Category: Academics

Retiring Faculty Becker, Blackwell and Ternes Honored at June 10 Lawrence University Commencement

David Becker’s “fans” said their goodbye May 26 by way of an extended standing ovation after Lawrence University’s director of orchestral studies conducted the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra in concert for the final time.

The college says its farewell to the talented maestro Sunday, June 10 at its 163rd commencement in the form of an honorary degree.

Becker, along with Associate Professor of Chemistry Mary Blackwell and Professor of German Hans Ternes — and their collective 78 years of teaching experience — will be recognized as retiring faculty with professor emeritus status and presented honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem, as part of the graduation ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green. Blackwell and Ternes will be honored in absentia.

Director of Orchestral Studies David Becker

Becker spent 11 years conducting the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra in two separate stints — early in his career (1976-80) and late, returning in 2005 after 21 years as director of orchestras and professor of the graduate orchestral conducting program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He credits distinguished faculty colleagues, outstanding students and a supportive administration for luring him back to Lawrence.

“I believe in the quality and integrity of this institution and I sincerely have been proud to be part of it for a second time around,” said Becker, who was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the college’s 2010 commencement.

Like all exceptional teachers, Becker left a profound imprint on his students.

“Professor Becker has been the core of my Lawrence experience for the past five years,” said graduating senior Louis Steptoe, a violinist in the orchestra. “I have known him to be a man of surpassing integrity, respect, empathy and a true and tireless servant of the orchestra. Over the years I have seen his teaching continue to adapt, yet his commitment to his students and their professional education has never wavered.”

A “gift to Lawrence”

Fred Sturm ’73, director of jazz studies, hailed Becker as “a rare combination of true gentleman, loyal friend, committed colleague, inspirational mentor and world class musician.”

“The performances and projects I’ve shared with him stand among my most cherished Lawrence memories,” said Sturm. “Dave’s a giant — in both physical stature and artistry — and he’s been a great gift to Lawrence.”

Fellow conductor Andy Mast, who directs the Lawrence Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, said Becker’s “professional excellence, pedagogical mastery and personal graciousness have made Lawrence University a better place to teach and make music.”

While he may be retiring from Lawrence, his baton won’t be collecting dust anytime soon. His immediate future includes a bevy of guest conducting gigs, among them the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the NAfME All-National Honors Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the University of Wisconsin music clinic honors orchestra, as well as all-state honors orchestras in South Carolina and New York.

A ChemLinks Coalition Pioneer

Associate Professor of Chemistry Mary Blackwell

Blackwell came to Lawrence in 1989 with a strong background in physical and biophysical chemistry, having previously worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the University of Illinois and as U.S. National Institutes of Health Fellow at London’s Imperial College.

One of the immediate impacts upon her arrival was a significant step up in research activity, supported in part by several grants she received for important new instruments.

“Mary provided productive research opportunities for a number of our best students, several of whom have gone on to productive careers of their own,” said professor emeritus of chemistry Jerrold Lokensgard, a colleague of Blackwell’s her entire Lawrence career. “Over the years, Mary has contributed in important ways to the development of the chemistry curriculum, especially in our introductory courses and in physical chemistry. In at least half her years here, she has taught the course through which our best-prepared students have entered the chemistry curriculum.”

Blackwell was an original member of the ChemLinks Coalition team, a $2.7 million multi-institutional initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. The program sought to revolutionize the teaching of chemistry by creating modules that featured student-centered active and collaborative classroom activities and inquiry-based laboratory and media projects, rather than traditional lectures.

Her impact extended beyond the chemistry department through her involvement in the development of one of Lawrence’s earliest environmental studies courses and most recently, she developed and introduced a very well-received introductory course focused on chemistry and art.

She was recognized with Lawrence’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award for 2000-01, which cited her for “the excitement, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity” she brings to the course.

Weaving Language with Music

Ternes, who traces his roots to a family of refugees from a German-speaking enclave in Romania, taught German at Lawrence for 44 years. His scholarly interests extended to languages other than German, including Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as the literature and culture of the ethnic German communities that were under stress in the post-World War II era, leading to a course entitled “The History of the Romance Languages.”

Professor of German Hans Ternes

He also was involved with the Lawrence men’s soccer program for several years, serving as the team’s head coach for four seasons in the mid-1980s and guiding the Vikings to their first Midwest Conference championship in 1985.

“What I treasure most of all was the freedom and the opportunity Lawrence offered me to explore some of my interests and talents,” said Ternes.

He says he takes particular pride in his work and cooperation with music majors who also happened to be German majors.

“I guided many honors and senior projects on topics relating to German literature and music and had the pleasure to perform some popular music pieces with voice and instrument majors,” said Ternes, who organized a number of Liederabend (Evening of Song) during his tenure.  “I’m also proud of our majors who have become teachers and professors of German themselves.”

Long-time department colleague Dorrit Friedlander, professor emerita of German, said Ternes “was particularly well suited for Lawrence because of his enthusiasm for German and music. He was well known for weaving the two disciplines together.”

Denise Haight of Oconomowoc, a 1970 Lawrence graduate, remembers Ternes as “cerebral, proficient and passionate about his area of expertise.”

“He struck fear in the heart of this student in that he demanded unwavering dedication and scholarship,” said Haight. “However, he was consistently nurturing of his students’ abilities.”

One of Ternes’ most popular courses, as well as a personal favorite, was his “Comparative Fairy Tales” class, which was invariably oversubscribed to by students.

“I think I succeeded in turning many Lawrence students into enthusiastic story tellers,” said Ternes. “Judging from the reactions of students, this course has had the most lasting influence upon them.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Three Lawrence University Seniors Awarded U.S. Fulbright Scholarships for Teaching, Research Programs

Germany and Taiwan soon will become the new home addresses for three Lawrence University seniors awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships.

Amanda Barrow, a double major in music and Chinese language and literature from Savannah, Ga., and Elise Mozena, an English major from Iowa City, Iowa, will travel to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, respectively, as English-as-a-foreign-language instructors and unofficial goodwill ambassadors.

Katelin Richter, of Watertown, Minn., who will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in German and a bachelor of music degree in oboe performance, also will travel to Germany, where she will begin an orchestra management master’s program at a university in either Frankfurt or Munich.

All three students will be initiated June 9 into Lawrence’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honorary society in America, which awards membership to seniors who have demonstrated superior scholarship.

14 Lawrence Fulbright Winners in Last Five Years

Since 2008, 14 Lawrence seniors have been awarded teaching or research scholarships through the Fulbright Program.  The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, it is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and peoples of other countries. Fulbright recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

“We are very excited about the Fulbright awards,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows. “The recipients have done excellent work at Lawrence. They are intelligent, thoughtful persons who are embarking on a commitment to being citizens of the world, engaged in effective and ethical action.”

Amanda Barrow '12

Barrow, a self-proclaimed language lover, studied Spanish throughout high school, but upon arriving at Lawrence, wanted to try something completely new, which turned out to be Chinese.

She spent six months in Beijing in 2010 at the Minzu University of China on a study-abroad program and returned to China last summer for two months as part of a small field studies program that traveled to rural communities throughout the country setting up camps to teach English and music.  The 12-month-long Fulbright appointment will be her first trip to Taiwan and, much to her delight, will take her to the country’s second-largest city, where she will be assigned to either an elementary or middle school.

“I was interested in being part of a large community and all the opportunities that are available in an urban area.  I really enjoy the large-city environment,” said Barrow, who plays the flute. “I’m hoping to get involved in the school’s music curriculum and combine my language and music skills, something I haven’t had a chance to do much yet.  I’m looking forward to seeing if teaching is what I really want to do. This will be a great opportunity to find out.”

Elise Mozena '12

Mozena spent four months as a 17-year-year-old au pair near Frankfurt, Germany in 2007. Tutoring six-and eight-year-old brothers on the basics of English were among her duties.  She’s still waiting for confirmation as to what level of students she’ll be teaching on her 10-month Fulbright position, with possibilities ranging from fifth grade through high school.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of teaching and living on my own in a foreign country,” said Mozena. “I fell in love with the German people and German culture when I was there five years ago and am excited about returning and re-immersing myself in all things German.”

Exploring opportunities to feed her interests in theater, either in her eventual school’s theater program or possibly in a local community theater, will be high on Mozena’s priority list once she arrives in Germany.

Job or Scholarship?

Katelin Richter '12

Richter already had a good job offer from a national company when news of her Fulbright study/research grant arrived, presenting a tough decision. The choice became easier after Deloitte agreed to hold its consulting job offer in Washington, D.C., until she returns in 2013.

During the 11-month grant period, Richter will pursue research on financial innovation in the nonprofit symphony orchestra sector in Germany, with a focus on strategies potentially adoptable for American orchestras.

“I’m interested in orchestra management and today symphonies across the world are facing structural financial challenges,” said Richter. “Germany has a long cultural history of orchestras, which presents a unique environment in which to do my research. German orchestras in general receive more state support than American orchestras, but state support there is becoming less certain. I’m interested in investigating how German orchestras are meeting current financial challenges and whether there might be the opportunity to synthesize cross-cultural knowledge of benefit to orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Richter, an oboist in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, is no stranger to Germany. In addition to visiting relatives there, she spent the summer of 2010 on a Lawrence-sponsored internship, helping to promote a state-wide, 120-concert classical music festival. She returned to Germany last summer on an internship through the U.S. State Department, working in the Political-Economics Section of the U.S. Consulate in Munich.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Local History, Film and Food Explored in Three Lawrence University Summer Seminars

Life-long learners are invited to participate in any or all of three Lawrence University mini-seminars scheduled this summer on campus. Modeled on Lawrence’s popular Bjorklunden Summer Seminar series in Door County, the three-day, non-credit classes will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

The seminar schedule includes:

• July 10-12 — “Local Heroes, Local Antiheroes: Exploring Appleton’s Past.” This history lesson takes participants out of the classroom to numerous Fox Valley historical sites for a hands-on view of times past. Three historic time periods will be highlighted: Native Americans to early missionaries (late 1700s-early 1800s); The Progressive Era (1890-1920) and McCarthy’s Appleton (mid-1900s).

• July 17-19 — “Sentimental Journeys: Classic Hollywood Films About Travel, Destinations and the Human Condition.” Films across several genres that use the metaphor of the journey to develop and transform its characters will be explored.

•  July 31-August 2 — “Food, Fauna and Farmers: In the Kitchen at Lawrence.” Focusing on using locally sourced foods, this interactive seminar features trips to area farms, ethnic food stores and farmers markets to learn about new and interesting ingredients. Participants will try new recipes with guidance from Lawrence’s Bon Appétit chefs.

Seminar participants can attend as commuters or residents, with housing provided in Hiett Hall. A light breakfast and a lunch are provided each day with wine one afternoon.  Seminar cost is $250, with an additional charge for housing if needed.

Class size is limited with a registration deadline of June 26.  To register or for more information, contact Lori Vosters, 800-283-8320, x7019 or lori.a.vosters@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Annual Honors Convocation Features Historian Jerald Podair

Is the “life of the mind” obsolete and does a liberal arts education have any value today?

Lawrence University historian Jerald Podair examines those questions in the college’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, May 31. Podair presents “The Only Life: Liberal Arts and the Life of the Mind at Lawrence” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Honors Convocation also will be webcast live.  Watch it here.

Professor of History Jerald Podair

Podair, professor of history and Robert S. French Professor of American Studies, will examine the value of a liberal arts education and why the hallmarks of a Lawrence education — critical thinking, deep reading, analytical reasoning and effective writing — are essential for success in a 21st-century economy as well as for a rich intellectual, emotional and spiritual life.

He was selected for the series as the third recipient of Lawrence’s annual Faculty Convocation Award. Chosen by President Jill Beck from faculty nominations, recipients are selected on the basis of the high quality of their professional work.

The annual honors convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty recipients of awards and prizes for excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, languages and music as well as demonstrated excellence in athletics and service to others. Students elected to honor societies also will be recognized.  The students and faculty award winners will receive their awards May 30 at the Honors Dinner.

A specialist on 20th-century American history and race relations, Podair is the author of the books “The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis” and “Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer,” a biography of the civil rights leader who planned the 1963 March on Washington.

His current scholarship includes the book “American Conversations,” a collection of transformative documents in American history scheduled for publication this fall and a baseball-themed book on the cultural implications of the Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.

Podair joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998 as the winner of that year’s Allan Nevins Prize, an award conferred by the Society of American Historians for the best Ph. D. dissertation in history written in the country that year. He was named a fellow of the New York Academy of History in 2009 and was appointed by the governor to Wisconsin’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which he served from 2008 to 2009.

A native of New York City, Podair earned his bachelor’s degree at New York University, a law degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook..

Senior Art Exhibition Opens May 25 at Wriston Galleries

The work of 14 Lawrence University art majors will be featured in the annual Senior Art Exhibit that opens Friday, May 25 in the Wriston Art Center galleries. The exhibition, which runs through July 29, opens at 6 p.m. with a reception with the student artists.

"Wilmer," oil on canvas, Annie Raccuglia

The exhibition includes books, ceramics, drawings, paintings, photography, prints, sculpture and video. To see each artists work, please check out our LUX site on the show.

The students whose work will be featured are Suzanne Craddock, Aisha Eiger, Kaitlyn Herzog, Eli Hungerford, Kelly  Mariahazy, Katie Nelson, Sydney Pertl, Annie Raccuglia, Hillary Rogers, Alison Scattergood, Christine Lyn Seeley, Sara Sheldon-Rosson, Timeka Toussaint and Jinglei Xiao.

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. The galleries are closed on Mondays. For more information on the exhibition, call 920-832-6890 or visit www.lawrence.edu/news/wriston.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Environmental Interests Earn Hava Blair ’13 Udall Scholarship

Hava Blair’s “green” passions have helped her earn a little “green.” The Lawrence University junior has been named one of 80 national recipients of a $5,000 Udall Scholarship.

She was selected from among 585 candidates nominated by 274 institutions from 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Lawrence was the only Wisconsin college or university to have a 2012 Udall Scholar.

Hava Blair '13

Presented by the Arizona-based Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, the scholarships are awarded to students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

“I’m passionate about developing sustainable food systems that incorporate the diversity of the natural world,” said Blair, a geology major from Jefferson who has been heavily involved in the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG) since arriving on campus in 2009. “Practicing and teaching sustainable agriculture has the potential to improve not only the food we eat, but the communities we live in and the economies in which we participate.”

As a Udall Scholar, Blair will participate in a four-day orientation Aug. 8-12 in Tucson, Ariz., where she will meet with environmental policymakers and community leaders as well as other scholarship recipients and program alumni.

“I’m excited to attend the summit with fellow Udall Scholars and engage in a dialogue about current environmental challenges and solutions,” said Blair. “The funds from this scholarship will help to support the work I am doing in the Lawrence and Fox Cities community. I’m very grateful for the recognition.”

In addition to her role of manager of SLUG, Blair helped launch Lawrence’s first beekeeping operation in 2011, tending to five beehives and more than 200,000 European honeybees. Last fall, Blair harvested 110 pounds of honey — about $700 worth — half of which was sold to Lawrence’s dining service and the rest sold to faculty and staff. The sales are used to support the garden and beekeeping operation.

Beyond the campus, Blair has been an active volunteer with COTS, Inc., Appleton’s temporary, transitional housing program and its innovative Riverview community garden project.

Blair is the fourth Lawrence student to receive a Udall Scholarship in the program’s 16-year history, joining Jacob Brenner (1999), Gustavo Setrini (2001), and Stephen Rogness (2003).

Founded in 1992, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is one of five federal foundations established by Congress. Among the missions of the foundation is to increase awareness of the importance of the nation’s natural resources, identify critical environmental issues and provide educational outreach regarding environmental policy.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Keynesian Scholar Featured in Senior Experience/Economics Colloquium

Nationally-known Keynesian scholar Bradley Bateman examines the prospects of creating a morally acceptable form of capitalism Thursday, May 17 in a Lawrence University Senior Experience/Economics Colloquium.

Economist Bradley Bateman

Bateman’s presentation, “Keynes and the Crisis of the Welfare State” at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Provost and professor of economics at Ohio’s Denison University, Bateman is one of the country’s leading scholars on the British theorist John Maynard Keynes.  He is the co-author of the 2011 book “Capitalist Revolutionary: John Maynard Keynes.”

Bateman is also the author of recent guest commentaries in the New York Times and The Guardian.

 

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Annual Harrison Symposium Showcases Student Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences

Exceptional student research in the humanities and social sciences on topics as diverse as the history of Waldorf education and women’s changing roles in modern Chinese fiction  will be showcased Saturday, May 19 beginning at 9:15 a.m. in Main Hall during Lawrence University’s 15th annual Richard A. Harrison Symposium.

Thirty-four students will deliver presentations during two sessions arranged into panels by topic or field that are moderated by a Lawrence faculty member. Presenters are nominated by faculty and invited to submit abstracts of their research. Students are selected for the symposium based on the abstracts and present their work in the format used for professional meetings of scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Each presentation lasts approximately 20 minutes and is followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session. Among the topics that will be explored in this year’s symposium are the condition of education in rural Ecuador, the detrimental effects of the loss of a parent in childhood, the politics of music in Sierra Leone and the work of the late painter Thomas Kinkade.

The symposium honors former Lawrence Dean of the Faculty Richard A. Harrison, who organized the first program in 1996. Harrison died unexpectedly the following year and the symposium was renamed after him to recognize his vision of highlighting excellent student scholarship.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

Emotions — Hidden and Shared — Explored in Lawrence University “Devised” Theatre Production

A collection of original, borrowed and collaboratively written scenes that explore feelings all people have, hide and sometimes share closes Lawrence University’s 2011-12 main stage theatre season with four performances May 10-12 in Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

“Show Your Face(s): A Masque” will be staged at 8 p.m. each day, with an additional 3 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, May 12. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama, describes the play as “as a devised theatre piece.”  The work’s designation of “A Masque” is a reference both to physical masks and the Renaissance form of entertainment that featured a collection of scenes with acting, singing and dancing.

Unlike most traditional theatrical works, “Show Your Face(s): A Masque” is not based on a pre-existing script. Instead, Privatt and the production team created a script during the rehearsal process, drawing inspiration from the set, music and sound design, costumes, movement and mask work, improvisation and texts submitted by the cast, crew, Lawrence and greater Fox Valley communities.

Mask-making activities open to the Lawrence campus over the past year also served as inspiration for the production team.

“The play has been created collaboratively by both creating materials and using materials and texts that already exist to form a whole new production,” said Privatt, who director of the production.

Inspired in Part by Suicide Prevention Training

The play is being presented in conjunction with Lawrence’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant for mental wellness and suicide prevention.  The production represents a year of research and preparation by Privatt.

“I was specifically inspired by some material in the suicide prevention training that I received through the SAMHSA grant,” said Privatt. “That training reaffirmed that, just as we’re all human, we all experience the same emotions and we all make decisions about when to hide those emotions and when to share them.

“The process has been one of the most collaborative I’ve ever experienced, with each element having strong impact on our choices,” Privatt added. “We started with a basic framework of episodes, each chosen to explore a range of related emotions.  We worked together, with mask expert Adam Pagdon, and movement experts Deb Loewen and Laura Murphy, to choose and create material for each episode. The performance showcases the pieces that we ultimately felt compelled to share.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.

 

Lawrence University Remembers the Holocaust in Multimedia Symposium

As the remaining voices of Holocaust survivors grow fewer and more far between, Lawrence University will examine that dark moment in human history May 11-13 in a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary and multimedia symposium entitled “Austrian Jews: Exile and the Holocaust.”

The symposium will bring together Lawrence students, faculty and the larger community in a far-ranging examination of both the history and present-day implications of the Holocaust.

Full schedule of events

The timing of the symposium is tied to the anniversary of the end of World War II on May 8, 1945 and to the annual April 19 “Day of Remembrance,” which each year commemorates the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazis. All symposium events are free and open to the public.

Survivor Stories

Highlighting the program will be the first-person experiences shared by four Holocaust survivors who fled Vienna, Austria in 1938 to escape the Nazis. Curtis Brown from Neenah, and Anne Kelemen, Gerda Lederer and Renee Wiener, all from New York City, will share their personal accounts of topics covering life in Austria leading up to the war, escape via the Kinder Transport, working with the French Underground and life during the war in the labor camps.

Brown, Kelemen and Lederer star in the 1999 award-winning documentary on the Viennese emigration, “Abschied ein Leben Lang” (A Life-Long Farewell),” one of three films that will be shown during the symposium. Wiener was recognized in 2010 for her World War II work in the French Resistance with the Insignia of the Legion of Honor in a special awards ceremony at the French Consulate General in New York City.

“The chances of our students ever speaking to a Holocaust survivor are getting slimmer very rapidly,” said Professor of Music Catherine Kautsky, who organized the symposium. “It seems more and more urgent to give these survivors a forum in which to speak out, particularly to the younger generations of students for whom World War II may seem like ancient history.”

The inspiration for the symposium grew out of a series of round-robin letters circulated by Kautsky’s 90-year old father, John Kautsky, and a group of his Viennese high school peers, all of whom were forced by the Nazis to emigrate from Vienna in 1938.

The letters chronicle the experience of leaving their homeland and establishing citizenship in new countries. The letters are now being published, generating considerable interest in the United States, Austria and Germany. They will be featured in a presentation by Jacqueline Vansant, professor of German at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, including footage of Kautsky’s father discussing the letters, followed by clips of a present-day boy at the very same school reading from the very same letters during a December 2011 ceremony at that high school.

Multiple Perspectives

The symposium is designed to amplify the survivors’ experiences from multiple perspectives, among them:

  • film screenings: “God Does Not Believe in Us Anymore,” “Watermarks,” and “Abschied ein Leben Lang” (“A Life-Long Farewell”).
  • a pair of concerts, including staged scenes from the opera “Der Kaiser von Atlantis,” by Viktor Ullmann, written at the Theresienstadt labor camp and completed shortly before Ullmann’s death in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Prior to the Saturday, May 12 concert, Lawrence Associate Professor of Music Julie McQuinn will present the talk “Music and the Holocaust: Remembering the Inconceivable.”
  • an art exhibition featuring prints and paintings of Austrian and German Expressionists, with commentary by Elizabeth Carlson, Lawrence associate professor of art history and Frank Lewis, curator of Lawrence’s Wriston Art Gallery.
  • dramatic readings of letters, poetry and memoirs of survivors by theatre professors Timothy X. Troy of Lawrence and Susan Sweeney of UW-Madison and actress Jacque Troy of the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
  • a video created by Lawrence student members of Hillel, a Jewish student organization, featuring interviews with students and faculty members discussing their family connections to the Holocaust and the responsibility of sharing information about the Holocaust with future generations.
  • a discussion of dance choreography of the period by Rebecca Salzer, visiting professor of dance, with an introduction by Lawrence President Jill Beck.
  • a presentation by Jacqueline Vansant entitled “Making Connections over Space and Time: The Extraordinary Group Correspondence of Jewish-Austrian Schoolboys.”
  • a display of student art work and poetry that deals with Judaism, the history of the Holocaust and generational issues.

“The arts will be featured prominently in the symposium as mirrors of the society in which they were created,” said Kautsky. “Concerts produced by the Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty and guest artists will feature works by Jewish composers written in or about the concentration camps and the presentation of poetry, dance and visual art should likewise serve as very visceral reminders of a period in history we can’t afford to forget.”

A reception featuring Viennese pastries and coffee will be held with symposium participants Saturday, May 12 afternoon.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and current Lawrence artist-in-residence Catherine Tatge is collaborating with students to produce a documentary about the symposium.

Lawrence members of Hillel are donating six native Wisconsin perennials to the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG) as a remembrance tribute to the six million Jews who were lost in the Holocaust.

Full schedule of events

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in 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 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.