in and out of class.

“Look back and take account of the learnings you gained from this experience,” Burstein said. “They will serve you well, surely as well as what you learned in books from English, biology and economics classes.”

He also credited the students’ UW-Fox Valley education for preparing them for a life of “deeper inquiry.”

“We live in a complicated time where opposing viewpoints are often expressed with great fervor and without consideration for other perspectives,” Burstein said. “It is easier than ever to take at face value the information available on the Internet, television and the press.

Burstein_Rudd_newsblog
Martin Rudd, UW-Fox Valley Campus Executive Officer and Dean (left) and Lawrence University President Mark Burstein share a moment prior to UW-Fox’s 2015 commencement ceremony. Burstein delivered the commencement address. Photo by Max Hermans.

“What has always been and what will always be more challenging, but I would argue also more rewarding, is to consider the issues that face this state, nation and world using the critical analysis you have employed in the service of your education to determine your own views and to help you plot your course in the years to come.  You have learned to question. That is an important and useful skill. It is a skill that builds character.”

Burstein issued a challenge to the graduates as they prepare to move on to the next chapter of their lives and confront the decisions and challenges that await them.

“Aim high and be bold,” he said. “The world is waiting for your talent and leadership.”

Watch President Burstein’s address.

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

Broadcast Journalist Charles Gibson to Deliver Commencement Address to Record Number of Graduates

Award-winning broadcast journalist Charles Gibson will deliver Lawrence University’s principal commencement address to a school-record number of graduates Sunday, June 15 at the college’s 165th commencement ceremony.

Charles-Gibson_newsblog_big
Charles Gibson spent 33 years of his 40-year broadcast career with ABC News.

Lawrence will award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Gibson, whose distinguished television career spanned more than 40 years, including 33 at ABC News, where he was anchor of “World News” and co-anchor of “Good Morning, America,.”

Commencement exercises for the largest graduating class in school history begin at 10:30 a.m. on Main Hall green. Lawrence is expected to award a school record 387 bachelor degrees to 370 students from 35 states and 20 countries. A live webcast of the commencement ceremony will be available at http://www.livestream.com/lawrenceuniversity.

President Mark Burstein, who will preside over his first commencement, along with Lawrence Board of Trustees Chair Terry Franke and senior Fanny Lau from Chicago, will join Gibson in addressing the graduates.

Prior to commencement, Lawrence will hold a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 14 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Stephen Sieck, assistant professor of music and co-director of choral studies, presents “The Wonder of Unfairness: Why You Can Be Happier than My Dogs.” The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Two retiring faculty members, Richmond Frielund, associate professor of theatre arts, and Richard Yatzeck, professor of Russian, will be recognized for their 34 and 48 years of service, respectively, with honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem, as part of the graduation ceremonies.

Gibson joined ABC News in 1975 and held all of the network’s highest profile anchor positions during his three-plus decade career there, including 18 years at “Good Morning, America,” (1987-98; 1999-2006), six at “Primetime” (1998-2004) and three-and-a-half (2006-09) at the anchor desk of “World News.”

Charlie-Gibson_headshot_newsblog
Lawrence will award broadcaster Charles Gibson his third honorary degree as part of the college’s 165th commencement.

Upon Gibson’s retirement in December, 2009, ABC News President David Westin said, “The first rough draft of history over this generation has been seen by an entire nation through the eyes of Charlie Gibson.”

Among Gibson’s many career highlights were interviews with seven sitting presidents, serving as moderator for two presidential debates and investigating the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, for which he earned an Emmy Award.

Other noteworthy career reporting assignments include the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building and the execution of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh six years later, the 2005 death and funeral of Pope John Paul II from Vatican City, the shooting tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech and interviews with world leaders ranging from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the late Yasir Arafat and Nelson Mandela, among others.

A native of Evanston, Ill., Gibson grew up in Washington, D.C. and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1965 from Princeton University, where he launched his journalism career as the news director for the university’s campus radio station.

“The first rough draft of history over this generation has been seen by an entire nation through the eyes of Charlie Gibson.”
      – David Westin, President, ABC News

In addition to his 2004 Emmy Award, Gibson was recognized by the New York State Broadcasters Association with its 2010 Broadcaster of the Year award. He received a National Journalism Fellowship in 1973 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 2006 Paul White Award from the Radio and Television News Directors of America. Quinnipiac University honored him with the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award in 2008.

A member of the Board of Trustees at Princeton, Gibson has previously delivered commencement speeches at New York’s Vassar (1989) and Union (2007) colleges and New Jersey’s Monmouth University (2006).

Lawrence is the third college to award Gibson and honorary degree, joining Union and Monmouth.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence Honoring Retiring Faculty Members Richmond Frielund, Richard Yatzeck at June 15 Commencement

It’s easy to understand why Richmond Frielund is a fan of “do-overs.” Early in his career he was the beneficiary of one.

Rich-Frielund_newsblog#1
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Richmond Frielund

Frielund, who has helped stage more than 100 Lawrence University productions, and Richard Yatzeck, who led Lawrence students on a dozen summer-long treks through Eastern Europe, will be honored Sunday, June 15 as retiring faculty members for their combined 82 years of teaching at the college’s 165th commencement.

Frielund, associate professor of theatre arts, and Yatzeck, professor of Russian, will be recognized with professor emeritus status and awarded honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem, as part of the graduation ceremonies on Main Hall green.

Five years after joining the Lawrence theatre arts department as technical director in 1979, Frielund left for what he thought was a better opportunity at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. It turned out to be a less-than-ideal fit.

“I was thankful I saw my job listing and I reapplied for my old job and wound up getting hired back,” said Frielund, who rejoined the college in the fall of 1985.

In a largely behind-the-scenes career spanning a total of 44 years, including 10 before coming to Lawrence, Frielund has directed set and lighting design for more than 100 Lawrence play, opera, musical and dance productions and has assisted with more than 200 others outside the college, including concerts for Elvis Presley, Bon Jovi and Kenny Chesney, several touring Broadway musicals, including “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked” and a visit by then President George W. Bush to Appleton, for which he received a White House citation of thanks. Unfortunately his name was misspelled on it.

“I have found fulfillment in doing some shepherding,” said Frielund, a native of Duluth, Minn. “You’re in the back and you just keep things going. I take great pleasure in coming up with something and seeing how other people can use it well.”

Rich-Frielund_newsblog#2
Backstage is where Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Richmond Frielund has made his mark as Lawrence’s technical director for 34 years.

Among all the productions he’s had a hand in, three in particular still stand out in Frielund’s mind: A 1980 performance of “The Crucible,” 1998’s “Sweeney Todd” and a 1999 staging of “Translations,” which was selected to go to the American College Theatre Festival.

“For the production of ‘The Crucible,’ Campbell Scott (’83) played John Proctor when he was 19 years old. That was the first big part he’d had, but that’s not the only reason I remember that show,” said Frielund. “I had built this ceiling piece. It was sitting on the floor and as we hoisted it up, part of it stayed in the air and the other part flopped back down on the floor. It wasn’t quite back to square one, but it certainly was a teaching moment for us all.

“The single, salient most significant memory of my career at Lawrence was in 1998,” Frielund added. “We did a production of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and this was the first time we did a rehearsal at Bjorklunden. There were all of these really good singers rehearsing and I walked in the door and heard ‘Swing your razor high, Sweeney,’ and this huge, huge beautiful, glorious sound hit me. I thought to myself, ‘This is what Lawrence can really do well.’”

Frielund says it’s the beginnings and endings of a term or academic year that turn him reflective.

“I can’t tell you how many times on a day when a term is starting or its the end of the year, I will have a very warm feeling for this place. I just stop and think, ‘Thank God I’m here.’ This place doesn’t operate like a lot of institutions and for that I’m thankful.”

“The times I’ve spent working with students in the shop, painting scenery, showing kids how to build things, how to focus lights, those are my fondest memories.”
       — Associate Professor Richmond Frielund

Prior to Lawrence, Frielund taught for two years at the University of Michigan, where he once had a freshman in a dance class by the name of Madonna Louise Ciccone, who “weighed 85 pounds soaking wet, but she was a really good dancer, to what extent she bothered showing up.” He wound up giving her a ‘C.’

“She had other interests,” recalled Frielund, 64. “She didn’t come back to school and I heard she’d gone off to New York. I had no idea that the Madonna on the radio was the same person I had in class until I read a magazine article about her.”

Brushes with celebrity aside, thoughts of working with students in the theatre department’s back corners are what make Frielund smile.

“The times I’ve spent working with students in the shop, painting scenery, showing kids how to build things, how to focus lights, those are my fondest memories.”

Professor of theatre arts Timothy X. Troy and Frielund’s department colleague the past 17 years, said Frielund believed the study of theatre in performance and design anchored a student’s engagement in the liberal arts generally.

“Rich’s tradition of a fully integrated approach to production and curious exploration of each play’s themes and social context will mark our department well into the future,” said Troy. “Rich taught us all to respect a developmental model of theatre education: let success build upon success until students integrate an ever-widening understanding of the richness and complexity of the theatre tradition.”

In retirement, Frielund will be involved in December performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. He also hopes to do some teaching at Appleton’s Renaissance School.

Richard-Yatzeck_newsblog#1
Professor of Russian Richard Yatzeck

Yatzeck, 81, began organizing every-other-year trips to Russia and Eastern Europe with former professor George Smalley shortly after he joined the faculty in 1966. Traveling in seven Volkswagen buses, as many as 35 students would participate in the trips throughout the continent.

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

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

During one of the longest teaching tenures in Lawrence history — 48 years — Yatzeck taught the finer points of Tolstoy, Pushkin and Dostoevsky. A self-proclaimed non-fan of the modern world, Yatzeck says he would have preferred living in the time of the writers he now teaches.

“Basically, the only way to amuse yourself was to read and that’s what I’ve done all my life and so in some ways I feel as if I still live in the 19th century,” said Yatzeck, who has never owned what most would consider a present-day necessity — a television. “Part of being happy teaching at Lawrence is a lot of my work is spent reading and preparing for classes and the thinking that goes along with it. When you read a book you have to make your own pictures so that you’re exercising your imagination. What is this guy saying, what would it look like.”

A close second to his passion for Russian literature is his love of the outdoors. An avid hunter and fisherman, early in his teaching career Yatzeck was known to occasionally wear his hunting boots to class for a quick jaunt to the woods or the lake in the fall afternoon’s fading light with his Main Hall colleagues Peter Fritzell and Michael Hittle of the English and history departments, respectively. The three were dubbed “The Rod and Gun Club” by former Lawrence historian Anne Schutte.

Dick-Yatzeck_newsblog#2
Long-time colleague and hunting partner Professor Emeritus of English Peter Fritzell described Professor of Russian Richard Yatzeck, seen here in his Main Hall office, as “one of the greatest readers among the faculty.”

Fritzell said the three friends “came to know each other as only outdoorsmen can.”

“Sleeping in tents together, discussing poems, novels and historical events around campfires, in boats and duckblinds, we   engaged in fairly high-drawer philosophical arguments, enjoying gourmet lunches on tailgates of trucks with our bird dogs or ice-fishing on Lake Winnebago,” said Fritzell. “Dick would often pull from his scholar’s shoulder-bag a bottle of the very best Slivovitz and we’d toast the end of the day, the placing of the last tipup, or, if we were lucky, the first fish on the ice.”

Yatzeck has always maintained his perspective and never considered teaching as merely paying for the time that he could go hunting or fishing.

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

“What I like best is when one of the students teaches me something I’ve never noticed. That, I feel, is the height of teaching, when you can learn from your students.”
            — Professor Richard Yatzeck

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

In a career spanning nearly five decades, Yatzeck says he never counted the days or the years, they “just added up by themselves.”

“Monday has never seemed a time to curse to me. I never felt I was going to a job,” said Yatzeck, who got hooked on Russian as a German-speaking Fulbright Fellow in 1955 after meeting a red-headed Russian woman in Hamburg, Germany. “What I like best is when one of the students teaches me something I’ve never noticed. That, I feel, is the height of teaching, when you can learn from your students.”

In addition to more trips to the lake and woods and visits with children in Chicago, St. Louis and London, Yatzeck hopes to pen a third book in retirement about his youth in the rural village of Genesee, Wis.

“I have always looked back at that as a model. I’ve written a couple of short pieces about individuals who lived in that village but I’d like to write some kind of account of life at that time. In 80 years a great deal has changed.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Martha Nussbaum: Liberal Education Crucial to Producing Democratic Societies

In her charge to the class of 2013 at Lawrence University’s 164th commencement June 9, honorary degree recipient Martha Nussbaum told the 289 graduating seniors liberal education is critically important in producing democratic citizens and urged them to become advocates for it.

Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

“What you can all do is to keep institutions like Lawrence strong,” said Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. “You can also lobby with your local school board, your state and national representatives, for more attention to the liberal arts in public education at all levels. And, above all, just talk a lot about what matters to you about the education you’ve had here. Spread the word that what happens on this campus is not useless, but crucially relevant to the future of democracy in this nation and in the wider world.

In an interview prior to her commencement address, Nussbaum said liberal education is more relevant today than ever “because it stimulates a kind of respectful and deliberative political debate, and there’s no time in American history when we need that more.”

“It also stimulates curiosity and involvement in the different groups that make up our world,” added Nussbaum, “This is more crucial than ever if big problems, like environmental problems, racial animosity, religious animosity, are going to be solved. When people think narrowly about jobs, they’re selling short democracy, and we need to think, “What is it that keeps democracy healthy?’”

Nussbaum discussed several other higher education topics, including the emergence of MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses, which she says may have a role for those with limited access to higher education, but are “just no substitute” for a traditional education

“It’s a poor second place, if second at all, because the interaction is the key to the education — interaction with other students in the classroom and the interaction with faculty,” said Nussbaum, a self-described “Luddite” who has no interest in teaching an online course. “I’m sure people try to make it more interactive, but it just isn’t the same thing.”

Martha Nussbaum received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Lawrence’s 164th commencement.

During a few visits to campus to visit a family friend’s son, who was a freshman at Lawrence this past academic year, Nussbaum sat in on several classes and came away impressed.

“One was a political science class about American politics and another was an introductory econ class,” said Nussbaum, “and I just thought, ‘I want to stay here the whole semester to have this class!’ I’m just amazed at the way these teachers can combine sophistication with absolute clarity. These introductory courses that a freshman was taking were of course accessible to freshmen, they were very clear. But I was also stimulated. I was getting something out of the way the issues were presented. I just think they’re just so lucky to have that.

“Of course, in Freshman Studies, they do music!,” Nussbaum added. “This is the only place I’ve ever seen of which that’s true. Most places, they expect that every faculty member could teach Shakespeare, but they don’t ever expect that faculty could teach Stravinsky, but here they are in Freshman Studies. They’re all doing Stravinsky and I think that’s fantastic.”

Download the entire conversation with Prof. Nussbaum or listen online

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.

New U.N. Ambassador Nominee Holds Honorary Degree from Lawrence University

Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s recent nominee as new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has a Lawrence University connection.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN nominee Samantha Power received an honorary degree from Lawrence in 2004. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Richard Warch awarded Power an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters — her first honorary degree — at Lawrence’s 2004 commencement. At the time, she was a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s  John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The year before Lawrence recognized her with an honorary doctorate, Power had won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in the general non-fiction category for her book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” which examines U.S. responses to genocide in the 20th century. The book also earned the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy.

A long-time Obama advisor, Power currently serves as the president’s senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights. Her nomination is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

Lawrence holds its 2013 commencement Sunday, June 9. Celebrated University of Chicago Professor Martha Nussbaum will be this year’s honorary degree recipient.

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.

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.