Category: Faculty

Lawrence Poet Melissa Range Awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

Lawrence University poet Melissa Range has been named one of 36 national recipients of a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing. She was selected from among 1,634 applications.

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Melissa Range

The highly competitive fellowship is designed to allow published writers to set aside time for writing, research, travel and career advancement.

Range, who joined the Lawrence faculty in September as an assistant professor of English, plans to use her fellowship to complete research for the third poetry collection she is writing, which will focus on the abolitionist movement. Her work frequently employs metaphor and features a musical style with an emphasis on the way words sound.

“Professor Range is a creative young poet of remarkable talent,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “The quality of her work, both published and unpublished, is outstanding. We are extremely proud of her success in obtaining this most prestigious fellowship.”

She previously has been recognized for her writing with the 2010 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize and was the recipient of the 2013 teaching award for creative writing at the University of Missouri, where she earned her Ph.D. in English and creative writing.

Range, who first began writing poetry as college junior, has conducted more than a dozen invited poetry readings and is the author of the book “Horse and Rider: Poems,” which centers on violence and power in religion and the natural world. Her collection “Scriptorium” uses sonnets to explore themes of belief and doubt inspired by medieval and religious art.

Since its founding in 1965 by Congress, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 Physicist Receiving National Service Honor

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David Cook

David Cook, Philetus E. Sawyer Professor of Science and professor emeritus of physics, will be honored Jan. 3-5, 2015 during the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) national conference in San Diego, Calif.

The ATTP will recognize Cook with its Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service. He has served as AAPT vice president (2008), president-elect (2009), president (2010) and past president (2011). He currently serves as chair of the AAPT’s meetings committee. He is the only Lawrence faculty member to serve as president of the AAPT, the country’s premier national organization and authority on physics and physical science education.

“I am both honored and humbled to be chosen for this recognition by the professional organization that has contributed substantially to my own growth since the beginning of my teaching career in the late 1960s,” Cook said of his distinguished service award.

Cook retired in 2008 after 43 years of teaching in the Lawrence physics department. He was elected a Fellow in the American Physical Society for his contributions to physics education in America in 2013, joining his long-time department colleague Professor Emeritus John Brandenberger as the only two physicists at Lawrence ever recognized as a Fellow by the APS.

“Professor Cook is a pioneer in developing an effective physics curriculum for liberal learning students,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty at Lawrence. “His methods have helped build an extremely strong physics program that has prepared many students for success in graduate programs and helped start them on distinguished careers. His work provides a wonderful model for colleagues at other institutions. We are extremely proud of his accomplishments.”

Cook’s AAPT service includes more than 40 years of meeting attendance and leadership on at least eight committees. While serving on the AAPT Executive Board, he generated detailed manuals for members of the presidential chain, and he took on the task of formatting and indexing the 250-page Executive Board Handbook compiled over several years by the Governance Review Committee.

One of his most important service legacies is PAC Tools. Cook was the impetus and leader of the advisory group that worked with staff to develop AAPT’s online program for planning meetings from abstract submission through the paper sort, to export into the final meeting program.

During his four-plus decade teaching career at Lawrence, Cook taught nearly every undergraduate physics course while leading the development and incorporation of computers into the physics curriculum. Beginning in 1985, he designed and built Lawrence’s computational physics laboratory with the support of more than $1 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, the W. M. Keck Foundation and other sources.

He is the author of two textbooks, “The Theory of the Electromagnetic Field,” one of the first to introduce computer-based numerical approaches alongside traditional approaches and “Computation and Problem Solving in Undergraduate Physics.”

He was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 Celebrates the Life of Jazz Studies Director and Professor of Music Fred Sturm Nov. 15

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Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin (left) was just one of the many jazz icons Fred Sturm collaborated with during his illustrious career.

A memorial service celebrating the life and honoring the career of Fred Sturm, Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies and Improvisational Music at Lawrence University, will be held Saturday, Nov. 15  at 10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. A reception will be held in the Warch Campus Center following the service. Both events are open to the public.

The service also will be webcast via livestream.

Sturm died Aug. 24 at his home in De Pere at the age of 63 following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

A nationally recognized jazz educator and an award-winning composer, Sturm spent 26 years as a member of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music faculty spanning two different teaching stints (1977-91; 2002-14). In between, he taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he was the chair of the jazz studies and contemporary media department.

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Sturm was a beloved mentor to hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring musicians. The student ensembles he directed were recognized with nine Downbeat awards, widely considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education. Downbeat honored Sturm himself with its Jazz Education Achievement Award in 2010.

Read more about Prof. Sturm’s amazing career at Lawrence.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 Celebrates the Life of Professor Emeritus E. Dane Purdo Oct. 26

A memorial service celebrating the life and career of Lawrence University Professor Emeritus of Art E. Dane Purdo will be held Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center.

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Professor Emeritus of Art E. Dane Purdo, 1926-2014.

An accomplished silversmith, Purdo taught at Lawrence from 1964-91. A Fox Cities resident in retirement, he passed away Aug. 19 at the age of 88.

He enjoyed a productive 36-year teaching career that began in 1955 at Milwaukee-Downer as both studio artist and art historian. After the consolidation, he taught courses in metals and ceramics in Lawrence’s art department until his retirement.

A native of Detroit, Purdo was an accomplished silversmith and his creations include Lawrence’s Faculty Marshal Mace carried at the head of formal academic processions as well as the Presidential Chain of Office and usher batons.

His craftsmanship was admired for its carefully controlled contours, perfect balance between convex forms and concave outlines and mirror-smooth surfaces. “Simplicity is the essence of good taste” is how he once described the philosophy behind his art. He was renowned for his ability to blend textures with modern balance and novel lines. His creations ranged from stunning jewelry to ecclesiastical chalices and were exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.

A recipient of a 1956 Fulbright grant, which he used to pursue his interests in silversmithing at the Royal College of Art in London, Purdo holds the distinction of becoming the first American to register his hallmark at Goldsmith Hall.

Read more about Professor Purdo.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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.

Corinne Wocelka 1931-2014: Long-Time Librarian Helped Modernize Seeley G. Mudd

Corinne Wocelka, who spent more than three decades assisting students and faculty members alike in the Seeley G. Mudd library, died suddenly Sunday, Sept. 14 after attending the Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field. She was 82.

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Corinne Wocelka

As associate professor and director of technical services in the library, Wocelka enjoyed a 33-year career amid the stacks, beginning in 1976 as a circulation assistant. She spent eight years as an acquisitions librarian and the following 24 years as director of technical services, overseeing the acquisition and processing of all new materials added to the library’s collections.

She led the creation of Lawrence’s on-line catalogue system that helped revolutionize the way we access information, played a leading role in modernizing the management of periodicals and was a driving force behind the creation of the Lincoln Reading Room.

In addition to her excellent work in the library, Wocelka was an active participant on faculty committees, especially the Honors Committee, which benefited greatly from her high standards and attention to detail.

She retired from Lawrence in 2010 and was awarded an honorary master of arts degree at that year’s June commencement.

A native of La Crosse, Wocelka studied in the Mudd library before she began working there, taking advantage of the library’s resources while completing her bachelor’s degree in language and literature at UW-Green Bay. She later earned a master’s degree in library science from UW-Oshkosh.

A celebration of Wocelka’s life will be held Saturday afternoon Sept. 27 (time TBD) at Touchmark, where she lived in retirement, 2601 Touchmark Dr., Appleton. A complete obituary will appear in the Sunday, Sept. 21 edition of The Post-Crescent.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Maestro Fred Sturm: Lawrence Mourns the Death of its Long-Time Jazz Director

Lawrence University Kimberly-Clark Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies and Improvisational Music Fred Sturm died peacefully at his home in De Pere Sunday, Aug. 24 following a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 63.

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Fred Sturm ’73 not only helped launch the jazz studies program at Lawrence, he served as its director for 26 years.

An award-winning composer, nationally recognized jazz educator and beloved mentor to hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring musicians, Sturm graduated from Lawrence in 1973. He returned to his alma mater four years later and spent 26 years as a member of the conservatory of music faculty spanning two different teaching stints (1977-91; 2002-14). In between, he taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he was the chair of the jazz studies and contemporary media department.

Sturm, who wrote his first jazz arrangement as a senior at Oconomowoc High School in 1969, was instrumental in creating Lawrence’s jazz studies program in the early 1970s while still a student.  As a 19-year-old sophomore, Sturm formed the Lawrence conservatory of music’s first-ever jazz ensemble, which in turn became a catalyst for the creation of the jazz studies department.

During his 37-year teaching career, the student jazz ensembles Sturm directed were recognized with nine Downbeat awards, widely considered among the highest music honors in the field of jazz education.

Sturm himself was recognized by Downbeat magazine with its 2010 Jazz Education Achievement Award as part of its annual Student Music Awards. The award honors jazz educators who have made significant contributions toward the development of future jazz artists and positively impacted their school’s jazz programs through their commitment to jazz education. Downbeat editor Ed Enright hailed Sturm as “the perfect example of a teacher who goes the extra mile” for his students and ensembles. “Fred’s influence can be seen and heard throughout the jazz education community.”

“Fred was a consummate artist, master educator, visionary, mentor, life-changer, jester, compassionate friend. He positively impacted the lives of all who knew him.”
                   — Brian Pertl ’86, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music

Renowned for his enthusiastic, generous spirit, infectious passion for all things music and great sense of humor, Sturm devoted his life to helping music students hone their skills, traveling far and near to lead clinics or serve as composer-in-residence for school and university music programs. He also was a founding member of the jazz nonet Matrix.

Sturm was the driving force behind the creation of Jazz Weekend in 1980, a two-day celebration each November that brought professional jazz artists and leading jazz educators to the Lawrence campus for a 100 percent non-competitive jazz education festival. Sturm designed the program to serve as an inspirational jump-start for hundreds of high school students and jazz groups, promoting improvisation as a primary focus. During its 33-year history, the festival brought many of jazz’s biggest names to campus, including Bobby McFerrin, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Diane Schuur, Wayne Shorter, Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling, among others.

“Fred was a consummate artist, master educator, visionary, mentor, life-changer, jester, compassionate friend,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and a 1986 Lawrence graduate. “He positively impacted the lives of all who knew him. I am who I am because of him. I do what I do because of him. His influences on me are too numerous to count and too deep to fathom. He saw potential where others saw nothing. He steadfastly held to that vision even as I doubted. Over a 30-year arc, he never let me give up on what he knew I could be. My story is just one of thousands.”

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Jazz ensembles conducted by Fred Sturm won nine Downbeat awards for outstanding performance during his 37-year teaching career at Lawrence and Eastman School of Music.

Sturm’s long list of honors and awards include a 1997 Grammy Award nomination, the 2003 ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence and Lawrence’s own Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005. Additionally, he was the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music, among others.

During his career, he served as guest conductor/composer/arranger for professional jazz ensembles and radio orchestras in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Scotland and Norway.

Among his many ambitious projects was the 2010 Radiohead Jazz Project, which featured special arrangements of select Radiohead songs. Sturm coordinated the writers, developed project funding and produced the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble studio recordings with engineer Larry Darling. The internationally renowned HR Big Band of Frankfurt performed the Radiohead Project in 2011 in Germany and numerous American universities and high schools have subsequently showcased the RJP repertoire in concert.

Another project of which he was especially fond was “Migrations: One World, Many Musics,” a concert suite inspired by indigenous music from 21 countries. It was premiered by vocalist Bobby McFerrin and the NDR Big Band in Germany in 2007 and toured Europe the following summer.

A native of suburban Chicago, Sturm’s love of baseball, especially the Cubs, was second only to his love of music. Both were intrinsically intertwined throughout his life. Of all of his musical endeavors, none was closer to his heart than the Baseball Music Project, a tour de force that was part symphony concert, part musical American history lesson and part traveling exhibition. The project was inspired in large part by a baseball-themed composition he wrote in 1994 entitled “A Place Where it Would Always Be Spring.” An updated version of that work — “Forever Spring” — served as the centerpiece of the touring Baseball Music Project, which has been performed regularly since 2005 by American orchestras around the country under the auspices of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

(To read more about Fred’s involvement with the Baseball Music Project, download a copy of the summer issue of Lawrence magazine and go to page 24, “Putting the Bat in Baton.”)

After earning a bachelor of music degree in music education from Lawrence, Sturm studied at North Texas State University and the Eastman School of Music.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, De Pere, and two children, Ike, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Madeline, New York, N.Y.

A private memorial service will be held this week at Bjorklunden. A memorial celebrating Sturm’s life will be held at Lawrence on a date to be determined.

Feel free to share your favorite memories of Fred.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Art Professor Benjamin Rinehart Featured in Large-Scale Printmaking Exhibition

Lawrence University art professor Benjamin Rinehart is one of 41 printmakers whose large-scale relief prints will be exhibited Aug. 9-17 at Manitowoc’s Rahr-West Art Museum.

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Benjamin Rinehart’s large-scale print “Full Melt” will be part of an exhibition Aug. 9-17 at Manitowoc’s Rahr-West Art Museum.

Most artists created a large — 60” x 36” — relief print July 21-25 during a public printmaking event in Manitowoc that attracted artists from around the country and included the use of a city-owned steamroller.

Following the exhibition at the Rahr-West Art Museum, the prints will be showcased at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers through the end of October. Additional venues are being scheduled both nationally and internationally.

A member of the Lawrence faculty since 2006, Rinehart specializes in socially-charged images with an emphasis on printmaking, book constructions, painting and drawing. His work is included in numerous public and private collections and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Prior to Lawrence, Rinehart taught at Pratt Institute, Rutgers/Mason Gross School of the Arts, Long Island University, Fordham University, FIT, and Manhattan Graphics Center. He also has served as a visiting artist at institutions around the country, including the Center for Book Arts, Pyramid Atlantic, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Brookfield Craft Center and the John Michael Kohler Art Center. He is the author of the book “Creating Books & Boxes.”

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Six Tenure-Track Appointments Joining the Lawrence Faculty This Fall

With research interests ranging from poetry on the interconnection of war and religion to evaluating risk in rural-to-urban migration in Indonesia, six new tenure-track faculty members will join Lawrence University for the start of the 2014-2015 academic years year.

The departments of English, economics, anthropology, mathematics and theatre arts welcome new assistant professors as colleagues, some of whom are already familiar faces at Lawrence.

The new faculty appointments include: Hillary Caruthers and Jonathan Lhost (economics); Adam Loy (statistics); Lavanya Proctor (anthropology); Keith Pitts (theatre arts); and Melissa Range (English). They join Amy Abugo Ongiri and Copeland Woodruff, who were named to the endowed faculty positions of Jill Beck Professor/Director of Film Studies and Director of Opera Studies, respectively, earlier this year.

“We are extremely pleased with all of the persons who have been appointed to tenure-track positions at Lawrence,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “Each one is energetic, talented and devoted to the ideals of liberal education. They will continue Lawrence’s tradition of building the excellence of the university on a foundation of highly qualified faculty who excel at student-centered education.”

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Hillary Caruthers, assistant professor of economics

• Hillary Caruthers, economics

Caruthers spent the  2013-14 academic year as a visiting assistant professor of economics at the Campbell School of Business at Berry College in Georgia. She also spent two years as a staff leader at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Business Learning Center and held a visiting instructor appointment at Vietnam’s Hanoi University of Agriculture in 2011. A specialist in developmental economics, her research interests include labor migration, risk, applied microeconomics and East and Southeast Asian studies, especially the role of risk in rural-to-urban migration in Indonesia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from UW-Madison.

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Jonathan Lhost, assistant professor of economics

• Jonathan Lhost, economics

Lhost earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Amherst College and a master’s and doctoral degree in economics from the University of Texas-Austin. As an assistant instructor of economics at UT-Austin, Lhost was awarded the university’s Graduate Teaching Scholars Scholarship and Seminar Certificate. His research interests include industrial organization, game theory and microeconomics. He has delivered presentations on the effectiveness of clicker technology in introductory economics and has written papers on topics ranging from the effects of merchants placing surcharges on transactions to the effects of spectrum acquisition on wireless carriers.

Adam Loy, assistant professor of mathematics
Adam Loy, assistant professor of mathematics

• Adam Loy, mathematics

Loy spent the 2013-14 academic year as a visiting assistant professor of statistics at Lawrence. His scholarship interests focus on mixed and hierarchical linear models as well as utilizing statistical methods to solve engineering and physical science problems. He has led multiple workshops on the R programming language and has delivered more than a dozen presentations on topics ranging from visually monitoring data streams to on-time flight performance in the United States. Loy earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics/statistics at Luther College and earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University, where he served as a consultant for Statistics in the Community (StatCom), which provides pro bono statistical advice and expertise to area nonprofit organizations.

• Keith Pitts, theatre arts

Keith Pitts, assistant professor of theatre arts
Keith Pitts, assistant professor of theatre arts

A member of Lawrence’s theatre arts department since 2012, Pitts has served as set design and staging coordinator and well as department lecturer. He has worked on six Lawrence productions, including designing the set for this year’s play and opera versions of “Street Scene.” Prior to Lawrence, Pitts spent seven years teaching at Columbia College Chicago and three years as summer lab instructor at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. His extensive experience includes set design work on more than 85 productions at four universities and nearly 20 regional and professional theatres throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, including the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. He earned a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in theatre design from Northwestern University.

• Lavanya Proctor, anthropology

Lavanya Proctor, assistant professor of anthropology
Lavanya Proctor, assistant professor of anthropology

Proctor returns to Lawrence after spending 2010-2012 here, first as a visiting assistant professor and then as a Schmidt post-doctoral Fellow. She rejoins the faculty from SUNY-Buffalo State, where she was a lecturer in the anthropology department for two years. She is currently completing a book entitled “An Embattled Education: Language, Class and Mobility in New Delhi.” The recipient of an American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow position in 2013, Proctor has focused her scholarship interests on linguistic anthropology, gender, class, education and India. She earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in sociology at the University of Delhi as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Iowa.

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Melissa Range, assistant professor of English

• Melissa Range, English

Range received her Ph.D. in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri. She has been the recipient of several national prizes in creative writing for poetry, including the 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and was recognized with the University of Missouri’s teaching award for creative writing in 2013. Range has conducted more than a dozen invited poetry readings, has written numerous journal publications and is the author of the book “Horse and Rider: Poems,” which centers on violence and power in religion and the natural world. Range earned her bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from the University of Tennessee, her master’s degree in creative writing from Old Dominion University and also holds a master of theological studies from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence Honoring Retiring Faculty Members Richmond Frielund, Richard Yatzeck at June 15 Commencement

It’s easy to understand why Richmond Frielund is a fan of “do-overs.” Early in his career he was the beneficiary of one.

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Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Richmond Frielund

Frielund, who has helped stage more than 100 Lawrence University productions, and Richard Yatzeck, who led Lawrence students on a dozen summer-long treks through Eastern Europe, will be honored Sunday, June 15 as retiring faculty members for their combined 82 years of teaching at the college’s 165th commencement.

Frielund, associate professor of theatre arts, and Yatzeck, professor of Russian, will be recognized with professor emeritus status and awarded honorary master of arts degrees, ad eundem, as part of the graduation ceremonies on Main Hall green.

Five years after joining the Lawrence theatre arts department as technical director in 1979, Frielund left for what he thought was a better opportunity at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. It turned out to be a less-than-ideal fit.

“I was thankful I saw my job listing and I reapplied for my old job and wound up getting hired back,” said Frielund, who rejoined the college in the fall of 1985.

In a largely behind-the-scenes career spanning a total of 44 years, including 10 before coming to Lawrence, Frielund has directed set and lighting design for more than 100 Lawrence play, opera, musical and dance productions and has assisted with more than 200 others outside the college, including concerts for Elvis Presley, Bon Jovi and Kenny Chesney, several touring Broadway musicals, including “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked” and a visit by then President George W. Bush to Appleton, for which he received a White House citation of thanks. Unfortunately his name was misspelled on it.

“I have found fulfillment in doing some shepherding,” said Frielund, a native of Duluth, Minn. “You’re in the back and you just keep things going. I take great pleasure in coming up with something and seeing how other people can use it well.”

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Backstage is where Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Richmond Frielund has made his mark as Lawrence’s technical director for 34 years.

Among all the productions he’s had a hand in, three in particular still stand out in Frielund’s mind: A 1980 performance of “The Crucible,” 1998’s “Sweeney Todd” and a 1999 staging of “Translations,” which was selected to go to the American College Theatre Festival.

“For the production of ‘The Crucible,’ Campbell Scott (’83) played John Proctor when he was 19 years old. That was the first big part he’d had, but that’s not the only reason I remember that show,” said Frielund. “I had built this ceiling piece. It was sitting on the floor and as we hoisted it up, part of it stayed in the air and the other part flopped back down on the floor. It wasn’t quite back to square one, but it certainly was a teaching moment for us all.

“The single, salient most significant memory of my career at Lawrence was in 1998,” Frielund added. “We did a production of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and this was the first time we did a rehearsal at Bjorklunden. There were all of these really good singers rehearsing and I walked in the door and heard ‘Swing your razor high, Sweeney,’ and this huge, huge beautiful, glorious sound hit me. I thought to myself, ‘This is what Lawrence can really do well.’”

Frielund says it’s the beginnings and endings of a term or academic year that turn him reflective.

“I can’t tell you how many times on a day when a term is starting or its the end of the year, I will have a very warm feeling for this place. I just stop and think, ‘Thank God I’m here.’ This place doesn’t operate like a lot of institutions and for that I’m thankful.”

“The times I’ve spent working with students in the shop, painting scenery, showing kids how to build things, how to focus lights, those are my fondest memories.”
       — Associate Professor Richmond Frielund

Prior to Lawrence, Frielund taught for two years at the University of Michigan, where he once had a freshman in a dance class by the name of Madonna Louise Ciccone, who “weighed 85 pounds soaking wet, but she was a really good dancer, to what extent she bothered showing up.” He wound up giving her a ‘C.’

“She had other interests,” recalled Frielund, 64. “She didn’t come back to school and I heard she’d gone off to New York. I had no idea that the Madonna on the radio was the same person I had in class until I read a magazine article about her.”

Brushes with celebrity aside, thoughts of working with students in the theatre department’s back corners are what make Frielund smile.

“The times I’ve spent working with students in the shop, painting scenery, showing kids how to build things, how to focus lights, those are my fondest memories.”

Professor of theatre arts Timothy X. Troy and Frielund’s department colleague the past 17 years, said Frielund believed the study of theatre in performance and design anchored a student’s engagement in the liberal arts generally.

“Rich’s tradition of a fully integrated approach to production and curious exploration of each play’s themes and social context will mark our department well into the future,” said Troy. “Rich taught us all to respect a developmental model of theatre education: let success build upon success until students integrate an ever-widening understanding of the richness and complexity of the theatre tradition.”

In retirement, Frielund will be involved in December performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. He also hopes to do some teaching at Appleton’s Renaissance School.

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Professor of Russian Richard Yatzeck

Yatzeck, 81, 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 calls the biennial 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.

During one of the longest teaching tenures in Lawrence history — 48 years — Yatzeck taught the finer points of Tolstoy, Pushkin and Dostoevsky. A self-proclaimed non-fan of the modern world, Yatzeck says he would have preferred living in the time of the writers he now teaches.

“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,” said Yatzeck, who has never owned what most would consider a present-day necessity — 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. 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.”

A close second to his passion for Russian literature is his love of the outdoors. An avid hunter and fisherman, early in his teaching career Yatzeck was known to occasionally wear his hunting boots to class for a quick jaunt to the woods or the lake in the fall afternoon’s fading light with his Main Hall colleagues Peter Fritzell and Michael Hittle of the English and history departments, respectively. The three were dubbed “The Rod and Gun Club” by former Lawrence historian Anne Schutte.

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Long-time colleague and hunting partner Professor Emeritus of English Peter Fritzell described Professor of Russian Richard Yatzeck, seen here in his Main Hall office, as “one of the greatest readers among the faculty.”

Fritzell said the three friends “came to know each other as only outdoorsmen can.”

“Sleeping in tents together, discussing poems, novels and historical events around campfires, in boats and duckblinds, we   engaged in fairly high-drawer philosophical arguments, enjoying gourmet lunches on tailgates of trucks with our bird dogs or ice-fishing on Lake Winnebago,” said Fritzell. “Dick would often pull from his scholar’s shoulder-bag a bottle of the very best Slivovitz and we’d toast the end of the day, the placing of the last tipup, or, if we were lucky, the first fish on the ice.”

Yatzeck has always maintained his perspective and never considered teaching as merely paying for the time that he could go hunting or fishing.

“They are quite different things. 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.”

“What I like best is when one of the students teaches me something I’ve never noticed. That, I feel, is the height of teaching, when you can learn from your students.”
            — Professor Richard Yatzeck

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

In a career spanning nearly five decades, Yatzeck says he never counted the days or the years, they “just added up by themselves.”

“Monday has never seemed a time to curse to me. I never felt I was going to a job,” said Yatzeck, who got hooked on Russian as a German-speaking Fulbright Fellow in 1955 after meeting a red-headed Russian woman in Hamburg, Germany. “What I like best is when one of the students teaches me something I’ve never noticed. That, I feel, is the height of teaching, when you can learn from your students.”

In addition to more trips to the lake and woods and visits with children in Chicago, St. Louis and London, Yatzeck hopes to pen a third book in retirement about his youth in the rural village of Genesee, Wis.

“I have always looked back at that as a model. I’ve written a couple of short pieces about individuals who lived in that village but I’d like to write some kind of account of life at that time. In 80 years a great deal has changed.”

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Memorial Service June 21 Celebrates the Life of Professor Emeritus Dorrit Friedlander

A memorial service commemorating the life of Lawrence University Professor Emeritus of German Dorrit Friedlander will be conducted Saturday, June 21 from 9-10 a.m. in the Nathan Marsh Pusey Room of the Warch Campus Center.

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Professor Emeritus of German Dorrit Friedlander, 1925-2013.

The service will include remarks from Dave Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty, Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory, and Friedlander’s niece Rabbi Ariel Friedlander. Several alumni will share stories from their time with her in Germany. It will also feature music from her favorite composers and a slideshow. The room will remain open until noon for faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends to spend time celebrating her special life.

One of the college’s most beloved teachers and, with 61 years, the longest-serving faculty member in the college’s history, Friedlander died peacefully Nov. 14 at her Appleton home at the age of 88 after a battle with liver cancer.

Friedlander  joined the faculty in 1951 for what was supposed to be a one-year appointment and never left.  She taught both German and Spanish for her first seven years before focusing solely on her primary passion, German. Although she officially retired in 1993, she continued to teach at least one course each year up through the fall of 2012.

A dedicated but demanding teacher, Friedlander always held her students to high standards, both in the mastery of good German as well as the manners of good living and she insisted that civility and kindness prevail. Known affectionately to generations of students as “Tante Dorrit” or “Frau Friedlander,” she won the admiration and affection of students through the personal interest she showed each of them as well as the delicious cheesecakes she made.

Her teaching prowess was honored in 1980 when she was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellent Teaching Award. In presenting her the award, then President Richard Warch praised Friedlander for her “commitment to teaching and devotion to the university, qualities that make Lawrence a place of distinction.”

Friedlander’s love of teaching extended beyond the campus borders as well. She was instrumental in establishing Lawrence’s first foreign language study program in 1967, a venture in Bönnigheim, Germany, and was a frequent and popular director of the college’s study-abroad programs in Eningen and Munich, Germany.

She proudly embraced the role of university matriarch in various forms, overseeing faculty office assignments in Main Hall for many years and making sure the receiving line at the annual year-opening reception for new faculty moved along at an acceptable pace. Each fall, Friedlander organized the Main Hall holiday collection, providing a year-end bonus for the building’s staff in appreciation of their efforts throughout the year.

She also served as a “house mother,” first at Sage Cottage, a former women’s dormitory (now the International House) and later at Ormsby Hall. Long after the practice of house mothers ended, Friedlander continued to regularly reserve a lunch table in Lucinda’s for Ormsby students so she could stay connected. She diligently supported her students outside of the classroom as well, often attending their recitals, theatre performances and art exhibitions.

During her life, Freidlander’s genuine affection for people helped her cultivate a large and very diverse group of friends from around the world and from all walks of life.

Born in 1925 in Berlin, Germany, Friedlander and her family fled the Nazis in the late 1930s, catching one of the last boats leaving Germany and winding up in Havana, Cuba as a young teenager. She emigrated to the United States in 1940, resettling with her family in Mississippi.

She attended the University of Cincinnati, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Romance Languages and a master’s degree in German. She spent a year teaching German and Spanish at the University of Oklahoma before coming to Lawrence.

At her request, memorial contributions can be made to Lawrence’s Dorrit Friedlander Scholarship Fund.

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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and 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 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.