President Mark Burstein officially opens Lawrence University’s 166th academic year as well as the 2014-15 convocation series Thursday, Sept. 18 with the matriculation address “Sustaining Dialogue: Educating for a Diverse Society.”
The event, at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, is free and open to the public. The convocation also will be available via a live webcast.
In his address, Burstein will discuss the importance of dialogue across different viewpoints and the role universities must play to foster this engaged exchange. As our society becomes more segregated by socioeconomic class, race, and political view, universities, as training grounds for citizenry, are obligated to create campus communities where a diversity of viewpoints are explored. Last spring’s rash of cancelled commencement speakers calls into question whether universities are fulfilling this role.
Lawrence’s 16th president, Burstein began his tenure in July 2013 after nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at Columbia University as a vice president working in human resources, student services and facilities management.
A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., Burstein earned a bachelor’s degree in history and independent studies from Vassar College and a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lawrence’s 2014-15 convocation series also includes:
• Nov. 4, University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, “Leveraging Mind And Body To Perform Your Best Under Stress.” Beilock is an expert on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the many factors that influence different types of performance, from test-taking to your golf swing.
• Feb. 17, 2015, Author and New York University Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, “A Decent Respect: Honor and Citizenship at Home and Abroad.” Known as a postmodern Socrates, Appiah asks probing questions about identity, ethnicity, honor and religion while challenging people to celebrate our common humanity.
• May 14, 2015, Honors Convocation, Lawrence University economist David Gerard, “Is it Warm in Here?: The Intractable Challenges of Climate Change.” Gerard will examine the economic, social and technological obstacles confronting the issue of global climate change.
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.