Rick Rothschild’s career has been all about putting smiles on faces of people from around the world. Not as a dentist, but as a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Rothschild will be among the honored guests when Lawrence University hosts its annual Reunion Weekend Celebration June 10-12. More than 650 alumni and guests from 38 states and six countries, including Denmark, France and Romania, will participate in the weekend-long festivities.
Rothschild and six other Lawrence alumni will be recognized Saturday, June 11 for career achievements, contributions to the betterment of society or volunteer service to Lawrence during the annual Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
A 1971 Lawrence graduate, Rothschild and Doug Powell, a Harvard University psychologist, will receive the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the Briggs award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to, and achievements in, a career field.
During a 30-year career at Disney, Rothschild, Newhall, Calif., helped create, direct and produce dozens of attractions, including Finding Nemo Submarine Ride, Honey I Shrunk the Audience and Captain EO. He served as executive show producer of Pleasure Island at the Walt Disney World Resort and oversaw the planning of entertainment venues at Tokyo DisneySea and Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
In 2008, Rothschild left Disney to launch Far Out! Creative Direction, Inc., a business that serves the themed entertainment industry and the museum world. His work has been recognized with awards five times by the international Themed Entertainment Association, an organization for which he was elected president last November.
Therapist, teacher, consultant and author, Powell has spent nearly a half century at Harvard, returning to the university where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology. He spent four decades with Harvard’s University Health Services, where he helped develop revolutionary techniques that enabled students to overcome debilitating performance anxiety.
A 1956 Lawrence graduate, Powell, Concord, Mass., began his career with the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, evaluating astronaut candidates for the Gemini and Apollo space programs.
A passion for clinical research led him to study the mental effects of aging and he has written three books on the subject, including “The Aging Intellect,” which was published last month. The book provides evidence-based recommendations that can help minimize the effects of predictable cognitive changes on the aging and enable elderly adults to more fully use their mental abilities.
Still active as a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard’s Clinical and Translation Science Center, Powell helped develop the MicroCog Assessment of Cognitive Functioning, one of the first computerized tests to diagnose the cognitive symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s disease. MicroCog is used by the National Football League to measure neurological function in its players.
Cindy Regal, Boulder, Colo., a 2001 Lawrence graduate, will receive the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to, and achievements in, a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.
An Associate Fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics and a member of the faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Regal has drawn national attention in the scientific community for her contributions to the field of atomic, molecular and optical physics. Her research includes the use of cavity optomechanics to investigate the quantized behavior of extremely cold, microscopic strings and drums in the emerging field of quantum information science.
In October 2010, Regal was recognized with UC-Boulder’s first-ever Clare Boothe Luce Professorship Award, an honor that included $645,000 to support her teaching and research for the next five years.
Earlier this month, Regal was one of 21 scientists nationally named a recipient of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Grant. The grant is part of the Department of the Navy’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach programs.
Louis Jost, an ecologist and conservation biologist and Cheryl Orgas, executive director of Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) Inc., in Milwaukee will be presented the George B. Walter Service to Society Award.
Named in honor of Walter, a 1936 graduate, beloved former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence, who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world. The award recognizes alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world.
Arguably the quintessential example of a liberal arts education, Jost, a one-time aspiring physicist, has spent much of the past 30 years wearing a wide variety of hats. He has explored tropical rain forests in Mexico and Costa Rica and conducted endangered species research, leading to the discovery of 70 new varieties of orchids and other plants. He has become a wildlife photographer and wildlife artist and served as a conservation advocate.
Since 1994, the 1980 Lawrence graduate has lived in Ecuador, where his biogeography study of orchids led to numerous new species and the formation the organization Fundacion EcoMinga, which works to preserve threatened areas of great ecological importance. Through Fundacion EcoMinga, Jost has established six reserves totaling 15,000 acres of unique forest.
His background in physics and mathematics has led him to publish more than two dozen scientific articles challenging the standard methods of quantifying diversity and similarity of forests and genetic diversity and similarity between populations of a species. He is currently completing a book on Andean biodiversity, which he is writing and illustrating.
Orgas, blind since birth and the first member of her family to graduate from college, has served as executive director of ABLE since 2007. The first blind person to head the organization, Orgas has established herself as a nationally recognized advocate for Braille literacy as a complement to audio-driven resources. Prior to ABLE, she served as a support and therapy group coordinator for the Counseling Center of Milwaukee.
A 1982 Lawrence graduate with a major in psychology, Orgas, who lives in Shorewood, has enhanced ABLE’s abilities to it serve its clients by upgrading software to make Braille transcription easier and incorporating digital technology for use with audio books and other resources.
She serves as a board member for Wisconsin Braille and was instrumental in coordinating the Braille Mentoring Program, which matches adult Braille-reading mentors with Braille-reading students to create rewarding learning partnerships.
Collaborating with Badger Association, Orgas and ABLE helped bring the Braille Games to Milwaukee, providing children an opportunity to strengthen their Braille skills through a creative, recreational, intergenerational competition.
Margaret Carroll, Appleton, and Arlene Trettin, Sherwood, both 1961 Lawrence graduates, will receive the Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award.
The award honors Jupp, a 1918 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College, who was named M-D Alumna of the Year in 1964 for her long volunteer service to the college. It recognizes Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer alumni of more than 15 years who have provided outstanding service to the college.
Carroll began her service to Lawrence as a trustee in 1974, serving as chair of the board from 1993-95 and board secretary from 1998-2006. She was named trustee emerita in 2006
Her tenure included leadership on virtually every board committee, among them the executive committee, building and grounds committee, committee on student affairs, academic affairs committee and the “Lawrence 150” steering committee.
Carroll is a former president of Lawrence’s Founders Club and has served as a career consultant, admissions volunteer, class agent and member of Lawrence’s presidential search committee.
She has represented Lawrence on the College Ave. bridge project, has been active with the community organization LEAVEN and has served as an elections inspector.
Carroll enjoyed a successful career as a senior writer and editor with the Congressional Quarterly News Service, the National Urban Coalition and the National Journal, which she co-founded. In 1972, she helped establish the Investor Responsibility Research Center in Washington, D.C., and spent 23 years with the organization before retiring as its executive director in 1996.
Lawrence recognized Carroll with an honorary doctorate of education degree in 2007.
Trettin has been a member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association board and a reunion committee co-chair for both her 40th reunion in 2001 and 50th reunion this year. She also has served as chair of Lawrence’s alumni association nominations and awards committee and volunteered with the alumni engagement campaign group during Lawrence’s $150 million “More Light!” campaign.
A long-time elementary music teacher with the Kaukauna school district before retiring in 1998, Trettin has served on the board of the Kaukauna Education Enhancement Network Foundation since 1999. For nearly 20 years, she has volunteered with the Kaukauna Community Players and currently serves as president of the troupe’s board of directors.
In April, she was honored with the Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts as part of the Fox Cites’ annual Celebrating Our Volunteers program.