Jazz Celebration Weekend honors Sturm, adds events for campus community

The late Fred Sturm will be remembered during this weekend’s Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend. He started the annual weekend jazz event at Lawrence 40 years ago.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

The annual Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend, a staple of the jazz program in the Lawrence Conservatory of Music for four decades, will be held Nov. 5 and 6 with a bit of a twist.

The 40th annual event comes with adjustments made to adhere to pandemic protocols. The two headline concerts in Memorial Chapel will be open only to the campus community, but the concerts will be livestreamed so the public can participate.

High school and middle school music students also will be accessing workshops virtually on Saturday.

And the twist comes with new involvement from the full campus community—an assortment of live workshops made available on Saturday to students, faculty, and staff, ranging from songwriting to dance to jazz singing.

“We have a lot of great things happening both virtually and on campus for this special 40th Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend,” said Patty Darling ’85, director of the award-winning Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble.

Find more on Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend here.

The Jazz Ensemble will join composer Dave Rivello in presenting a concert of his works at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Chapel.

Dave Rivello

Ike Sturm + HEART, with featured guest Donny McCaslin, will be in concert in the Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Sturm is the son of the late Fred Sturm, who helped launch and lead Lawrence’s jazz program during his more than 25 years on the Lawrence faculty. He passed away in 2014 following a long battle with cancer.

Saturday’s concert will be a special celebration of Fred Sturm’s legacy.

Ike Sturm + HEART

Brian Pertl, dean of the Conservatory, said the 40th anniversary is a special time to honor everything Sturm brought to Lawrence. Adding the campus-wide workshops was done with Sturm in mind.

“Fred Sturm loved jazz, improvisation, and the community it created,” Pertl said.

He launched Jazz Celebration Weekend in 1981 as a non-competitive music event, bringing high school and middle school students to campus to play, learn about, and celebrate jazz. The pandemic has altered things this year, but it has not dimmed the enthusiasm.

“We will still have our two amazing evening concerts, but since we couldn’t welcome the 1,000 high school musicians who usually attend, we came up with the idea to honor Fred by making the event a campus celebration of jazz and improvisation and musical exploration for our entire Lawrence community,” Pertl said. “In her matriculation convocation, President Carter urged us to find comfort with discomfort, to try new things, dive into new experiences. Here is our chance to try improvisatory dance, songwriting, jazz singing, Deep Listening, samba drumming, Balinese gamelan, a big band session for anyone who plays any instrument, and an improvising orchestra for classical strings players who have never improvised before. What better way to take a break from the stresses of eighth week than to move and groove and sing and dance. Fred would be beaming from ear to ear, and I can’t think of a better way to honor his love of jazz and his legacy as a virtuoso educator.”

Ticket information for the Friday and Saturday evening concerts can be found at the Lawrence Box Office.

There also will be Saturday concerts featuring the Lawrence University Jazz Combos and the Lawrence University Jazz Band. The Jazz Combos perform from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Harper Hall. The Jazz Band will perform from 1 to 2 p.m. in Room 163 of the Music-Drama Center. Both have free admission. You can access the livestream for the Jazz Band and Jazz Combos here.

The new workshops added this year for the campus community have free admission.

“Everyone on campus is welcome,” Darling said. “You need not play an instrument to attend.”

The Saturday workshops include:

  • Dance Collective with Margaret Paek, 10 a.m.-noon in Esch Studio;
  • Songwriting with Loren Dempster, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Shattuck 156;
  • Deep Listening with Brian Pertl and Leila Ramagopal Pertl, 2-3 p.m. in Shattuck 156;
  • Fundamentals of Jazz Singing with Janet Planet and John Harmon, 2-3 p.m. in Harper Hall;
  • Improv for All with Patty Darling and Lawrence jazz students, 3-4 p.m. in Shattuck 156;
  • Jazz for Strings with Matt Turner, 3-4 p.m. in Shattuck 163;
  • Balinese Gamelan with Sonja Downing and Dewa Adnyana, 3-4 p.m. in Mursell House;
  • Samba Drumming with the Sambistas, 4-5 p.m. in Shattuck 163.

“Several of these workshops and all of the concerts will be livestreamed so our Jazz Weekend high school and middle school students and directors can participate as well,” Darling said. “We are excited about this opportunity to bring everyone together to create, connect and explore, as well as showcase some of the great things happening in our Conservatory.”

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

Cross country, soccer teams lead huge athletics weekend for Lawrence

Teammates surround Lawrence University’s Emma Vasconez Saturday after she scored a goal in double overtime against Monmouth College to send Lawrence to the Midwest Conference Tournament. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University closed out October with a sensational weekend courtesy of its men’s and women’s cross country teams and its men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Both cross country teams won their Midwest Conference Championships on Saturday at Tuscumbia Country Club in Green Lake, the first time both have been crowned champs in the same year in Lawrence history. Cristyn Oliver, a sophomore from Redondo Beach, California, won the women’s individual championship, a first for Lawrence since 1998.

Cristyn Oliver poses with Midwest Conference Director Heather Benning following her winning run Saturday in Green Lake.

On the soccer field, both the women and men qualified for the Midwest Conference Tournament, both for the first time since 2011. The women did so in a thrilling double overtime win over Monmouth College on Ron Roberts Field at the Banta Bowl. The men, meanwhile, lost 1-0 to Monmouth but qualified for the tournament when Lake Forest fell to Grinnell.

It was a historic weekend for the Vikings, and one that points to the upswing Lawrence athletics programs are on.

“It was a great day to be a Viking,” said women’s soccer coach Joe Sagar, who has led a revival of the soccer program since coming on board in 2018.

The women’s soccer win came with plenty of drama. Emma Vasconez, a sophomore from Huntley, Illinois, scored her first collegiate goal in the 105th minute, lifting Lawrence to a thrilling win in the second overtime and setting off a wild on-field celebration. Lawrence needed a win in order to qualify for the four-team conference tournament.

Coach Joe Sagar celebrates with Emma Vasconez following her game-winning goal at the Banta Bowl. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

“I think the late goal is a testament to how hard we have worked all season, our dedication, and our willingness to never give up,” Vasconez said. “I’m happy I was able to contribute to such a special moment and honor our seniors who have dedicated so much to our program. Being on the field and sharing an emotional moment like that with my team and coaches, and with our parents watching in the stands, is something I’ll never forget.”

Sagar called it an “amazing achievement” for a program that hit rock bottom when it went winless three years ago.

“It was such a perfect end to the regular season, and seeing Emma, who has been such a key part of our success this year, score her goal was exciting and emotional,” he said. “Emma took a risk and was composed enough to put the ball into the goal and send us into the postseason for the first time in a decade. The happiness on all of the players’ faces reminds us all of why sport is so important.”

The women’s and men’s soccer teams will go into their respective conference tournaments as No. 4 seeds, and both will face top-seeded Knox College in the semifinals.

Lawrence University’s 2021 Midwest Conference women’s cross country champions.

The cross country teams, meanwhile, wrote their own history on Saturday, the women securing a conference title for the first time since 2001 and the men claiming their first conference championship since 2011.

Oliver went where no Lawrence runner has gone in 23 years, winning the women’s individual cross country conference championship. She did so by a whopping 48 seconds, putting up a time of 22:30.72 on the 6,000-meter course. Lawrence took the team title with 42 points, 20 points better than second-place Grinnell.

“Cristyn had a humongous lead right after the mile mark and just kept cruising,” Coach Jason Fast said. “She’s been like a machine. Once she hits the course, there’s no stopping her.”

Lawrence University’s 2021 Midwest Conference men’s cross country champions.

In the men’s race, Lawrence took the team title with 46 points, four points better than Cornell College. Collin Beyer, a first-year from Portland, Oregon, led the Lawrence men, placing third over the 8,000-meter course in 26:15.44.

“I was telling them during the race that we’re doing it,” Fast said of his men’s team. “They knew we were doing well, and when they finished they knew we ran really well. They had their best race of the year when they needed it.”

Director of Athletics Kim Tatro called Saturday a milestone day, one Lawrence will build on moving forward.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the success of our men’s and women’s cross country programs,” she said. “To win both team titles and essentially secure every possible award at the Midwest Conference meet is unheard of. And to have both men’s and women’s soccer in the Midwest Conference tournament is phenomenal, especially when you understand the recent history of our programs. Our women’s team didn’t win a game in 2018 and Coach Sagar and the current women in our program have turned that around quickly.  In similar fashion, our men’s team only won four games in 2018 and Coach (Will) Greer and the men in our program are to be commended on the strides they have made to improve our program.”

For more action from the Vikings’ incredible weekend, including wins for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, see the Lawrence Athletics web site.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Joe Vanden Acker, director of athletic media relations, contributed to this report.

Outdoor adventures are close at hand; these Lawrence students show the way

Members of the LU Rowing Club (LURC) take to the Fox River on a recent Wednesday morning. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

For Lawrence University junior Jackie McShan, president of LU Rowing Club (LURC), it’s the beauty of the fog rolling over the water as the leaves change from green to red to yellow.

For sophomore Eli Henke, president of LU Sailing Club (LUSC), it’s the freedom he feels with the wind in his hair as a gust pushes his boat through the water.

For junior Madeleine Meade, president of Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC), it’s understanding her place within nature, disconnected from the stressors of daily life.

But for all of them, one thing’s certain: there’s something special about the outdoors.

“On your body physically, when you’re doing these activities, it releases so many endorphins,” Meade said. “Once you’re done, you can physically feel the chemicals in your body changing, and that’s pretty special.”

The call of the wild is real here at Lawrence, and a wide array of student organizations exist to facilitate a connection with the natural world—and to create bonds with fellow lovers of nature in the process.

Camping 101, hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC), is expected to be held on Main Hall Green again in the spring. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Access for everyone

As college students, there are plenty of obstacles preventing us from spending time outside. But nothing is insurmountable.

Providing new opportunities and resources is a key aspect of Lawrence’s outdoor clubs. Rowing Club provides its members access to the Fox River four days a week, meeting regularly for early morning practices on the water.

ORC facilitates camping trips during reading periods and academic breaks and provides camping equipment available for independent checkout throughout the year.

And for Lawrence’s sailors, the barriers, particularly access to water and the cost of sailboats, are even greater. But Henke is determined to break down those walls and enable other young people to experience the sport he loves.

“Very few people, especially college students, can afford their own boat,” Henke said. “Since [Lawrence] pays the sailing school, we get access to the boats, and people don’t need to spend a dime to get out there. So, I’m really trying to remove that paywall, to remove that barrier, between people and sailing.”

In addition to providing access to equipment, these orgs aim to give all students the opportunity to experience the club, regardless of prior skill level—college is all about trying new things, right? From Camping 101 events to sailing lessons on land, student organizations focus heavily on recruiting new members to their neck of the woods and providing training for beginners.

Claude Mazullo, a sophomore, Cristiana Burhite, a sophomore, Jackie McShan, a junior, and Victorio Sirugo, a first-year, carry their boat back to the Tululah Park boat house following a morning of rowing with the LU Rowing Club. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Building a connection

We’ve all been a bit starved for human connection lately, and right now, the safest way to connect with others is in an outdoor setting. And as far as these student org leaders are concerned, it’s also the best.

Facing forces of nature necessitates a connection with and a reliance on the people around you—sometimes literally. If you’re trying to steer an eight-person canoe through a heavy layer of fog, you better be working as a team.

“You’re moving together, so … you truly have to be in sync with another person,” McShan said. “If you’re in a bad mood and other people are in a bad mood, it will affect the boat. You’re doing all this together.”

And even if the boat’s a little bigger, Henke said the same principle holds true. If you’re out in the middle of the water with two other people, there’s no better environment to make friends and build connections, all while exploring key interests away from academia.

“If you’re not doing anything outside of your classes, if you’re not meeting people, if you’re not pursuing interests, then I think you’ll burn out,” Henke said. “This is what makes a person happy and well-rounded.”

Whether it’s on the water or in the middle of the woods, spending time in the great outdoors means stepping away from the rest of the world. Your tie to life back home is the people who dare to step out with you.

Jackie McShan, president of the LU Rowing Club, holds a light for Victorio Sirugo, a first-year, before a morning of rowing on the Fox River at Telulah Park. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

What you experience will be unique to that moment in time, Meade said, and the people standing next to you are the only ones who will understand exactly what you went through. Some of Meade’s closest friends are people she’s met on camping trips, and that bond has persisted years later.

“In a completely different environment, you have no choice other than spending time with each other,” Meade said. “What other opportunities do you get to do that? Just take a step back and be present with this group of people. You’re going on this journey, this adventure together.”

Adventure awaits off-campus, and no one has to wait until after graduation to experience it. The outdoors has unequivocally made Meade’s, Henke’s and McShan’s lives better, and through their student organizations they’re committed to sharing that love with the rest of the campus community.

But if camping, sailing, and rowing don’t speak to you, don’t worry. There are plenty of other student organizations that enable students to get out, get active, and get connected. Explore the full directory of student organizations, starting with LU Recess Club, LU Geological Society, LU Rock Climbers, and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden.

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

New associate VP for enrollment to focus on student retention, closing equity gap

Lawrence University (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Dr. Ashley Lewis has been named the inaugural associate vice president for enrollment at Lawrence University, a new position that aims to strengthen Lawrence’s commitment to student retention and persistence.

“I am excited and honored to join the Lawrence University community—a community that shares in my passion for higher education and believes in the transformative power of the college experience,” said Lewis, who comes to Lawrence from Shippensburg University, where she serves as director of student success and associate dean of exploratory studies.

Dr. Ashley Lewis

She will begin her new duties in mid-November.

The associate vice president role was created to provide student-focused leadership in the creation, assessment, and coordination of student success strategies, said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication. It builds on ongoing efforts to foster inclusive excellence and equitable outcomes for all students, with an emphasis on improving retention and graduation rates while eliminating the equity gap for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

“Ashley’s history of achievement in student success, including her impressive work with summer onboarding programs for new students, will bolster our efforts to improve the student journey from the time they choose to enroll at Lawrence to the time they graduate,” Anselment said.

Lewis said the foundation for that work is already in place at Lawrence. Her work will help accelerate those efforts as Lawrence develops a long-term strategic plan focused on equitable student success.

“Lawrence is doing excellent work,” Lewis said. “Ensuring that the student, parent, and family experience is superior, from recruitment to retainment, takes a strong, united, and diligent village. I welcome the work ahead of us as we—faculty, staff, administration, and local community—collaborate to strategically and thoughtfully develop practices and processes that improve upon retention, persistence, and equity for all students.”

Lewis earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies from Howard University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg. She also has taught at Howard, the University of Maryland, and Shippensburg.

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

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.

Alumna Katy Schwartz-Strei joins Lawrence’s Board of Trustees

Katy Schwartz-Strei ’84

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Katy Schwartz-Strei ’84, who has forged an impressive career as a leader in human resources, has joined the Lawrence University Board of Trustees.

Schwartz-Strei serves as executive vice president for human resources and chief human resource officer at Emergent BioSolutions. Before joining Emergent in 2016, she was an independent consultant, specializing in leadership and organizational development.

“On behalf of our entire board, I would like to welcome Katy Schwartz-Strei to our Board of Trustees,” Board Chair Cory Nettles ’92 said. “The leadership and organizational development skills she has shown over the past three decades will be invaluable as we continue the important work of moving Lawrence forward.”

She previously worked as vice president of global leadership and organizational development with MedImmune and as director of executive development with Fannie Mae.

Schwartz-Strei majored in sociology at Lawrence and went on to earn a master’s degree in organizational development from American University. She also holds a certificate in executive leadership and coaching from Georgetown University.

She has been active with Lawrence through the years. She served as a member of her 35th cluster reunion committee as well as an earlier reunion, served as a longtime class agent, was a member of her Class Leadership Team, and has been an admissions volunteer. She received Lawrence’s Hulbert Young Alumni Service Award in 1994.

More recently, Schwartz-Strei was on the Lawrence University Alumni Association (LUAA) Board from 2016 to 2020, was an LUAA Executive Committee member, and co-chaired the LUAA Connecting Alumni Committee.

She is married to another Lawrentian, Jeff Strei ’83. They live in the Washington, D.C., area.

Three other Lawrence alumni have been named trustee emeriti. They include:

  • Susan Stillman Kane ’72. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2003. She served as chair of the Board from 2016 to 2018. She previously served as secretary of the Board from 2011 to 2013 and vice chair in 2014-15, among numerous other committee assignments. She was a member of the Presidential Search Committee for Lawrence’s 16th and 17th presidents.
  • Charlot Nelson Singleton ’67. She joined the board in 2007. From 2012 to 2021, she chaired the Development Committee, shaping a leadership model that is donor centered. She served as one of the tri-chairs of the Be the Light! Campaign and was a key part of numerous other committees through the years.
  • Stephanie H. Vrabec ’80. She joined the board in 2009. She was a key member of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee for years, serving as chair from 2015 to 2018. She held both the roles of vice chair and chair on the Academic Affairs Committee before it merged with the Committee on Student Affairs. She also was an instrumental member of the Presidential Search Committee for Lawrence’s 15th and 16th presidents.

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

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

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

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

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

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