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Tuning in with Ty Collins: Career Center podcast connects alumni, students

Ty Collins (Photo by Danny Damiani)

By Karina Herrera ’22

Ty Collins has put his experience working in radio to good use at Lawrence, recently launching a podcast that aims to connect alumni with students as they plan for life after college.

Collins, assistant director in the Career Center, interviews alumni who share career advice, discuss avenues into particular fields, and talk about successes and missteps along the way.  The podcast is heard at lucareersandcommunity on Soundcloud

The idea for the podcast came about in Spring Term of 2020 when students were sent home as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Career Center, located on the second floor of Chapman Hall, was discussing ways to reach students who were no longer on campus. Collins floated the idea of hosting a podcast series.

“Pairing my background in broadcasting with my knowledge of Lawrence students and alumni and the Lawrence environment, I think combined to work out pretty well,” Collins said.

Collins, who came to Lawrence five years ago, has worked in radio for more than 20 years. He continues to work part-time for Woodward Radio Group in Appleton.

Mike O’Connor, the Riaz Waraich Dean for the Career Center & Center for Community Engagement and Social Change, said he hopes Collins’ podcast helps to humanize career trajectories and stories.

“Things rarely, if ever, go by plan,” O’Connor said. “Where you end up is way more a function of your life circumstances and network than your plan. Hearing about failures of alums I really admire is very uplifting.”

Collins also knows how demanding students’ schedules are, so a podcast seemed to be a good fit. Rather than having an event on campus at a certain time of day where maybe a student could not attend due to class or other scheduling conflicts, a podcast can be listened to wherever and whenever. 

The podcast is updated every month when classes are in session. Each episode runs about 20 minutes. Collins said he wants Lawrence alumni to share their unique experiences and offer advice to students who are just beginning their career journey.

He aims for the podcast to feature alumni from each of the eight Career Communities so that students can listen to an episode catered to their own area of study.

There is a widespread network of Lawrence alumni who have a lot of wisdom and advice they can offer students but who aren’t always taken advantage of as resources, Collins said. His goal is for students to gain some insight from alumni who can influence or inspire their plans.

“I figure that if a former student did it and now they’re really successful, then a current student will at least consider doing it because clearly it worked for someone else,” Collins said.

Collins uploaded the first episode about seven months ago. It featured an interview with Josh Dukelow ’02, a history major who is currently the host of Fresh Take on WHBY radio in Appleton. Collins talked with Dukelow about his career trajectory and what led him to particular jobs.

So far, the podcast has five episodes. Several of the interviewees are recent alumni who Collins worked with when they were students – McKenzie Fetters ’19, an editing associate at Guidehouse; Nick Ashley ’18, a data science consultant with Grant Thornton LLP; and Sarah Woody ’19, a graduate student in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Collins uses LinkedIn and Viking Connect to reach out to potential podcast guests. Most, if not all, of the alumni are willing to be contacted by students as well, Collins said.

The interviews take place over Zoom. Collins uses a microphone to make his sound quality better and then spends about two hours editing the recording before it’s uploaded to Soundcloud.

“I try to ask questions that are going to generate answers that students might find interesting,” Collins said. “I’m always trying to approach it with a perspective of, ‘Would the student want to hear this answer or not?’”

O’Connor said Collins’ podcast is a tool that partners well with Career Communities, Viking Connect and other efforts to better utilize alumni as resources and mentors for Lawrence students.

“He’s an excellent interviewer and has the ability to communicate a lot of information very quickly and concisely,” O’Connor said of Collins. “The podcast wouldn’t have happened without Ty.”

Karina Herrera ’22 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Giving Day builds on momentum, sets records for Lawrence donors, donations

Spin the Wheel Trivia was part of Giving Day activities at Lawrence on Wednesday. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

More than 3,300 donors stepped up Wednesday to contribute more than $1.97 million in Lawrence University’s Giving Day—both all-time highs for the eighth annual event.

The day was a celebration of being back together after more than a year of remote study, with on-campus engagement events mixed with a virtual campaign to connect with alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends, getting them excited about what’s to come for Lawrence.

Amber Nelson, associate director of annual giving and project manager for Giving Day, said the day was all about supporting students—current and future—and nurturing day-to-day life at Lawrence, mostly through the Lawrence Fund, which provides for campus improvements, sustainability efforts, academic innovations, and student opportunities in arts and athletics. Alumni who signed up as “game changers” matched donated funds as part of various “game changer challenges” on campus and on social media throughout the day.

“We are so grateful that the Lawrence community shined so bright on Giving Day to help us break records for both donors and dollars,” Nelson said.

Nelson said support came from on and off campus. There was a 36% increase in participation from faculty and staff; more than 150 alumni volunteers signed up to help spread the word of Giving Day; and students helped unlock $5,000 of “game changer” funds while organizing and participating in a bag toss challenge.

“The success of this day really was a full community effort—from alumni reaching out to their classmates encouraging them to give, to staff answering phones, to students running events on campus, to the generosity of our ‘game changers’ who provided matching gift funds, to countless other ways people showed their support for Lawrence,” Nelson said.

President Laurie A. Carter, who began her tenure as Lawrence’s 17th president in July, participated in her first Giving Day. She joined students for trivia and bag toss challenges.

Senior Anna Kallay (left) joins President Laurie A. Carter in a bag toss challenge on Main Hall Green.

“There is so much to love about Lawrence, but one thing I notice every day is how much our community cares,” Carter said. “Giving Day is such a powerful and exciting example of that.”  

A year ago, Giving Day went entirely virtual because of COVID-19 pandemic protocols. Having on-campus activities again provided additional enthusiasm, another “shining example,” Carter said, of being “Brighter Together.”

All of the “game changer” challenges were met.

“Lawrentians are pretty humble,” said Matthew Baumler, executive director of Alumni and Constituency Engagement. “All that changes on Giving Day when their support, their stories, and their encouragement is heard from around the world. It’s a day that reaffirms our commitment to the mission, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

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

Former U.S. ambassador brings insights to Lawrence as visiting Scarff professor

Shaun Donnelly, Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor, speaks to students earlier this week in Dylan Fitz’s Effective Altruism class in Briggs Hall. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Shaun Donnelly ’68 says his message to Lawrence University students interested in careers with an international focus is a simple one.

You’re in the right place.

“My message is that I think a good liberal arts education is about the best preparation you can have for working internationally,” Donnelly said during a break from participating in economics and government class discussions as the Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor at Lawrence. “The world is constantly changing and you’ve got to be able to adjust.”

Donnelly forged a 36-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, retiring in 2008. He served as U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2000, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and worked as deputy ambassador in Tunisia and Mali, among other positions. He spent 15 of those 36 years living and working abroad.

He is spending two weeks in October on the Lawrence campus, the latest in a line of distinguished public servants, professional leaders, and scholars who have shared insights and collaborated with students and faculty since the Scarff Professorship was established in 1989 by Edward and Nancy Scarff in memory of their son, Stephen. It is designed to bring civic leaders and scholars to Lawrence to provide broad perspectives on the central issues of the day.

Donnelly, who studied economics at Lawrence, worked on international economics and trade policies during much of his Foreign Service career and continues to work part-time as a consultant for the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). He said students today need to be aware that there will almost certainly be an international component to their work no matter the field they’re in.

Shaun Donnelly on liberal arts colleges preparing students to work internationally: “It’s a good training ground, I would argue.”

“They are going to be living in a world that’s going to be increasingly international,” Donnelly said. “They may think, oh, I’m going to work for a company like Kimberly-Clark or Caterpillar or something, but those are international companies. They’re competing with international companies and their markets are going to be increasingly outside of the U.S.”

He encouraged students to seek out international opportunities while in school, from studying foreign languages, to taking educational trips abroad, to attending events hosted by international students on campus.

Donnelly found his path into the U.S. Foreign Service while volunteering with the Peace Corps in Tunisia shortly after graduating from Lawrence in 1968. He took his first assignment during the administration of Richard Nixon and would work through seven presidents, retiring as George W. Bush was leaving office.

He said he leaned into his Lawrence education each step of the way as he climbed the ranks as a government servant, working in Senegal for two and a half years, Ethiopia for two years, Egypt for two years, Mali for two years, Tunisia for three years, and Sri Lanka for three years.

He quickly learned to navigate the world of government service when elections shuffle the players.

“Ninety percent of American foreign policy doesn’t change,” Donnelly said. “We’re doing visas for people coming, we’re out there trying to promote American companies, we’re looking for support at the UN for democracy. That doesn’t change. But you do see changes when a new administration comes in.”

Some administrations he worked through were more idealistic in their foreign policies, he said. Others were more pragmatic. As an employee of the government, you aren’t always going to agree with policies, but you have a job to do, he said.

“I quickly realized that I was not elected to make these policies,” Donnelly said. “We have a process. Government employees are basically paid to implement them. So, I say to young people all the time, if you are going to go work for the government—internationally or domestic—you need to know enough about yourself to know if you’re comfortable being a government servant.”

Donnelly is one of four Lawrence alumni who have been appointed U.S. ambassadors by presidents, joining Walter North ’72, U.S. ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Republic of Vanuatu from 2012 to 2016; Christopher Murray ’75, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Congo from 2010 to 2013; and David Mulford ’59, U.S. ambassador to India from 2004 to 2009.

“All of the traits that make someone successful in business or academia or journalism or whatever it is, you need all of those to succeed in international work,” Donnelly said. “But you also need to be culturally sensitive and be understanding and be intellectually curious about other cultures and free from quick value judgments. You have to be willing to try to understand the complexities of the international world.

“And I do think a good liberal arts college like Lawrence does that. It’s a good training ground, I would argue.”

Jason Brozek, the Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and associate professor of government, has been coordinating Donnelly’s visit to Lawrence, bringing him into courses ranging from International Law, to Intro to Political Science, to Effective Altruism. Donnelly also is meeting with students in the Career Center and talking with faculty.

He was initially due to be the Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor in Spring 2020, but that was postponed due to the pandemic. In Spring 2021, he and Brozek worked to split the duties of the position to accommodate the times. He spent a week with Brozek’s remote-synchronous Intro to International Relations class, and in May he delivered a remote public lecture titled “America’s Trade Mess: Who Caused it, and Can Biden Fix it?”

“Thanks to the support of the Scarff family over the last three decades, we’ve been able to connect students with ambassadors, diplomats, leaders of global nonprofits, and other experts in international affairs,” Brozek said.

Scarff visiting professors have included, among others, William Sloane Coffin Jr., civil rights and peace activist; Takakazu Kuriyama, former ambassador of Japan to the United States; George Meyer, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Robert Suettinger ’68, Intelligence analyst and China policy expert; Russ Feingold, former U.S. senator from Wisconsin; and Nancy Hendry, international attorney fighting sexual exploitation.

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to enrich our academic community and to make the work of international politics tangible and hands-on for multiple decades of Lawrentians,” Brozek said.

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

Sculpture adds visibility to journey of Indigenous people; brings new conversations, reflection

Architect Chris Cornelius speaks during the Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk Plaza and Otāēciah (crane) art sculpture dedication Monday as part of Lawrence University’s sixth annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Chris Cornelius looks at the contemporary art sculpture that has become the centerpiece of the plaza outside Lawrence University’s Mudd Library, its shape pointing purposely northwest toward what is now the home of the Menominee Nation, and wonders what conversations it might spark.

“I would hope the Indigenous community here on campus would see it as a place to gather, to have as a physical symbol that they are being acknowledged, and to open those conversations up about how land was acquired and who was Indigenous to it and how do we begin to reconcile that with one another,” said Cornelius, the architect who created Otāēciah, the public sculpture now on permanent display on the renamed Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk Plaza.

A member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and newly named chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of New Mexico, Cornelius joined with current LUNA (Lawrence University Native Americans) students, members of local tribal communities, families from the Appleton Area School District, and the Lawrence campus on Monday evening for a dedication of the sculpture and the renamed plaza.

It was the culmination of more than two years of work.

Installed in late summer, the sculpture is intended to be a permanent piece that further acknowledges and honors the Menominee and Ho-Chunk people, who are Indigenous to the land where Lawrence is situated. The dedication comes on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day that a growing number of cities, states, K-12 school districts, and universities have declared a holiday.

The sculpture was funded by a gift from Robert ’64 and Patricia Anker.

The Boldt Co. provided welding and structural work during the installation, working in partnership with Cornelius as the Otāēciah sculpture took shape. It follows the 2019 installation of the temporary Project 562 mural on the outside wall of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center, which also aimed to amplify the perspectives of Native American voices at Lawrence.

President Laurie A. Carter told visitors to Monday’s dedication that the sculpture is a visual reminder that Lawrence is and will be a welcoming place for all.

“Today is more than a dedication,” Carter said. “Today is also Indigenous Peoples’ Day, on which we both honor our local Indigenous communities, including the Menominee and Ho-Chunk Nations and the surrounding Oneida and Mohican people, and envision a future that prioritizes new ways of making Indigeneity visible on our campus. There is a reason why we stand here between Seeley G. Mudd Library and the Wriston Art Galleries. This plaza is located at one of the busiest crossroads of our campus and is clearly visible from College Avenue, one of Appleton’s most important and traversed thoroughfares. You can’t drive by or walk across the center of campus without passing this plaza or seeing this sculpture. Today we make visible Lawrence’s Native American students, faculty, and staff, whose perspectives have historically not been visible enough here on our campus.”

Former Lawrence President Mark Burstein was an early advocate for the Otāēciah sculpture project. He reached out to the Ankers, avid supporters of Native artists, and found willing partners in making the project happen. The Ankers traveled from Carmel, Indiana, to attend Monday’s dedication.

“As we accumulated art over the decades, we became focused on Native art and artists,” Robert Anker said. “Pat chaired the Indian Market and Festival of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (in Indianapolis) for many years and continues to serve as a member of the museum’s board of directors. Through the years we have built deep and continuing friendships with many Native artists. Mark became aware of these facts simply because he is Mark, thus making both the ask and the answer easy.”

“Our voices aren’t often centered in that way”

Lawrence student Taneya Garcia, president of LUNA, tells the crowd gathered for the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration that the Otāēciah sculpture and all it represents “warms my heart.” (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Lawrence connected with Cornelius at the suggestion of Beth Zinsli ’02, assistant professor of art history and curator of the Wriston Art Center Galleries. She had seen Cornelius’ work at a 2018 art show at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art.

“His piece in that show just bowled me over,” she said. “I started looking into his work a bit more and learned that he is an acclaimed architect and that he grew up closer to campus, in Oneida. …  I was really committed to working with him in some way.”

Much of Cornelius’ work has focused on the architectural translation of culture; in particular, American Indian culture. He is the founding principal of studio:indigenous, a design and consulting firm serving American Indian clients. He holds a master of architecture degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in architectural studies from UW-Milwaukee. 

Once Cornelius was on board, he set out to bring the voices of Native students at Lawrence into the planning for the sculpture. He wanted to hear about their experiences and sought their insights as he began to map out what the piece would look like, what symbols it would include, and what messages it might send.

“It was very important to him that he heard their voices,” said Brigetta Miller ’89, an associate professor of music in the Lawrence Conservatory who has served as the faculty advisor to LUNA, a student organization, since its inception in 2008. “I love that. Our voices aren’t often centered in that way.”

Miller is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee (Mohican) Nation and is a descendant of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin.

Taneya Garcia, a senior majoring in both anthropology and ethnic studies, is president of LUNA. A member of the Santa Ana and Acoma Pueblo of New Mexico, she said she has been thrilled to see the amplification of Native voices at Lawrence since she arrived on campus three years ago, starting with the initial adoption of a land acknowledgement in 2018 and followed by the Indiginize Education land project mural and convocation with Project 562 in 2019.

Now the Otāēciah sculpture brings more permanence to that commitment, Garcia said. Native students know their voices were part of its creation, and Native students today and in the future can see themselves represented in the art.

“Once they see themselves, they kind of have that reinforcement that we’re here, and we’re always going to be here,” Garcia said.

“It opens up and you can look at the sky”

Otāēciah is a contemporary art sculpture now on permanent display on the renamed Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk Plaza on the Lawrence University campus. (Photo by Liz Boutelle)

Cornelius said the message from the students meshed with his own vision for the project—to pay respect to the Menominee people and their traditions.

The sculpture, made of weathering steel that is intentional in its rust, is not intended to look like anything specific, Cornelius said. But its name, Otāēciah, means “crane” in Menominee. Finding inspiration in animals and nature is reflective of the culture, he said. And the Indigenous patterns that are part of the sculpture speak to the arts and crafts of the Menominee people.

“You will see that the skin of this piece is intended to reflect some of that, some of the original reflections of nature,” Cornelius said.

The rust, Cornelius said, provides a protective coding and will change in tone over time.

Visitors to the sculpture are encouraged to walk inside, admire the design, and look through its openings.

“It opens up and you can look at the sky,” Cornelius said. “You can get in the middle of it, get inside it. It’s not just a sculpture. It’s intended to be a space. And to have that experiential quality to it.”

A Boldt Co. crew spent several weeks in August bringing Cornelius’ vision to life, assembling and welding the intricate pieces.

“A piece like this takes a significant amount of work,” Cornelius said during the installation. “For me as the designer, I have one person on staff. But how it’s being constructed is really being supported by Boldt. They’ve been excellent partners in this endeavor. They are constructing it; we’ve used their structural engineers. They’ve made the process go super smooth.”

The finished product does what public art is supposed to do, Zinsli said. It speaks to place and history, and it invites reflection.

“In his practice overall, Chris has created this distinctive visual language that complicates the boundaries between the natural world and the built environment in ways I find really exciting,” Zinsli said. “In Otāēciah, Chris deftly integrated Menominee symbols to create this powerful, visually arresting work of public art. I particularly love the way the sculpture invites somewhat playful interactions—you can walk inside it—while also persistently reminding us on whose ancestral lands our campus has been built, through its iconography and purposeful orientation toward the present land of the Menominee Nation. This is precisely what good public art can do—become an integral and beautiful part of the campus landscape while also embodying the values our community holds in common.”

“I think it’s important to start that conversation”

Dennis Kenote, a Menominee elder, applauded Lawrence for its celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and its commitment to its land acknowledgement. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Monday’s dedication was one more chapter in what hopefully will be an ongoing conversation about indigeneity, Cornelius said. He applauded Lawrence—its history dates back 174 years, predating Wisconsin becoming a state—for its willingness to engage in such discussions and reflection.

“It’s important to understand the relationship that Indigenous people had originally to the land, for us to be able to have conversations about how we ended up where we are,” Cornelius said. “How did we end up where Lawrence University is here on what was Menominee land? I think it’s important to start that conversation, and for me it’s doing that through this piece. Through art and sculpture, we can begin to have those kinds of conversations about the university and the founding of the university. Lawrence was here before Wisconsin even became a state. But we should have conversations about who was here before it was even known as Wisconsin, before European contact. That’s the thing the piece itself is intended to do, to help spark those conversations.”

For Miller, these conversations are essential. She’s hopeful the sculpture and the Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk Plaza, located in a busy cross-section of campus that draws much foot traffic, will spur the sort of “deep interdisciplinary reflection that’s necessary in order to understand the interconnectedness of Indigenous ways of knowing.”

Dennis Kenote, a Menominee Nation elder, recorded pronunciations of Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk and Otāēciah. He shared his knowledge of Menominee history and customs at Monday’s dedication.

Miller said she hopes Lawrentians will actively practice the proper pronunciation and begin referring to both the sculpture and the plaza by their Menominee names.

“Our Native relatives have always placed high value on learning through the oral tradition,” Miller said. “The challenge of correctly pronouncing the word is good for our campus—it shatters stereotypes and shows the complexity and higher-level thinking required in our Indigenous languages.”

Monday’s celebration, which drew several hundred people, featured a pow wow demonstration by Str8 Across, an Oneida drum and dance group. Norbert Hill, an Oneida elder, told those gathered that this celebration needs to last beyond this one day.

“This monument reminds people that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is every day,” he said.

Miller called the permanence of the installation significant, saying it marks an important step in the continuation of Lawrence’s land acknowledgement.

“This is not something that’s just going to go away,” Miller said. “As Native people, we want to make it clear that we’re alive. We are here. We are present.”

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

Signage on Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk Plaza

Otāēciah (Crane), Chris T. Cornelius (Oneida) 

The form of Otāēciah references a crane, one of the five traditional Menominee clan symbols. The perforated and patinaed steel panels, modeled after woodland textile patterns, overlap like a bird’s feathers. Menominee beadwork designs, created with elements of geometric patterns, are prominently featured. The decorative shapes that crown the piece signify ceremonial regalia. The sculpture points directionally toward the present land of the Menominee Nation. The three inside posts supporting the sculpture represent LUNA’s motto: “We stand together – stronger together.”

Audio guide: Menominee elder Dennis Kenote provides pronunciation for Otāēciah and Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk and history on the language.

Pronunciation Guide

Plaza
Menominee orthography: Kāēyas mamāceqtawak 
International Phonetic Alphabet: /kajæs məmɑːʔt͡ʃɪtɑwək / 
Pronunciation guide: Ka-YES muh-MAA-chi-TA-wuk 
Translation: Ancient people that move 

Sculpture
Menominee Orthography: Otāēciah 
International Phonetic Alphabet: ɔtɑːʔt͡ʃijɑʰ 
Pronunciation guide: o-TAA-chee-ah 
Translation: Crane 

Contemporary art sculpture, plaza to be dedicated on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The newly installed contemporary art sculpture, Otāēciah (Crane), will be dedicated in a ceremony on Monday. (Photo of Liz Boutelle)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The sixth annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration at Lawrence University on Oct. 11 will feature the dedication of a new contemporary art sculpture and the renaming of the plaza between the Seeley G. Mudd Library and the Wriston Art Center.

The event, organized in collaboration with student members of LU Native Americans (LUNA), the Appleton Area School District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, and various departments across the Lawrence campus, will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The outdoor event is free and open to the public.

It will feature an introduction to and dedication of the new Otāēciah (Crane) sculpture created by Oneida architecture professor Chris Cornelius. It also will include the renaming of the plaza as Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk, which means “Ancient People That Move” in the Menominee language.

Cornelius is an associate professor of architecture in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Audio assist: Menominee elder Dennis Kenote provides pronunciation for Otāēciah and Kaeyes Mamaceqtawuk and history on the language.

Installed in late summer, the sculpture is intended to be a permanent piece that further acknowledges that the Menominee people were Indigenous to the land where Lawrence is situated.

The sculpture was funded by a gift from Robert ’64 and Patricia Anker. Both are expected to attend the dedication.

The Boldt Co. provided welding and structural work during the installation, working in partnership with Cornelius as the Otāēciah sculpture took shape.

Lawrence President Laurie A. Carter will speak at Monday’s event. A blessing of the new plaza will be given in the Menominee language by elder Dennis Kenote of the Menominee Nation. The dedication will be followed by a pow-wow demonstration by drummers, singers, and dancers from the Oneida Nation. Traditional Indigenous food will be served. 

The sculpture will take center stage, its signage reading: The form of Otāēciah references a crane, one of the five traditional Menominee clan symbols. The perforated and patinaed steel panels, modeled after woodland textile patterns, overlap like a bird’s feathers. Menominee beadwork designs, created with elements of geometric patterns, are prominently featured. The decorative shapes that crown the piece signify ceremonial regalia. The sculpture points directionally toward the present land of the Menominee Nation. The three inside posts supporting the sculpture represent LUNA’s motto: “We stand together – stronger together.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is set annually on the second Monday of October, celebrating the many contributions of Indigenous people.

Pronunciation Guide

Plaza
Menominee orthography: Kāēyas mamāceqtawak 
International Phonetic Alphabet: /kajæs məmɑːʔt͡ʃɪtɑwək / 
Pronunciation guide: Ka-YES muh-MAA-chi-TA-wuk 
Translation: Ancient people that move 

Sculpture
Menominee Orthography: Otāēciah 
International Phonetic Alphabet: ɔtɑːʔt͡ʃijɑʰ 
Pronunciation guide: o-TAA-chee-ah 
Translation: Crane 

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

Four national grants provide boost for LU faculty, bring more students into research

Julie Rana, assistant professor of mathematics, works with students in a Discrete Mathematics class in Briggs Hall. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Two Lawrence University faculty members—Julie Rana in Mathematics and Israel Del Toro in Biology—are the recipients of six-figure national grants that will further their research and bring more Lawrence students into the research process.

Two other faculty members—Lori Hilt ’97 in Psychology and Beth Zinsli ’02 in Art History— received five-figure national grants to enhance their work.

Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of faculty, said bringing in four national grants this fall speaks to the breadth of the high-level work being done by Lawrence’s faculty. It comes on the heels of Lawrence being named one of the best liberal arts colleges for undergraduate teaching by U.S. News and World Report.

“It’s wonderfully gratifying to see our faculty receiving national recognition for something we at Lawrence have always known—our faculty are gifted, dedicated teachers who are also engaged in ground-breaking scholarship across the full range of the liberal arts disciplines,” Kodat said. “Being able to count such accomplished individuals as colleagues is a true privilege.”

NSF math grant supports research, inclusive pedagogy

Rana, assistant professor of mathematics since 2017, was awarded a two-year grant of $192,905 through the National Science Foundation’s Launching Early-Career Academic Pathways in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (LEAPS-MPS) program. It’s a first-time grant, awarded to pre-tenure faculty. It’s a huge accomplishment for Rana, with only 21 grants awarded across the country.

A portion of the grant will allow Rana to work on research in algebraic geometry related to moduli spaces, collaborating with math scholars in Europe, Chile, and elsewhere in the United States. The funding will allow her to hire four students in each of the next two summers to work with her on research in an area of math known as graph theory.

“The best part of this project is that students will join a community of peers working together on fun and interesting math problems,” Rana said. “Mathematics is a very collaborative discipline, and I’m just thrilled that I get to share that joy of collaboration with students over the next two summers.”

In addition, the grant will cover costs of work Rana is doing in developing math curriculum and support mechanisms aimed at making Lawrence’s mathematics, computer science, and data science programs more inclusive and accessible. She’s developing two new math courses—Mathematics and Community (developed in collaboration with senior Caitlyn Lansing), debuting in Winter Term, and Modern BIPOC Mathematicians, debuting next year—and organizing inclusive pedagogy reading groups among the faculty.

The grant is covering the costs of bringing two speakers to campus who have been significant voices in improving inclusivity in STEM fields. Both are women of color who have carved out impressive careers as math scholars and have authored or edited works aimed at widening the path into the mathematics field.

Emille Lawrence, an associate professor and chair of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of San Francisco, is expected to visit Lawrence in Winter Term, Rana said. She is the editor of the American Mathematical Society’s Math Mamas blog and co-edited Living Proof, a collection of essays featuring mathematicians of various identities sharing how they found communities and persevered through professional challenges.

Pamela E. Harris, an associate professor of mathematics and statistics at Williams College, is expected to visit during the 2022-23 academic year. She has been a leading voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the STEM fields, math in particular. She co-founded Lathisms.org, a platform that features the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic math scholars, and co-hosts the podcast, Mathematically Uncensored. She’s the co-author of two books advocating for students of color in mathematics.

The NSF grant will allow for all of these initiatives to move forward at once.

“I worked hard to get this grant,” Rana said. “I’m really proud that I got it because there just aren’t very many of us who got it.”

Rana said the collaborations with other math scholars who are focused on algebraic geometry will take her research to another level. She’ll have the opportunity to travel to other institutions to work directly with her collaborators, and she’ll be able to bring some of them to Lawrence.

“Without this, I wouldn’t be able to go work with them in person,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to do math in person.”

Bee research focus of NSF grant

Israel Del Toro

Del Toro, an assistant professor of biology since 2016, was awarded a two-year, $199,957 EAGER grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance the research he’s doing on bee conservation. The grant will allow Del Toro to supersize his research, including bringing more students into the process.

Over the past five years, Del Toro has done extensive field work on pollinator habitats, advocating for bee conservation not only on campus but across the Fox Valley. This grant will allow him to take that work into a lab, investigating the varied reasons that bees are good pollinators. He’ll be collaborating with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, using microtomography (microCT) technology to take a closer look at the inner workings of bees.

“We are taking a look under the hood of a bee,” Del Toro said. “And really taking a peek to see why the internal parts of the bee allow them to be effective pollinators.”

Read more: Lawrence on front lines of bee advocacy

Del Toro will be using the microCT technology at UW. He and his students also will be doing experiments in the lab at Lawrence that relate to climate change.

“We’ll be doing thermal tolerance, figuring out how bees are affected as we increase and decrease temperature,” he said. “We want to see how increases and decreases in temperatures affect bee behavior and bee restoration and try to make predictions of how these populations would be affected in the future.”

Over the two years of the grant, eight Lawrence students will be able to join Del Toro in his research.

“I’m actively recruiting students who have interest in ecology or microscopy or pollinator biology,” he said. “Those are the students I’m looking to take on. We’re going to learn some really cool new things about pollinators, but also how to better protect our pollinators in light of climate change.”

Psychology grant to help build on adolescent rumination research

Lori Hilt

Hilt, an associate professor of psychology, received a subaward for more than $51,000 throughHarvard University from the National Institutes of Health. She will serve as an expert on adolescent rumination on a five-year clinical trial. It follows a three-year $368,196 grant she received from NIH in 2019 to study adolescent rumination and the development of a mobile app designed as a coping tool for young people.

Adolescent rumination refers to a mindset in which someone can’t get beyond the negative things that are happening around them. Where most kids will process something bad that has happened, react to it and then move on, an adolescent struggling with rumination will dwell on the negative information, stew on it until it consumes them, unable to let go.

Read more: 2019 NIH grant helps professor develop mental health app

“The new NIH grant is a really nice follow-up to my other NIH grant,” Hilt said. “In our previous grant research, we found that using a brief mindfulness mobile app intervention that we developed — known as the CARE app — reduced rumination and mental health symptoms relative to a mood-monitoring control condition. The new grant will similarly recruit ruminative teens and ask them to use a mindfulness mobile app, this time for one month using the Headspace app vs. a control condition.”

The primary study site is at Harvard’s McLean Hospital. A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan will be done before and after the teens use the app.

“This will allow us to see whether a brief mindfulness intervention changes brain network patterns that have been associated with rumination,” Hilt said.

This grant will allow Hilt and other participants to take a personalized medicine approach by examining which teens benefit from mindfulness training.

“This is something that we started looking at in our other grant, and it offers a promising new approach to mental health—being able to know if a particular intervention will work before engaging in it,” Hilt said.  

NEH grant to provide insights into preserving Teakwood Room

Teakwood Room

Zinsli, assistant professor of art history and curator of the Wriston Art Center Galleries, was awarded a $10,000 Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will provide a professional assessment of the Teakwood Room and its contents so that Lawrence knows best how to steward the room going forward.

Zinsli called the room “a university treasure and a distinctive piece of global material culture” that needs careful attention.

“The recommendations from the assessment report will allow LU to steward the room and its objects responsibly and expand access to the space,” she said.

Read more: Teakwood Room among the treasures of Lawrence

The Teakwood Room, located in Chapman Hall, was originally built by American artist and architect Lockwood de Forest in Alice Chapman’s Milwaukee home. After Chapman died in 1935, the Teakwood Room was placed in Chapman Library on the Milwaukee-Downer campus and used for receptions, poetry readings, and chamber music. When Lawrence and Downer consolidated in 1964, members of the Downer community asked that the room be preserved. The room was carefully disassembled and stored in a warehouse until 1968, when it was reassembled at Lawrence.

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

Note: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this content are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation.”

Mayes joins Lawrence as vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion

Dr. Eric Mayes (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Dr. Eric Mayes, a higher education leader who has championed diversity and education reform initiatives for nearly two decades, will join Lawrence University as its new vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

He will lead the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and work collaboratively across campus with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the broader community.

“It’s an opportunity to be a part of important change happening at a critical time in both Lawrence’s history and our country’s history,” said Mayes, who currently serves as the founding executive director of the Center for Educational Equity and associate professor within the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. “I felt it was the right time in my career to take on this role and lead diversity, equity, and inclusion work at the institutional level.”

Mayes emerged as the No. 1 choice from a strong field of candidates. 

“Dr. Mayes has a level of passion and commitment to DEI work that will be game-changing for Lawrence,” President Laurie A. Carter said in making the announcement. “He has the experience that we need in this critical moment of Lawrence working toward becoming an antiracist institution. Dr. Mayes’ story of grit, determination, and resilience will allow him to serve as an excellent role model for our students while collaborating with faculty and staff to create an environment of belonging for all members of the Lawrence community.”

Mayes, who will begin his new duties in early November, will build on diversity work that has been done at Lawrence in recent years. The scope of the position has been expanded to focus on equity as well as issues of diversity and inclusion.

Mayes joined the Center for Educational Equity at Arkansas three years ago as its founding executive director. The master’s degree program is committed to developing equity-minded educators.

He also worked collaboratively with colleagues across the Arkansas campus on inclusive excellence and helped launch the Summer Equity Institute, an annual three-day residential event that brings together university, local, regional, and national voices on antiracism, educational equity, culturally responsive pedagogy, and policy-related issues.

“Dr. Mayes has proven to be an invaluable leader,” said Danielle L. Williams, associate vice chancellor and executive director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, Compliance, and Title IX at the University of Arkansas. “He is a strategic thinker who is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion and actively works to create a culture where all can thrive. I am confident that Dr. Mayes has the academic prowess and personality to move your institution forward. I am excited to see his future successes at Lawrence University.”

Mayes was previously on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, serving as an assistant professor of educational leadership and chair of the school’s Diversity and Civility Committee. He trained a global cohort of education professionals to be more effective leaders and to use culture, diversity, and equity as seminal elements of effective leadership and pedagogical change.

Prior to that, he worked for three years in the nation’s capital as a national deputy director at the Children’s Defense Fund, leading initiatives on national education reform, service learning, social justice, and leadership development.

He holds an Ed.M. in education policy and management from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Howard University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, Association of Black Psychologists, American Educational Research Association, and the American Society for Public Administration.

Mayes said the leadership work he’s done at the University of Arkansas and Johns Hopkins has prepared him to work effectively across departments at Lawrence, build and maintain navigable support systems for students, and facilitate productive conversations on and off campus.

“Lawrence is getting a collaborator, someone who values diversity, equity, and inclusion at an extremely high level, someone who is committed to the truest notion of a liberal arts education,” Mayes said. “To realize the unique value of a liberal arts education, you need to have an environment where people feel welcome, where people feel supported, where people can bring their authentic self to the classroom, to campus, and their presence and contributions are welcomed, valued, and celebrated.”

Mayes grew up in southwest Michigan, surrounded by significant poverty. He said the support he received throughout his youth has informed his education and his professional life.

“The odds were not in my favor, but I fought against them and refused to be a victim of them,” Mayes said.

He enrolled at Xavier University in Louisiana before transferring to the University of Michigan. He would make the Michigan football team as a walk-on linebacker and grow into one of its top defensive players. As a senior, he was named a co-captain, and that team went on to win the 1997 National Championship. The leadership he showed after suffering a season-ending knee injury is the stuff of legend at Michigan.

Mayes said he had mentors to lean on, to provide guidance and support every step of the way. He carries those lessons with him today.

“My career path has largely been driven by working to give back and replicate the kinds of support that I received that proved to be life-changing,” he said.

Mayes, who will also be a tenured professor in the Department of Education at Lawrence, said he’s excited to make connections in the Fox Cities, to facilitate conversations so both Lawrence and the broader community can thrive together.

“Lawrence doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” he said. “That community connection and engagement is important.”

Mayes said every conversation he’s had in his visits to Lawrence have given him hope that Lawrence will continue to move forward in its diversity, equity, and inclusion work. He’s excited to be a leader in those efforts.

“I thought the faculty, staff, and students I met were really genuine,” Mayes said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside them and bringing my experiences, expertise, and network to campus and help move the needle forward in achieving the institutional goals around antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

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

B.M.A. degree opens path for Conservatory students with a passion for bluegrass

Tashi Litch performs during LUaroo in May 2021. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University sophomore Tashi Litch is a mandolin player with a passion for bluegrass music and a deep curiosity about the world.

So, when the Orcas Island, Washington, native set out to select a college, he had two priorities in mind. He sought a music conservatory willing to nurture his bluegrass skills, and he sought a college that would allow him to explore academic subjects across the liberal arts. He found what he was looking for in Lawrence’s Bachelor of Musical Arts (B.M.A.) degree, launched three years ago with a focus on jazz and improvisational music but open to almost any genre of music. Its 50-50 split between music courses in the Conservatory and non-music courses in the college gave him what he needed.

Litch is now one of more than 30 students who have come to Lawrence via the B.M.A. program since it launched in 2019.

“Lawrence was one of the few that has a college and a conservatory and allows students to participate in both,” he said. “That was pretty important to me, to be able to study music at a high level and also be able to take liberal arts college courses. That’s what drew me in.”

Lawrence students dance at LUaroo to the bluegrass sounds of the foursome now known as The Woebegones.

A love of bluegrass

Since arriving at Lawrence, Litch has found his interest in bluegrass nurtured, embraced alongside the classical and jazz repertoire that has long been the Conservatory’s calling card.

He connected almost immediately with a fellow B.M.A. student from Washington state, Evan Snoey, a fiddle player who shares his deep love of bluegrass.

“We knew each other from out in Washington,” Litch said. “He is a year ahead of me and he had felt out the scene here and knew a few players. When I got here, I said, ‘We have to do something, we’ve got to play some bluegrass.’”

That led them to Dominic LaCalamita, a B.M.A. student from Naperville, Illinois, and Ian Harvey, a music and philosophy double major from Seattle. Together they became The Woebegones (they were earlier known as Highcliff).

Evan Snoey

Coached by Matt Turner, a music instructor in the Conservatory, the foursome has been pushing the boundaries, turning a Billie Eilish song into a bluegrass tune, covering a song by The Strokes, and embracing the progressive bluegrass sounds of the Punch Brothers. They’re also playing some bluegrass standards and have a couple of originals in their set.

They’re getting a chance to show their skills on a big stage during the first weekend of October. The foursome has been invited to perform at the annual IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina. They’ll be performing as the Lawrence University Bluegrass Band as part of Saturday’s College Band Showcase.

Litch had connections with some of the festival organizers after having played the festival in his youth as part of a Kids on Bluegrass collective.

“I thought it might be cool to put our names in and see if we can go out there to play,” Litch said. “And here we are. We’re going to be doing an hour-long set on one of the big stages.”

Litch said he grew up playing the fiddle and then the mandolin. He tagged along to jam sessions with his musical family and spent much of his free time trying to emulate the skills of mandolinist Chris Thile. He hit the road during recent summers to play at bluegrass festivals as a duo with his brother.

Now studying at Lawrence and playing in a quartet with other talented music students is raising his game, he said.

“I’m used to playing with a duo, so having the four-piece band was a really different dynamic for me,” he said. “It’s really exciting. There are so many more possibilities and directions we can go with that. I love the more high-energy type of bluegrass that you can do with four of us.”

A beautiful fit with B.M.A.

That’s sweet music to Turner, who has worked closely with the bluegrass foursome while also welcoming B.M.A. students focused on jazz, electronic music, punk, mariachi, global music, and songwriting. They are students looking for high-level music and theory instruction but through a lens of their own choosing.

“I think I can safely say that most of these students would not have come to Lawrence if the B.M.A had not been here,” Turner said. “We’re very excited about all of these students. They’re really good musicians and they’re great scholars, which is an important part of the B.M.A. because it’s a 50-50 split between non-music and music courses.”

Mariachi Ensemble finds a home in the Conservatory

Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory, said it’s no coincidence that three of the four members of the bluegrass band are seeking B.M.A. degrees. They are following a path that was envisioned when the program was first rolled out.

“Although the specific track in the B.M.A. degree is called Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, the program welcomes students interested in a broad range of contemporary music styles,” Pertl said. “The common thread is that all of our students, no matter their primary focus, are musically curious, collaborative, and boundary-crossing. These students have brought bluegrass in as another prominent voice in our multi-faceted musical community, so they really are a perfect fit for Lawrence and the B.M.A. program.”

Litch said he has felt that love since the day he brought his mandolin to campus.

“I’ve been able to improve my skills as a musician technically, but also my theory understanding, especially with jazz theory, which complements bluegrass and makes me a more well-rounded musician,” he said.

“The whole ethos of the B.M.A. program is that anyone is welcome,” Litch added. “So, for me, with bluegrass, it’s been great. It’s been really supported.”

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

From hammocks to Frisbee, Main Hall Green all about relaxing, connecting

Lawrence students Lauren Chamberlain and Pearl Sikora enjoy the hammock life on Main Hall Green in 2020. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

Picture the Lawrence campus. Which scenes scream, “Lawrence,” as soon as you see them? Where would tourists go to get a glimpse of what this college is really like? What sites help connect students to their home away from home?

Chances are, Main Hall Green (MHG) was probably one of the first images that popped into your head—and for good reason. Serving as the centerpiece of campus, this stretch of greenery in front of Main Hall provides the perfect location for any number of opportunities to make your life on campus just a little bit better.

Here’s our guide to utilizing all MHG has to offer.

Study session

Need to study? Main Hall Green works for that, as Melanie Shefchik can attest. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

This is quintessential MHG usage: on any given day at Lawrence, you’re likely to spot someone sitting on the Green with a stack of textbooks and some highlighters. A cool breeze and some sunshine is just the right thing to get you into that focused headspace!

What you need:

  • A nice picnic blanket protects you from any invading bugs, protruding rocks, or grass stains on your white shorts.
  • In addition to storing all your schoolwork, your backpack doubles as a pillow for your inevitable mid-afternoon nap.

Frisbee game

Henry Hale finds Frisbee to his liking on Main Hall Green. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

It’s not a college campus without some avid (and a lot of beginner) Frisbee players. Take a break after classes with a quick game of Frisbee!

What you need:

  • A Frisbee (Or two? You never know who might want to join you!)
  • Grab yourself a partner, be it a friend, classmate, or beloved pet.

Recreational sports

Soccer games are a frequent draw to Main Hall Green. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, there’s nothing like a friendly game of kickball or soccer to get those endorphins flowing. Set up your own game with friends or join Recess Club’s mailing list and show up at one of their scheduled events.

What you need:

  • A ball and any other supplies you need to set up the field.
  • Of course, a key part of any sport is bonding with your teammates.

Lunch date

We’ve all gotten used to dining alfresco lately. Grab a couple friends to appreciate the outdoors while also appreciating a delicious meal.

What you need:

  • Check your mailbox for a clamshell, a compostable container that allows you to take food to-go from the Commons.
  • Unless you’re eating handhelds, don’t forget to bring utensils!

Stargazing

Clear skies, full charts, can’t lose—is that how the saying goes? Regardless, the night sky above MHG is dotted with constellations and planets, perfect for a night of stargazing.

What you need:

  • Download an app, like Star Walk or SkyView Lite, to compare your vision to astronomical maps of the sky.
  • Binoculars (for the true aficionados)

Photo shoot

Ready for your close-up? The vibrant colors and quaint architecture of MHG make the perfect background for any Instagram post. For more photo ops on the Lawrence campus, check out our Top 10 photo destinations.

What you need:

  • A camera with plenty of storage for all background options.
  • It’s not a photo shoot without a stellar outfit.

Hammocking

Get yourself a hammock: it’s worth it. With various clusters of trees providing shade and branches for your straps, an afternoon on a hammock will take your mind off any stressors in your life.

What you need:

  • A hammock (this one is maybe a bit obvious).
  • It’s not a true hammocking excursion without a good book to read.

Rest and relaxation

One of the best things about Wisconsin weather is that it never gets too hot to lay out in the sun. Just lay down in the grass on a lazy Saturday, feel the breeze, listen to the birds, and take it all in.

What you need:

  • Even if it’s not particularly hot, sunlight can be deceptively damaging: put on sunscreen!
  • A pair of sunglasses will keep the light out of your eyes.

And, of course, you hardly need an excuse to visit MHG—you can just bring yourself! Find a nice spot, sit down, and take a minute to enjoy the sights and sounds of campus.

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Carter calls on Lawrentians to work together to confront coming challenges

Lawrence University President Laurie A. Carter delivers her first Matriculation Convocation Friday in Memorial Chapel. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University has an opportunity to build on past successes, but it’ll need to do so at a time of significant challenges in higher education, President Laurie A. Carter said Friday in her first Matriculation Convocation address.

Carter, who began her tenure as Lawrence’s 17th president on July 1, said Lawrence isn’t immune to the growing turbulence across higher education—financial pressures heightened by the pandemic, political strife, attacks on the liberal arts, bloated student debt, declining retention and graduation rates, and a coming steep decline in the number of college-age students. But its community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni are ready to rise to the challenge and place Lawrence among the leaders in a new higher education environment.

“Creating a sense of urgency is the first step in the process,” Carter told the Lawrence community in a presidential address that annually serves as a kick-off of a new academic year.

Speaking at Memorial Chapel and via a livestream, Carter reiterated how honored she is to lead Lawrence. She celebrated the university’s 174-year history and its recent successes and invited all Lawrentians to sign up for the hard work to come, even if it means working outside of their comfort zones.

“I am excited for this work, and I feel uniquely positioned for the challenges ahead,” she said. “As an African American woman and leader, discomfort has always been a part of my journey.”

Following Carter’s speech, a video was presented featuring students speaking about why they love Lawrence:

Looking forward

There is much to build on at Lawrence—the success of the recently concluded Be the Light! Campaign, the commitment of dedicated alumni, the size and strength of the newest class, the recent launch of five key academic programs, the addition of several endowed professorships that have strengthened existing programs, and the unity in purpose that has been so evident over the past year and a half.

“The manner in which the community came together to support one another during the pandemic is why we are brighter together,” Carter said.

Let’s celebrate those successes, she said. Embrace the great traditions of Lawrence. But don’t lose sight of the challenges ahead for higher education; they will be significant.

“Through our collective efforts, we must transform Lawrence into a university that is poised to lead in this new environment,” Carter said. “And as the environment evolves, we must be nimble enough to evolve with it.”

Watch a replay of President Carter’s speech here

Setting priorities

Carter laid out five priorities that will be key pieces of a to-be-built strategic plan — strategic equitable student success; Lawrence brand enhancement; diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism; an enhanced integrated university experience; and strategic financial stewardship.

“While these five priorities touch nearly every aspect of our university, from recruitment and retention to the curricular and co-curricular programs, they all are in the service of our students,” Carter said. “And our ability to collectively engage in dialogue and problem-solving around these areas will determine our course for the future.”

Lawrence’s current strategic plan expires in 2022.

Carter also introduced the formation of five guiding coalitions, each with a mix of faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni, to address particular areas that need expedited attention. These coalitions will be tasked with creating a path to meaningful progress in the assigned areas, with timelines focused on the current academic year. The work of the coalitions will help inform the strategic plan.

The guiding coalitions include: Visioning of Our Five Priorities; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-racism; Full Speed to Full Need; Amplifying Athletics; and 175th Anniversary. Each will have at least two co-leads, one from faculty and one from staff. Members of the Lawrence community are being invited to join the coalitions.

“Our volunteer army will consist of members of the community who are passionate about these issues and are willing to lock arms with others to create meaningful change around them,” Carter said. “You—faculty, staff, students alike—have the opportunity to participate, step up and act like never before.”

The Convocation, the first of three to be held during the 2021-22 academic year, featured a performance of Mark A. Miller’s Creation of Peace by the Welcome Week Choir, directed by music professors Phillip A. Swan and Stephen M. Sieck. Other elements of the program, including the size of the audience in Memorial Chapel, were adjusted to accommodate pandemic protocols.

Allison Fleshman, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Public Events Committee, announced that Austin Segrest, assistant professor of English, has been chosen as the Honors Convocation speaker in the spring. Multidisciplinary artist Alexandra Bell will deliver the Winter Term convocation.

As the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight, Carter encouraged all Lawrentians to lean into the truth Lawrence has long embraced — “light, more light.”

“When the sun was shining brightly, meaning before the public discourse on higher education turned negative and the pandemic disrupted the world, our light shone brighter than ever,” Carter said. “But now that darkness has threatened us, we must use the light within us to demonstrate to the world who we are.”

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