Mortar Board

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Lawrence Chapter of Mortar Board Cited with National Awards

Lawrence University’s chapter of Mortar Board National Honor Society was honored at the organization’s recent national conference in Atlanta, Ga., as one of the most outstanding in the nation.

Mortar Board LogoFrom among 230 chapters around the country, Lawrence’s Iota Chapter was presented the Most Improved Chapter Award and the Golden Torch Award. The awards were based on chapter accomplishments over the course of the past year. Senior Kevin Killian, current Iota chapter president, represented Lawrence at the national conference.

The Most Improved Award honors a chapter that achieved success in re-establishing and reinvigorating programming and membership, including operations, community service and visibility. Recipients are chosen from chapters first nominated by a committee.

The Golden Torch Award reflects exceptional chapters that exceed minimum standards throughout the academic year, including tangible achievements on campus and in the community. Selections are based on devotion to Mortar Board’s key ideals of scholarship, leadership and service.

Kevin Killain with MB award_newsblog_edited-1
Senior Kevin Killian, current president of Lawrence’s chapter of Mortar Board National Honor Society, proudly displays the “Most Improved Chapter Award” presented to LU at the recent national conference in Atlanta.

The chapter’s accomplishments included:

an average GPA of 3.8 among its members.

volunteer partnerships with Saving Paws, a local animal shelter, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, including a sushi-making night with the Hmong Youth Pride and Empowerment group (HYPE)

a “Reading is Leading” initiative that benefits the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition

a “dorm-storm” book drive, exchanging old books for free candy at the residence halls

assisting with major campus events, including the inauguration of Lawrence’s 16th president, Mark Burstein, and a reception for members of the freshmen class who completed Lawrence’s signature academic program, “Freshman Studies.”

“Being recognized with these two awards is a very proud moment for our organization, especially after a year of making major strides in our operations, campus programming and community outreach,” said chapter past president Tara Jensen, who graduated in June. “None of the Iota chapter’s accomplishments would have been possible without the help of campus advisor Linda Fuerst, so we owe her our thanks for this recognition as well.”

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.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence University Anthropologist Discusses Human’s Diet Through the Ages

Lawrence University anthropologist Mark Jenike discusses man’s ever-changing diet, from that of our earliest ancestors to the current low-carb craze, in a Lawrence Mortar Board “First Chance, Last Chance” lecture.

Jenike presents “From Chimips to Cheese Curds: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Nutrition,” Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence’s Science Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public.

Nutrition, or lack thereof, plays a major role in many of the causes of adult mortality today, from heart disease and stroke to cancer and diabetes, spawning an entire industry devoted to dieting, weight loss and fitness. Human ancestry is often cited in promotional materials for diet books and other approaches to weight loss, wellness and ways to reduce risk of disease. Jenike’s address will examine the evolution of human nutrition over the past six million years, focusing on energy balance, the nutrition of recent human hunter-gatherers and the relevance of this knowledge to our modern nutritional predicament.

A specialist in nutritional anthropology and human evolution, Jenike joined the Lawrence faculty in 2004 after spending seven years in the anthropology department at Pomona College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology at Harvard College and his Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA.

Professors Katz, Nordell Become First Honorary Faculty Members of Lawrence Chapter of Mortar Board

For the first time in the organization’s 81-year history, two faculty members were among the new inductees in Lawrence University’s chapter of Mortar Board.

Derek Katz, assistant professor music, and Karen Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, were initiated recently as honorary members at the organization’s annual spring program. They are the first two Lawrence faculty members to hold honorary membership in Lawrence’s Iota chapter of Mortar Board, a national honor society for seniors that recognizes outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the academic community.

“Although Lawrence has never selected Mortar Board honorary members before, the contributions Dr. Katz and Dr. Nordell make to this campus and the larger community could not go unrecognized by our current chapter,” said Sarah Krile, student president of Mortar Board. “We felt that both of them fully exemplify and promote the three ideals of Mortar Board, namely the pursuit of academic excellence, the encouragement and practice of leadership and commitment to service. They are dedicated to their students and are highly respected among their peers. It was with great enthusiasm that we nominated them for this honor.”

Katz, who joined the conservatory faculty in 2000, was cited for his role as an advisor to Mortar Board and Sinfonia, the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, his work in helping to organize music history lectures and forums, sharing his expertise and time with the Russian and Eastern European Club, his regular attendance at recitals and lectures of students, many of whom he serves as both a formal and informal advisor and his “widely recognized” commitment to academic excellence.

Nordell, who also joined the faculty in 2000, was recognized for her accessibilty to students outside of the classroom, her role in organizing a variety of outreach programs, including the new PRYSM (Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Mathematics) Program, which creates mentoring partnerships between Lawrence women undergraduates majoring in math and science and area eighth-grade girls, her leadership as the instigator in many Lawrence students presenting at their first undergraduate research conferences, her volunteer service as coach of the crew team as well as her role of “host Mom” for student dinners and outings for international students who cannot make it home for the holidays.