$2.5M gift endows new professorship to teach psychology of collaboration

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

A $2.5 million gift will allow Lawrence University to create an endowed professorship to teach the psychology of collaboration, adding to the school’s efforts to better prepare Lawrentians for life after Lawrence.  

The donation from J. Thomas Hurvis ’60 to create the J. Thomas Hurvis Professorship of Social and Organizational Psychology was announced at the May meeting of the Board of Trustees.

It is the latest in a long line of generous gifts to Lawrence from Hurvis, founder and chairman of Old World Industries and longtime philanthropist.

The new position, which will be based in the Psychology Department but will contribute regularly to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, will provide teaching that is focused on cross-cultural collaboration, group life, ethical thought and moral judgment. It’s the type of study usually found in business schools or as part of doctoral programs. At Lawrence, it will build on existing Lawrence strengths to allow students across disciplines to access teachings that will better prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow, no matter their career direction.

The position is expected to be filled in time for the 2020-21 academic year.

“I am deeply grateful to Tom Hurvis for his vision and generosity in endowing the J. Thomas Hurvis Professorship in Social and Organizational Psychology,” President Mark Burstein said. “Tom’s passion for collaboration is the hallmark of his success both as a businessman and a philanthropist.  This new appointment will allow us to offer courses that will provide students access to research on group life, leadership, and social psychology, areas of increasing student interest, while also enriching and expanding interdisciplinary points of contact with our Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.”

The new professorship is an extension of efforts already under way to enhance offerings and programming to better prepare students for life after Lawrence. A year ago, Hurvis made a $2.5 million gift to create an endowed deanship, which was part of the public launch of Lawrence’s $220 million Be the Light! Campaign. Named for Hurvis’s founding partner in Old World Industries, the Riaz Waraich Dean for Career, Life, and Community Engagement position is now filled by Mike O’Connor, who is overseeing efforts in the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) to bolster connections and skills to make Lawrentians both job market-ready when they graduate and prepared to lead fruitful and fulfilling lives going forward.

This new professorship in Psychology and Innovation and Entrepreneurship will build on that investment to enhance skills needed in the modern world across all disciplines. 

“Through this new appointment, Lawrence will join the select handful of liberal arts colleges that provide the interdisciplinary skills fostered by a liberal arts education through programming that gives students the opportunity to develop creative, integrative approaches to real world issues,” Provost and Dean of the Faculty Catherine Kodat said. “The curricular possibilities inherent in the Hurvis Professorship — in exploring the dynamics of effective leadership and collaboration, in partnering with co-curricular programming and off-campus internships to put classroom concepts into action — are exciting to contemplate.”

J. Thomas Hurvis '60 speaks during November's public launch of the Be the Light campaign.
J. Thomas Hurvis ’60, speaking here during the public launch of the Be the Light! campaign, says having the skills to work collaboratively is a huge key to future success.

For Hurvis, working collaboratively hits close to home, and he believes strongly that the skills tied to collaboration are critical for success in almost any field.

“Partnership has been at the core of all of my life’s success,” he said. “Collaboration requires skills and a personal inclination. I am thrilled we can now ensure every Lawrence student has the opportunity to develop these skills and better understand the importance of this work. Collaboration is easy to describe but very, very hard to do.”

The latest Hurvis grant builds on the Be the Light! campaign, which has the student journey as one of its cornerstones, a focus on educating the whole student, from classroom learning in programs of distinction to personal development through wellness, career advising and the fostering of cross-cultural skills.

To date, the Be the Light! campaign has raised $182.8 million — 83% of the goal — since the quiet phase launch in 2014. Endowed positions, in addition to the Hurvis-funded deanship and new professorship, have included the Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professorship in Innovation, the Dennis and Charlot Nelson Singleton Professorship in Cognitive Neuroscience, the Wendy and KK Tse Professorship in East Asian Studies, and the Jean Lampert Woy and J. Richard Woy Professorship in History.

“The generosity of the Lawrence community is extraordinary,” said Charlot Singleton ’67, one of the tri-chairs of the Be the Light! campaign. “Members of our community have invested in initiatives that will enhance the education the college offers for generations. We have made excellent progress toward our goals.”

The campaign progress thus far during 2019 has been strong, with $25.3 million in new campaign commitments outpacing the $22.5 million at this time last year.

Fundraising efforts continue for a number of special projects within the Be the Light! campaign — Full Speed to Full Need has reached $81.6 million (toward a goal of $85 million); the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement is at $1.7 million (toward a goal of $2.5 million that was in response to Hurvis’ challenge when he established the endowed Riaz Waraich Deanship last year); and the Center for Academic Success has reached $735,550 (toward a goal of $1 million).

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


Four newcomers join Lawrence University’s Board of Trustees

Four new members have joined the Lawrence University Board of Trustees, including two alumni.

Mei Xian Gong ’11, a former Posse Foundation scholar who now works as a market manager for Mettler-Toledo, will serve on the board as a Recent Graduate Trustee, a position established in 2014 exclusively for Lawrence alumni within 2-10 years of graduation. She will serve one non-renewable, three-year term. She’s joined by new term trustees Frederick Fisher, an accomplished architect, Cheryl Wilson Kopecky ’72, a longtime K-12 education leader, and Jon M. Stellmacher, whose work as a top executive at Thrivent Financial spanned more than three decades.

“We are delighted to add four fantastic new trustees to Lawrence’s board who bring tremendous expertise in higher education dynamics, board governance, fundraising, and buildings and grounds,” said Board Chair David Blowers. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of the overall support of the college’s Board of Trustees and the quality of individuals we continue to attract to serve the college in this important and valuable way.”

The new trustees, elected at the May board meeting:

Head shot of Mei Xian Gong
Mei Xian Gong ’11

Mei Xian Gong ’11: A member of the first group of Posse Foundation scholars at Lawrence, Gong has worked for Mettler-Toledo in Columbus, Ohio, as a market manager since 2016. She has served as a class agent since 2012 and has continued her involvement and support of Lawrence in various volunteer roles in recent years. While a student, Gong served on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors and was a member of the LUAA Connecting to Campus Committee. She majored in chemistry and interdisciplinary chemistry/biology, later earning an MBA at Ohio State University. She serves on the board of the Pedal-With-Pete Foundation, an internationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to raising money for cerebral palsy research.

Head shot of Frederick Fisher
Frederick Fisher

Frederick Fisher: A registered architect since 1978, Fisher is the founder of Frederick Fisher and Partners. His focus has been on designing spaces for the practice and exhibition of art as well as interdisciplinary study. He was a 2013 Gold Medal recipient of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, which supports innovative artists, writers, and scholars. Fisher received his bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College in art and art history and his masters of architecture from UCLA. He is chair of the Otis College Board of Governors and is a board member for both the Board of Councilors at the USC School of Architecture and the Board of Visitors at the UCLA School of the Arts.

Cheryl Wilson Kopecky ’72

Cheryl Wilson Kopecky ’72: Wilson Kopecky worked for 35 years in K-12 school districts as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, and has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in curriculum and instruction. She earned a bachelor of music degree from Lawrence in 1972. She later worked for a time as a major and planned giving officer in Lawrence’s Development Office. She has been a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Lawrence since 2015, serving as co-chair since 2016. She served as a liaison for her 40th Reunion Committee and a co-chair for her 45th Reunion, and has been a member of the Bjorklunden Advisory Committee since 2017. She also provides leadership for several nonprofit organizations. She received her master’s degree and a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.

Head shot of Jon Stellmacher
Jon Stellmacher

Jon M. Stellmacher: Stellmacher spent more than three decades at Thrivent Financial, retiring in 2010 as senior vice president and chief of staff and administration. He also has been heavily involved in education through the years. He was a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care and was chair of the board and founding director of the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) of the Fox Valley. In 2016, he received the Thomas G. Scullen Leadership Award from the Appleton Education Foundation in recognition of his work helping create the CELC. Stellmacher also serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, on the LSS Foundation Board for Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and is a member of Lawrence’s Advisory Committee on Public Affairs.

In addition to the election of trustees, the following officers were elected to one-year terms: David C. Blowers, chair; Cory L. Nettles, vice chair; Dale R. Schuh, secretary; Julia H. Messitte, assistant secretary; Alice O. Boeckers, assistant secretary; Christopher S. Lee, treasurer; and Amy Price, assistant treasurer.

Meanwhile, Michael Cisler ’78 and Steven Mech ’93 were appointed to two-year terms as non-trustee committee members of the Building and Grounds Subcommittee.

8 Summer events in Appleton we’re excited about

Story by Isabella Mariani ’21

Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a car fanatic, there are always events going on in the Appleton area for you to enjoy. Here are 8 events you don’t want to miss this summer.

Downtown Appleton Farmers Market

This Appleton tradition is a great way to get your groceries. The impressive assemblage of local vendors sells fresh fruits and veggies, meats and cheeses, baked goods, pottery and crafts. Some stands will serve you up a cool lemonade or a hot portable meal that you can savor as you walk the market.

Where and when: College Avenue, Saturdays through October, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Appleton 4th of July Celebration

Bring family or friends to Memorial Park to celebrate the 4th of July. Enjoy live music, concessions and activities for the kids. And, of course, stay for the amazing fireworks display when the sun goes down.

Where and when: Appleton Memorial Park, Wednesday, July 3. 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Paperfest

Paperfest is a community-driven festival commemorating the paper mill industry that thrived in the Fox Valley. This year is the 31st annual Paperfest, held just 10 minutes from downtown Appleton in Kimberly. The free festival boasts live music, food, games, carnival rides and a car show. And what would Paperfest be without a papermaking event and a toilet paper toss?

Where and when: Sunset Park, Kimberly, July 19 – 21

Appleton Old Car Show and Swap Meet

Did you know we have one of the largest car shows in the Midwest right here in Appleton? The whole family will be all revved up about this collection of special and vintage cars, featuring a swap meet, awards and concessions. Admission is free.

Where and when: Pierce Park, July 21. 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Heid Music Summer Concert Series

The Heid Music Summer Concert Series is back this year with two different concert experiences in Houdini Plaza. Bring your own lunch or purchase from vendors at Lunchtime Live, where you can enjoy acoustic music by local musicians from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. The shows continue later that day with locally popular bands from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., after which you can visit Appleton’s nightlife locations.

Where and when: Houdini Plaza, every Thursday through Aug. 29.

Wriston Summer Exhibition Series

The Wriston Summer Exhibition Series offers you the opportunity to tour the Wriston Galleries on the Lawrence campus. During the 25-minute tour, July Art at Noon and August Art at Noon invite you to think more about art and artists in the Midwest.

Where and when: Wriston Art Gallery, Thursday, July 18 and Aug. 15. Noon – 12:30 p.m.

Art at the Park

Each year, approximately 200 artists from around the country gather in Appleton’s City Park to showcase and sell their art. With food and music included, this free family event will be the relaxing day at the park your summer needs.

Where and when: City Park, Sunday, July 28. Noon – 11:59 p.m.

Mile of Music

The Mile of Music has been bringing grassroots musical talent to Appleton since 2013. This is one of the most unique events the city has to offer. With over 900 live performances at over 70 venues, the “Mile” stretches from Spat’s Tav on the Ave to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. This free event encourages a love for music and support of downtown Appleton businesses. What’s not to love?

Where and when: Downtown Appleton, Aug. 1 – 4.

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.

‘Central Park Five’ opera has Lawrence alum in a thoughtful, emotional place

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Derrell Acon ’10 stood shoulder to shoulder earlier this month with Antron McCray, one of the five New York City teenagers — now men in their 40s — wrongly convicted in the 1989 rape and beating of a Central Park jogger.

The Lawrence University alumnus was days away from performing as McCray in The Central Park Five, an operatic retelling of the emotionally charged criminal case, set to open in an opera house in southern California. An ACLU luncheon brought Acon and his castmates and the five men they’d be portraying into the same room for the first time.

“It gave me a little more weight in terms of the responsibility I had to give an accurate picture to the audience and to be true to how I explored and continue to explore that character,” Acon said of meeting McCray.

The Central Park Five story of the coerced confessions, the guilty verdicts, the Donald Trump call for the death penalty, the vacated judgments 13 years later, and the eventual settlement that set New York City back $41 million is getting plenty of renewed attention on the heels of the recent release of Ava DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series, When They See Us, the intense retelling of the case that dominated headlines 30 years ago.

While the Netflix series is getting the bulk of the attention, the jazz-infused opera production from composer Anthony Davis — more than three years in the making and separate from the DuVernay series — has drawn its fair share of looks as well. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times previewed the Long Beach Opera production in the days before it opened on June 15, and opening night saw reviews from both newspapers and the Wall Street Journal, among other outlets. The New Yorker is working on a story as well, according to a spokesperson with the opera.

Derrell Acon '14 sings on stage with the four other leads in "The Central Park Five," an opera being performed by Long Beach Opera in southern California.
Derrell Acon ’10 (center) and his castmates in “The Central Park Five” sing in unison. Acon portrays Antron McCray, one of five New York teenagers falsely convicted 30 years ago.

Two more performances are scheduled for this weekend at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro, California.

“I wasn’t really anticipating any particular response,” Acon said after getting an enthusiastic welcome on opening night. “I was more aware of my own responses, understanding that it would be a very emotional process for me. As a young black man in America, you know, a lot of these topics are very close to my own experience, and these struggles are very mirrored in my own life.

“I think a lot about the rehearsal process, tending to all of these emotions, letting them out, having a lot of beautiful discussions with my colleagues, especially the five of us in the lead roles.”

The timing is coincidental, Acon said, but that the opera arrives amid heightened attention on the Central Park Five case is certainly beneficial to the public conversation. An earlier effort by Davis to debut the opera — since retooled and renamed — in New Jersey drew little attention. But that was before the Netflix series arrived.

“I’m a firm believer that everything is happening when it needs to happen,” Acon said. “All of these things are happening at once. It’s almost because our society is so resistant to the truth being revealed that you almost need it to be thrown into the mix as an atomic bomb for people to really put their ears up and understand how important this is, how terribly, terribly unjust this was.”

A journey to Long Beach

After graduating summa cum laude from Lawrence in 2010 — he was a double major in voice performance and government — Acon went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in 19th-century opera history and performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

He spent the next two and a half years on the road, performing, lecturing and studying. The schedule began to wear on his voice. Ten months ago, he relocated to southern California, drawn by what he calls the area’s “laid-back culture” and the plethora of arts opportunities.

He connected immediately with the Long Beach Opera, which was in the midst of a season based on issues of injustice. The casting for The Central Park Five was just getting started.

“I sang for them and was invited to join the cast,” Acon said.

He was working with people he didn’t know while immersing himself in the West Coast arts scene. He jumped into the mix as the opera company’s manager of education and engagement, organizing and facilitating community conversations in the months leading up to the opening of The Central Park Five.

“The journey began there,” Acon said. “It was kind of a crash course in introducing me to the classical music scene here. I am someone who has spent a lot of time in the Midwest and on the East Coast, so the West Coast scene was new for me, and this was just a beautiful introduction to that scene.”

The well-attended community conversations gave people a chance to speak their mind, to share with others in a very public and very cleansing way. To do it with the arts as an avenue to positive discourse on an emotionally charged topic was beautiful to see, Acon said.

“The key word is community,” he said. “The arts have this ability to create a community. Especially something like opera, where what you’re hearing is so visceral, it’s so emotional, so loud, as some of the younger people who have seen my work would say. You don’t really have an opportunity to do anything but listen. It’s so in your face, it’s in your soul, it’s in your heart.

“You may not always agree with the topic being put forth, but you are put in a position of contemplation, of consideration, and that is a communal experience. … Having the community of the opera house and the guidance of the voices and actors on stage may be enough to spark the conversation and the courage needed to really dig into some of these topics.”

The five lead performers in "The Central Park Five" sing on stage during the Long Beach Opera production.
“The Central Park Five,” by Long Beach Opera, opened just weeks after a Netflix series shined a new spotlight on the 1989 criminal case that resulted in faulty convictions of five New York City teenagers. Lawrence alumnus Derrell Acon ’10 (center) stars in the opera.

Opening night arrives

As the June 15 opener drew closer, the performance of The Central Park Five was being described as both emotional and powerful, with Acon and the other lead actors often singing in unison, a singular and pained collective character.

“I think operas work on multiple levels, and certainly a visceral level is one that I’m very concerned with,” said Davis, who created the production in partnership with Richard Wesley. “I want the audience to have an emotional experience that involves identifying with the characters and putting yourself in their place.”

After the opera opened, reviewer Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Most of the opera, which is in two acts, follows the five through their arbitrary apprehension, inappropriate questioning, dubious trial, conviction and harsh sentencing. The boys react much of the time in quintet, voices blending in disbelief and outrage. The most effective operatic innovation is the creation of the Masque, who is less a character than the embodiment of white racism, be it the police, a reporter or various others.”

The reviews from opening night have been mixed, with reviewer Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times suggesting that the tone and the angst was spot on but having the five leads often sing as a Greek chorus means they “never have the chance to come to life as individuals, either in music or words.”

That’s a complaint, Acon said, that he also heard from a high school student who was part of a group he brought to a dress rehearsal. It’s a legitimate perspective, he said, but one he doesn’t necessarily share.

“I personally believe the opera is very effective in the way it keeps the five in unison, for the most part,” he said. “In a way, it’s saying this experience is not individual. This experience happens to so many young black men and other men of color in this country, so much to the point that we can sing the same words at the same time, in a metaphorical sense, because we all have these same sentiments as it relates to the American criminal justice system.”

Acon’s next chapter

When The Central Park Five performances conclude this weekend, Acon, a bass-baritone, said he’ll turn his attention to new opportunities in southern California.

The arts as a vehicle for education and understanding will almost certainly be part of that journey.

Acon, who serves on the Lawrence Board of Trustees as a Recent Graduate Trustee — a position established for alumni within two to 10 years of their graduation — earned multiple regional and national honors as a student and already has more than two dozen operatic roles on his resume.

His deep thinking on issues related to the arts, race and public policy was plenty evident during his time at Lawrence, and Brian Pertl, Lawrence’s dean of the Conservatory of Music, isn’t surprised that Acon is seeing early career success.

“At Lawrence, Derrell was already an outstanding scholar and stellar performer,” Pertl said. “The performance he created in association with his honors project, Whence Comes Black Art?: The Construction and Application of ‘Black Motivation,’  stands as one of the most important and compelling student productions I have seen in the past 10 years.” 

Ten months after landing in southern California, Acon said he feels like he’s found his artistic groove. The work with Long Beach Opera is just the start of some promising things.

“I’m excited to see what comes next,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of opportunities, and they keep coming in. It’s very encouraging.”

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

News, notes and honors from Lawrence’s 2019 Reunion Weekend

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

More than 1,000 alumni, family and friends made their way back to Lawrence University for the annual Reunion Weekend.

Cooler than expected temperatures and sporadic rains didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Performances at Memorial Chapel, alumni award presentations and plenty of social opportunities kept things festive during the Thursday through Saturday reunion. Here are a few takeaways from the big weekend.

Back to college

Friday’s Alumni College, featuring a bevy of talks and presentations from faculty and/or alumni on a wide range of topics, is always a highlight of Reunion Weekend.

Glen Johnson ’85 provided a nice testimony to the value of the Lawrence experience during a session he presented. He shared photos and insights from his four years leading strategic communications for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a journey that took him to 91 countries between 2013 and early 2017 and led to the publication of his 2018 book, “Window Seat on the World: A View of U.S. Leadership and Diplomacy.”

Glen Johnson '85 speaks at the podium about his book, "Window Seat on the World."
Glen Johnson ’85 talks about his book, “Window Seat on the World,” at Friday’s Alumni College.

As part of his work, the former Associated Press and Boston Globe reporter took on the duties of official photographer, giving him access to Kerry in public and private settings as they traveled across all seven continents. His presentation took the audience through dozens of beautiful and poignant photos from around the world and the stories behind them.

Johnson told the alumni gathered in the Warch Campus Center Cinema that his studies at Lawrence set him on a path to do “dramatic and interesting” things.

“I came to Lawrence because I wanted to go to a liberal arts school,” said Johnson, who grew up just outside of Boston. “I also knew I wanted to be a journalist. So I came to Lawrence to go to this liberal arts school but with an idea of preparing for a very specific vocation. And so I was able to take a breadth of classes that gave me an array of knowledge that helped me as a reporter, and then that success as a reporter gave me the credibility to have this opportunity down the road.”

Generous gifts

A highlight of the annual Alumni Convocation, held Saturday morning at Memorial Chapel, is the presentation by each reunion class or cluster of financial gifts to the university.

The gift announcements often come with heartfelt testimonials.

Jeff Billings ’03, speaking for the cluster of the classes of 2003, ’04 and ’05, referenced a highway sign that points one direction to Freedom and the other to Lawrence. While the sign references the towns of Freedom and Lawrence, it always got a laugh from Lawrence students, he said.

“But the arrow should be pointing in the same direction,” he said, “because when you come to Lawrence, you are forever transformed. You’re taught to think, you’re taught to be creative, you’re taught to listen to other people — imagine that — you’re given lifelong skills that give you freedom to choose the life you want to have, whatever that life may be. I, for one, am extremely appreciative of that fact, and Lawrence has forever transformed my life.”

Andrea Powers Robertson ’94, speaking for the Class of 1994, said she savors the Lawrence experience 25 years after leaving campus and wants to pay it forward.

“As one who relied heavily on financial aid to make my Lawrence experience possible, I have a profound sense of gratitude for the Lawrence Fund supporters who preceded me,” she said.

The class representatives rattled off a series of class gifts to the university that added up to nearly $13 million, including $6.6 million coming from the Class of 1969 as it marked its 50-year reunion.

“The theme for our 50th reunion has been Bob Dylan’s song, The Times They Are A Changin‘, said Susan Voss Pappas ’69, “and we’re doing our best to keep up.”

President Mark Burstein called the class gifts “truly extraordinary.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is thanking Lawrentians for their investment in this university,” he said. “It means so much to this institution, and I think even more importantly to the students, generation after generation.”

Honoring outstanding alumni

Seven Lawrence alumni were honored during the Alumni Convocation with the annual Alumni Awards.

Jaime Nodarse Barrera ’05

Jaime Nodarse Barrera, a 2005 graduate, received the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Outstanding Service Award. She is the assistant vice president of development at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and has been involved with many community service groups including the Kiwanis Club, Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill at-risk youth mentoring. She also served as the interim director of marketing and interim director of communications, and helped to coordinate communications efforts and crisis management during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

Elizabeth R. Benson ’69

Elizabeth R. Benson, a 1969 graduate, received the Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. She is an expert in energy and international trade, with deep experience in issues ranging from the structure of electricity and natural gas markets to energy efficiency, renewable resources and climate change. She has operated a successful independent consulting practice since 2001.

Zoe Ganos M-D ’55

Zoe Ganos, a 1955 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer, received one of two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards, presented to an alum of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence. She has been a teacher all her life, much of her time spent as an English as a Second Language teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools. In addition to using her language skills, Ganos has served on the LUAA Board of Directors and volunteered weekly at the Traveler’s Aid Desk at Mitchell Field Airport in Milwaukee.

Todd A. Mahr ’79

Dr. Todd A. Mahr, a 1979 graduate, received the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. He is the director of pediatric allergy and clinical immunology at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He is also adjunct clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.

Momodu E. Maligi ’04

Momodu E. Maligi, a 2004 graduate, received the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. He has been Sierra Leone’s minister for water resources since 2014, making him the youngest member of President Koiroma’s cabinet. Since his appointment, Maligi has overseen the reorganization of Sierra Leone’s water sector, rehabilitating damaged water facilities, bringing in private sector investors and changing the legal framework for water policy.

Chuck Merry ’57

Chuck Merry, a 1957 graduate, received the Presidential Award, presented to an alum whose leadership has contributed to the betterment of Lawrence University. A Milwaukee native, Merry has been a fixture at LU events since he moved back to Appleton in 1962. He has served on the school’s Legacy Circle National Council, the Athletics Advisory Committee and the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He chaired the LUAA Capital Campaign Liaison Group and served as a member of the LUAA Nominations and Awards Committee. He serves on the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

Joseph F. Patterson Jr. ’69

Joseph F. Patterson, a 1969 graduate, received one of the two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards. He is a real estate management entrepreneur in greater New York City. He previously served one term on the LU Alumni Board of Trustees, and since 2000 has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the School of Visual Arts of NYC. Throughout his real estate career, Patterson has promoted diversity of students on college campuses and public high schools, creating support programs to ensure successful experiences and achievement for all students.

Something original

Kudos to Laura Caviani ’84, who gave the audience at Friday night’s Alumni Recital at Memorial Chapel a treat by performing one of her original pieces.

Caviani, a successful jazz pianist, composer and educator in Minneapolis, performed “Give Me Your Tired” with Max Wendt ’94 and Jim Guckenberg ’94.

It was part of a recital that saw numerous alumni from a wide range of graduating classes perform, a testament to the long and successful history of the Conservatory of Music.

Consider the numbers

Attendance over the weekend topped the 1,000 mark. That number includes alumni as well as family and friends who came along for the fun. Here are some attendance numbers from classes marking major milestones.

The Class of 1969, celebrating its 50th reunion, posted the highest number of attendees, fittingly hitting 69. Other notable numbers included the Class of 2009 (10th reunion) with 57; the Class of 1979 (40th reunion) with 53; the Class of 1994 (25th reunion) with 49, and the Class of 1964 (55th reunion) with 19.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from Reunion Weekend. For much more robust photo galleries from the weekend, click here.

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

Well, that’s different: 4 ways campus has changed in 25 years

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

If you are a 1994 graduate returning for your 25th reunion this weekend, much has changed on the Lawrence campus. To keep you from mistakenly wandering into Chapman Hall, formerly Downer Commons, looking for lunch, we’re highlighting four notable changes here since news broke that Nelson Mandela was elected president, Friends debuted, and O.J. took that ride in the white Bronco (yes, that was all 25 years ago).

Photo of Warch Campus Center.

1) A shiny new campus hub. Warch Campus Center is, without question, phenomenal. You will most definitely want to take a look inside as it’s much more than just a dining hall. Built in 2009, it’s become a centerpiece of campus, home to two dining facilities, a movie theater, a campus store, meeting spaces of all shapes and sizes, and a must-see river view.

Photo of Briggs Hall.
Photo of Steitz and Youngchild Halls.

2) New places to learn. Two new buildings transformed the academic spaces on campus two decades ago. Briggs Hall, overlooking the Fox River, was built in 1997 to house instruction in mathematics and social sciences. Three years later, Science Hall was built, replacing Stephenson Hall of Science. It would be renamed Steitz Hall of Science in 2010. Both are worth a tour while you’re on campus.

Photo of Hiett Hall.

3) A new place to live. Hiett Hall, the most modern of the residence halls on campus, was built in 2003. Like Briggs, it is built into the hill on the north side of the river. It’s the only residence hall with suite-style living quarters. Many of our alumni visitors will be staying there this weekend.

Photo of SLUG gardens at the bottom of a green hill.

4) A garden for growing knowledge … and vegetables. You’ll find SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden) along Lawe Street, just east of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center. It’s a living, breathing outdoor classroom, with lessons in sustainability, conservation, geosciences and so much more. Take a walk through the gardens to see the wonders of the earth being well tended.

Noticing other differences as you make your way around campus? Let us know how things have changed in our social media comments!

LU’s Bee Campus designation OK’d; pollination-themed picnic set for Sunday

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The bee advocacy work is paying dividends.

Lawrence University has been certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program, making it the 71st campus in the nation to earn the bee-friendly designation — and only the second one in Wisconsin.

To celebrate, a pollination-themed picnic will be held on the Main Hall green from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 16. It will follow a 10 a.m. public unveiling of the honey bee observation hive that is now visible from the fourth floor of the Warch Campus Center. The picnic will feature coffee from Tempest Coffee Collective, fruit pies, berry shakes, smoothies, and honey pizza from Harmony Cafe. All are invited.

Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA are initiatives of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a Portland-based nonprofit that encourages communities to develop practices that help sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitat rich in native plants and free of pesticides.

Israel Del Toro, an assistant professor of biology, has led efforts at Lawrence to not only make the campus bee-friendly but to turn the campus into a living lab of sorts to study ways to keep bee populations healthy in an urban environment. The new Bee Campus USA designation comes after a formal application was submitted in the spring.

It’s one step in a larger journey, Del Toro said.

“With the designation of Lawrence as a Bee Campus, we are one of only two universities in Wisconsin to publicly commit to improving our campus for native biodiversity and pollinators,” he said. “This is a small but significant victory that keeps us moving toward a campus ethos of sustainability and stewardship of our natural resources.

“Over the next five years our campus will experiment with various approaches and bee-friendly management activities like altered mowing habits, reduced use of pesticides and removal of invasive species.”

Read more: Lawrence University on the front lines of bee advocacy

For more on Lawrence’s sustainability efforts, click here

The only other Wisconsin school with the bee-friendly designation is Northland College in Ashland.

Del Toro also is working with the city of Appleton to help it qualify for a Bee City USA designation.

“The program aspires to make people more PC — pollinator conscious, that is,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces’ executive director. “If lots of individuals and communities begin planting native, pesticide-free flowering trees, shrubs and perennials, it will help to sustain many, many species of pollinators.”

Pollinators such as bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, and hummingbirds are responsible for the reproduction of almost 90 percent of the world’s flowering plant species and a third of the food we consume, Hoffman Black said.

Lawrence will need to continue to work to maintain its status as a Bee Campus. Certification needs to be renewed each year. Details can be found at beecityusa.org.         

Among the bee-inspired efforts, Del Toro and his team launched the Appleton Pollinator Project to turn area homeowners and gardeners into citizen scientists, helped install and study pollination sites across the Fox Cities, and pushed students in the biology lab and campus environmental clubs to work to improve the on-campus habitat for bees.

The observation hive installed last month at Warch is the latest step in the on-campus efforts. There also are hexagon-shaped pollination boxes just southeast of Main Hall and in the S.L.U.G. (Sustainable Lawrence University Gardens) gardens on campus.

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

A helpful guide to Reunion Weekend: Reconnecting and so much more

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Welcome home, Lawrentians.

We’re talking to you, alumni — in particular those of you who have signed up for Lawrence University’s 2019 Reunion Weekend. Nearly 800 of you will be back on campus this weekend, retracing old memories, reconnecting with friends and mentors and embracing new experiences.

We have drafted a helpful guide to hopefully get you excited about your return to campus. This isn’t the actual Reunion Weekend guide — the official booklet with a full itinerary will be handed out upon arrival or is accessible online — but we’ve pulled together some highlights, some tips to help you enjoy your stay in Appleton and some reminders of things that may have changed since you were last here.

If you’re on campus this weekend (June 13-16), we hope our guide will help you wrap your head around all the possibilities. If you chose to sit this one out, we hope it’ll get you thinking about next year. The light is always on.

Ready for a tour of campus? Much will be familiar, but if you haven’t been here in a while, much has changed. An official tour is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Consider the possibilities

There are dozens of activities, classroom sessions, gathering points, photo ops available during Reunion Weekend. You can’t hit ’em all. But here are 10 to get the conversation started.

1) Alumni College, all day Friday, multiple locations. One of the great draws of Reunion Weekend is the chance to engage in smart conversation on significant topics, led by faculty and/or alumni with expertise. This year’s topics range from The Great Migration and Chicago’s Bronzeville Neighborhood to climate change, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and The Beatles, among others. See a full listing on the Lawrence website.

2) Alumni Pride Reception, 4:30 p.m. Friday, Diversity and Intercultural Center, Memorial Hall. This is the third annual reception, but this one comes with some news. It’ll be co-hosted by the Faculty/Staff Pride Group and the newly formed Lawrence University Pride Alumni Network. The latter is a new initiative. Look for conversations about it at the reception and more detailed info to be released in late summer or early fall.

3) Supper club-style dining, 6-8 p.m. Friday, Warch Campus Center. We can’t take you all out to a supper club, but we can bring the supper club to you. Think fish fry, prime rib, and a full salad bar. Embrace your Wisconsin self, and save room for dessert.

4) Alumni Recital, 8 p.m. Friday, Memorial Chapel. A whole lot of talented musicians have come through the Conservatory of Music. Some will put their skills on display for fellow alums, including Karen Leigh-Post ’79 (mezzo soprano), Laura Caviani ’84 (jazz piano and vocals), and Kirsten Lies-Warfield ’94 (trombone).

5) Viking Room, cash bar, after 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Memorial Hall. This is the 50th anniversary of the VR opening as a bar. It was an on-campus hangout before that, but it didn’t become a full-service bar accessible to those of drinking age until the spring of 1969. Perhaps you carved your name into one of the booths all those years ago. Or bartending was part of your student work experience. Or you’re hankering for one of the VR’s specialty drinks (a Lawrentian, anyone?). Cheers to your return.

6) Parade of Classes, 10:30 a.m. Saturday. It’s a march into Memorial Chapel for the 11 a.m. Reunion Convocation. The Convocation, complete with this year’s Alumni Awards, is always cool. But being able to walk in as a class, that’s even cooler.

7) All-Reunion Picnic, noon Saturday, in the plaza between Wriston Art Center and Seeley G. Mudd Library. We all love a good picnic. Food and a cash bar will be available. And, we think, a balloon artist of impressive skill.

8) Boom! book discussion, led by history professor Jerald Podair, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Harper Hall, Music-Drama Center. This is courtesy of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1969 because, well, they lived it. Boom, written by Tom Brokaw, explores the transitional events of the ’60s. That’s a sweet spot for Podair, who is all over 20th Century American history.

9) Alumni of Color Reception, 2:30-4 p.m. Saturday, Diversity and Intercultural Center, Memorial Hall. Hosted by Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, this marks a first-time event at Reunion Weekend.

10) Campus Tour, led by a current Lawrence student, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, departing from Alice G. Chapman Hall. If it’s been a while since you were here, you’ll want to be on this tour. Much has changed (see below).

Looking for best places on campus to take a photo? We’ve got that covered.

Hiett Hall is among the campus building additions in the past two decades.

Well, that’s different

If you are a 1994 graduate returning for the 25th anniversary, much has changed on the Lawrence campus. To keep you from mistakenly wandering into Chapman Hall, formerly Downer Commons, looking for lunch, we’re highlighting four notable changes here since news broke that Nelson Mandela was elected president, Friends debuted, and O.J. took that ride in the white Bronco (yes, that was all 25 years ago).

1) A shiny new campus hub. Warch Campus Center is, without question, phenomenal. You will most definitely want to take a look inside as it’s much more than just a dining hall. Built in 2009, it’s become a centerpiece of campus, home to two dining facilities, a movie theater, a campus store, meeting spaces of all shapes and sizes, and a must-see river view.

2) New places to learn. Two new buildings transformed the academic spaces on campus two decades ago. Briggs Hall, overlooking the Fox River, was built in 1997 to house instruction in mathematics and social sciences. Three years later, Science Hall was built, replacing Stephenson Hall of Science. It would be renamed Steitz Hall of Science in 2010. Both are worth a tour while you’re on campus.

3) A new place to live. Hiett Hall, the most modern of the residence halls on campus, was built in 2003. Like Briggs, it is built into the hill on the north side of the river. It’s the only residence hall with suite-style living quarters. Many of our alumni visitors will be staying there this weekend.

4) A garden for growing knowledge … and vegetables. You’ll find SLUG (Sustainable Lawrence University Garden) along Lawe Street, just east of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center. It’s a living, breathing outdoor classroom, with lessons in sustainability, conservation, geosciences and so much more. Take a walk through the gardens to see the wonders of the earth being well tended.

The Rock, freshly painted green by the Class of 2019, sits in front of Main Hall.
The Rock, freshly painted by the Class of 2019, sits in front of Main Hall.

Bonus on-campus attraction I: The Rock is here. No, not The Rock of Hollywood fame, although that would be fun, too. We’re talking about the 2-ton boulder that has been hauled, carved, moved, hidden, buried, lost, returned and painted since its initial arrival on campus in 1895. The Rock now rests in front of Main Hall, and for the first time will soon have signage that speaks to its significance as part of Lawrence’s long and deep history. Pay it a visit. Paint it if you’d like.

Bonus on-campus attraction II: Bees are our friends. In your walks across campus, you’ll find a couple of hexagon-shaped bee houses, one near Main Hall and one in the SLUG gardens, and an observational honey bee hive visible from the fourth floor of Warch. We love our bees and embrace their important roles in our ecosystem. There’s a reason Lawrence was just given a Bee Campus USA designation by the Xerces Society. If you’re sticking around until Sunday, there will be an official unveiling of the observation hive at 10 a.m., followed by a pollination-themed picnic at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall lawn. All are welcome.

Reminder: Share your experience while on campus by using the hashtag #LUReunion

A view of Houdini Plaza and the Trout Museum of Art in the heart of downtown Appleton.
Houdini Plaza and the adjacent Trout Museum of Art are a few blocks west of campus.

Things to do nearby

Lawrence is, of course, part of Appleton’s downtown. If you want to explore a little while here, you’re in luck. The timing is fortuitous for these four possibilities:

1) Downtown Appleton Farm Market: One of the most robust farmers markets in the state takes over College Avenue in the heart of the downtown from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays during the summer. It makes its 2019 outdoor debut this weekend.

2) Houdini Plaza concert: The plaza serves as an outdoor gathering spot in the center of the downtown. If you are in town on Thursday, check out the weekly Heid Music summer concert from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Ask Your Mother, a popular regional band, will perform.

3) Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: If you haven’t been here in 25 years, well, you’ve missed one of the most significant developments in Appleton. The Fox Cities PAC opened along College Avenue in the city’s downtown in late 2002. It now hosts touring Broadway productions, concerts and a myriad of other arts offerings. If you want to check it out, area musicians will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a Tribute to Maury Laws. The noted composer and arts advocate, who lived in Appleton, died earlier this year at age 95.

4) Trout Museum of Art: The former Appleton Art Center transformed into the Trout Museum of Art in 2010. Located adjacent to Houdini Plaza, it regularly features both touring exhibits and art from its own permanent collection. Its newest exhibit, Fifteen Minutes: Homage to Andy Warhol, opens on Saturday and runs through late August. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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

Lawrence celebrates Class of 2019: “Don’t let fear of failure kill your joy”

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Well done, Lawrence University Class of 2019.

More than 330 graduates received their diplomas Sunday morning in a Commencement ceremony on the Main Hall green.

Faculty Marshal Kathy Privatt led the march across College Avenue for an outdoor ceremony replete with pomp, circumstance and tradition, along with a colorful assortment of umbrellas and rain gear. A light but steady rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of what David Blowers ’82, chair of the Board of Trustees, called the “high point of the academic year.”

President Mark Burstein praised the senior class for a myriad of contributions to Lawrence, for setting a tone of compassion and empathy on campus and always exhibiting a desire to learn and grow.

“In a time when community is such a scarce commodity and people of different backgrounds and views are likely to argue, compete, or ignore each other, you came together to learn, to celebrate, and to struggle, as one community, with the issues that face Lawrence, this country, and the world,” he said.

See a livestream replay of the Lawrence Commencement ceremony and other 2019 Commencement Weekend events here.

Jordyn Pleiseis delivers her senior class speech during Commencement.
Jordyn Pleiseis delivers her senior class speech during Commencement.

Burstein said the heart and drive of the Class of 2019 is wonderfully represented in Jordyn Pleiseis, who the graduates chose to be their senior class speaker.

“Jordyn has left her mark on Lawrence in ways both physical, like the mural that adorns the Wellness Center that she helped install as an ally of native students, and ineffable, like the connections and supportive environment she fosters,” Burstein said. “Jordyn also speaks of the wonderful dynamic among Lawrence students both inside and outside of the classroom. You are friends, sharing fun and support, and you are also colleagues, learning from one another’s insight and experiences.”

Commencement speaker Lee Shallat Chemel ’65, a longtime theater and television director who worked behind the scenes on some of the most beloved TV shows of the past 35 years, implored the graduates to embrace their liberal arts education, to be OK with uncertainty and to never let the fear of failure zap their creative energies. Her Lawrence education, she told them, has been a guiding light for more than four decades of beautiful chaos.

“You chose a liberal arts education; you chose to keep your horizon wide, to explore a broad range of cultural and intellectual content,” she said. “You can adapt, improvise, synthesize. You can handle a world that is a bit chaotic.”

Pleiseis, an anthropology major, told her classmates they are deserving of today’s accolades, a four-year journey full of hard work and perseverance finally coming to fruition.

“We made our mark on this place, just as much as this place made its mark on us,” she said.

Watch a replay of Jordyn Pleiseis’ Commencement speech here.

Chemel’s story

Lee Shallat Chemel, on stage, addresses the Lawrence graduates during her Commencement speech.
Lee Shallat Chemel addresses the Lawrence graduates during her Commencement speech.

Chemel, whose directing credits include stints with Murphy Brown, Northern Exposure, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Hannah Montana, and The Middle, among many others, told the graduates she made bold leaps of faith along her journey, jumping from teaching to acting to theater directing to TV sitcoms and dramas. There was never a promise of success at any step in the process, only the prospect of a worthy challenge and the knowledge that she had a strong liberal arts education to lean on.

She never stopped learning.

Chemel said some of her most profound life lessons came from her darkest days. She said firings and failures at one point had her so focused on not screwing up that she could no longer find joy in her work. Her creativity quickly waned.

She told the story of working on an episode of Gilmore Girls that was going so badly that production came to a halt — so badly that she and star Lauren Graham laughed until they cried.

“Then I suddenly stopped myself,” Chemel said. “I shouldn’t be laughing. The scene isn’t working. … Lauren said, ‘What’s up?’ I looked at her and said, ‘Oh, I just got caught off-guard being happy.’ … And from there we laughed our way back into rehearsing; the scene started to unlock itself. It got funny.

“I’d been painting myself into a corner of seriousness in order to keep failure at bay. Don’t do that. Let joy and spontaneity exist side by side. … Don’t let fear of failure kill your joy.”

Burstein encouraged the graduates to take Chemel’s message of perseverance and career nimbleness to heart as they take that next step, embracing life after Lawrence with a mixture of promise and uncertainty.

“Perhaps her example will help as you, the Class of 2019, set out on the path that begins today,” he said. “You have already raised our expectations for what is possible. We count on your talent, your work, your leadership to move us forward.”

Watch a replay of Lee Chemel’s Commencement speech here.

Lawrence University Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Kodat announces the faculty award for Marcia Bjornerud (left) during Sunday’s Commencement ceremony on the Main Hall green.

Awards and farewells

Two long-serving tenured faculty members — psychology professor Bruce Hetlzer and voice professor Kenneth Bozeman — were honored during the ceremony as they retire, each having taught at Lawrence for more than four decades. See details here.

Three faculty awards were announced during the ceremony. Music professor Erin Lesser received the Excellence in Teaching Award, Director of Jazz Studies Jose Encarnacion received the Excellent Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member Award, and geology professor Marcia Bjornerud received the Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity Award. See details here.

For more photos from Sunday’s 2019 Commencement, click here.

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

Three Lawrence faculty honored with teaching, scholarship awards at 2019 Commencement

Jose Encarnacion smiles from the stage as he accepts applause for his faculty award at Commencement.
Jose Encarnacion is greeted by applause as he accepts his faculty award at Commencement.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty — two key music talents in the Conservatory of Music and one highly acclaimed geologist — were honored Sunday, June 9 for their academic and scholarly achievements.

The awards, announced during the 2019 Commencement ceremony and considered to be among Lawrence’s highest faculty honors, went to gifted instrumentalist and music instructor Erin Lesser, jazz musician and instructor Jose Encarnacion and highly lauded geology scholar and author Marcia Bjornerud.

For more coverage of Lawrence’s 2019 Commencement, click here.

Erin Lesser

Portrait of Erin Lesser at Commencement.
Erin Lesser

Lesser took home the 2019 University Award for Excellence in Teaching. A member of the acclaimed ensembles Wet Ink, Decoda, and Alarm Will Sound, she is both a highly regarded performer and an accomplished instructor. She has been teaching at Lawrence since 2011.

In her award citation, Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Kodat praised Lesser for her ability to balance the demands of being a touring artist with those of the classroom.

“Your brilliance in the concert hall finds its bright reflection in the Lawrence Conservatory studio, where your grateful students grow as musicians and thinkers in their own right, thanks to your thoughtful, attentive efforts to meet them where they are and then give them the tools and support that helps them realize their artistic goals.”

Jose Encarnacion

Portrait of Jose Encarnacion at Commencement.
Jose Encarnacion

Encarnacion was given the 2019 Award for Excellent Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member.

While Encarnacion has been an assistant professor at Lawrence for just five years, his ties to the Conservatory date back to 2002, when he came here shortly after receiving his master’s of jazz and contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music. He would leave for a six-year stint as director of jazz and band ensembles at Eastman before returning to Lawrence in 2011 as a lecturer. He became a tenure-track faculty member in 2014 and now leads a jazz program that is regularly lauded in national music education circles.

“Your return has had a measurable effect — since 2015, the excellence of Lawrence’s jazz program has been recognized by no less an authority than DownBeat magazine, which has presented the university with four awards in four years,” Kodat said.

Marcia Bjornerud

Portrait of Marcia Bjornerud at Commencement.
Marcia Bjornerud

Bjornerud, who came to Lawrence in 1995, is the recipient of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity. She has been among the college’s most honored faculty members. The Walter Schober Professor in Environmental Studies and founder of the Environmental Studies major has earned two Fulbright Senior Scholar awards, was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists and was named a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.

The faculty scholarship honor comes after her 2018 book, Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, was widely praised for making complex geological concepts — and their importance in the ongoing debate over how we care for the Earth — both accessible and substantial. It was long-listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing, was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and received the PROSE Award in Popular Science and Popular Mathematics from the American Association of Publishers.

“In Timefulness, you draw on your research into the physics of earthquakes and mountain formation to show how an understanding of the multiple, overlapping temporalities of the Earth’s deep past can help us gain the perspective we need if we are to confront and address the environmental challenges that face us,” Kodat said.

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