Category: Alumni

Mellon report: Liberal arts education prepares students for today’s job market

Aerial photo showing the Warch Center and the quad on the Lawrence University campus.
Lawrence University

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Liberal arts college students, take heart. That education you are pursuing will not only provide you with critical thinking skills and a rich array of experiences to prepare you for an engaged life, it also preps you for economic success in today’s rapidly changing job market.

That message comes through loud and clear in a newly released report by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that debunks the notion that students are better served pursuing pre-professional programs that are hailed as being more market-ready.

At Lawrence University, the liberal arts education is paired tightly with newly enhanced career counseling, a focus on entrepreneurship and a desire to stay connected with students long after they’ve graduated. It’s a formula that provides the best of both worlds — a broad, deeply diverse and enriching educational experience and an infrastructure designed to prepare students for the workforce through career advising, internships, fellowships and other opportunities administered via the Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement (CLCE).

Anne Jones, the interim director of the CLCE who has overseen the recent implementation of enhanced career advisory tools, said preparation for a rapidly changing job market is a key part of the liberal arts education at Lawrence.

“It’s limiting to be trained during college for a specific role because of how quickly the environment and the industries are changing,” she said. “So, we try to teach students to learn to learn, so that they are better able to react as the jobs change.”

The CLCE is in the process of rolling out the first phase of its new initiatives aimed at making sure no student falls through the cracks when it comes to honing career-building skills. Newly built “career communities” that bring together Lawrence students with related career interests will put resources, experts, contacts and opportunities at their fingertips. The new tools will be publicly rolled out when students return to campus for spring term.

Connect to Career Communities here

Information on Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLCE) here

Mixing those enhanced career-building opportunities with the critical-thinking mantra of a liberal arts education is the Lawrence way. The Mellon Foundation report affirms the value of that investment of time, energy and money.

The Mellon report acknowledges that the choice of a career field will certainly affect a student’s long-term economic prospects — yes, engineers will make more than elementary school teachers — but it argues that that is the case no matter what type of institution you enroll in. And the idea that liberal arts colleges are not offering majors in many of the in-demand STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — is pure fallacy.

“Critics claim that a liberal arts education is worth less than the alternatives, and perhaps, not even worth the investment at all,” the report states. “They argue that increasing costs and low future earnings limit the value of a liberal arts education, especially compared to alternative options such as pre-professional programs that appear to be better rewarded in the current labor market.”

Not true, says the Mellon report.

“Existing evidence does not support these conclusions, when other student and institutional characteristics are controlled for,” the report continues.

The report was authored by Catharine B. Hill and Elizabeth Davidson Pisacreta, both economists with Ithaka S+R.

See full Mellon Foundation report here

They call the perception that liberal arts colleges are not graduating students in math and science a myth. While many liberal arts colleges, including Lawrence, do not offer an engineering degree, their offerings are robust in other STEM fields.

Lawrence, for example, has long had sought-after programs in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics and mathematics, to name a few.

And, the report says, it’s important to acknowledge that not every student wants to be an engineer or a scientist. The income gap has more to do with career choices than whether you pursue a liberal arts education.

But it’s still important, the Mellon report authors state, for liberal arts colleges to be in front of the argument that there isn’t an adequate payoff for the investment. Don’t hide from the naysayers. Instead, show prospective students and their families where the value is and what you’re doing to prepare students to be job market-ready when they graduate and for future career growth.

“It therefore behooves liberal arts defenders to recognize and validate these concerns and provide evidence of the pecuniary benefits to a liberal education so that students and families can take them into account in their decision-making,” the report states.

Head shot of Lawrence President Mark Burstein
Mark Burstein

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein, a history major while an undergraduate at Vassar College, said he can proudly raise his hand when it comes to seeing first-hand the value of a liberal arts education and its ability to prepare students for a wide range of opportunities.

“I took a circuitous path to a college presidency with positions at a Wall Street investment bank, an organizational development consulting firm, and New York City government, followed by leadership positions at Columbia and Princeton universities,” Burstein said. “This career would not have been possible without the skills I learned as a history major at a liberal arts college. There I learned how to present complex topics, lead in a diverse community, and critically analyze the central issues that face society.

“It is nice to see that Hill and Pisacreta’s research underlines what I have experienced, that a liberal arts degree prepares us for career success.”

The Mellon report acknowledges that it’s difficult to define a liberal arts education because factors and practices vary from institution to institution. But at its core it includes a broad array of experiences and opportunities, infused with subject matter across a wide swath of educational terrain, all with an emphasis on critical thinking. 

“A liberal education therefore may be characterized not only by what is taught, but how it is taught and the skills that it develops as a result,” the report states.

The liberal arts approach prepares a student for career mobility and nimbleness, the CLCE’s Jones said.

“Many of the roles that will be out there might not even exist today,” she said. “The liberal arts do a really good job of teaching people the intellectual strength to think and learn, which should prepare them well.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Richard Yatzeck, longtime professor of Russian at Lawrence, dies

Richard Yatzeck, professor emeritus of Russian, passed away on March 7, at the age of 86.

Yatzeck had one of the longest tenures in Lawrence University’s history. He joined the faculty in 1966, retiring in 2014 after a distinguished 48-year career at Lawrence that included leading students on multiple summer-long treks through Eastern Europe.

Richard Yatzeck

He was in his element teaching Russian literature and leading those biennial expeditions to Russia and Eastern Europe.

Upon his retirement nearly five years ago, Yatzeck noted that he wasn’t much of a fan of the modern world, preferring instead to savor the wonders of the 19th Century and the writings of Tolstoy, Pushkin and Dostoevsky.

“Basically, the only way to amuse yourself was to read and that’s what I’ve done all my life, and so in some ways I feel as if I still live in the 19th Century,” Yatzeck said just before his retirement in the summer of 2014 at the age of 81. He noted that he never owned a television.

“Part of being happy teaching at Lawrence is a lot of my work is spent reading and preparing for classes and the thinking that goes along with it,” he said. “When you read a book, you have to make your own pictures so that you’re exercising your imagination. What is this guy saying, what would it look like?”

To see obituary in The Post-Crescent, click here

Yatzeck began organizing every-other-year trips to Russia and Eastern Europe with former professor George Smalley shortly after he joined the faculty in 1966. Traveling in seven Volkswagen buses, as many as 35 students would participate in the trips throughout the continent.

“The (Lawrence) authorities at that time thought it would be a good idea. I’m not sure why they did because everybody else asked us if we’d get back alive,” said Yatzeck, who called the trips the highlight of his teaching career. “They were certainly good for my oral Russian.”

Those trips — as well as two stints (1991, 1997) as director of the ACM’s study-abroad program in Krasnodar — inspired him to chronicle his experiences in the 2012 book, “Russia in Private,” a collection of his observations of Russian life.

Yatzeck was also an avid hunter and fisherman.

“They are quite different things,” he said of teaching and his outdoor pursuits. “The business about hunting is you switch off your intellect and you listen to your senses. Something smells or you hear or taste something and your intellectual powers are in abeyance, and that’s a nice rest. But that isn’t how you teach.”

Yatzeck’s scholarly work included a dozen published poems, but he also wrote extensively about the outdoors, including 11 articles for Gray’s “Sporting Journal,” the “New Yorker” of outdoor literature. His first book was 1999’s “Hunting the Edges,” a collection of his musings about the philosophical, not the practical, aspects of the outdoors.

An on-campus memorial for Yatzeck is being planned for Reunion Weekend. It’s schedule for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 15 in Strange Commons in Main Hall.

Details will be included in the Reunion Weekend schedule.

‘Tonight is perfection’: McKees’ outdoor rink is an Appleton oasis on ice

An aerial view of the ice rink in the McKees' yard.
The McKee ice rink measures more than 100 feet in length and hosts pickup hockey games three times a week.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Welcome to The Venue.

It’s a Tuesday evening in February, and the super snow moon — the biggest, brightest full moon of the year — is hanging over the outdoor ice rink in the Appleton yard of Chuck and Lesley McKee, shining like a beacon on a scene that screams, “This is how we all should embrace our Wisconsin winters.”

The rink, more than 100 feet long and 35 feet wide, is crafted with detail; the ice tended to with care, perfectly smooth on this 20-degree night. A dozen friends and acquaintances, pads on and hockey sticks in hand, ages ranging from 30s to 70s, skate across the rink in a game of pickup hockey, navigating around a large shagbark hickory adorned with lights while firing pucks into mini-sized goals.

“Tonight is perfection,” says Bill Carlson as he scans the scene that unfolds on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons — weather permitting — during the winter. He’s been coming to these makeshift hockey games at the McKee house along Green Bay Road — just a few blocks north of the Lawrence University campus — for 25 years.

“This is called The Venue, and this is the finest athletic facility in the state,” Carlson says with a wink and a smidge of exaggeration. He smiles and gives a nod to Chuck McKee ’68, the architect who has lovingly tended to this winter oasis for nearly three decades.

The McKees are alumni of Lawrence — both 1968 graduates — and are longtime friends and supporters of the school. Chuck, who retired three years ago after a long career as an Appleton physician, was a football star for the Vikings in the 1960s. He was a captain on the 1967 team that went undefeated and was inducted into the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame two years ago.

The McKees have stayed closely connected to Lawrence through the years, attending shows and games, serving on boards. Chuck once served as director of the wellness center on campus and assisted as a doctor for LU athletic teams. Lawrence hockey players will sometimes come to the McKee ice rink to play low-key pond hockey after their season ends.

In many ways, this house is an extension of Lawrence.

Lawrence alumni connections: Learn more here.

Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame: See Lawrence honorees here

A party on ice

It was the McKee daughters who first inspired an outdoor ice rink in the years after the McKees moved back to Appleton in the late 1970s. The rink was much smaller back then. But through trial and error, it would grow and become a more elaborate undertaking.

Others have taken notice.

In its January edition this year, Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured the McKees’ rink, showcasing an outdoor ice-skating party they threw last winter — it was dubbed Moon Over Ice and featured everything from homemade ice lanterns to an outdoor spread of food and drink. The elegant party was initially launched in the 1990s when the McKees thought it would be a good excuse to get friends and neighbors outdoors in the winter. It was halted after a couple of years, then revived again a few years ago.

“Everybody wore old-fashioned fancy clothes and I had a tux that I wore,” Chuck says. “It was really fun.”

If the weather cooperates, it can be a fabulous experience. If it’s too cold or windy or the ice doesn’t cooperate, then not as much.

The 2018 party fell into the fabulous category, a blessing considering the presence of the photographer working for Better Homes and Gardens. It was like a dinner party in a snow globe.

“That day it snowed all day,” Chuck says. “People were out setting up stuff from 10 o’clock in the morning, hanging lights and fashioning the snowbanks to put the tables on. We had a 30-foot-long table on the ice. It was really nice. The whole idea was to spend all that time outside, and everybody loved it.”

A player brings the puck up the ice during a Tuesday night game at the McKee outdoor rink.
Players range in age from their 30s to their 70s. “You lose yourself in this, in the hockey. You’re all the same age out there,” says 72-year-old Chuck McKee ’68.

Then there’s the hockey

The activity on the ice the rest of the winter is a bit less sophisticated than a dinner party. It’s about hockey, but mostly it’s about camaraderie.

There are upwards of 25 guys who come for the hockey games on a semi-regular basis, usually 12 to 15 on any given Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, skill levels varying from some to none. They’re not necessarily friends outside of the hockey get-togethers, but they come because they’re drawn to the casual nature of the hockey and the friendly banter that comes with it, not unlike pickup basketball games or weekly softball leagues that draw players well beyond their athletic prime who still revel in friendly competition. This just happens to be at somebody’s house, a side yard transformed into an elaborate ice rink and a basement turned into a makeshift locker room.

“I’m most taken by how these various people got here,” Chuck says. “The only thing we do together is play hockey. Otherwise, very few of us have any close relationship.

“Probably only half or a third of the people who try this actually stick with it. We’ve had a lot of people who have said, yea, I want to give it a try, and then said, nah. It’s hard to predict who is going to stick with it.”

Marty Thiel came to the group this year. He’s 62, has been playing hockey since high school but had put his skates mostly on the shelf while his kids were growing up. They’re out of the house now, and one day he was asking around about where he could play some “old guy hockey.”

A week later he got a call from Chuck and an invite to join the group.

“Now I’m here three times a week,” Thiel says. “It’s everything and more. I’ll be sad when the season ends because the setting here is just perfect.”

The group helps the McKees keep the rink in working order. They come together on a weekend in December to help set up the rink, and then tend to it during the winter as if it were their own.

“It’s a human labor of love,” Carlson says. “During intermissions, about 15 shovels come out and we shovel the ice. It’s like a Zamboni with shovels. And then at the end of the night, there are a few guys who use the hose and spray another layer so it’ll be ready for the next time.”

Getting the ice just right took years of starts and stops, Chuck says. He found silage film, typically used on farms, that he cuts to size and places on the ground before making the ice. He puts up 6-inch-wide boards around the rink, turning his yard into a massive bathtub. He replumbed a faucet in the basement to accommodate a 1-inch hose.

“So, we take that hose out of the window in the basement and I just let the hose run for 18 hours when I know it’s going to be sub-freezing for five days or so,” Chuck says.

Then it’s a matter of chasing falling leaves as the water freezes.

“Brown oaks are usually the last trees to drop their leaves,” Chuck says. “And these shagbark hickories, one of them didn’t drop its leaves this year until January.”

Aerial view of hockey players making their way across the ice on the McKee outdoor rink.
A rotating cast of players show up on a given weeknight or Sunday afternoon to play hockey on the rink in the McKees’ Appleton yard. They navigate around a shagbark hickory on the east end of the ice.

But now, on this Tuesday night in mid-February, the leaves are no longer an issue and the ice is gleaming, the super snow moon providing a glow.

“Now is the sweet time,” Chuck says.

When the hockey is done, the players return to the basement, remove their pads, drink some beer and hang out. It’s a ritual that’s been playing out over and over again, with an ever-changing cast of characters, for nearly 30 years.

“Here’s what I think,” says Chuck, who at age 72 takes a back seat to no one on the ice. “Who gets to do this at my age? Who gets to sit down in a locker room and drink beer and play darts? I suppose I should be reading AARP books instead. You lose yourself in this, in the hockey. You’re all the same age out there.”

Chuck, who on this night was not playing because he had broken a rib on a freakish fall during a game a couple of weeks earlier, says the rink isn’t going anywhere, even when he eventually hangs up his skates. This ice thing is a hobby he can’t quit.

“Honestly, I’m going to make ice even if I’m not playing hockey,” he says. “It’s really fun. It’s like winter gardening.”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

When March Madness came to Lawrence: 15 years later, bonds stay strong

“That’s when you start
thinking, man,
this is kind of a big deal”

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Sometimes madness can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

Those who have even a passing curiosity of college basketball know the month of March is an unfolding tapestry of drama and strategy, unabashed joy and cruel heartbreak, playing out on hardwood courts across the country, often in spacious arenas housing hoops royalty but sometimes in small but achingly charming gymnasiums far from the spotlight.

So begins our flashback to 15 years ago, when the men’s basketball team from Lawrence University began its own magical dance through March Madness. It was a run that took the Vikings to the Division III Elite 8 before they suffered an agonizing 1-point overtime loss to the eventual national champions in a game that the then-Lawrence coach calls one of the greatest college basketball games ever played — even though the gymnasium in Tacoma, Washington, was mostly empty.

No, this is not a story that ended with a national championship. History rarely remembers a team that came up two games short.

But March Madness is different. A good Cinderella story has legs, made of moments and memories that live on.

Until March 2004, Lawrence had never won an NCAA tournament game. Ever. It hadn’t happened in 101 years.

They would win three on this post-season journey, a fourth slipping from their fingers, a Final Four berth just a few ticks of the clock out of reach.

Division III gets little love from national media, so this wasn’t quite the hysteria of Maryland-Baltimore County beating top-seeded Virginia last year. But it was big here. The Post-Crescent, the daily newspaper in Appleton, chronicled Lawrence’s run through the 2004 tournament with equal parts excitement and astonishment.

— — —

“Those brainiacs over at Lawrence showed they can ball with anybody on the Division III level, and those of you who were paying attention no doubt had quite a ball following their Shock the Nation National Tour. One point, one play from a spot in the NCAA Division III Final Four. Lawrence University? Tell you what, folks, on a larger scale, this would be like Lehigh making it to the Elite Eight in Division I.” Mike Woods, The Post-Crescent

— — —

Still winning

As we check in with that 2003-04 team 15 years later, we find that those players who posted a 24-5 record and went undefeated at Alexander Gymnasium were far more than basketball players. It turns out they were scholars, embracing the academic side of Lawrence as fervently as they attacked their basketball preparations.

Chris Braier, a sophomore that season who would go on to become the most accomplished player in Lawrence history, would also earn the status of Academic All-American. Now 34 and a physician assistant in Chicago, he earned his MBA in December from Northwestern University and has added clinical health care consultant to his resume.

Three other players from that team are now doctors — Kyle MacGillis, a hand/wrist/elbow surgeon in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Jason Holinbeck, an orthopedic surgeon in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Brett Sjoberg, a radiologist in Madison.

Kyle MacGillis drives to the basket against UW-Stevens Point in the 2003-04 NCAA Division III tournament.

Chris MacGillis, brother of Kyle and the leading scorer with 22 points in that Elite 8 game, earned his law degree and is now a partner in a Milwaukee area law office.

Ben Klekamp earned his doctorate and now works as an epidemiologist in Florida.

Another is a college basketball coach, another a financial advisor, another a director of business development, another a manager of a regional business. The list goes on.

Count John Tharp, the then-34-year-old coach of that team, impressed. Not surprised, but impressed.

“The greatness of that run wasn’t necessarily just the wins,” Tharp says as he chats from Hillsdale College, where he now coaches the Division II Chargers. “The greatness of the run was the collection of people that we had in the program at that time. You want to epitomize what a student-athlete is, it was the collection of guys that were on that basketball team.”

— — —

“This whole experience has left a mark that will never go away, and that’s a good thing. For the journey was full of tales and memories that have no shelf life.” Mike Woods, The Post-Crescent

— — —

An historic run

By the time the tournament began in early March 2004, the Lawrence campus had already taken notice that something special was going on. Despite having no player taller than 6’6″, the Vikings had imposed their will as they marched through the Midwest Conference schedule.

As the season rolled on, Alexander Gymnasium got down-right rowdy. It was full. It was loud.

The Appleton Fire Department had to turn people away because of fire code concerns.

“The vibe around campus, people were really excited,” Braier says. “The first game, there was a row of chairs along the baseline at Alex, and by the end of the year they had to build a whole new bleacher section on the baseline because of the crowds.

“When you would come to games, a lot of times the women would play before us, so you would come in during the first half of the women’s game, and you started noticing that there would be a line to get into our games. You couldn’t find a parking spot an hour and a half before the game. That’s when you start thinking, man, this is kind of a big deal.”

They won all 12 home games.

Chris Braier, here playing against Sul Ross State in the 2003-04 NCAA Division III tournament, was inducted into the Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame three years ago.

Then came the tournament. The run began with a first-round 86-51 blowout of Lakeland at a packed Alexander Gym.

“I can remember diving for a loose ball into the standing room-only crowd in one of the corners and realizing that they’re 10 deep in the corners to watch this game,” Braier says.

Then it was on to Storm Lake, Iowa, a seven-hour bus trip into the round of 32.

“When we went to play Buena Vista and we were in Storm Lake, Iowa, we had a ton of students who were at that game,” Tharp recalls. “That’s a great effort to be there. It was amazing. To come out of that locker room and to see how many Lawrence kids were there, and just people from Appleton who were not even necessarily connected to Lawrence, that was incredibly special.”

Lawrence would beat Buena Vista 72-66, sending them to the Sweet 16 in Tacoma and a match up with Sul Ross State, a team from Alpine, Texas, loaded with size and talented junior college transfers. It was unchartered territory for any school from the Midwest Conference, which had never seen a team advance past the second round.

A thrilling 86-79 overtime win that included a late double-digit comeback moved the Vikings to the Elite 8 and a showdown with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a Division III power located just 60 miles west of the Lawrence campus but light years away in terms of basketball history. The Pointers at the time had advanced to the Elite 8 twice in the previous decade and would go on to win back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005.

It was a nail-biter, neither team giving ground, filled with drama to the end — witnessed by no more than 400 or so people in a college fieldhouse nearly 2,000 miles from home. A late Stevens Point three-pointer sent the game into overtime — a bonus five minutes — and then Lawrence’s improbable journey came crashing down in the waning seconds of that extra period.

A made basket by the Pointers to retake the lead. Then a last-second shot that would have won the game for Lawrence fell short. The scoreboard read 82-81.

“I just remember being completely exhausted, dropping to the floor,” Braier says.

Just like that, the ride was over.

“You felt like that last shot, how does that not go in?” Braier says. “It’s like we were in a movie. In the movie, that shot goes in.”

Puget Sound, the host school, had lost the night before to Stevens Point. Thus, witnesses in the arena that night were few.

“There weren’t more than 300 or 400 people in the crowd at that game, and it was probably one of the greatest college basketball games ever played,” Tharp says. “It was a phenomenal game.”

Rob Nenahlo buries his head as he falls to the floor at the end of the game against UW-Stevens Point.
Rob Nenahlo falls to the floor as the game against UWSP ends one point short.

Stevens Point would roll through the next two games to claim a national championship. Lawrence was left with what might have been.

“I think when you talk to everybody they all think we were one or two possessions away from maybe having a chance to win a national championship,” Tharp says.

After the game, even the Stevens Point coach wished aloud that both teams could move on.

— — —

“The Vikings would have gladly jumped at that invitation to play one more game together. On Sunday, though, the talk in the airport was already moving to this week’s final exams on campus, spring-break trips and other ‘real life’ adventures. The team knew that this particular group, like all teams, only receives one chance to write its story.” Dick Knapinski, The Post-Crescent

— — —

“I think there was a sense of disappointment and heartbreak after that loss,” Tharp says. “Afterwards, and over the years, I think there is an obviously special place in everybody’s hearts about the run that was made.”

For Chris MacGillis, a senior on that team, the end of the journey hurt more than missing out on a chance at a national championship.

Chris MacGillis

“I wasn’t emotional because we lost and I thought we should have won,” he says. “I just remember becoming emotional because of how proud I was and how happy I was to be with this group of guys. We were a very tight group. We all relied on each other and we all cared about each other, and we still do to this day. I was more emotional about not being able to do this with these guys anymore than I was about losing.”

Lawrence would continue to dominate the Midwest Conference for the next couple of years, going undefeated in the 2005-06 regular season and claiming the school’s first-ever No. 1 national ranking. They’d win a couple more tournament games, as well. But they never quite recaptured the glory of 2004.

“It really was magical,” MacGillis says.

Still together

Fifteen years later, most of the players on that team remain connected. There are job changes and weddings and children and other life moments to navigate. But the bonds formed during that memorable season remain to this day. For basketball players, a March Madness experience, no matter if it’s under the bright lights of D-1 or in the more dimly lit shadows of D-3, lodges in your soul and stays there forever.

When Braier was inducted into Lawrence’s athletic hall of fame three years ago, many of the players from that team made their way back to Appleton. Braier said it was a reminder to him of how special that group was.

“I always thought, man, these guys are ridiculously smart,” Braier says. “That was my first thought when I first dealt with my teammates.

“I don’t think at the time you realize how special of a group of individuals this was. It was just an everyday thing. … Everyone was such a high achiever. You didn’t think it was anything different. But then when you stepped away or you talked to friends from other teams, that’s when you realized it.”

The coaches remain as connected as the players, despite a decade and a half of travels and life experiences separating them from those three weeks of madness.

“Those guys are part of my life, and obviously things have changed a little bit with me being at a different school and those guys are all over the country now, but I think everyone knows where everybody is at and what everybody is doing,” Tharp says. “But what makes it special, I still think to this day if anybody needed anyone else on that team, I think everybody would still be there for each other.”

Braier is getting married in September and most of his Lawrence teammates will be there.

There’s also a Las Vegas getaway every March that reunites many of them. No better time than March to recall that fleeting moment when Lawrence basketball got to dance.

“Man, I could talk about this forever,” Braier says.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Alumni get chance to reconnect, give back through Bjorklunden seminars

Registration is now open for Bjorklunden summer seminars

Link to video of Bjorklunden
Video: Bjorklunden

The 2019 Björklunden summer seminar lineup will feature a strong showing by Lawrence University alumni eager to return to their roots at the university’s pristine northern campus.

The lineup features 40 speakers, with topics catering to a wide range of interests. Fourteen of the instructors will be Lawrence alumni. That’s no coincidence.

“We try to get alumni as well as current Lawrence faculty (to teach seminars),” Director of Björklunden Mark Breseman said. “We think it is a positive thing for everybody.

“We figure alumni can attract some other classmates, which is a cool thing, and the same goes for the faculty.”

Robert Spoo ’79, who holds an endowed chair in law at the University of Tulsa and is a former English professor and editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, is among those Lawrence alumni excited for that connection. He’s been a frequent instructor at Björklunden, and returns in June to lead “The Ulysses Starter Kit,” a seminar that will explore James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, as well as Joyce’s life, Dublin of the early 1900s and Irish history, music and culture.

“There are various ways we can give back to LU,” Spoo said. “One of those ways, for me, is to step into a role — teaching — that had such a great impact on me when I was on the learning side of the lectern. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t borrow something in my own classroom work that inspired me as a student at LU.

“Conducting seminars at Bjork is both an opportunity to give back in kind through teaching and to strengthen my connection as a LU alumnus. It’s especially satisfying when I can teach a subject at Bjork — in recent years it’s been the Irish author James Joyce — that I first encountered at LU.”

This year’s Björklunden seminar topics come in the areas of art, geology, film and television, history, literature, music, politics, religion and more. The seminars are open to both commuters and residents, who are housed in the estate’s 37,000-square-foot lodge, located on 425 acres just south of Baileys Harbor along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

One of Lawrence’s most visible alumni, ABC News chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran ’82, will lead a seminar titled “Americans First: We Don’t Actually Hate Each Other as Much as You Think.”

This is Moran’s third visit to Björklunden as a summer seminar instructor, with previous forums also focused on American politics.

Joining him in the political category is Paul Wickham Schmidt ’70, who is co-teaching the seminar, “American Immigration: A Legal, Cultural & Historical Approach to Understanding the Complex and Controversial Issue Dominating Our National Dialogue.”

Lawrence alumni are also instructing literary and artistic seminars. In addition to Spoo’s seminar on Joyce, Daniel Taylor ’63 will dive into Homer’s Odyssey, while Eric Simonson ’82 spearheads the Door Kinetic Arts Festival.

The summer seminars at Björklunden allow the lecture-goers to explore the northern campus and engage with the beautiful scenery in Door County.

Most seminars, which include meals prepared by Björklunden’s resident chef, begin Sunday evening and end Friday afternoon. Classes meet weekday mornings and some evenings, with remaining time available to enjoy Björklunden’s mile-long Lake Michigan shoreline and wooded walking trails or to explore Door County’s cultural and recreational opportunities.

A daily registration has been introduced this year. For $90 per day,  you can jump into a seminar for a single day.

Complete seminar information, including registration, dates, course descriptions and instructors, can be found at http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/bjork/ or by calling 920-839-2216. Questions can also be directed via email to mark.d.breseman@lawrence.edu.

By Nicole Witmer ’19

Bjorklunden’s summer seminar lineup

June 9-14: Listen to the Birds – Don Quintenz; Door Kinetic Arts Festival – Eric Simonson ‘82

June 16-21: Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World – Marcia Bjornerud

June 23-28: A New Leaf for Your Art – Marjorie Atwood; The Ulysses Starter Kit – Robert Spoo ‘79; Wildlife Photography: Turning Passion into Productivity – John Van Den Brandt

July 7-13: Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp – Bob DeRosa

July 14-19: Villains, Maidens, and Spirits: An Introduction to Russian Folklore – Victoria Kononova; Modern China Through a Lens of History and Art – Shelley Drake Hawks & Brigid E. Vance; Medieval Women: Life, Work, Space and Place – Jane Schulenburg ‘65

July 21-26: Dwight Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Dulles Brothers: American Foreign Policy in the 1950s – Tim Crain; Revolutionary Russia: Politics and Culture from Lenin to Stalin – Peter Thomas; The Great Failure: Why World War I Began, Continued, and Never Ended – Jerald Podair & John Greenwald

July 28-August 2: Americans First: We Don’t Actually Hate Each Other as Much as You Think – Terry Moran ‘82; The American Civil War: News and Views – James Cornelius ‘81

August 4-9: American Immigration: A Legal, Cultural, & Historical Approach to Understanding the Complex and Controversial Issue Dominating Our National Dialogue – Paul Wickham Schmidt ’70 and Jennifer Esperanza; When History Meets Philosophy – Terry Goode; Paraphrases and Reminiscences: Exploring the Art of Piano Transcription – Anthony Padilla

August 11-17: Watercolor: The Expressive Medium – Helen Klebesadel; Three Wives of Abraham – Bill Urbrock; Smartphone Photography: Exploring Creativity with Your Camera – Philip Krejcarek

August 25-30: What Makes a Classic Movie Classic? Learning to Understand the Difference Between a Classic Film and “Just an Old Movie” – Jack Rhodes; The Geopolitics of Energy: Past, Present and Future – Tom Cutler ’73 & J. William Ichord; The Prosecutor’s Art: From the Streets to the Suites of the Oval Office – Steve Licata ’75 & Charlie Schudson

September 8-13: Creating Emotional Landscapes Through Poetry – Marilyn L. Taylor; Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms – Don Quintenz & Charlotte Lukes; Human Microbes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – David W. Hines ‘76

September 15-20: Watercolor: A Fresh Start – Helen Klebesadel; The Migration Phenomenon: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Atlantic – Christopher Murray ‘75; TV’s Middle Period, Late ‘70s to Century’s End: Time of Tele-Transition – Paul McComas ‘83

September 22-27: Stealing the Show: Memorable Supporting Players of the Classic Film Era – Jack Rhodes; Prosperity to Debacle: The Third Century Crisis in Roman History – Gerry Max ‘67; Experience Björklunden: Explore Door County on Your Own

September 29-October 4: Lincoln’s Spies – Doug Waller; Homer’s Odyssey – Daniel Taylor ‘63; Experience Björklunden: Explore Door County on Your Own

October 6-11: Baseball Double Header: Classic Baseball Films and the 2019 Postseason – Steven Landfried ‘66.

Dean selected to lead Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement

Michael O’Connor has been selected as the new Riaz Waraich Dean of Lawrence University’s Center for Career, Life and Community Engagement.

Currently the Director of Career Exploration at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, O’Connor will fill the newly endowed deanship. It’s supported by a $2.5 million gift from J. Thomas Hurvis ’60 that was announced in November at the launch of Lawrence’s $220 million Be the Light! Campaign.

Portrait of Michael O'Connor
Michael O’Connor

O’Connor will begin his new role May 1, overseeing a revamped and reenergized office that prepares students for life after Lawrence, develops and sustains networking connections with alumni near and far, assists in fellowship opportunities and enhances career connections in the community. He will report to Christopher Card, Vice President for Student Life.

For O’Connor, the opportunity to put into play the recommendations that came from the Task Force on Life After Lawrence – the final report was released in May 2018 – was too good to pass up. He praised President Mark Burstein’s leadership, saying the enhanced commitment to career services for all Lawrence students ties in well with other initiatives designed to make Lawrence more accessible and increasingly responsive to student needs.

“I love the strategic direction the school is going under Mark’s leadership,” O’Connor said. “I love how the college is smart for investing in its core strengths, and raising its national profile while increasing affordability/accessibility and leveraging its unique learning environment.

“I love the integration of fellowships, community engagements, and career services under CLCE, and see limitless potential for connecting our broader mission to both the broader Lawrence and Appleton communities.”

Card said O’Connor’s appointment “is the culmination of a national search for a distinguished professional to lead the center.”

O’Connor comes to the Riaz Waraich Deanship following more than five years as director of the Career Exploration program that is part of the Career Center at Williams College. He is second in command at the Career Center, and spent seven months as its interim director in 2015-16.

He previously served as director of the Office of Career Planning at Sage Colleges in New York, and worked in career services at Union College in New York and Hiram College in Ohio.

He has a bachelor’s of arts degree with a major in psychology from the University of Connecticut and a master’s of arts and social sciences degree from Binghamton University with a concentration in student affairs and diversity.

Associate Professor of History Monica Rico, who was a member of the Lawrence search committee, said she was impressed not only with O’Connor’s wide-ranging work with students but also his collaborations with faculty.

“Mike has a proven record of developing, implementing, and refining approaches to post-graduate life that connect with students at all phases of their college experience,” Rico said. “He’s emerging as a nationally known expert on career planning for liberal arts students.”

Anne Jones, who has served as the interim dean of the CLCE for the past year, will continue in that role until O’Connor arrives in May.

“I want to acknowledge the amazing work by Anne Jones, who has led that department with distinction since February of last year,” Card said.

The deanship is named after Hurvis’ business partner, Riaz Waraich, as recognition of how quality partnerships are often key to career success.

That’s a theme O’Connor is looking to build on in his new role.

“I loved the thoughtful design of the position and fabulous work by the Life After Lawrence Task Force,” he said. “I think the CLCE team is poised for big things.”

Give, Share, Shine: Lawrence University Hosting Fifth Annual Giving Day

Giving Day Logo promo
Lawrence’s Fifth Annual Giving Day takes place 10.10.18

Lawrence University’s fifth annual Giving Day premiers LIVE from campus on Wednesday, October 10.

Lawrence is making some exciting changes for Giving Day’s fifth anniversary, including introducing the use of Facebook Live and an exciting announcement for the Lawrence community. The show will still be live across campus this year, but the daytime portion of Giving Day will now feature individual segments that harness the power of social media. Giving Day will start by celebrating all things Lawrence with three interactive Facebook Live segments before the three-hour evening live show begins at 6 p.m.

The Giving Day kick-off starts at 9 a.m. CDT. Then, at 12:30 p.m., viewers will be treated to an inside look at one of the bedrock features of the Geology Department: the flume room. At 3:30 p.m., there will be a special edition of LU trivia. And, throughout the day, there will also be a mix of new giving, sharing, trivia and tagging Facebook challenges, which will unlock large amounts of Game Changer money.

Game Changers are a generous group of alumni, parents and friends who are providing matching funds as motivation for others to support the college. The day features two exciting matching opportunities: Gifts of any amount from the Classes of 2002–2022 will be matched with $500 and all other gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

The live show is still the heart of Giving Day. It will air from 6-9 p.m. with co-hosts Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication, and Caro Granner ’20. The live show will feature an exciting array of performances and guests, many of whom are direct beneficiaries of Lawrence Fund donations and who demonstrate the way funding assists faculty, students and programs on campus.

 

Giving Day showcases the power of the Lawrence community and what it can accomplish to provide transformative educational experiences to students from around the world.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Lawrence’s fifth annual Giving Day and to Give. Share. Shine. Give generously to the Lawrence Fund. Share the excitement using #LUGives. Shine by showcasing your pride in Lawrence University.

Giving Day: A 12-hour live celebration of all things Lawrence

With two smash hits to its credit, Lawrence University looks to make it three in a row with its third edition of Giving Day.

A photo of Lawrence University Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado and art professor Rob Neilson creating a face mold.
Giving Day can be a learning experience as co-host Kasey Corrado found out in 2015 when she worked with art professor Rob Neilson to create some living art — a face mold.

From athletics to art, dance to diversity, physics to philosophy, virtually everything you want to know about what’s new and interesting at Lawrence will be discussed Tuesday, Nov. 15 during the college’s third annual 12-hour Giving Day extravaganza.

The 9 a.m.-to-9 p.m. show will be webcast LIVE at go.lawrence.edu/givingday and will feature dozens of special guests and performers from all corners of the campus throughout the day. Lawrence President Mark Burstein, dance instructor Margaret Paek, theatre director Timothy Troy, Kimberly Barrett, dean of diversity and inclusion, classics professor Randall McNeil, the Lawrence Fiddle Club and Porky’s Groove Machine are among those who will share their insights, perspectives and talents.

Kasey Corrado, Lawrence’s director of social media, returns for her third year as “ringmaster” of the show. She will be joined by first-time co-host Ken Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid.

While a 12-hour live gig is definitely a challenge, Corrado calls Giving Day “her favorite day of the year at Lawrence.”

“When you’re given that signal that you’re ‘live,’ it slowly but surely sinks in that you have a marathon and not a sprint ahead of you,” said Corrado. “But this is such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that is Lawrence. In 12 hours, we’re able to showcase current students, connect with alumni, interact with faculty, talk with staff, and of course, share appreciation for our generous donors.

“As a co-host, I enjoy experiencing all the excitement and energy of the day,” she added. “I always come away from Giving Day completely amazed at the amount of love and support Lawrence has not only from people on campus but from all over the world.”

A photo of Lawrence University faculty saxophonists Sumner Truax and Steven Jordheim playing saxophones on Lawrence Giving Day in 2015.
Great music is a staple of the Giving Day live show as faculty saxophonists Sumner Truax and Steven Jordheim proved last year.

Being in front of a camera is nothing new for Anselment, who previously has “starred” in a pair of Lawrence April Fool’s Day videos, but he admits those productions weren’t exactly perfect preparation for a 12-hour stint in front of the camera eye.

“I’ve stood behind college fair tables for four hours at a time and I’ve run a handful of half marathons, but I have never tried to do all of that in one day,” said Anselment, a 12-year veteran of admissions and financial aid operations at Lawrence.

“My job will be to help our viewers get a sense of how engaging, interesting and fun our community is and that is best done by letting our guests shine as brightly as they can,” added Anselment, a former college cheerleader. “I plan to bring all that enthusiasm to Giving Day without, of course, my old cheerleading uniform.”

Lawrence held its first Giving Day in 2014 as a one-day-only fundraising event for alumni and friends to show their support for Lawrence and its programs. The first year, with the help of “game changers” who promised to match gifts, raised $1.1 million for the college. Last year, more than 2,300 donors generated $1.36 million during the second Giving Day event.

For this year’s event, more than 140 alumni, parents and friends have agreed to serve as “game changers” by providing matching funds to motivate others to support the college and its students according to Ben Campbell, Lawrence’s director of annual giving.

“We are heartened by the way the university community continues to pull together for this wonderful celebration of Lawrence, past and present,” said Campbell, a 1997 LU graduate. “We’re looking forward to doing it all again, only bigger, better and ‘bLUer.’ We hope everyone can find some time during the show to give, share and watch in celebration of Lawrence Giving Day 2016.”

Exhibiting her apparent high pain threshold, Rachel Crowl has returned to perform her masterful behind-the-scenes wizardry as the webcast’s all-important producer/director for a third straight year.

A photo of Lawrence University Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado and biology professor Bart DeStasio get ready to do some field research gear.
With encouragement from biologist Bart DeStasio, Giving Day co-host Kasey Corrado gets ready to do some field research gear.

“I’m fully prepared for things to once again go wrong in ways I never expected and I can’t wait to watch us catch ourselves again before we fall,” said Crowl, who has spent months lining up guests and organizing the show. She’s promising a more music-infused program for year three along with the usual staples.

“I’m hoping to have at least one jaw-dropping musical performance very hour. We’re also going to take a look at some of the mainstays of a liberal arts college, like philosophy and classics, do a little science, learn about public art, make some chili, do some dancing, make some noise.

“I just want to have some fun, be entertaining, show off Lawrence University and raise some money.”

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.

Lawrence hosts weekend reunion for Black Alumni Network

A photo of Lawrence University alumna.Lawrence University welcomes members of its Black Alumni Network to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for its second reunion. The weekend-long event is designed to provide opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and the college as well as interact with current students.

“This reunion provides a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence to support this engaged and successful group of graduates,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. “It also provides a way for these individuals to give back to the institution by contributing to the success of current students, particular those who identify as African-American.

Alumni attending the reunion can relive their college days by sitting in on one of three Fall Term classes with current students: “Democracy in Comparative Perspective,” “Introduction to Gender Studies” and “Literature and the Environment.”

Other reunion activities include campus tours, a lunch with small group conversations addressing campus issues related to identity development and diversity with Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity and students, a screening of author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Lawrence convocation “Race in America: A Deeper Black” followed by group discussion and a Diversity Circle program offering a contemporary approach to diversity training moderated by current Lawrence students.

A photo of Lawrence University alumnus.As part of the weekend festivities, the president and other senior administrators will join the alumni for lunch on Oct. 1, members of Lawrence’s Black Student Union will host an open house at Sankofa House for the alumni Saturday evening and members of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs will host a question-and-answer session in conjunction with a Sunday brunch.

“Those attending the reunion will be able to share key insights with university administrators to assist in our efforts to create a more inclusive Lawrence,” said Barrett. “I feel extremely fortunate to have access to this brain trust to inform my work as I begin my tenure at Lawrence as the college’s first chief diversity officer.”

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.

Milwaukee-Downer College legacy honored, preserved in renamed building

Alice-G.-Chapman-Hall_newsblog
The one-time Jason Downer Commons now bears the name of long-time Milwaukee-Downer College trustee and benefactor Alice G. Chapman.

Lawrence University’s deep connections to Milwaukee-Downer College will be strengthened further by honoring Alice G. Chapman, a long-time trustee and benefactor of the former all-women’s college.

The original Jason Downer Commons, currently known as the Hurvis Center, is being renamed Alice G. Chapman Hall.

Located on the east end of campus, Chapman Hall is home to the Lawrence admissions office, the career center, the alumni and constituency engagement office and the film studies program.

“Renaming our building Alice G. Chapman Hall will underscore the valued connection between Lawrence University and the historic Milwaukee-Downer campus,” said Stacy Mara, associate vice president for development.

Highlighting the building is the beautifully hand-carved Alice Chapman Room, also known as the Teakwood Room. It was originally built by American artist and architect Lockwood de Forest in Chapman’s Milwaukee home and used as a music room. After Chapman died in 1935, the Teakwood Room was placed in Chapman Library on the Milwaukee-Downer campus in 1938 and used for receptions, poetry readings and chamber music.

Teakwood-Room_newsblog
The Teakwood Room, a distinctive feature of the Milwaukee-Downer College campus, was moved to Lawrence after the 1964 consolidation and is now on the second floor of Chapman Hall.

When the consolidation was announced, members of the Milwaukee-Downer community asked that their beloved room be preserved. The room was carefully disassembled and stored in a warehouse until 1968 when it was reassembled at Lawrence in Downer Commons.

“The Chapman name has long been associated with Milwaukee Downer College and it is significantly fitting to reunite Chapman Hall and the Teakwood Room to perpetuate Downer at Lawrence,” said Marlene Widen, a 1955 Milwaukee-Downer graduate and 2013 recipient of the university’s Presidential Award for exemplary leadership and actions have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence community. “Chapman Hall will serve as the east anchor to another beloved part of Downer, the recreated Hawthornden on the west end of campus.”

Born in Boston in 1853, Alice Greenwood Chapman grew up in Milwaukee, where her father, T. A. Chapman, ran Chapman’s Department Store. She attended Milwaukee Female College, a predecessor of Milwaukee-Downer, and served on Milwaukee-Downer’s Board of Trustees from 1906 until her death.

Alice-G.-Chapman_newsblog
Alice G. Chapman

Known as “an ardent lover of music,” Alice Chapman was an accomplished musician who also enjoyed composing. She was active with a numerous civic groups, including the Milwaukee Institute of Arts, the Visiting Nurses Association and the Children’s Hospital.

Chapman was a generous benefactor for Milwaukee-Downer, including a bequest that funded a new library building. After the consolidation with Lawrence, the Chapman Library became Chapman Hall and is now the Office of the Chancellor at UW-Milwaukee.

Originally completed in 1968, Downer Commons, which served as the campus’ primary dining center for 40 years, was named in honor of Judge Jason Downer, an associate justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1864-1867. He served as the president of the board of trustees (1866-1871; 1874-1878) for Wisconsin Female College in Fox Lake, a predecessor to Milwaukee-Downer College. When Downer died, he left a gift of $65,000 to the college and its name was changed to Downer College.

When the Warch Campus Center opened in 2009 and dining services moved there, Downer Commons was remodeled to accommodate offices and a state-of-the-art production studio for the university’s newly expanded film studies program, which was supported by a generous gift from the Hurvis family and the Caerus Foundation.

“Lawrence is exceedingly grateful for the Hurvis family’s flexibility in allowing us to make this name change,” said Mara. “Alice Chapman’s famous Teakwood Room has remained a constant fixture and notable highlight on campus throughout the life of the building. Alumni from Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer associate the building with our Milwaukee-Downer history because of this special room.”

Hurvis-Center-Prod.-Studio_newsblog
A production studio is part of the Hurvis Film Studies Center in the lower level of Chapman Hall.

According to Mara, Lawrence will recognize the generosity and dedication of the Hurvis family and the Caerus Foundation by continuing to associate the Hurvis family name with the film studies program, which was their original intent, but not the building itself. The southeast portion of Chapman Hall that houses the film studies program will display the name “Hurvis Film Studies Center” on the outside of the building, with additional Hurvis Film Studies Center signage inside.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.