Ken Anselment

Author: Ken Anselment

Lawrence University recognized as Chicago Scholars Star of Transformation

At a ceremony held at McCormick Place in Chicago on October 23, Lawrence University received The College Star of Transformation award from Chicago Scholars, an organization dedicated to helping “academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities complete college and become the next generation of leaders who will transform” Chicago’s neighborhoods and the city itself.

These students, named Chicago Scholars themselves, receive special training and mentorship from the organization to help them succeed in the college admission process and, more importantly, during their time in college. The organization boasts that its students graduate from college at a rate of 86%, which is nearly 40 percentage points higher than their peers, according to the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Chicago Scholars CEO, Dominique Jordan Turner, cited Lawrence University’s generosity of financial support for the Chicago Scholars it has enrolled, along with strong on-campus mentoring and advising. Earlier this year, Turner was named as a member of the inaugural class of Obama Foundation Fellows, a program that brings together 20 leaders from 11 countries who are creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Ken Anselment, Lawrence University’s Vice President for Enrollment & Communication, accepted the award on behalf of the university.

“Our partnership with Chicago Scholars has helped Lawrence University meet, recruit, and enroll high-caliber students who are traditionally underserved by the college admission process,” says Anselment, who appreciates the close partnership with the organization, one of more than a dozen around the country with which Lawrence has developed a formal working relationship.

Shortly after leaving the stage, Anselment was called back up to introduce the organization’s Crystal Award winner, Tom Hurvis, a 1960 graduate of Lawrence University, whose support for the organization has transformed its ability to serve Chicago students.

According to Turner, “As a result of Tom’s investment, Chicago Scholars has scaled tremendously.” She notes that the number of students selected to participate in the program has increased from 250 Scholars a year to 1,000 this year—due largely to the supercharging effect of Hurvis’s support.

In his remarks about Hurvis, Anselment noted, “The world is filled with many people like Tom who have been incredibly successful. But there are far fewer people in the world who use their successes in the ways that Tom does, which is to take great joy in using the fruits of that success to create extraordinary opportunities that lift others to their own success.”

Bernard Lilly, a 2018 Lawrence graduate and Chicago-based musician, then took the stage to sing a special tribute to Hurvis, which brought the more than 300 attendees to their feet with a standing ovation for the gifted vocalist.

Hurvis is one of the founders and chairman of Old World Industries, the world’s leading supplier of antifreeze and diesel exhaust fluid, including PEAK antifreeze and coolant, and Blue DEF, respectively.


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.”  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.

Thomas A. Steitz, Lawrentian and Nobel Prize winner, dies at 78

The Lawrence University community and the rest of the world learned of the sad news that Thomas A. Steitz, one of the giants of biochemistry whose research on the structure of ribosomes earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, died on Tuesday, October 9, from pancreatic cancer.

A 1962 graduate of Lawrence University who earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry, Steitz also received an honorary doctorate of science degree from his alma mater in 1981, as well as the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002.

The year after winning his Nobel Prize, Steitz returned to Lawrence as the featured speaker for the university’s 161st commencement. As part of the celebration of Steitz’s achievements, Lawrence renamed its Science Building—home to the university’s chemistry and biology programs—to Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science. From Lawrence’s press release at the time:

Steitz, who grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Wauwatosa High School in 1958, was named one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October and received his award in ceremonies last December in Stockholm, Sweden. He was honored for his decades-long research into the structure and function of ribosomes, which decode messenger RNA into proteins, a function central to life. An understanding of the structural basis of the function of ribosomes provides possibilities for the development of new antibiotics.

Since 1970, Steitz has taught at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of chemistry. He also is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Typical of so many Lawrentians, Steitz was a multi-interested lifelong learner. Beyond his pursuits in science, Steitz was also an accomplished saxophonist. His ability to pursue his science and musical interests is one of the things that drew Steitz as a high schooler from Wauwatosa (Wis.) to Lawrence. In his autobiography for the Nobel committee, Steitz writes:

My four years at Lawrence College changed my life, my view of the world and my professional direction. Since Lawrence is a liberal arts school, I was required to take many humanities courses to supplement what turned out to be my major in chemistry. These courses began with what was called a Freshman Studies course which was a broad based reading, discussion and writing course on many classical books. We learned to ask as well as answer questions. Importantly, we were also required to take a philosophy course, a scholarly based (e.g., Niebuhr, etc.) religion course, and an anthropology course, as well as English, History and language courses. I entered Lawrence with a heavy religious background and left it with an entirely different understanding of the origins of religious beliefs, their veracity and their roles in cultures. Lawrence also has a music school so that I was able to continue my love of music by participating in the band, orchestra and choir.

Steitz often credited Lawrence’s Professor Robert Rosenberg as “the person who had by far the greatest influence in inspiring me to pursue a career in science, and in particular chemistry.”

According to the October 10, 2018 tribute in the New York Times, Steitz’s spouse, Dr. Joan Steitz, and their son, Jon, were at his side when he died at their home in Connecticut.

“The world knows Tom as a Nobel prize-winning biochemist,” says Lawrence University president, Mark Burstein. “To the Lawrence community he was a beloved classmate, smart and engaging alumnus, and all-around gentleman. We will miss his presence and leadership. And in his name we will carry on the values of learning and transformation his life’s story represents.”

Lawrence experts to speak about pressing global issues at Povolny event

On Tuesday evening, October 2, a multi-disciplinary panel of faculty and students will convene to discuss some of the most important global issues facing us today.

This free event, sponsored as part of the 2018 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies, is open to the public and will be held in the campus cinema, located on the second floor of the Warch Campus Center. (Click here for a campus map with parking.)

Download a copy of tonight’s program here:
Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies 2018



Lawrence welcomes one of its largest classes in history

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Lawrence University will welcome one of its largest classes in history as more than 425 first-year, transfer, and exchange students arrive for Welcome Week activities, all in preparation for the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 11, marking the beginning of Lawrence’s 171st academic year.

“We can’t wait for them to arrive,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “Though, to be fair, many of them have been here for a few weeks already for fall sports and orientation programs.”

New Lawrentians this year come from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 25 countries, making this year’s class one of Lawrence’s most geographically diverse ever. Just over 20 percent of the class comes from Wisconsin, followed by Illinois, Minnesota, California, New York, China, Texas, Vietnam, Colorado and Florida.

International students compose more than 15 percent of the class.

Members of the Lawrence University Class of 2019, who will graduate next June, sit for their class photo taken during Welcome Week 2015, a tradition to be repeated by this year’s class.

Staying ahead of the demographic curve

That geographic mix is part of the plan. “The population of college-going students in the country has seen significant geographic shifts over the past decade,” says Anselment. “There are fewer students from our home market in the Midwest, and more students from the West and South.”

Anselment notes that demographic studies project that shift to become even more pronounced in the coming decade. “We have been anticipating this, which is why we have been working strategically to expand our national and international reach over the past ten years.”

Beyond the recruitment benefits, Anselment notes that the strategy primarily benefits students: “From day one, Lawrentians will start building a national and international network with their classmates right in their classrooms, residence halls, and dining spaces.”

Anselment says that this year’s class continues to build on the momentum Lawrence has seen over the past five years with strong academics, strong socioeconomic diversity, and increasing ethnic and racial diversity (more than 25 percent of the class identifies as domestic students of color).

Full Speed to Full Need campaign plays a strong role

Aiding Lawrence’s ability to attract such a strong pool is the continued success of the Full Speed to Full Need campaign, which launched in September 2014 with a goal to build a $75-million endowment that would allow Lawrence to join the small group of colleges in the country that meet the full financial need of their students.

Driven by the support of many members of the Lawrence University community, as well as an anonymous $25-million gift that catalyzed the campaign, the university has already surpassed the $75-million goal, giving President Mark Burstein the confidence to raise the target to $85-million, which would allow the university to provide further funds for students to provide full-need support for students who wish to study abroad during their time at Lawrence.

It’s a bold move, but one that is already paying dividends. To date, more than 180 students have had their need fully met with funds from the campaign, and that number continues to grow with each new class. In coming years, as more of the pledged funds are realized and the endowment continues to mature, Lawrence will be among a small group of colleges in the country—and the only one in the state of Wisconsin—that meets the full financial need of all of its students.

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.” Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.



Megan Scott Named New Communication Leader at Lawrence

Megan Scott will join Lawrence University as its new Associate Vice President of Communication this fall, serving as the university’s chief brand manager, storyteller, and spokesperson.

“We are thrilled to have Megan with us,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “She is a smart, charismatic, and accomplished communication professional with deep experience not only with higher education, but with articulating the particular strengths of residential liberal arts and sciences colleges.”

Megan Scott photo
Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new communications leader

Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Knox College in 1996 and holds a certificate in publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. She worked in academic publishing for eight years, last serving as marketing manager for the University of Iowa Press, where she coordinated all national and international marketing efforts for 30-35 scholarly books per year. She returned to her alma mater in 2004 to coordinate advancement communications and serve as editor of the Knox Magazine, the college’s biannual alumni magazine.

In 2012, she was given the opportunity to lead a newly created Office of Communications at Knox, which was charged with integrating college-wide communications and highlighting Knox’s story to its external and internal constituents. Over the last six years, she and her team have launched an award-winning website, introduced a new suite of admission communications, supported a series of fundraising initiatives, introduced a new internal portal and community newsletter, expanded the college’s visual and social media presence, and helped to launch an award-winning new athletic logo and mascot.

“As a graduate and long-time employee of a liberal arts institution, I am a true believer in the value of the education and opportunities colleges like Knox and Lawrence provide its students,” said Scott. “As both an undergraduate and employee at Knox, I have been challenged to stretch my abilities, push creative boundaries, and achieve more than I ever imagined.”

Scott’s background and approach made her the ideal candidate to lead Lawrence University’s efforts to ensure that its diverse community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and neighbors are informed about and engaged with our work together.

“Megan’s deep understanding of the transformative impact of a liberal arts education and her collaborative management style made her candidacy stand out in a very talented pool of finalists,” said Mark Burstein, president of Lawrence University.  “She is clearly well prepared to build on our recent successes to more accurately describe the power of the education we offer.”

Scott will serve on the president’s cabinet, working closely with university leadership to perform a job she knows very well.

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,”

Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new Associate Vice President of Communication

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,” said Scott. “I have always admired Lawrence University, and I was even more impressed by the institution, its staff, students, and leadership as I moved through the interview process. I am truly honored to join this vibrant community and am excited to get to work telling the Lawrence story.”

Scott will transition to Lawrence with a couple of shorter visits to campus over a six-week period, starting with Lawrence’s annual matriculation convocation and its first faculty meeting of the year on September 13. She will join the campus community full time on October 29.

Scott will be joined in Appleton by her spouse, Brian, a high school Latin and English teacher, and their daughters, Clara (11) and Willa (5).

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.”  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.

Rick Peterson Retiring After 39 Years and Thousands of Stories

In 1847, shortly after Amos Lawrence commissioned three Methodist ministers—William Harkness Sampson, Henry Root Colman, and Reeder Smith—to establish a school on the land he owned in the Wisconsin Territory, he needed to tell the world about his fledgling college.

And so it was that Rick Peterson began his career as Lawrence University’s media relations director.

Peterson seen here sometime after 1847 (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Or so it seems, now that the university community reflects upon Rick’s tenure as he prepares to retire from Lawrence University on Friday, August 17, after nearly 39 years of service.

Lest you reach for your calculator, that’s 23% of the years that Lawrence has operated.

Rick joined the Lawrence staff in December 1979, after Lee Ester, then Lawrence’s director of public relations, lured him away from the Kaukauna Times, where Rick had been covering sports for 18 months after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. The Oak Creek (Wis.) native’s first day on the job came just two weeks after Richard Warch had been inaugurated as the fourteenth president of Lawrence University, which he would lead for 25 years.

Nearly four decades, two presidents and thousands of articles, stories, and press releases later, Rick Peterson stands on the threshold of retirement leaving a legacy of advocacy for the university that few have matched.

Dependable and dedicated

Mark Burstein, Lawrence University president, knows that Lawrence will miss Peterson’s touch. “Rick has a clear sense of Lawrence’s strengths that comes out in everything he writes or prepares about the university,” says Burstein. “It’s a unique gift that is irreplaceable.”

When asked her impressions of Rick’s contributions to Lawrence, Beth DeStasio, Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor of Biology, enthusiastically leads with, “Well, I just love Rick.” She adds, “He is one of the hardest-working people at Lawrence, always digging for more information because he truly wants to know what he’s writing about—and he’s really been able to capture the essence of Lawrence in everything he’s written.”

“He’s one of the most dependable, hardest-working colleagues I’ve had in my long tenure at Lawrence.”

-Cal Husmann, Vice President for Development

That dependability made a big difference with local media, with whom Peterson built a strong relationship. Ed Berthiaume, news director of the Post Crescent, worked with Rick for 25 years, and praises his reliability, accuracy, and honesty, even when the story may not be flattering about the university. “If Rick didn’t know the answer to something, he would work to find us someone in the community to connect with.”

Berthiaume notes that this kind of collaboration is unusual, “The way Rick treated people here at the Post Crescent was always professional and always respectful—and it helped forge a good relationship.”

A human touch… with a twist

Peterson used his gift for writing not just for telling the Lawrence story, but for bringing joy and delight to his colleagues and friends.

Liz Boutelle, one of the university’s art directors, has worked with Rick for 18 years and says she’ll miss his thoughtful gestures. “Everybody that knows him would get a birthday card from him,” she says, adding with slight amazement, “And not just a birthday card, but one with a big paragraph personalized to each person.”

“When he sent you a note, it was with perfect penmanship and always in a straight line like he wrote it with a ruler,” says John Tharp, former Lawrence University men’s basketball coach.

Tharp remembers how Peterson, who has been a scorekeeper at Vikings games for years, would come down to the team room in Alexander Gymnasium before basketball games just to sit with him. “He would have his lunch bag with him, and he and I would sit and talk while he was eating his lunch, and we would laugh.” Tharp adds, “I think it was his way of keeping me calm and relaxed. It was always a treat. He would say, ‘Good luck, Johnny,’ and then walk out that back door.”

Joe Vanden Acker, Lawrence sports information director, says he holds the job that Peterson invented as the university’s first SID. He learned a valuable lesson from Rick early in his tenure. “Rick was in my office. I was finishing a can of soda pop, and put my can in the garbage. Rick said, ‘Wait, there’s a spot for those,’ and he took me back to his office, and opened his closet, where there was a cardboard box where he was saving the cans.” Vanden Acker adds, “He was running a recycling program before Lawrence even had one.”

Ariela Rosa worked as an intern for Peterson from 2015 to 2016, and notes that she learned important lessons in that role. “I came to his department without any experience in journalistic writing, and Rick was always very patient with me, not interested in just fixing mistakes but in trying to explain why we do things the way we do them.”

Her work with Peterson prepared her for her current role as Lawrence University’s associate director of corporate, foundation, and sponsored research. She notes, “When I arrived to Rick as a student, I was always in a rush. But after working with him, I slow down more, am more careful, and double- and triple-check my work.”

She says that working with Peterson had an additional—and unexpected—benefit, “I received a world-class education in classic rock from Rick.”

And how did this education come about? “My fondest memories are of him playing 103.1 WOGB from clock-in to clock-out, with him quizzing me almost daily.”

Peterson seen here dreaming of a Milwaukee Brewers World Series championship, which the author wishes for him as a retirement gift. (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Behold the power of Peterson

“The Lawrence community will miss Rick,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication, “And I will miss him personally.”

Anselment adds, “Rick brought a style, voice, and sense of humor to the Lawrence stories he has written for decades. That combination of energy, production, and persistence is a gift to behold, and we are fortunate and grateful to have beheld it for so long.”

Despite it being closed for the summer while most students are on break, the Viking Room will temporarily reopen its doors to Rick’s friends and colleagues from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, to celebrate his retirement.

Rick Peterson may have written thousands of stories about Lawrence over his nearly four decades here, but Lawrence wrote this one about him.