Category: Press Releases

Douangvilay, Finzel, Salvia heading to South Korea, Greenland, Germany as Fulbright Fellows

Having already completed all of her necessary credits to graduate, Nalee Douangvilay spent spring term working with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. While driving back to campus in early June for commencement exercises, thoughts turned to what she would do with her life. That’s when a special email arrived on her phone.

Nalee Douangvilay
Nalee Douangvilay ’18

The message informed Douangvilay she had been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, getting promoted from alternate status to recipient.

“It was really unexpected, very exciting, very weird, but good kind of timing,” said Douangvilay, who graduated with honors in June with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Douangvilay, along with fellow 2018 graduate Augusta Finzel and 2017 Lawrence graduate Emilio Salvia, are the three latest recipients of Fulbright awards. They join William Gill and Elena Hudacek who were awarded Fulbright grants earlier this year. The five Fulbright winners matches 2014 for the most in a single year in Lawrence history.

Beginning later this summer, Douangvilay, Salvia and Finzel will spend the following 10 months abroad as English language teaching assistants and cultural ambassadors, courtesy of the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Douangvilay’s Fulbright will take her to South Korea. Leaving in July, she will spend six weeks in orientation before beginning her teaching assignment.

“Korea is one of those places that really has a lot of duality to it,” said Douangvilay, whose only previous time abroad was in the fall of 2016 at Lawrence’s London Center. “It’s very modern in some ways. At the same time, there is a lot of really traditional aspects to Korea that are still practiced. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like to be in that kind of world.”

After some independent study — which included watching Korean reality shows online — Douangvilay thinks she’ll arrive with just enough Korean language skills “to sort of get by.”

“It’s going to be challenging living in a country where I’m not fluent in the language,” said Douangvilay, who will live with a host family. “When I was in London, that was a safety net because I could communicate with everyone. This will be a really great learning experience and even if it’s hard, I think it’s good to challenge yourself in that way.”

A cultural outreach aspect is part of the Fulbright grant, and Douangvilay, who was very active in the theatre department at Lawrence, is looking forward to continuing those interests in Korea.

“I would really like to be involved in theatre in some way while I’m there,” said Douangvilay, who was working in costume construction at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. “I know a lot of schools have theatre programs and would definitely like to be a part of that.”

Associate Professor of English Karen Hoffmann and Douangvilay’s academic advisor, hailed her as “an exceptionally creative and intellectually curious individual.”

“Given the breadth of her interests and talents, ranging from physics, current events,and literary studies to costume design and playwrighting, Nalee stands out as an ideal student of the liberal arts,” said Hoffmann. “With her commitment to international collaboration, she will make a superb Fulbright Scholar.”

Augusta Finzel
Augusta Finzel ’18

Like Douangvilay, Finzel was originally named a Fulbright alternate. Her initial country of choice, Russia, was put on hold, but when her application was considered for Greenland, she was approved.

“I was shocked, honestly,” said Finzel, who graduated with honors in June with majors in biology and Russian studies. “It felt like they were just stringing me along for a really long time as an alternate. Then they told me they sent my application to Greenland. I thought, well that’d be cool, but I wasn’t expecting anything. It was such a fast turn-around that I barely got to process what being in Greenland would be like before I heard news I was going there.”

Although Greenland was not her first choice, Finzel is still thrilled to be heading somewhere central to one of her primary interests – climate change. She has been assigned to the capital city of Nuuk.

“I’m really excited. Greenland has never really been on my radar,” said Finzel. “I’m interested in melting permafrost in the Arctic and other climate change problems. Greenland works really well with those interests because so much of it is inside the Arctic Circle. It’s right at the heart of many of these problems.

“I’m looking forward to seeing something very different from what I’m used to,” she added. “I think I’ll learn a lot and gain a lot of insight into a culture I’ve never really thought about before. I’ve always liked learning different languages and I have no issue with the idea of learning either Danish or Greenlandic just for fun. I think that would be really interesting.”

Finzel also hopes to explore the connection between climate change and its effects on the local population.

“I’m hoping I can interact with the community, maybe join one of their environmental groups. I’ll want to figure out a way to interact.”

One of Finzel’s academic advisors, Professor of Biology Bart De Stasio, said her Fulbright grant will provide a unique and valuable experience for her.

“Augusta has a deep interest in examining how climate change might affect ecosystems in northern locations and her time in Greenland will allow her to see first-hand how conditions are changing,” said De Stasio. “She also has a love of studying language and culture, as evidenced by her double majors in biology and Russian Studies. She is an excellent observer and has keen listening skills, both of which will allow her to excel as she assists English language learners during her Fulbright Fellowship.”

Emilio Salvia
Emilio Salvia ’17

Salvia, the 2017 Lawrence graduate, will be heading to Harsewinkel, Germany, a town of 25,000 in the northwest part of the country, where he will teach at a ‘gesamtschule” — a comprehensive school.

A 2015 study abroad program in Germany he participated persuaded Salvia to pursue the Fulbright grant originally.

“I knew of the Fulbright program, but it was my experience in Berlin that truly motivated me to apply for the fellowship,” said Salvia, who graduated last year with a major in both German and biology. “I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and connect with German culture firsthand and was very interested in Germany’s dynamic role in both European and global politics. Given my interest in international affairs and German culture, I knew that Fulbright was a good fit.”

A native of Elmhurst, Ill., Salvia has career aspirations of working in public service or higher education and sees the Fulbright as a springboard toward those goals.

“I’m confident my Fulbright experience will enhance my worldview and will provide both unique challenges and opportunities while allowing me to explore my interests,” said Salvia, who leaves for Harsewinkel in early September. “During my stay in Germany, I hope to continue my studies at a university, conduct research and gain insights into another culture’s work environment. My Fulbright year will help prime me for a career in government, international affairs or academia, all of which are major interests of mine.”

As a Lawrence student, Salvia worked as a tutor with exchange students from Japan and served on several university committees with faculty. He sees the Fulbright as an extension of those experiences.

“The opportunity to work on the various committees offered me unique insights into how teachers make decisions that best suit students, insights I hope to apply in Germany.”

As for his cultural outreach, Salvia hopes to pursue his interests in environmental education, sustainable agriculture or volunteer with refugees.

Professor of German Brent Peterson, one of Salvia’s advisors, called him “both an exceptional and typical multi-interested Lawrence student.”

“Emilio’s story is the kind that could never be planned, but his is exactly the growth experience that only a liberal arts education can provide,” said Peterson. “German was his third major, but he revealed himself to be a careful reader and insightful interpreter of German texts. He wrote an excellent paper that provided a significant insight on the topic of integration by looking at the issue of shame in migrant narratives. It’s not what we normally expect from STEM majors, but Emilio is both an exceptional biology student and multi-interested, with a real gift in German. There is no telling where the Fulbright year in Germany might lead him, but I am certain it will be a life experience that could open up undreamed of possibilities in the sciences or in something else entirely.”

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

 

Copeland Woodruff wins national opera directing award, two LU productions also earn top honors

Copeland Woodruff
Copeland Woodruff

In baseball parlance, Lawrence University has swept a prestigious doubleheader in the annual American Prize Performing Arts competition.

Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies and associate professor of music at Lawrence, has been named the 2018 recipient of the American Prize’s Charles Nelson Reilly Prize for stage direction. Selected from among 15 national semifinalists, he was honored for his work on Lawrence’s 2017 production of Philip Glass’ “Hydrogen Jukebox.”

American Prize hailed Copeland as “a champion of improvisation, musical and physical, in the operatic medium as a tool for education, creation and performance.”

Additionally, Lawrence’s opera productions “The Beggar’s Opera” and “Hydrogen Jukebox” shared first-place honors for the American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division.

Lawrence’s two productions were chosen from among 15 reviewed operas. Lawrence was competing against several institutions with graduate programs, including Yale University, University of Wisconsin-Madison. and Oklahoma State University.

Scene from the opera "The Beggar's Opera"
Lawrence’s 2016 production of “The Beggar’s Opera” tied for first-place honors with the college’s production of “Hydrogen Jukebox” in the American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division

In announcing Lawrence as this year’s performance winner, American Prize said “Recent productions have garnered national attention because of their well-crafted and dedicated musical and dramatic performances.”

Copeland said being honored as the first recipient of the newly-named Charles Nelson Reilly Prize was “daunting.”

“I admired Reilly as a child and met him in the early 1990s while I was on staff at Santa Fe Opera,” recalled Woodruff. “His acting classes were packed and like nothing I had ever seen before. To be mentioned with a man who lived his amazing life proudly and among many of the world’s great talents, is a blessing I never anticipated, but am over-the-moon about.”

Copeland credits Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, who hired him in 2014 as the university’s first director of opera studies, for offering him “the chance to dream.”

“The Charles Nelson Reilly Award recognizes Copeland’s outstanding achievements as an artist, director, and educator. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this singular honor.”
— Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music

“Lawrence has been the epitome of environments to teach, learn, develop craft and struggle to tell difficult, funny, frightening, loving, messy human stories on stage,” said Woodruff.  “I have been a very lucky man to do what I love for a living and feel luckiest being able to work with unbelievably generous colleagues and students whom I also see as colleagues. Lawrence is fertile soil with dedicated gardeners. I’m humbled and inspired each day.”

Pertl called winning the American Prize for two separate opera productions “a rare and momentous occasion.”

“It speaks to the incredible strength of the Lawrence Opera program, our outstanding students and especially our world-class faculty,” said Pertl. “From the moment Copeland Woodruff walked through the doors of our conservatory, we all knew that he was a creative visionary who would build an opera studies program that would give our students the opportunity to receive not only exceptional opera training but also the opportunity to create art at the highest level.

“The Charles Nelson Reilly Award recognizes Copeland’s outstanding achievements as an artist, director and educator,” Pertl added. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this singular honor.”

Woodruff’s Reilly Prize honors the memory of Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award-winning actor for his 1962 portrayal of Bud Frump in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Broadway stage director, acclaimed opera director and acting teacher.

Woodruff joined the Lawrence faculty after spending six years as co-director of opera activities at the University of Memphis, where he earned four first-place National Opera Association Best Opera Production Awards. In addition to directing Lawrence’s annual main stage opera production, Woodruff has launched a series of “micro-operas” that examine socially relevant issues and are performed at non-traditional locales.

Lawrence’s production of Philip Glass’ “Hydrogen Jukebox” shared top honors for this year’s American Prize in Opera Performance, college/university division, along with Lawrence’s production of “The Beggar’s Opera.” in Opera Performance in the college/university division.

The American Prize honors are only the latest accolades for Woodruff. His 2016 mainstage production of “The Beggar’s Opera” was awarded first-place honors by the National Opera Association while his 2015 production of “The Tender Land” earned second-place honors in the NOA’s Best Opera Production competition. “The Beggar’s Opera” also was named “Best of Local Productions” from among 164 productions in both local and professional categories by WFRV-TV arts critic Warren Gerds.

Other awards during Copeland’s tenure include first-place honors for seven students in the 2015 Collegiate Opera Scenes competition held at the NOA’s national convention in Indianapolis, Ind., and his first two micro-operas — “Expressions of Acceptance” and “Straight from the Hip,” which addressed issues of gun presence/gun awareness in the community — earned third-place recognition in the NOA competition, competing against standard opera performances.

Founded in 2009 and based in Danbury, Conn., the American Prize is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels.

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

Painter Joseph Friebert featured in Wriston Art Center Galleries’ summer exhibition series

Joseph Friebert painting "Sunday Morning"
Joseph Friebert’s oil painting “Sunday Morning” is among the works in the latest Wriston Art Center Galleries exhibition.

Lawrence University’s fifth annual summer exhibition series at the Wriston Art Center Galleries features works by painter Joseph Friebert from Lawrence’s own permanent collection.

The exhibition opens July 13 and runs through Aug 19. Two 20-minute guided Art @ Noon tours of the exhibition will be conducted July 19 and August 9.

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon – 4 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Friebert, who died in 2002, used glazes and varnishes that allowed light to reflect back and produce a luminous effect in his work, reminiscent of Old Master techniques. His work often represents social concerns, a byproduct of growing up the son of a tailor and union organizer in a working class Jewish family. Having experienced the Great Depression, two world wars and the Cold War, much of his art is permeated with a sense of loss, sadness and vulnerability.

“Although Friebert’s artwork is often subdued in its tone and subject matter, he presents us with a vision of the world that is both contemplative and rendered with intense feeling,” said Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston Art Center Galleries. “A viewer will come away from his paintings with a new perspective on the urban landscape and its inhabitants.”

Joseph Friebert painting "The Funeral"
“The Funeral” will be part of the Joseph Friebert exhibition.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1908, Friebert and his family moved to Milwaukee when he was still an infant and he spent the rest of his life living there. Working as a pharmacist by day, he also took art classes at the Layton School of Art. He eventually earned a degree in art education from the Milwaukee State Teacher’s College in 1945 and a master of fine arts degree from UW-Madison. He joined the faculty at MSTC (now UW-Milwaukee) in 1946 and taught there until his retirement in 1976.

The Wriston Summer Exhibition Series is an annual program intended to engage the Fox Valley community in conversations about artworks and artists of the Midwest.

The Friebert exhibition is made possible by the Joseph and Betsy Ritz Friebert Family Partnership, the Kohler Foundation, Inc., and other generous donors who have contributed to Lawrence’s permanent collection.

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

Art professor Rob Neilson featured in exhibition at Madison’s Watrous Gallery

Works by Lawrence University sculptor Rob Neilson will be featured in an exhibition opening Friday, July 6 at the Wisconsin Academy’s James Watrous Gallery in Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts.

Rob Neilson sculpture entitled "Bi-Bully"
Rob Neilson’s “Bi-Bully” will be part of his “Pataphysical Portraits” exhibition.

The exhibition “Pataphysical Portraits” runs through Aug. 19. A free artists’ reception will be held Friday July 13 from 5-7 p.m. with an informal gallery talk delivered at 5:30 p.m.

In “Pataphysical Portraits,” Neilson exploits the traditional genre of portraiture busts in a way that combines iconography and incongruity.

Concentrating on the exchange between the idiosyncratic and collective readings of each figure’s image, Neilson explores the construction of identity and the space where the iconic encounters the absurd. His work asks what this reveals about how we see ourselves, what we value and the meaning we give to individual narratives.

Neilson, who joined the Lawrence art department in 2003, holds the Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art endowed chair. He has exhibited his sculpture, installations and drawings at galleries, museums, and alternative spaces nationally and internationally.

He has created public art commissions throughout the United States, including projects in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Three of Neilson’s projects “You Are Here,” “We Are Here” and “Community Caryatids,” are featured in the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in downtown Appleton.

Rob Neilson sculpture Badly Bain Among the Kye
“Badly Bain Among the Kye (Robert Lambie 1760-1799” is one of the works in Rob Neilson’s “Pataphysical Portraits” exhibition.

A native of Detroit, Neilson earned a BFA degree in fine arts from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA in sculpture from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The James Watrous Gallery is a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, an independent, nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire discovery, illuminate creative work, and foster civil dialogue. The gallery’s primary focus is the work of contemporary Wisconsin visual artists. We also present exhibitions that explore the history of art in Wisconsin or topics that bridge the sciences, arts, and humanities. The gallery is free and open to the public.

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

 

 

 

 

Lawrence enhances religious, spirit life program, names alumna Rev. Terra Winston associate dean

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Rev. Terra Winston.

The 2000 Lawrence University graduate returns to her alma mater Aug. 1 as the school’s first associate dean of spiritual and religious life. The newly created position is grant funded for a five-year term with the possibility of continuation beyond the term.

Rev. Terra Winston
Rev. Terra Winston ’00

Since 2012, Winston has held various positions with the interfaith organization Christian Peacemaker Teams in Chicago. As delegations coordinator, she executed international, justice-focused travels, helping people navigate the nexus where their spirit meets the world’s realities. She also worked on organization-wide strategic directions and coordinated outreach efforts at conferences and congregations, among other duties.

Winston, an ordained Presbyterian minister who earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Lawrence, said it was “fulfilling a dream” to return to campus to work with Lawrence’s diverse student body.

“I’m excited because I feel I have a unique skill set and a spiritual understanding that will enhance the work that has already begun,” said Winston, a native of
Shaker Heights, Ohio.

She said she will bring “a ministry of presence” to her new position.

“My experience has taught me how important it is to show up with sincerity, grounding and openness to meet people where they are along their spiritual journey.”

Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement, who joined the Lawrence administration in 2016 as the university’s first dean of spiritual and religious life, said Winston’s connection to Lawrence is a “huge advantage.”

“Terra comes in loving Lawrence,” said Morgan-Clement. “She will bring her personal experience of wishing that Lawrence had a position like this when she was a student. Having been out since 2000, she will bring her history with Lawrence and combine it with her experiences and education during the past 18 years that will enrich our campus community.”

“Terra brings deep experience in working in difficult dialogues, which is one of the challenges our office is seeking to address with our training program for facilitating challenging conversations.
— Rev. Linda Morgan-Clement

According to Morgan-Clement, Winston’s addition will continue to develop the new department and undergird Lawrence’s commitment to educating a whole person and serving the spiritual and religious needs of its students, faculty and staff.

“Terra brings deep experience in working in difficult dialogues, which is one of the challenges our office is seeking to address with our training program for facilitating challenging conversations. She will help us continue to shift the culture so that our commitment to inclusivity means we’re able to share a diverse range of ideas and not only speak but listen to one another.”

Morgan-Clement called Winston’s alignment of social justice and faith one of her strongest assets.

“She is very grounded in her understanding of the ethical commitments of what it means to be a person of faith. She will underline our capacity to bring together the faith and the ‘so what’ of faith, like how should I live. I’m hoping Terra will strengthen the questions we ask and strengthen the conversations that we can have around the questions.”

Among Winston’s duties will be to facilitate student conversations about spirituality, faith development, religious diversity, community building and social justice commitments. She also will direct Lawrence’s campus-wide dialogue initiative and provide pastoral care and assist with memorial gatherings.

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Lawrence, Winston earned a master of religious studies degree from the University of Chicago, a master of divinity degree from the McCormick Theological Seminary and a master of theology degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary.

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

Three Lawrence students honored by Wisconsin Visual Artists organization

Three former Lawrence University students have been recognized by the Northeast Chapter of Wisconsin Visual Artists with a merit prize.

Sculpture by student Eryn Blagg
“a^2 + b^2 = c^2” by Eryn Blagg ’18

Eryn Blagg, Omaha, Neb., Kori Looker, Weyauwega, and Rachael Wuensch, Reedsburg, all of whom graduated on June 10, were named recipients of the WVA’s merit prize, which is presented annually for outstanding student artwork at the college level.

Blagg is a sculptor whose work focuses on the intersection of art and math. “In a quest to prove theorems, mathematicians are guided by aesthetics as much as intellectual curiosity,” Blagg wrote in her artist statement. “As an artist I am similarly driven by creativity expression and aesthetics, focusing on creating new objects from nothing, the same way a mathematician creates a logical framework for a proof or problem. My art is an avenue to show that the art world and the math world are the same: complex and beautiful.”

A scupture by student Kori Looker
“Amore Mio” by Kori Looker ’18

Looker, also a sculptor, specializes in figurative work rendered abstractly out of carved wood. She said her  abstract figurative sculptures “convey the connections possible and expression of emotions within relationships. This work draws inspiration from a variety of sources, from bell hook’s emphasis on caring in ‘Teaching to Transgress’ to Michelangelo’s expression of maternal love and anguish in the ‘Pietà.'”

A print by student Rachael Wuensch
“Scarlet Sphere” by Rachael Wuensch ’18

Wuensch’s work combines printmaking with elements of collage. According to artist statement, “personal growth has shifted my interests from representational and symbolic works to more abstract pieces. Using texture, pattern and an intuitive approach. My current work depicts emotion through volume, depth and movement while expanding beyond the picture plane. By combining recycled objects including plastic, fabrics, and wax paper with the printmaking, painting, and embroidery processes, each piece has an independent voice.”

Blagg, Looker and Wuensch all have works in the current Senior Art Exhibition in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center Galleries.

Each received a $100 prize and a one-year membership in the Wisconsin Visual Artists organization. The merit award honors the caliber of their art itself and is designed to encourage graduates to continue their work in the visual arts.

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

Lawrence University receives $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to pursue inclusive excellence in the sciences

Stefan Debbert calls it a “transformational” approach to science education at Lawrence University.

The chemistry professor will direct a new initiative designed to significantly change the way Lawrence teaches many of its introductory natural science courses.

Stefan Debbert
Stefan Debbert

Lawrence was one of 33 schools in the country selected for a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to implement its Inclusive Excellence Initiative. The program’s aim is to catalyze schools’ efforts to engage science students of all backgrounds and identities. Lawrence and the other 32 schools selected for the program this year join 24 schools that were chosen in 2017.

“This initiative is about encouraging colleges and universities to change the way they do business — to become institutions with a significantly greater capacity for inclusion of all students, especially those from nontraditional backgrounds,” said HHMI President Erin O’Shea in announcing the grants.

“The commitment to inclusion is a signal feature of a Lawrence education,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “Last year, our efforts to more fully incorporate inclusive pedagogies in the humanities received a great boost through funding from the Mellon Foundation. This new grant makes it possible for us to deepen and expand this commitment into our instruction in the sciences, as well. HHMI is one of the nation’s most prestigious science philanthropies. Their support of our program is a tremendous vote of confidence in the skill, dedication, and passion of our faculty.”

As its name implies, the program is targeting “the New Majority” — underrepresented minority, first generation and low-income students. Recent efforts on Lawrence’s part have significantly increased its number of New Majority students, leading to a re-examination of how its policies and resources support those students.

“It’s called the Inclusive Excellence Initiative because data suggest some groups are being excluded,” said Debbert, associate professor of chemistry and Lawrence’s HHMI project director. “We want to make sure students stay in our science ‘pipeline.’ To do that, we’re looking at a fundamental shift in how we teach.

“Our goal is to create a natural science community that unreservedly welcomes, fully embraces, thoughtfully engages and effectively teaches all students of all identities—from their very first class through graduation,” Debbert added. “Lawrence’s natural science division intends to lead the university as we place inclusive excellence at the root of our curricula, our mindsets and our shared mission.”

Lawrence will use the grant, which will be allocated over five years, to “fundamentally change” the way each of its large introductory courses in biology, chemistry and physics are taught.

“We’re going to take them out of the big lecture hall model and go to a more active learning approach where students are working in small groups around a table, talking with each other and working with each other instead of just passively absorbing a long lecture,” said Debbert. “We’re also going to enhance our student’s hands-on learning opportunities by better integrating our labs with our classroom work.”

Lawrence biologist Elizabeth De Stasio, whose own position at Lawrence was created originally in 1992 by a $500,000 grant from HHMI, says that as a result of this work, “Our students are going to be learning in a new way. They are going to carry that to their other classes and, we hope, their social spaces, resulting in a more inclusive culture at Lawrence, not just in the introductory science classes.”

“The commitment to inclusion is a signal feature of a Lawrence education. HHMI is one of the nation’s most prestigious science philanthropies. Their support of our program is a tremendous vote of confidence in the skill, dedication, and passion of our faculty.”
— Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty

Lawrence’s first step in the initiative will be transforming a large, tiered lecture hall in Youngchild Hall into a “science commons” with small group tables and built-in technology so students can share work with each other more easily.

“Our hope is to make our introductory science courses a more welcoming and engaging place, so students won’t feel left out or excluded because of where they’re coming from, what they look like or how they identify,” said Debbert. “We’ll be able to say to all students, ‘We can help you succeed.’”

Over the next five years, Lawrence will add visiting faculty members who specialize in modern science pedagogy for two-year appointments. These positions will be created in the biology, chemistry and physics departments.

“These ‘STEM Pedagogy Fellows,’ as we plan to call them, won’t just be scientists, they will have extensive experience in modern pedagogy and classroom revision,” said Debbert. “They will be people whose Ph.D.s essentially are in science teaching, so they will help us in many ways.”

Biology professor Beth De Stasio in classroom with students
Professor of Biology Beth De Stasio (right) has tested some of the inclusive education practices in her genetics class that Lawrence will incorporate more broadly through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.

To further support students in these introductory science courses, Lawrence will build on a successful program in their introductory biology curriculum by developing and implementing peer-led learning groups for introductory courses in chemistry and physics. These groups will help students develop skills and strategies for success in coursework, and will lead to more connections and cohort-building among students and a more inclusive learning environment for all students, particular those from underrepresented groups.

“Diverse groups are shown by research to make better decisions; there is less group-think if you are in a group with diversity on any level,” said De Stasio, the Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and professor of biology. “We’re trying to have students realize working in diverse groups of any kind is a huge plus.”

In addition to these programs, Lawrence will bring outside speakers to campus to conduct seminars for the faculty and staff with a focus on how to teach more inclusively. Additional personnel will be added to the office of research administration to gather more data to assess project progress during the grant period.

During the two rounds of selection in 2017 and 2018, HHMI received applications from 594 schools of which 140 were invited to submit proposals for plans to develop more inclusive environments for their students.

“For years, the higher education system has focused on treating symptoms instead of addressing root causes,” said HHMI Program Officer Susan Musante. “With the Inclusive Excellence initiative, HHMI is asking institutions to identify how they are standing in the way of success for certain groups of students and then find ways to change.”

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

Blue and White Proud: Show your LU pride, get free admission to Summerfest

All Lawrentians — alumni, students (current, incoming, prospective), faculty, staff, friends of the college — will be able to flash their institutional pride and enjoy free admission to Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, Friday, June 29.

Anyone wearing a Lawrence-branded shirt or hat will be admitted free between the hours of 12 noon and 3 p.m. as part of “Show Your College Pride Day.” Participants should stop at the Mid Gate Promotions Booth to receive their free ticket.Summerfest Pride Day logo

Once on the grounds, be sure to stop by the Lawrence booth at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt to say hello and show your support.

If you need to freshen up your Lawrence University wardrobe, you’re in luck. Order any LU gear online before June 20 and we’ll send your swag in time for the big day. Use the promo code LUFEST at checkout and we’ll ship it to you for free.

Among the headliners performing on June 29 include Halsey, Billy Currington, Logic, NF, Social Distortion, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Third World, Plain White T’s, Xavier Omär and others.

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

Lawrence welcoming record-setting turnout for Reunion 2018

Alumni and guests returning to campus this weekend for Lawrence University’s annual Reunion celebration will be record-setters as part of the largest Reunion turnout in school history.

The welcome mats will be out out in abundance as an all-time high of some 1,100 alumni and guests from 41 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as six countries, Japan and Sri Lanka among them participate in four days of activities. Betty Dombrose Brown, a 1947 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer, holds the distinction of being a member of the oldest class represented this year.A group shot of alumni at Reunion celebration

Eight alumni will be honored for achievement and service Saturday, June 16 as part of Reunion festivities. Each will be recognized at the Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

In addition to the awards convocation, Reunion will feature an address Thursday evening by Appleton native Dr. Ann McKee, a member of Lawrence’s class of 1975.

The director of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center at Boston University and chief neuropathologist for the brain banks at VA Boston, McKee’s research has established herself as one of the country’s leading experts on brain trauma, concussions and their consequences.

A complete schedule of all Reunion activities can be found here.

As a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arnold and Porter, Bill Baer established himself as one of the country’s leading antitrust attorneys.

Among his notable victories was successfully defending GE against criminal charges of price fixing with DeBeers in the industrial diamonds business. Two separate stints in the Federal Trade Commission, where he led successful challenges to mergers involving Staples and Office Depot and four drug wholesalers, helped Baer earn an appointment to the U.S. Department of Justice by President Obama.

Bill Baer
bill Baer ’72

A 1972 Lawrence graduate, Baer will be presented the Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award at Saturday’s Reunion convocation. The award recognizes Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer graduates of more than 15 years for outstanding career achievement. The award honors the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College.

A resident of Bethesda, Md., Baer, who served as Lawrence’s visiting distinguished Scarff professor this spring, was the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division from 2013-2016 and acting associate attorney general — the number three position in the department — from 2016-17.

At Arnold & Porter, Baer oversaw 60 lawyers in the United States and Europe as the leader of the firm’s antitrust practice. His outstanding legal work earned him numerous awards, including being named one of “the decade’s most influential lawyers” by the National Law Journal. The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers twice (2006, 2007) named him the “leading competition lawyer in the world.”

Bear served on the Lawrence Board of Trustees from 2001-2012 and then rejoined the board in 2017.

This year’s other award winners include:

Peter Kolkay
Peter Kolkay ’98

Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award — Peter Kolkay, Class of 1998, Nashville, Tenn. The award recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to, and achievements in, a career field.  The award honors Lawrence’s 10th and youngest president and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

Hailed as “stunningly virtuosic” by The New York Times and “superb” by the Washington Post, Kolkay is the only bassoonist ever awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant and first prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. He is an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and a member of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tenn.

An associate professor of bassoon at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, Kolkay has performed numerous world premieres of both solo and chamber works. His 2011 debut solo CD “Bassoon Music” spotlights works by 21st-century American composers.

He was the recipient of the Carlos Surinach Prize by the BMI Foundation for outstanding service to American music by an emerging artist.

Francis Siekman de Romero
Frances Siekman de Romero ’74

George B. Walter Service to Society Award — Frances Siekman de Romero, Class of 1974, Guanajuato, Mexico. The award recognizes Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College alumni who exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service. The award honors Walter, a 1936 Lawrence graduate, faculty member and dean of men, whose work at the college and beyond promoted his conviction that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world.

An Appleton native, de Romero has been deeply engaged with humanitarian work much of the past four decades, focusing on Mexico’s less fortunate. The former first lady of Guanajuato, she served six years (2000-06) as president of Guanajuato’s Department of Infants and Family (DIF). The state organization works to support people earning less than $1,000 per year.

She also has worked to provide adequate eye care for the poor through the organization Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity and implemented the program “Mi Casa Diferente” for Guanajuato families whose homes were built with inadequate materials. The program provides building materials to families who own the land and build the homes themselves.

A passionate advocate for animal welfare, de Romero created a 600-acre sanctuary for abused donkeys, horses and dogs.

de Romero has a long family association with Lawrence. Her father, William Siekman and mother Martha Boyd Siekman were 1941 and 1943 Lawrence graduates, respectively. Her brother, Charlie, graduated in 1972, while two of her children earned degrees from Lawrence, Francesca in 2011 and David in 2015.

Terry Franke
Terry Franke ’68
Tom Kayser
Tom Kayser ’68

The Presidential Award, Thomas Kayser, class of 1958, St. Paul, Minn., and J. Terrence Franke, class of 1968, Winnetka, Ill. The award honors an alumnus or alumna of Lawrence University or Milwaukee-Downer College whose exemplary leadership and notable actions have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence University community.

Kayser served as a member of the Lawrence University Board of Trustees from 2000-2012, when he was elected emeritus trustee. During his tenure, he has served as vice-chair of the Student Affairs Committee, Recruitment and Retention Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee. He is a past president of the Founders Club, served as a campaign working group member, regional club program committee member and college inauguration representative.

He and his wife, Marlene, are founding donors of Admission Possible, now known as College Possible, a nationally-growing nonprofit organization that works to make college admission and success possible for low-income students. Their support has helped Lawrence facilitate a high level of access to students in the program, coordinate a special college fair for Lawrence and other small colleges and funded an AmeriCorps staff person to serve as the direct liaison between the Lawrence admissions office and the program.

Franke has served as a member of the Lawrence University Board of Trustees for 19 years covering two different terms (1995-98; 2002-), including as four as chair of the board (2011–15).

He also has served on the leadership team for the Full Speed to Full Need scholarship campaign, been an admissions volunteer, a regional chair of the Founders Club committee, Legacy Circle National Council member, and an active participant in the Lawrence Scholars in Business program. Franke is currently a member of his 50th Reunion committee and serves on the leadership team for the class of 1968.

Christine Benedict
Christine Benedict ’99

Marshall Hulbert Young Alumni Outstanding Service Award, Christine Benedict, class of 1999, Stoughton. This award recognizes a Lawrence graduate celebrating his or her 15th cluster reunion or younger who has provided significant service to the college. It honors Marshall Brandt Hulbert, known as “Mr. Lawrence,” who made contributions to thousands of Lawrentian lives and served the college in various capacities for 54 years.

The vice president for enrollment management at Edgewood College, Benedict served on the Lawrence University Alumni Association (LUAA) board, including a term as board president.

Her service to her alma mater began as a student, when she served as a Star-Key Ambassador and volunteer for the admissions office. As a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, she served as the Panhellenic president and was elected vice president of her senior class.

After graduation, she brought valuable insights to the LUAA Board of Directors and led countless volunteer efforts to foster an impactful educational experience for future Lawrentians.

Linda Laarman
Linda Laarman ’73
etty Domrose Brown
Betty Domrose Brown M-D ’47

Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award, Betty Domrose Brown, Milwaukee-Downer class of 1947, Green Bay, and Linda Laarman, class of 1973, Milwaukee. The award recognizes a Lawrence University or Milwaukee-Downer College graduate after his or her 20th cluster Reunion who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence University. It honors Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp, voted Milwaukee-Downer alumna of the year in 1964 for her long-standing service to the college as president of the alumnae association board, class secretary and public relations officer.

A loyal and long-time supporter of the university, Brown has served her classmates as a class secretary since 2004. She was a member of the LUAA Board of Directors from 1975–78, returning to the board for four more years in 1998 and has served as a reunion committee member.

Laarman, who served two years as president of the LUAA Board of Directors, has long had a special affinity for Björklunden. A frequent summer seminar attendee, she served as a docent for the Björklunden chapel, co-chaired the Björklunden Advisory Committee and helped create “This is Björklunden,” an all-day annual event that showcases all that Lawrence’s northern campus has to offer.

She also was instrumental in establishing the “Winifred Boynton Creative Spirit” award as a tribute to Mrs. Boynton and individuals who contribute significantly to life in Door County.

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

 

Professors Hoffmann, Podair, Proctor honored at 2018 commencement

Three members of the Lawrence University faculty were recognized for teaching and scholarship excellence Sunday, June 10 at the college’s 169th commencement.

Karen Hoffmann, associate professor of English and diversity enhancement faculty director, received the Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Karen Hoffman
Karen Hoffmann ’87

A 1987 Lawrence graduate, Hoffmann returned to her alma mater in 1998. Her research interests focus on early 20th-century British and American literature, gender and literature and African-American literature, including experimental literary forms from the Harlem Renaissance that question racial boundaries or consider race as a social construct.

In presenting her award, Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty, cited Hoffmann for distinguishing herself “as one of our finest teachers, dedicated to bringing out the best in your students as thinkers, writers and readers with an appreciation for the great beauty and variety of literary expression.”

“Students praise your clarity, fairness and consistency in establishing criteria for graded work, your skills as a leader of rich, nuanced discussion and, above all, your empathy and dedication to meeting students where they are and bringing them forward to a new level of skill and understanding,” Kodat added.

Hoffmann previously was recognized in 2010 with Lawrence’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in English at Lawrence, Hoffmann earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English and American literature from Indiana University.

Jerald Podair, Robert S. French Professor of American Studies and professor of history, received the Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Established in 2006, the award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained scholarly excellence for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.

Jerald Podair
Jerald Podair

He also received the award in 2010 and is the only two-time winner in the award’s history.

A member of the faculty since 1998, Podair earned national recognition for his 2017 book “City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles” (Princeton University Press). In addition to a host of positive reviews, the book was named the winner of the 2018 Dr. Harold and Dorothy Seymour Medal of the Society for American Baseball Research as the best book on baseball history or biography published in the preceding year. Podair was honored in March at the SABR annual banquet in Tempe, Ariz.
The book also was selected as one of five finalists for a 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. The PEN America awards honor writers and translators whose exceptional literary works were published the previous year.

“In your 20 years at Lawrence University, you have distinguished yourself as one of our most prolific and accomplished scholars, producing highly regarded, award-winning studies on U.S. political and historical topics involving modern civil rights struggles and contemporary urban history,” said Kodat in honoring Podair. “The 2017 publication of ‘City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles,’ is the latest, and arguably the most august, chapter in this already impressive narrative.”

A specialist on 20th-century American history and race relations, Podair also is the author of the books “The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis” and “Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer,” a biography of the civil rights leader who planned the 1963 March on Washington.
He was the recipient of the 1998 Allan Nevins Prize, an award conferred by the Society of American Historians for the best Ph. D. dissertation in history written in the country that year. He was named a fellow of the New York Academy of History in 2009 and was appointed by the governor to Wisconsin’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which he served from 2008 to 2009.

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

Lavanya Proctor, assistant professor of anthropology, was presented the Award for Excellent Teaching by an Early Career Faculty Member, which recognizes demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

Lavanya Proctor
Lavanya Proctor

A specialist in linguistic anthropology, English and globalization, gender and sexuality, including recent research on LGBTQ+ Americans of South Asian descent, Proctor originally joined the faculty in 2010 as a visiting assistant professor of anthropology. She spent two years teaching at SUNY-Buffalo State before returning in the fall of 2014 with a tenure-track appointment to the anthropology department.

Proctor has taught Freshman Studies as well as core anthropology courses and research methods classes, but she also has helped debut some new courses recently, including “Economic Anthropology,” “Anthropology of South Asia” and “Anthropology and New Media.”

“Since coming to Lawrence, you have distinguished yourself as an energetic, enthusiastic teacher, known for creating a dynamic learning environment in which students feel both pushed to perform and deeply supported,” said Kodat in presenting Proctor her award. “While contributing to core courses, you have also freshened the curriculum, introducing students to fresh vistas in anthropology and whetting their appetite for further study.

“Students consistently praise not only your high standards, but also your remarkable ability to remain open and deeply interested in their own contributions to course materials,” Kodat added.

Proctor was the recipient of an American Anthropological Association Leadership Fellow position in 2013. She earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in sociology at the University of Delhi in India as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Iowa.

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