Tag: Commencement

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lawrence University Awarding Honorary Degree to Renowned Scholar, Author Martha Nussbaum

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

Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Nussbaum’s second speaking engagement at Lawrence. She delivered the university convocation “Global Duties: Cicero’s Problematic Legacy” in May, 2001.

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 at Chicago, Nussbaum has full appointments in the 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.

“Martha Nussbaum is a great defender of the liberal arts and exemplary role model for our students,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck. “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.”

Among the country’s most celebrated philosophers and celebrated thinkers, Nussbaum 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 scholar, 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 Grawemeyer Award in Education.

She has been recognized nationally and internationally with numerous awards, including 50 honorary degrees.  She was the recipient of 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. Last year she became just the second woman to receive Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Social Science. The award recognizes 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 doctorate 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.

 

Retiring Faculty Becker, Blackwell and Ternes Honored at June 10 Lawrence University Commencement

David Becker’s “fans” said their goodbye May 26 by way of an extended standing ovation after Lawrence University’s director of orchestral studies conducted the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra in concert for the final time.

The college says its farewell to the talented maestro Sunday, June 10 at its 163rd commencement in the form of an honorary degree.

Becker, along with Associate Professor of Chemistry Mary Blackwell and Professor of German Hans Ternes — and their collective 78 years of teaching experience — will be recognized as retiring faculty with professor emeritus status and presented honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem, as part of the graduation ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green. Blackwell and Ternes will be honored in absentia.

Director of Orchestral Studies David Becker

Becker spent 11 years conducting the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra in two separate stints — early in his career (1976-80) and late, returning in 2005 after 21 years as director of orchestras and professor of the graduate orchestral conducting program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He credits distinguished faculty colleagues, outstanding students and a supportive administration for luring him back to Lawrence.

“I believe in the quality and integrity of this institution and I sincerely have been proud to be part of it for a second time around,” said Becker, who was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the college’s 2010 commencement.

Like all exceptional teachers, Becker left a profound imprint on his students.

“Professor Becker has been the core of my Lawrence experience for the past five years,” said graduating senior Louis Steptoe, a violinist in the orchestra. “I have known him to be a man of surpassing integrity, respect, empathy and a true and tireless servant of the orchestra. Over the years I have seen his teaching continue to adapt, yet his commitment to his students and their professional education has never wavered.”

A “gift to Lawrence”

Fred Sturm ’73, director of jazz studies, hailed Becker as “a rare combination of true gentleman, loyal friend, committed colleague, inspirational mentor and world class musician.”

“The performances and projects I’ve shared with him stand among my most cherished Lawrence memories,” said Sturm. “Dave’s a giant — in both physical stature and artistry — and he’s been a great gift to Lawrence.”

Fellow conductor Andy Mast, who directs the Lawrence Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, said Becker’s “professional excellence, pedagogical mastery and personal graciousness have made Lawrence University a better place to teach and make music.”

While he may be retiring from Lawrence, his baton won’t be collecting dust anytime soon. His immediate future includes a bevy of guest conducting gigs, among them the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the NAfME All-National Honors Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the University of Wisconsin music clinic honors orchestra, as well as all-state honors orchestras in South Carolina and New York.

A ChemLinks Coalition Pioneer

Associate Professor of Chemistry Mary Blackwell

Blackwell came to Lawrence in 1989 with a strong background in physical and biophysical chemistry, having previously worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the University of Illinois and as U.S. National Institutes of Health Fellow at London’s Imperial College.

One of the immediate impacts upon her arrival was a significant step up in research activity, supported in part by several grants she received for important new instruments.

“Mary provided productive research opportunities for a number of our best students, several of whom have gone on to productive careers of their own,” said professor emeritus of chemistry Jerrold Lokensgard, a colleague of Blackwell’s her entire Lawrence career. “Over the years, Mary has contributed in important ways to the development of the chemistry curriculum, especially in our introductory courses and in physical chemistry. In at least half her years here, she has taught the course through which our best-prepared students have entered the chemistry curriculum.”

Blackwell was an original member of the ChemLinks Coalition team, a $2.7 million multi-institutional initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. The program sought to revolutionize the teaching of chemistry by creating modules that featured student-centered active and collaborative classroom activities and inquiry-based laboratory and media projects, rather than traditional lectures.

Her impact extended beyond the chemistry department through her involvement in the development of one of Lawrence’s earliest environmental studies courses and most recently, she developed and introduced a very well-received introductory course focused on chemistry and art.

She was recognized with Lawrence’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award for 2000-01, which cited her for “the excitement, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity” she brings to the course.

Weaving Language with Music

Ternes, who traces his roots to a family of refugees from a German-speaking enclave in Romania, taught German at Lawrence for 44 years. His scholarly interests extended to languages other than German, including Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as the literature and culture of the ethnic German communities that were under stress in the post-World War II era, leading to a course entitled “The History of the Romance Languages.”

Professor of German Hans Ternes

He also was involved with the Lawrence men’s soccer program for several years, serving as the team’s head coach for four seasons in the mid-1980s and guiding the Vikings to their first Midwest Conference championship in 1985.

“What I treasure most of all was the freedom and the opportunity Lawrence offered me to explore some of my interests and talents,” said Ternes.

He says he takes particular pride in his work and cooperation with music majors who also happened to be German majors.

“I guided many honors and senior projects on topics relating to German literature and music and had the pleasure to perform some popular music pieces with voice and instrument majors,” said Ternes, who organized a number of Liederabend (Evening of Song) during his tenure.  “I’m also proud of our majors who have become teachers and professors of German themselves.”

Long-time department colleague Dorrit Friedlander, professor emerita of German, said Ternes “was particularly well suited for Lawrence because of his enthusiasm for German and music. He was well known for weaving the two disciplines together.”

Denise Haight of Oconomowoc, a 1970 Lawrence graduate, remembers Ternes as “cerebral, proficient and passionate about his area of expertise.”

“He struck fear in the heart of this student in that he demanded unwavering dedication and scholarship,” said Haight. “However, he was consistently nurturing of his students’ abilities.”

One of Ternes’ most popular courses, as well as a personal favorite, was his “Comparative Fairy Tales” class, which was invariably oversubscribed to by students.

“I think I succeeded in turning many Lawrence students into enthusiastic story tellers,” said Ternes. “Judging from the reactions of students, this course has had the most lasting influence upon them.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Lawrence Grad Anton Valukas ’65 Discusses Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy on “60 Minutes” Sunday, April 22

Lawrence University graduate Anton “Tony” Valukas, the court-appointed examiner in the historic bankruptcy case of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., speaks with Steve Kroft on this Sunday’s (4/22) edition of “60 Minutes” about the collapse of the firm that triggered the world financial crisis.

Anton "Tony" Valukas '65

In 2009, Valukas was appointed by a federal judge as the examiner for the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy in United States history. As examiner, Valukas investigated the causes of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. After reviewing 34 million documents and interviewing nearly 300 witnesses, Valukas issued a seven-volume, 2,200 page report detailing potential wrongdoing by certain Lehman executives and Ernst & Young, the auditor.

Valukas, who earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Lawrence in 1965, is  chairman of the Chicago-based national law firm Jenner & Block.

Earlier this year, The American Lawyer named Valukas its 2011 “Litigator of the Year,” an honor that recognizes lawyers who have had “extraordinary results for their clients.” In its cover story, the magazine hailed Valukas as one of the “few heroes to emerge from the financial debacle of 2008.” It cited his 2,200-page, seven-volume Examiner’s Report as “a tour de force of truth-telling” and credited him with “untangling what caused a historic collapse that helped set off the broader financial crisis.” Bankruptcy Court Judge James Peck called Valukas’ report “the most outstanding piece of work ever produced by an examiner.”

Valukas will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Lawrence Sunday, June 10 at the college’s 163rd commencement and also serve as the ceremony’s principal speaker.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Hortonville, Pittsville High School Teachers to be Honored as Outstanding Educators at Lawrence Commencement

Hortonville High School biologist Jackie Dorow and Karen Brownell, a mathematics teacher at Pittsville High School, will be presented Lawrence University’s Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award Sunday, June 11 during the college’s 157th commencement. Both will receive a certificate, a citation and a monetary award.

Established in 1985, the teaching award recognizes Wisconsin secondary school teachers for education excellence. Recipients are nominated by Lawrence seniors and are selected on their abilities to communicate effectively, create a sense of excitement in the classroom, motivate their students to pursue academic excellence while showing a genuine concern for them in, as well as outside, the classroom.

A native of Greenville and a graduate of Hortonville High School, Dorow joined the faculty of her alma mater in 1974. During her 32-year career, she had taught general biology, honors biology, botany, zoology as well as anatomy and physiology. She has served as the chair of the biology department the past four years and also leads Hortonville’s North Central Accreditation School Improvement Committee.

In nominating Dorow for the award, Lawrence senior Angie Geiger, a 2002 Hortonville graduate, praised her former teacher for her enthusiastic and nurturing style in the classroom.

“Ms. Dorow’s classes were nothing short of a challenge,” Geiger said in her nomination. “The assignments, projects and presentations demanded that we put forth the effort to become fluent in the language of biology. Ms. Dorow is a teacher any Lawrence student would adore and any colleague would admire. She changed my life and helped me discover my destiny as a biologist.”

Recognized as Hortonville’s Teacher of the Year in 1989, Dorow is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at UW-Oshkosh in biology and her master’s degree in education at Aurora University.
Like Dorow, Brownell also returned to teach at her own former high school. Since joining the Pittsville High School faculty in 1976, Brownell has taught virtually every math course, including algebra, geometry and calculus. She also has served as the coach of the school’s math team during most of her tenure. Under her direction, Pittsville has been a consistent top-five finisher in the annual Central Wisconsin Math League Competition, including a string of nine consecutive first-place finishes in the 1980s and ’90s.

Lawrence senior Amalia Wegner, a 2002 Pittsville graduate, cited Brownell’s unflinching determination among the reasons why she was a special teacher.

“Ms. Brownell has never given up on a student,” Wegner said in nominating her for the award. “She believes in every one of her students. In turn, her students try their best because they know someone is trying to help them succeed.”

Wegner recalled Brownell spending her lunch hour, free period and after-school time to tutor a particular student who was struggling.

“When no one else was there to help, Ms. Brownell is there. She is a great teacher who goes above and beyond her duty for her students.”

Outside the classroom, Brownell has coached the girls’ volleyball team for 28 years, winning eight conference titles and making four trips to the state tournament, including second-place finishes in 1986 and 1995. She also has served as Pittsville’s track coach for the past 17 years.

A member of the National Education Association, Brownell earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UW-Stevens Point.