Lawrence Radio Drama Featured on WPR Program

Lawrence University’s recent Theatre-of-the-Air taping production of the World War II radio drama “Strange Morning” will be among the shows featured Sunday, May 4 on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Old Time Radio Drama.” The program airs from 8-11 p.m. Sunday evenings.

Directed by Tim Troy, associate professor of theatre and drama, “Strange Morning” was taped during a live performance in mid-March in Lawrence’s Cloak Theatre. It recounts the differing reactions of wounded soldiers at an army hospital in March, 1945 to the news from a nurse that V-E Day is near.

The 25-minute drama, one of seven shows featured on Sunday’s program, is scheduled to air at approximately 10 p.m. and can be heard on WPR affiliates WLFM 91.1 FM and WRST 90.3 FM.

Lawrence University’s Rogness Named Udall Scholar

Lawrence University senior Steve Rogness has been named one of 80 national recipients of a $5,000 scholarship by the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation.

An environmental studies and economics major from Roseville, Minn., Rogness was the only student from a Wisconsin college or university to be named a Udall Scholar for 2003. This is the third straight year a Lawrence student has been awarded a Udall scholarship.

Lawrence was one of 57 colleges and universities represented among this year’s 80 Udall scholarship recipients. Yale and Penn State universities led the way with four apiece, while Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of South Carolina, Pomona College and Swarthmore College each had three Udall recipients.

Each year, the Udall Foundation awards scholarships to American undergraduates in fields related to the environment and to Native American and Alaska natives in fields related to health care or tribal policy.

The Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 to honor Morris Udall’s 30-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives and his commitment to preservation of the nation’s natural environment.

Kenyan Struggle for Human Rights, Democracy in Africa Focus of Lawrence University Amnesty International Address

Koigi wa Wamwere, a political prisoner in Kenya for more than a decade, shares his personal story of survival and the struggle for democracy in Africa in an Amnesty International lecture at Lawrence University.

A visiting scholar at the Institute for Human Rights at Columbia University, wa Wamwere presents “Human Rights, Exile and Liberation” Tuesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

While a student at Cornell University in the 1970s, wa Wamwere discovered democracy, freedom of speech and black pride, concepts he took with him when he returned to his native Kenya. In 1979, he won a seat in the parliament, but as an activist and parliament member, wa Wamere was a target of the oppressive Kenyatta and Moi regimes. He eventually was detained on three separate occasions, spending more than 13 years in prison after speaking out against the Kenyatta regime. He escaped execution only through the intervention of the Norwegian government and human rights organizations around the world.

Wa Wamwere, who was re-elected to the Kenyan parliament last December, chronicled his life in his 2002 autobiography “I Refuse to Die.” A second book, “Negative Ethnicity,” which addresses African tribal conflict and genocide, is scheduled for release later this year.

Talks by DNR Chief, Secretary of State Highlight Lawrence University Earth Day Celebration

Appearances by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett and Secretary of State Douglas La Follette highlight Lawrence University’s fifth annual Earth Day Festival Saturday, April 26. All Earth Day Festival activities are free and open to the public.

Hassett, who began his duties as DNR secretary in January of this year, delivers the address “Environmental Challenges Facing Wisconsin” at 2 p.m. in Youngchild Hall, Room 121. Following his talk, La Follette, who helped organize the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, presents “Black Smoke to Backlash — 30 Years of U.S. Environmental History.”

Lawrence’s Earth Day Festival begins at 9 a.m. with a trash pickup along the north banks of the Fox River adjacent to the Lawrence campus. Refuse collected during the pickup will be used to create a one-of-a-kind Fox River “trash sculpture” near Main Hall. All volunteers interested in participating can meet at the front of the Lawrence Memorial Union.

Between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Main Hall Green, the festival will feature information booths addressing various environmental issues, including organic food and Fair Trade coffee, a display of environmentally friendly hybrid automobiles and arts and crafts activities for children. Lawrence’s award-winning, six-member jazz combo will provide musical entertainment from 11 a.m.-12 noon.

Lawrence’s Earth Day Festival is sponsored by EARTH House, a student organization that promotes environmentally sustainable lifestyles, Greenfire, a student environmental awareness organization and the Co-op House. In the event of inclement weather, festival activities will be moved inside the Lawrence Memorial Union and the Buchanan Kiewit Recreation Center.

Ayn Rand Expert Discusses the Mind as Hero in Lawrence University Address

One of the world’s leading proponents of objectivism discusses philosopher Ayn Rand’s literary portrayal of the human thinker as the ultimate hero in an address at Lawrence University.

Andrew Bernstein, adjunct professor of philosophy at Pace University, presents “The Mind as Hero in Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged'” Tuesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 216.

A senior writer at the Ayn Rand Institute, a California-based think tank that promotes the philosophy of objectivism, Bernstein is a frequent talk radio and television guest and has written widely on philosophical issues, including the need for heroes in our lives and the application of philosophical principles on topics ranging from volunteerism to war. His first novel, “Heart of a Pagan,” was published in 2002. His next book, “The Capitalist Manifesto,” is scheduled for publication next year.

Ethiopian Farmer Discusses Worldwide Coffee Crisis in Lawrence University Address

Tadesse Meskela, a coffee farmer from Ethiopia, discusses the crisis facing coffee farmers around the world and the economic benefits of the Fair Trade system Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence University Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.

Raised in an impoverished coffee-growing region of Ethiopia, Meskela experienced first-hand the low prices many coffee farmers received for their harvest because they were often forced to sell their beans to middlemen. In 1994, Meskela began organizing different Ethiopian coffee cooperatives in an effort to collectively improve their earnings.

By 1999, he had formed the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. Two years later, Meskela helped one-third of the union’s members become part of the international Fair Trade system, a global partnership that seeks equity in international trade. Fair Trade coffee guarantees farmers a minimum price of $1.26 per pound, which provides them with a living wage for their harvests.

In 2000, 165 million pounds of Fair Trade certified coffee were produced by more than 500,000 farmers in 22 countries, but only 30 million pounds were sold at Fair Trade prices. In recent years, prices paid to coffee farmers have dropped in half, falling to less than 50 cents per pound. Coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity, trailing only petroleum. Eight out of 10 Americans drink coffee daily.

In February of this year, Lawrence became one of the first colleges in the Midwest to begin offering “triple-certified” coffee at the coffeehouse in the Memorial Union. Triple-certified indicates that the coffee has Fair Trade certification, it is certified organic and the beans are shade grown.

Meskela’s appearance is sponsored by Global Exchange, an international human rights group.

Noted UW Psychiatrist Discusses Mysteries of Savant Syndrome in Lawrence University Science Lecture

The rare, but spectacular, condition known as savant syndrome, in which persons with severe developmental disabilities, including autism, display remarkable islands of genius, will be the focus of a Lawrence University Science Hall Colloquium.

Dr. Darold Treffert, one of the world’s leading authorities on the condition, presents “Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome,” Tuesday, April 8 at 4:15 p.m. in Youngchild Hall, Room 121. The event is free and open to the public.

Treffert’s address will profile several remarkable musical, artistic and mathematical savants, describe the hallmarks of this condition that reveal prodigious skills and remarkable memory, discuss the latest scientific findings that provide clues to the essential question “how do they do it?” and provide insights, based on recent discoveries, about the hidden potential that resides within everyone.

A consultant on the award-winning movie, “Rain Man,” which made “autistic savant” household words, Treffert has been studying savant syndrome for more than 40 years. He met his first savant his first day as a psychiatrist at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, where he was charged to develop a child-adolescent unit.

Treffert is the author of the 1989 book “Extraordinary People,” which has been translated and published in five countries and was reissued in 2000, and has discussed savant syndrome on an array of documentary and television programs, including “60 Minutes,” “Oprah,” “McNeil/Lehrer News Hour” and “The Today Show,” among others.

Treffert is a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at the UW-Madison Medical School and also serves on the medical staff of St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac.

Moral Status/Value of Embryos Discussed in Lawrence University Biomedical Ethics Lecture

The status given to human embryos — human subjects, human tissue or something in-between — will be the focus of the third installment of Lawrence University’s 2002-2003 Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics.

Bonnie Steinbock, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Albany, will deliver the address “Moral Status, Moral Value and Human Embryos” Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A specialist in biomedical ethics issues related to reproduction and genetics, Steinbock will discuss various theories of the moral status of embryos used in stem cell research. She favors the view that says embryos have moral “value” but do not warrant moral “status,” which is reserved for sentient, aware beings. As a form of human life, embryos, Steinbock argues, are owed respect. But this respect differs significantly from the respect due to persons and such respect is consistent with embryonic stem cell research.

A member of the SUNY-Albany philosophy department since 1977, Steinbock has written widely on issues of moral status, embryonic stem cell research, sex selection and cloning and is the author of the book “Life Before Birth: The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses” (Oxford, 1992).

Steinbock, who also serves as a fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent, nonprofit, research institute that explores fundamental ethical questions in health care, biotechnology and the environment, earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Lawrence University Saxophone Quartet Advances in Two National Competitions

The Lawrence University Saxophone Quartet will compete for top honors in a pair of upcoming prestigious national music competitions.

The quartet recently qualified for the final round of the Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition April 26 in Pasadena, Calif., and the semifinal round of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition May 9-11 in South Bend, Ind.

Formed last fall, the quartet — seniors Ryan Alban, Casey Schmidt, Bryan Wente and Rasa Zeltina — performed four pieces for the preliminary round of both competitions: “July” by Michael Torke; “Back Burner” by Frank Ticheli; “Grave et presto” by Jean Rivier; and “Four, for tango” by Astor Piazzolla. Auditions were conducted by audio CD for the Coleman competition and by an unedited videotape for the Fischoff competition.

The two competitions are widely considered to be among the country’s most prestigious chamber music competitions. First held in 1947, the Coleman competition is an international event for non-professional chamber music ensembles. As a Coleman finalist, the Lawrence quartet will compete for four prizes totaling $13,000. The four winners will perform a formal concert Sunday, April 27 in the Ramo Auditorium on the campus of the California Institute of Technology.

The Fischoff competition, founded in 1973, is the largest national chamber music competition in the country. Open to performers 39 years of age or younger, it attracts more than 60 ensembles in both wind and string categories from top American conservatories as well as foreign nationals from more than 20 countries representing Asia, Europe and South America.

Fischoff finalists compete for seven prizes totaling $17,000, including a $5,000 grand prize award and a performance tour that includes select appearances in Italy at the Emilia Romagna Festival.

“For our students to be admitted to the final rounds of these two competitions is an important and wonderful achievement,” said Steve Jordheim, Lawrence professor of music. The quartet members are all students in Jordheim’s saxophone studio.

Alban, Schmidt and Wente are pursuing bachelor of music degrees with majors in performance and instrumental music education, while Zeltina is completing both a bachelor of music degree in performance and a bachelor of arts degree in Russian.

Appleton’s Wallenfang Awarded $22,000 Fellowship for “Wanderjahr” to China, India

Formal piano studies at the age of seven and martial arts training in Tae Kwon Do and Kapkido as a 10-year old sparked a fascination both in music and in other cultures, particularly those of Asia, in Ansel Wallenfang that has since grown into a life-long passion.

Beginning this August, Wallenfang will have an entire year to pursue those passions up close and personal thanks to a $22,000 fellowship from the Providence, R.I. based Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

A senior piano performance major at Lawrence University, Wallenfang Monday (3/17) was named one of 48 national recipients of a 2003-04 Watson Fellowship, a grant that supports a “wanderjahr” — a year of independent travel and exploration outside the United States — on a topic of the student’s choosing.

Wallenfang, 22, was selected for the fellowship from nearly 200 nominees representing 50 of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and universities. He is the 59th Lawrence student awarded a Watson Fellowship since the program’s inception in 1969.

Wallenfang will embark on a 12-month study of music and Asian cultures in mid-August, spending six months each in China and India, beginning in Xi’an, China with extended stops along the way in Guagnzhou, Ji’nan, Beijing, Calcutta and eventually Pune, India. His project will center on two instruments that are indigenous and unique to each country’s musical identity: the erhu, China’s two-stringed violin, and the tabla, India’s famed classical drums.

“My fascination with Asian music and my desire to learn the instruments and traditions surrounding them run very deep,” said Wallenfang. “I vividly remember the first I heard the tabla, in accompaniment to Ravi Shankar’s sitar. Everything seemed to stop. I discovered a new and ethereal sound that still speaks to me in a way clearer than anything I have ever known.

“The same is true for the Chinese erhu,” he added. “Its pleasing, unique tone conjures a flood of notions and images in my mind of what it is like to live in China.”

In addition to learning to play the two instruments, Wallenfang intends to study the historical, cultural and spiritual roles of the intruments, examining such basic questions as how they are used today, their role in ceremony, meditation and professional concert, the traditions surrounding them and the regional variations of technique and style in both instruments.

His study will include intense practice time with both instruments, associations with musicians and performers at concerts and recitals as well as visits to temples and other sacred sites to evaluate the role of music in ceremony and spiritual life through direct observation and participation.

“I hope not only to answer these questions, but also carry the essense of these musical traditions and make them a permanent part of my life,” said Wallenfang, who has visited China twice in the past year as part of two separate Lawrence study tours supported by the Freeman Foundation grant. “The meaningful relationships I hope to build through music will help transform my comprehension of the East-West dichotomy as I work toward a new and insightful understanding of music, other peoples and myself.

“I realize this won’t be easy, but I’m ready for, and need the shock of, throwing myself into cultures that are wholly unlike my own for the sake of my evolution as a person and as a musician.”

The Watson Fellowship Program was established by the children of Thomas J. Watson Sr., the founder of IBM Corporation, and his wife, Jeannette, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs. Watson Fellows are selected on the basis of the nominee’s character, academic record, leadership potential, willingness to delve into another culture and the personal significance of the project proposal.