With apologies to Lorne Michaels and the late great Don Pardo, “LIVE…from the Hurvis Center…it’s Giving Day.”
It’s the Little Apple(ton), not the Big Apple, but starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, Lawrence University will stage its second annual “Giving Day,” a 12-hour live extravaganza webcast worldwide, featuring a cast of thousands, or at least dozens, ranging from President Mark Burstein and Mile of Music co-founder Cory Chisel to head football coach Rob McCarthy and the Lawrence Faculty Jazz Quartet.
The show will include interesting interviews and eclectic performances celebrating things happening at the college and showcasing the people and programs that make Lawrence distinctive.
Held for the first time in November, 2014, Giving Day is a special one-day opportunity for alumni and friends to show their support for Lawrence and its programs. Last year’s Giving Day, with the help of “game changers” who matched donations, raised $1.1 million for the college.
Kasey Corrado, Lawrence’s social media specialist, returns for her second stint as co-host of the 12-hour live show. She will be joined by senior Jon Hanrahan, a piano performance major from Johnsburg, Ill.
The webcast, available at go.lawrence.edu/givingday, will feature hourly “themes” on such topics as diversity, the arts, community service and of course, academics. From 7-8 p.m., everyone will be asked to don their thinking caps for a 60-minute trivia warm-up for Lawrence’s real deal 50-hour contest coming in late January.
Last year’s Giving Day was such a surprising success. Although we had planned for months, nothing really prepared us for what it turned out to be,” said Corrado, who is looking forward to reprising her one-part Barbara Walters, one-part Ellen DeGeneres role of a year ago. “I’m excited to see what happens this year.”
During the course of the show, Corrado will be more than just a passive host. She’s planning on learning a little Mandarin, creating a work of art with the help of sculptor Rob Neilson and boning up on her chemistry knowledge with chemist Stefan Debbert.
“I love that I get to co-host this show again,” said Corrado, whose first hosting stint came less than six months after getting hired at Lawrence. “As corny as it sounds, I feel like I’m getting to help make history at Lawrence.”
“Compared to last year, this is a far more ambitious undertaking, so I fully expect all kinds of interesting things to go wrong. It is 12 straight hours after all.”
— Rachel Crowl
Hanrahan, whose qualifications for his co-host role include four year’s performing with Lawrence’s improvisational troupe Optimistic Feral Children and three years as a trivia master, says his game plan is simple: Just dive in.
“I’m going to keep a curious mind turned on and gently nudge guests to the point where they have no choice but to share what they think, deep down, makes Lawrence such a weird, wonderful, impactful place,” said Hanrahan, who claims he’s made it through an entire trivia contest weekend without the aid of caffeine.
Hanrahan says he’s excited about interacting with what he calls a line-up of “funny, smart, or strange people.”
Amid all the fun and games, Hanrahan wants the viewers to also appreciate the purpose of Giving Day.
“I really want our older viewers to come away with a reminder of what a transformative place Lawrence can be and I hope that current students get a glimpse of what goes on in the buildings that they don’t typically enter.”
Rachel Crowl, one of the masterminds behind this year’s Giving Day live show, will again handle all the off-camera chain saw juggling that goes with staging such a production.
“Compared to last year, this is a far more ambitious undertaking, so I fully expect all kinds of interesting things to go wrong. It is 12 straight hours after all,” Crowl said with a laugh.
Since July, Crowl has donned her executive producer/director/writer hat, scouring the campus for “talent.”
“I just used my institutional Rolodex to cajole, bribe and otherwise convince friends on the faculty and in the student body to appear on the show so we could cram as many facets of life at Lawrence as possible into 12 hours,” said Crowl, who promises a few surprises along the way. “I feel it’s my responsibility to put on a show that’s crazy entertaining, informative and one that makes the viewers want to support the institution.”
According to Cara Gosse, director of annual giving, last year’s Giving Day trial run “surpassed our wildest expectations.”
“We were blown away by the way the college community pulled together to celebrate Lawrence, past and present,” said Gosse. “This year we have more than 200 Game Changers—alumni, parents and friends — who are providing matching funds to motivate others to support our students and the school they love. We’re so excited to do it all again. We want this year to be bigger, better, and bLUer.”
The complete Giving Day webcast schedule can be found here.
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 book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. 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.