Category: Academics

Lawrence Welcomes Author and Cultural Critic William Deresiewicz for University Convocation

Provocative essayist, cultural critic and author William Deresiewicz presents “Through the Vale of Soul-Making: The Journey of the Liberal Arts” Thursday, April 19 at 11:10 a.m. in a Lawrence University convocation. The presentation, in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, will be followed by 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.

William Deresiewicz

Focusing on higher education, social media and other culture issues, Deresiewicz is a contributing writer for The Nation and a contributing editor for The New Republic. His weekly “All Points” blog on culture and society appears in The American Scholar.

A three-time National Magazine Award nominee (2008, ’09, ’11), his essays include “Generation Sell” (the business plan as art form of our age), “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education” (what the Ivy League won’t teach you) and “Faux Friendship” (about Facebook).

Solitude and Leadership,” an essay that encourages the practice of introspection, concentration and nonconformity he delivered as an address to the plebe class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2009, has been used as a teaching tool across the U.S. military, the corporate world, schools of business and at the Aspen Institute.

Deresiewicz spent 10 years (1998-2008) as an English professor at Yale University before embarking on a full-time writing career. He chronicled the chronicled the transformative effect literature has had on his life in the 2011 novel  “A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter.”

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.

Extreme Ice Survey Project Focus of Lawrence Presentation

Acclaimed photographer  James Balog, who has chronicled the natural environment for three decades for National Geographic, discusses his climate change project “The Extreme Ice Survey” Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center.

Combining art and science, Balog creates innovative, dynamic and sometimes shocking interpretations of the world’s fast-changing landscapes, plants and animals. In 2005, Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) to document the impact of global climate change.

The  most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted, the EIS employed 27 time-lapse cameras at remote sites in Greenland, Iceland, Nepal, Alaska, and the Rocky Mountains, recording nearly one million photographs that reveal the extraordinary ongoing retreat of glaciers and ice sheets, and providing visual evidence vital to scientists studying glacier dynamics.

National Geographic showcased this work in the June 2007 and June 2010 issues and the EIS project was the focus of the 2009 NOVA documentary “Extreme Ice.”  It also was the subject of the feature-length documentary, “Chasing Ice,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year.

Balog’s appearance is co-sponsored by Green Roots, the Fox Cities Book Festival, and Renewegy.

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.

 

Passion for Canoes Earns Will Meadows $25,000 Watson Fellowship

Unabashed nature enthusiast Will Meadows speaks of canoes in near reverential tones.  In his mind, canoes are as centric to the ecosystem as a bird’s nest or a beaver dam.

“Canoes represent the coexistence of creativity and nature,” says the Lawrence University senior. “They lie at the intersection of human ingenuity and place, vessels for exploration, artistic expression and sustenance.”

Will Meadows '12

Beginning in August, Meadows will spend a year immersing himself in canoe-building communities across five distinct environmental regions of the world as a 2012 Watson Fellow.

Meadows, an environmental studies major from Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of 40 undergraduates nationally awarded a $25,000 fellowship from the Rhode Island-based Thomas J. Watson Foundation for a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States on a topic of the student’s choosing.

His proposal —”Humanity’s Vessel: The Art and Ecology of Canoes” — was selected from among 147 finalists representing 40 of the nation’s premier private liberal arts colleges and universities. More than 700 students applied for this year’s Watson Fellowship.

For much of his still-young life, Meadows has used canoes and rivers for his method and means of exploring the world, whether it was the Chao Phraya River in Thailand, the Jong River in Sierra Leone, the Rogue River in Oregon or the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Canoe Area in northern Minnesota.

“I would often escape to the river after school, looking for my true education,” said Meadows, who is spending his spring break on a 100-mile canoe trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. “In every way, rivers have been my teachers, my schools. Rivers define me. Moving steadily in a canoe is my natural experience.”

First Stop Lake Titicaca
Meadows will begin his “wanderjahr” at Lake Titicaca, on the border of Bolivia and Peru, working with the indigenous Uros peoples, who build reed canoes. There he also hopes to use his talents as a sculpture artist to create beautifully intricate reed dragon headed vessels with the Uros.

Next fall he will travel to the Solomon Islands, immersing himself in the ocean voyaging Polynesian canoe culture.

“I want to explore the art of the open-ocean canoe and the issues affecting the people of the sea as the struggle continues to preserve ancient voyaging knowledge and artisanship.”

On Tanzania’s ocean island of Zanzibar, Meadows will help construct outrigger dugout canoes and sail among Tanzania’s native fishing communities while studying the ecological issues affecting these peoples.

“My academic background in the environmental sciences as well as my professional experiences in sustainable agriculture, forestry, water and land management, will help me explore the conservation issues affecting the canoe-building natives,” said Meadows, who has been active in Lawrence’s on-campus sustainable garden and instrumental in the establishment of an on-campus orchard.

The diverse designs of North American native bark canoes will be Meadows’ focus for two months beginning in April 2013. Using Toronto as his base, Meadows will work with two world-renowned canoe builders, Rick Nash and Pinnock Smith of the Algonquin First Nation.

Meadows concludes his fellowship next summer in northern Norway with an apprenticeship in skin and canvas boat building with Anders Thygesen, founder of Kajakkspesialisten (the kayak specialist), a company renowned for its work in building traditional skin-on-frame sea kayaks and traditional paddles.

“As the final location in my journey,” said Meadows, “Kajakspecialisten will be a place to really consider what my role will be in this world after the Watson experience.”

An “ideal Watson Fellow”
Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music and Lawrence’s campus liaison to the Watson Foundation, described Meadows as “an ideal Watson Fellow.”

“Will’s proposed canoe-building odyssey perfectly channels his deepest passion into an immersive multi-cultural experience,” said Pertl. “His endless curiosity, love of life and affable nature will make him an ideal ambassador for this most prestigious of fellowships. I am so excited for his success and can’t wait to see how this year changes his life.”

Over the course of the past year and a half, Meadows and a four-person crew, with help from the father of Lawrence geologist Marcia Bjornerud, constructed a 16-foot pine and walnut strip canoe on campus — a project he described as “the most meaningful and enveloping of my life. When she finally rode the water for the first time, I remember lying on my back looking at the sky from her seatless belly, and the border between river, canoe and person faded with the setting sun.”

According to Meadows, his Watson proposal is in many ways a paradoxical project.

“A global comparison of handcrafted vessels hasn’t been thoroughly conducted, so in that way this is a new and cutting edge idea. But it’s also the desire to transfer knowledge of some of the oldest practices of humankind. I might be one of the only people with the chance to learn techniques in all these diverse world canoe styles. This is an opportunity to find new meaning at the crossroads of all my passions, including writing, ecology, art, people and exploration. I can’t wait to dive in and challenge myself to the absolutely fullest during my Watson year.

“I encourage everyone to ask themselves the question, ‘what is my ultimate passion?,'” Meadows added. “Putting this proposal together has helped me answer that question, but more importantly it showed me the beauty in other people’s passions. What’s your Watson?”

Meadows is the 68th Lawrence student awarded a Watson Fellowship since the program’s inception in 1969. It was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of International Business Machines Corp., and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs.

Watson Fellows are selected on the basis of the nominee’s character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture and the personal significance of the project proposal. Since its founding, nearly 2,600 fellowships have been awarded.

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.

Sculptor Rob Neilson Named One of 13 Fox Cities’ “Creatives”

Sculptor Rob Neilson

Sculptor Rob Neilson, associate professor of art and Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art, was among 13 “creatives” spotlighted in the March edition of Fox Cities Magazine for helping define “the Fox Cities’ new wave of artistic ambition.”

Best known for his public art, including last year’s “compassionate manhole covers,” which can be found in the sidewalks along College Ave. in downtown Appleton and on the Lawrence campus, Neilson was featured in a story examining community artists, creators and innovators who represent the potential the Fox Cities has “to make its mark on the creative world map.”

Download a PDF to read the article and check out this online only follow-up to the story.

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, 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 Film Series Features PBS’ Series “Women, War and Peace”

Three episodes from the PBS television series “Women, War and Peace,” which spotlights stories of women in conflict zones around the world, will be shown at Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center cinema.

The series opens Friday, March 2 at 8 p.m. with “I Came to Testify,” the story of 16 women who testified against Serbian-led forces in the Bosnian war.

Peace Unveiled,” which follows three Afghani women advocating for women’s rights during peace talks with the Taliban, will be shown Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m.

The series closes Sunday, March 3 at 1 p.m. with a screening of “War Redefined,” a film that challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are a man’s domain through interviews with leading thinkers, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic and globalization expert Moisés Naím.

Filmmaker Abigail Disney, who was awarded an honorary degree by Lawrence in 2010, served as an executive producer for the series.

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, 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.

Baroque Opera “The Fairy Queen” Gets “Hippie” Update in Lawrence University Production

Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s opera “The Fairy Queen” receives a modern adaptation in Lawrence University’s production of the fantastical tale of romance and magic. The opera will be performed March 1-3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 3 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Originally written as a “masque” — light entertainment featuring lavish costumes and scenery but nearly devoid of narrative — the opera was inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  The story follows four young lovers’ escape to an enchanted forest.

The updated adaptation, written by Professor of Theatre Arts Timothy X. Troy ’85, who also serves as the production’s director, replaces the anonymously written libretto with Shakespeare’s own words.

“I restored the actors’ text to the First Folio version before shaping a narrative that closely followed the story of the young lovers who are tricked in the forest by Puck, the most famous of all fairies,” said Troy.

His adaptation was inspired by the psychedelic cover art of fairies on an LP of English composer Benjamin Britten’s 1973 recording of “The Fairy Queen.” It transports the action to a hippie commune in the woods outside Athens, Ga., immediately after a tornado. The new and modern setting offered creative opportunities for the production team.

Costume designer Karin Kopischke ’80 playfully explores the eclectic fashions of hippie culture of the commune-dwelling fairies against the academic preppy and jockish culture of the quartet of young lovers and their pursuit of true love.

“Karin’s costumes are inspiring, lively and delightful,” said Troy. “She found ways to model the repurposing impulse of the period to create a delightful sense of surprise and individuality to each of the 60 costumes you see on stage.”

Rebecca Salzer, Lawrence Fellow in Dance who served as choreographer for the production, worked closely with a corps of six dancers to blend Purcell’s set dance pieces with popular dance forms from the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

“To support Tim’s melding of times and places in this production — Baroque music, Elizabethan theatre and a 1970’s American setting — the choreography also had to be a mix of styles,” said Salzer. “If you look closely, you’ll see movement inspired by 60’s mods, 70’s funk and even the occasional minuet.”

Because Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” is considered a “semi-opera” — an amalgam of scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and musical interludes — it presented special challenges and opportunities for Bonnie Koestner, associate professor of music, who served as the production’s vocal coach.

“The masque portions (musical interludes) reflect the mood and general spirit of the spoken scenes, but are not directly tied to a plot line,” said Koestner. “It’s somewhat like the difference between a musical revue with its diverse collection of numbers and a Broadway show like ‘Carousel,’ in which the music really does play a part in character development. Both Shakespeare and Purcell have given us works of genius and if the audience doesn’t worry about the lack of a single coherent plot, I think that they will find it very entertaining.”

Featuring some of the most famous music of the Baroque period with virtuosic arias and complex ensembles and choruses, “The Fairy Queen” offers its audience a stunning variety of vocal talent alongside innovative choreography and compelling acting.

“It’s a delight to integrate the talents of our strongest actors with those of our accomplished singers,” said Troy.

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, 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.

Lawrence Mourns the Passing of Professor Emerita Mari Taniguchi

President Beck shares a message with the Lawrence community.

It is with great sadness that I share with you today the news of the death of Professor Emerita of Music Mari Taniguchi, who passed away Monday, February 13 at her home in Appleton. She was 92 years old. A native of San Diego, Calif., Mari joined the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in 1961 as a voice teacher, mentoring scores of aspiring young singers during a 39-year teaching career, retiring in 2000. She was a graduate of Eastman School of Music, earning a bachelor’s degree in both voice and piano, and a master’s degree in music literature.

Professor Emerita of Music Mari Taniguchi

As a teacher and vocal coach, Mari was both exceptional and exceptionally demanding, establishing a well-earned reputation for excellence of diction and musical phrasing. The high standards she set for her students were rewarded with distinguished careers for many of them, most notably Grammy Award-winning baritone Dale Duesing ’67, American Song Contest winner William Sharp ’73, and Metropolitan Opera Audition winner Mark Uhlemann ’96. Numerous other students under her tutelage won awards and fellowships from the National Federation of Music, the Watson Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. For many years, she served as conductor of the Downer Chorus for Women.

Mari enjoyed a distinguished performance career before arriving at Lawrence. She made her operatic debut in the title role in “Madame Butterfly” in Turin, Italy, and later performed in Malta, Milan, Rome and Venice. She also sang as part of Robert Shaw’s Chorale for broadcasts on NBC and CBS and performed on some of Toscanini’s legendary recording-broadcasts of operas and orchestral works.

In addition to her considerable musical talents, Mari was an amateur gourmet who took great pride in her culinary skills. She frequently invited her students to her home for dinner, and always the teacher, was generous in providing pointers on how they should handle themselves in the kitchen.

Mari was a dear friend to many at Lawrence. We sincerely sympathize with the loss felt by them and by her former students and share in it. Both Rob and I were the grateful beneficiaries of Mari’s welcoming and cheerful attitude, and the many delicious gifts that she ambitiously created in her kitchen. We always enjoyed and looked forward to her warm and lively company. Mari will be greatly missed and remembered with deep affection.

She is survived by two nephews and a sister-in-law, all of whom live in California.

A memorial service celebrating Mari’s life is tentatively scheduled this spring in the Warch Campus Center. Details to follow.

Lawrence University Awarding Honorary Degree to Lehman Bros. Bankruptcy Examiner at June Commencement

Lawrence University graduate Anton “Tony” Valukas, the court-appointed examiner in the historic bankruptcy case of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., will be recognized by his alma mater with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree Sunday, June 10 at Lawrence’s 163rd commencement.

Valukas, chairman of the Chicago-based national law firm Jenner & Block, also will serve as the principal commencement speaker.

Anton "Tony" Valukas '65

Valukas served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1985 to 1989.  He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2009, Valukas was appointed by a federal judge as the examiner for the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy in United States history. As examiner, Valukas investigated the causes of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. After reviewing 34 million documents and interviewing nearly 300 witnesses, Valukas issued a seven-volume, 2,200 page report detailing potential wrongdoing by certain Lehman executives and Ernst & Young, the auditor.

Litigator of the Year

Last month, The American Lawyer named Valukas its 2011 “Litigator of the Year,” an honor that recognizes lawyers who have had “extraordinary results for their clients.” In its cover story, the magazine hailed Valukas as one of the “few heroes to emerge from the financial debacle of 2008.” It cited his 2,200-page, seven-volume Examiner’s Report as “a tour de force of truth-telling” and credited him with “untangling what caused a historic collapse that helped set off the broader financial crisis.” Bankruptcy Court Judge James Peck called Valukas’ report “the most outstanding piece of work ever produced by an examiner.”

Valukas has been named one of the country’s leading litigation lawyers for seven consecutive years by Chambers USA, while Chicago Lawyer honored him as its “Person of the Year” for 2009. Last year, the Anti-Defamation League recognized him with its First Amendment Freedom Award.

“Tony Valukas is a superb role model for our graduating students and should be a very interesting commencement speaker for the entire audience,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck. “Not only is he a distinguished and nationally respected legal expert, he is a humanitarian, a man with a strong social conscience. He demonstrates a balance in life between high professionalism and concern for society that our liberal arts graduates should see in action, so they might consider how to achieve this balance in their own ways in the coming years.”

Civil and Criminal Litigation

Specializing in civil and white collar criminal litigation, Valukas’ extensive experience includes consumer products litigation, product defect and consumer fraud class actions, food contamination, mass accident and environmental claims as well as defense work with accountants, real estate developers and corporate executives in high-profile matters.

Valukas is a frequent presenter to global business and legal leaders on the financial, ethical and legal challenges facing the country, has been the featured speaker at numerous American Bar Association programs and has been published extensively.

“I was surprised and delighted when I received a call from President Beck advising me that the university was going to award me an honorary degree,” said Valukas. “This award comes from an institution that I cherish and which was instrumental in shaping my life.

“So much of what I have become is attributable to the education and insights I gained while a student at Lawrence,” he added. “I remember the faculty with respect and genuine fondness. They profoundly shaped my view of the world and my commitment to the community. For Lawrence to award me this degree is both humbling and an extraordinary honor.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in government at Lawrence in 1965, Valukas earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1968. He joined Jenner & Block in 1976 and was named the firm’s chairman in 2007.

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, 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.

Lawrence University President Jill Beck to Retire in June 2013

Lawrence University President Jill Beck announced Thursday (2/2) that she plans to retire in June 2013 after nine years as Lawrence’s president.

Beck, the first woman president in Lawrence’s history, became the college’s 15th president in July 2004.

Lawrence University President Jill Beck

“I think much has been accomplished over the past eight years,” said Beck. “Certainly I see a campus physically transformed, a faculty that has grown in number and a student body that is more diverse. There have been enhancements to the curriculum including Senior Experience, dance studies and the expansion of the film studies program with a focus on film production. There are greatly increased opportunities for student internships and research experiences to support our students’ transition from Lawrence into their future lives.”

Terry Franke, chair of the Board of Trustees, said finding President Beck’s successor would be a significant challenge.

“President Beck has helped Lawrence achieve a position of great strength,” said Franke. “She was a stellar fund raiser, leading the recently completed More Light! campaign to great success despite a troubled economy—exceeding the $150 million goal by more than $10 million. During her tenure Lawrence made significant investments in the physical plant in Appleton and in Door County, including the construction of the Warch Campus Center, significant renovations of the Memorial Chapel, Memorial Hall, the Wellness Center and residence halls; plus an expansion of the Björklunden lodge and the addition of a wind turbine on the northern campus. She led these initiatives without incurring any debt. In addition, she championed new academic initiatives such as the Lawrence Fellows program and LU-R1, which provides prestigious off-campus research opportunities for undergraduate science majors. Lawrence also has an expanded Career Center, is greener and boasts an enhanced wellness program. There is no doubt that Lawrence is well positioned for the future thanks to President Beck’s leadership.”

Franke credited Beck for timing her retirement in a manner that provides the Board of Trustees with a generous timeframe to plan and execute the search for Lawrence’s 16th president. He added that Trustee Dale Schuh, the chair, CEO, and president of Sentry Insurance and a Lawrence alumnus, would lead the presidential search committee.

“The board has already started the lengthy process to select a new leader and is looking forward to this important work,” said Franke. “Our goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Beck said the next 17 months would be busy ones as she focuses on several priorities aimed at maintaining Lawrence’s strong momentum.

“I will work with the economics faculty and their interdisciplinary colleagues on their initiative in Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” Beck said. “In addition I will direct energies toward the completion of the renovation of the former Downer Commons as a center for film studies and as the new home of Admissions, Career Services, and Alumni and Constituency Engagement. Certainly other priorities will come to the forefront this year and next, as I work with Director of Athletics Mike Szkodzinski and other members of the high-achieving Lawrence community.”

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Beck received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Clark University, a master’s degree in history from McGill University and a Ph.D. in theatre from the City University of New York.

In 2009, Forbes.com called Beck a “barrier breaker,” one of 15 female college presidents on Forbes’ list of America’s 50 Best Colleges.

An interactive phonecast with President Beck and Lawrence Board of Trustees Chair Terry Franke will be held on Thursday, March 1 at noon. Details for participating will be forthcoming.

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, 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.

Noted Primatologist Frans de Waal Examines Primate-Human Connections in Lawrence University Convocation

One of the world’s pre-eminent primatologists discusses his ground-breaking discoveries on the connections between primate and human behavior, from aggression to morality and culture, in a Lawrence University convocation.

Primatologist Frans de Waal

Frans de Waal, C. H. Candler Professor in the psychology department at Emory University, presents “Morality Before Religion: Empathy, Fairness and Prosocial Primates,” Thursday, Feb. 2 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.  de Waal also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 1:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema.  Both events are free and open to the public.

Born in the Netherlands, de Waal began observing primate behavior at the Arnhem Zoo while a student at the University of Utrecht. His observations of a colony of 25 chimpanzees over a six-year period provided the basis for his 2005 book “Our Inner Ape.”

de Waal, who directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, the oldest and largest primate research institute in the nation, is credited with introducing the term “Machiavellian” to the vocabulary of primatologists. In his first book, “Chimpanzee Politics,” he compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. In 1994, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich put “Chimpanzee Politics” on the recommended reading list for all freshmen Congressmen.

His research led to the discovery of reconciliation among primates and the founding of the field of animal conflict resolution. In 2007, Time Magazine named him one of the “100 World’s Most Influential People Today.”

de Waal came to the United States in 1981 and spent the first 10 years of his American career with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in Madison. He is the author of 13 books on primate behavior, among them 2009’s “The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society,” “Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved,” “Peacemaking Among Primates” and 1998’s “Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape,” the first book to combine and compare data from captivity and the field.

His research has earned him election to both the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

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, 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.