Lawrence University News

Thomas A. Steitz, Lawrentian and Nobel Prize winner, dies at 78

The Lawrence University community and the rest of the world learned of the sad news that Thomas A. Steitz, one of the giants of biochemistry whose research on the structure of ribosomes earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, died on Tuesday, October 9, from pancreatic cancer.

A 1962 graduate of Lawrence University who earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry, Steitz also received an honorary doctorate of science degree from his alma mater in 1981, as well as the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002.

The year after winning his Nobel Prize, Steitz returned to Lawrence as the featured speaker for the university’s 161st commencement. As part of the celebration of Steitz’s achievements, Lawrence renamed its Science Building—home to the university’s chemistry and biology programs—to Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science. From Lawrence’s press release at the time:

Steitz, who grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Wauwatosa High School in 1958, was named one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October and received his award in ceremonies last December in Stockholm, Sweden. He was honored for his decades-long research into the structure and function of ribosomes, which decode messenger RNA into proteins, a function central to life. An understanding of the structural basis of the function of ribosomes provides possibilities for the development of new antibiotics.

Since 1970, Steitz has taught at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of chemistry. He also is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Typical of so many Lawrentians, Steitz was a multi-interested lifelong learner. Beyond his pursuits in science, Steitz was also an accomplished saxophonist. His ability to pursue his science and musical interests is one of the things that drew Steitz as a high schooler from Wauwatosa (Wis.) to Lawrence. In his autobiography for the Nobel committee, Steitz writes:

My four years at Lawrence College changed my life, my view of the world and my professional direction. Since Lawrence is a liberal arts school, I was required to take many humanities courses to supplement what turned out to be my major in chemistry. These courses began with what was called a Freshman Studies course which was a broad based reading, discussion and writing course on many classical books. We learned to ask as well as answer questions. Importantly, we were also required to take a philosophy course, a scholarly based (e.g., Niebuhr, etc.) religion course, and an anthropology course, as well as English, History and language courses. I entered Lawrence with a heavy religious background and left it with an entirely different understanding of the origins of religious beliefs, their veracity and their roles in cultures. Lawrence also has a music school so that I was able to continue my love of music by participating in the band, orchestra and choir.

Steitz often credited Lawrence’s Professor Robert Rosenberg as “the person who had by far the greatest influence in inspiring me to pursue a career in science, and in particular chemistry.”

According to the October 10, 2018 tribute in the New York Times, Steitz’s spouse, Dr. Joan Steitz, and their son, Jon, were at his side when he died at their home in Connecticut.

“The world knows Tom as a Nobel prize-winning biochemist,” says Lawrence University president, Mark Burstein. “To the Lawrence community he was a beloved classmate, smart and engaging alumnus, and all-around gentleman. We will miss his presence and leadership. And in his name we will carry on the values of learning and transformation his life’s story represents.”

Pulitzer Prize Winner James Forman Jr. to Explore Causes of Mass Incarceration at Lawrence Talk

James Forman Jr., author of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, will deliver a talk that explores the rise of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. The talk will be followed by a signing of his book, which is hailed as “superb and shattering” by The New York Times.

James Forman Jr. headshot
Pulitzer Prize Winner James Forman, Jr. to speak at Lawrence University.

Forman explores how the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers and seeks to understand why. His exploration began when Forman served as a public defender in Washington, D.C. After he failed to keep a 15-year-old out of a juvenile detention center, he wondered how the mayor, the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the arresting officer, even the bailiff—all of whom were black—could send so many of their own to a grim, incarcerated future.  

Forman, now a professor at Yale Law School, will explore the answers during a talk and signing at Lawrence University on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Wriston Hall Auditorium.  He will show how good intentions and pressing dangers of the last 40 years have shaped the get-tough approach in the culture at large and in black neighborhoods.

Forman’s visit is sponsored by the Erickson Fund for Public Policy, Center for Institutions and Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Lawrence University’s Government Department and Office for Diversity and Inclusion. He is hosted by Lawrence University Associate Professor of Government Arnold Shober. “Wisconsin has some of the highest incarceration rates of African-Americans in the country, yet race, crime, and prison are one of the most complex—and heart-rending—policy issues in modern America,” Shober says.  “Forman’s talk will help us think carefully and compassionately about our way forward.”

This event is free and open to the public and no registration is required.

Lecture and Signing with Pulitzer-Winner James Forman, Jr.
Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center Auditorium
Appleton, WI
Free and Open to the Public

Lawrence experts to speak about pressing global issues at Povolny event

On Tuesday evening, October 2, a multi-disciplinary panel of faculty and students will convene to discuss some of the most important global issues facing us today.

This free event, sponsored as part of the 2018 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies, is open to the public and will be held in the campus cinema, located on the second floor of the Warch Campus Center. (Click here for a campus map with parking.)

Download a copy of tonight’s program here:
Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies 2018



Give, Share, Shine: Lawrence University Hosting Fifth Annual Giving Day

Giving Day Logo promo
Lawrence’s Fifth Annual Giving Day takes place 10.10.18

Lawrence University’s fifth annual Giving Day premiers LIVE from campus on Wednesday, October 10.

Lawrence is making some exciting changes for Giving Day’s fifth anniversary, including introducing the use of Facebook Live and an exciting announcement for the Lawrence community. The show will still be live across campus this year, but the daytime portion of Giving Day will now feature individual segments that harness the power of social media. Giving Day will start by celebrating all things Lawrence with three interactive Facebook Live segments before the three-hour evening live show begins at 6 p.m.

The Giving Day kick-off starts at 9 a.m. CDT. Then, at 12:30 p.m., viewers will be treated to an inside look at one of the bedrock features of the Geology Department: the flume room. At 3:30 p.m., there will be a special edition of LU trivia. And, throughout the day, there will also be a mix of new giving, sharing, trivia and tagging Facebook challenges, which will unlock large amounts of Game Changer money.

Game Changers are a generous group of alumni, parents and friends who are providing matching funds as motivation for others to support the college. The day features two exciting matching opportunities: Gifts of any amount from the Classes of 2002–2022 will be matched with $500 and all other gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

The live show is still the heart of Giving Day. It will air from 6-9 p.m. with co-hosts Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication, and Caro Granner ’20. The live show will feature an exciting array of performances and guests, many of whom are direct beneficiaries of Lawrence Fund donations and who demonstrate the way funding assists faculty, students and programs on campus.


Giving Day showcases the power of the Lawrence community and what it can accomplish to provide transformative educational experiences to students from around the world.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Lawrence’s fifth annual Giving Day and to Give. Share. Shine. Give generously to the Lawrence Fund. Share the excitement using #LUGives. Shine by showcasing your pride in Lawrence University.

Lawrence welcomes one of its largest classes in history

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Lawrence University will welcome one of its largest classes in history as more than 425 first-year, transfer, and exchange students arrive for Welcome Week activities, all in preparation for the first day of classes, Tuesday, September 11, marking the beginning of Lawrence’s 171st academic year.

“We can’t wait for them to arrive,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “Though, to be fair, many of them have been here for a few weeks already for fall sports and orientation programs.”

New Lawrentians this year come from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 25 countries, making this year’s class one of Lawrence’s most geographically diverse ever. Just over 20 percent of the class comes from Wisconsin, followed by Illinois, Minnesota, California, New York, China, Texas, Vietnam, Colorado and Florida.

International students compose more than 15 percent of the class.

Members of the Lawrence University Class of 2019, who will graduate next June, sit for their class photo taken during Welcome Week 2015, a tradition to be repeated by this year’s class.

Staying ahead of the demographic curve

That geographic mix is part of the plan. “The population of college-going students in the country has seen significant geographic shifts over the past decade,” says Anselment. “There are fewer students from our home market in the Midwest, and more students from the West and South.”

Anselment notes that demographic studies project that shift to become even more pronounced in the coming decade. “We have been anticipating this, which is why we have been working strategically to expand our national and international reach over the past ten years.”

Beyond the recruitment benefits, Anselment notes that the strategy primarily benefits students: “From day one, Lawrentians will start building a national and international network with their classmates right in their classrooms, residence halls, and dining spaces.”

Anselment says that this year’s class continues to build on the momentum Lawrence has seen over the past five years with strong academics, strong socioeconomic diversity, and increasing ethnic and racial diversity (more than 25 percent of the class identifies as domestic students of color).

Full Speed to Full Need campaign plays a strong role

Aiding Lawrence’s ability to attract such a strong pool is the continued success of the Full Speed to Full Need campaign, which launched in September 2014 with a goal to build a $75-million endowment that would allow Lawrence to join the small group of colleges in the country that meet the full financial need of their students.

Driven by the support of many members of the Lawrence University community, as well as an anonymous $25-million gift that catalyzed the campaign, the university has already surpassed the $75-million goal, giving President Mark Burstein the confidence to raise the target to $85-million, which would allow the university to provide further funds for students to provide full-need support for students who wish to study abroad during their time at Lawrence.

It’s a bold move, but one that is already paying dividends. To date, more than 180 students have had their need fully met with funds from the campaign, and that number continues to grow with each new class. In coming years, as more of the pledged funds are realized and the endowment continues to mature, Lawrence will be among a small group of colleges in the country—and the only one in the state of Wisconsin—that meets the full financial need of all of its students.

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.” Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.



President’s annual matriculation convocation opens Lawrence’s five-part 2018-19 series

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein officially opens the university’s 170th academic year, along with its 2018-19 convocation series, Thursday, Sept. 13 with his annual matriculation address.

All convocations begin at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and are free and open to the public.

President Mark Burstein
President Mark Burstein

Now in his sixth year as Lawrence’s 16th president, Burstein has focused on creating learning communities in which all members can reach their full potential.

Prior to Lawrence, Burstein served nine years as executive vice president at Princeton University and 10 years at Columbia University as a vice president working in human resources, student services and facilities management.

Joining Burstein on this year’s series will be:

Katherine Cramer
Katherine Cramer

Oct. 23 — Katherine Cramer, professor of political science, UW-Madison
Known for her innovative approach to the study of public opinion, Cramer presents “Listening Well in a World that Turns Away.”

Her scholarship focuses on the way Americans make sense of politics and their place in it. She is the author of “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker,” which examines rural resentment toward cities and its implications for contemporary politics. The book earned Cramer the 2017 American Political Science Association’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section Giovanni Sartori Award for the best book developing or using qualitative methods.

She also has written the books “Talking about Race: Community Dialogues and the Politics of Difference” and “Talking about Politics: Informal Groups and Social Identity in American Life.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science at UW-Madison, she earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan.

Phil Plait
Phil Plait

Jan. 17, 2019 — Phil Plait, astronomer
A popular science writer based in Boulder, Colo., Plait is the mind behind the blog “Bad Astronomy,” on which he tries to debunk scientific myths and misconceptions. In 2009, Time magazine included it on its list of the 25 best science blogs. He will deliver the address “Strange New Worlds: Is Earth Special?”

While he’s never been a NASA employee, he was part of the Hubble Space Telescope team at NASA ‘s Goddard Space Flight Center and has been involved with NASA-sponsored public outreach programs for several satellites that study high-energy forms of light emitted by black holes, exploding stars and super-dense neutrons stars.

Pliat, who earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia, is the author of “Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing ‘Hoax’” and “Death from the Skies!,” in which he provides real science behind all the ways astronomical events could wipe out life on Earth.

Matika Wilbur
Matika Wilbur

April 11, 2019 — Matika Wilbur, director/photographer Project 562
Wilbur, a member of the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, has been on a five-year mission to change the way we see Native America. As a visual storyteller, she has traveled the country with her camera, creating portrait art of the lives and experiences of people from the nation’s indigenous communities. She will present the address, “Changing the Way We See Native America.”

A one-time fashion photographer who earned a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography, Wilbur launched Project 562 in 2012 with a goal of photographing and collecting stories of Native Americans from each federally-recognized Indian tribe in the United States. To date she has visited more than 300 sovereign nations in 40 states documenting the diversity, vibrancy and realness of Indian country.

She has taught visual arts at Tulalip Heritage High School in Washington state, providing training and inspiration for the indigenous youth of her own community.

Her photography has been exhibited in national and international venues, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts and France’s Nantes Museum of Fine Arts.

David Burrows
David Burrows

May 22, 2018David Burrows, professor of psychology and director of inclusive pedagogy
Burrows, whose address is titled, “Education for Effective Action,” is the 10th recipient of Lawrence’s Faculty Convocation Award, which represents the judgment of faculty peers that the person’s professional work is of high quality and deserves the honor of selection.

His career in higher education spans more than four-and-a half decades, including the past 13 years at Lawrence after joining the administration in 2005 as provost and dean of the faculty. In 2017, he returned to the classroom as a full-time member of the psychology department, where he teaches “Principles of Psychology,” “Cognitive Psychology” and Freshman Studies.

Burrows, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, taught and served as psychology department chair at the State University of New York at Brockport and spent 17 years at Skidmore College, where he was department chair and associate dean of the faculty. Immediately prior to Lawrence, Burrows served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Beloit College from 1997-2005.

His current scholarship focuses on how students learn in college settings. He has worked with students to help them develop good self-evaluative skills as an enhancement for learning and is interested in the concept of engagement as a critical factor in learning and cognitive development.

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.

Megan Scott Named New Communication Leader at Lawrence

Megan Scott will join Lawrence University as its new Associate Vice President of Communication this fall, serving as the university’s chief brand manager, storyteller, and spokesperson.

“We are thrilled to have Megan with us,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “She is a smart, charismatic, and accomplished communication professional with deep experience not only with higher education, but with articulating the particular strengths of residential liberal arts and sciences colleges.”

Megan Scott photo
Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new communications leader

Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Knox College in 1996 and holds a certificate in publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. She worked in academic publishing for eight years, last serving as marketing manager for the University of Iowa Press, where she coordinated all national and international marketing efforts for 30-35 scholarly books per year. She returned to her alma mater in 2004 to coordinate advancement communications and serve as editor of the Knox Magazine, the college’s biannual alumni magazine.

In 2012, she was given the opportunity to lead a newly created Office of Communications at Knox, which was charged with integrating college-wide communications and highlighting Knox’s story to its external and internal constituents. Over the last six years, she and her team have launched an award-winning website, introduced a new suite of admission communications, supported a series of fundraising initiatives, introduced a new internal portal and community newsletter, expanded the college’s visual and social media presence, and helped to launch an award-winning new athletic logo and mascot.

“As a graduate and long-time employee of a liberal arts institution, I am a true believer in the value of the education and opportunities colleges like Knox and Lawrence provide its students,” said Scott. “As both an undergraduate and employee at Knox, I have been challenged to stretch my abilities, push creative boundaries, and achieve more than I ever imagined.”

Scott’s background and approach made her the ideal candidate to lead Lawrence University’s efforts to ensure that its diverse community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and neighbors are informed about and engaged with our work together.

“Megan’s deep understanding of the transformative impact of a liberal arts education and her collaborative management style made her candidacy stand out in a very talented pool of finalists,” said Mark Burstein, president of Lawrence University.  “She is clearly well prepared to build on our recent successes to more accurately describe the power of the education we offer.”

Scott will serve on the president’s cabinet, working closely with university leadership to perform a job she knows very well.

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,”

Megan Scott, Lawrence University’s new Associate Vice President of Communication

“In its simplest form, my job is chief storyteller, and I consider it a privilege to discover and help tell the transformational stories of liberal arts institutions,” said Scott. “I have always admired Lawrence University, and I was even more impressed by the institution, its staff, students, and leadership as I moved through the interview process. I am truly honored to join this vibrant community and am excited to get to work telling the Lawrence story.”

Scott will transition to Lawrence with a couple of shorter visits to campus over a six-week period, starting with Lawrence’s annual matriculation convocation and its first faculty meeting of the year on September 13. She will join the campus community full time on October 29.

Scott will be joined in Appleton by her spouse, Brian, a high school Latin and English teacher, and their daughters, Clara (11) and Willa (5).

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.

Rick Peterson Retiring After 39 Years and Thousands of Stories

In 1847, shortly after Amos Lawrence commissioned three Methodist ministers—William Harkness Sampson, Henry Root Colman, and Reeder Smith—to establish a school on the land he owned in the Wisconsin Territory, he needed to tell the world about his fledgling college.

And so it was that Rick Peterson began his career as Lawrence University’s media relations director.

Peterson seen here sometime after 1847 (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Or so it seems, now that the university community reflects upon Rick’s tenure as he prepares to retire from Lawrence University on Friday, August 17, after nearly 39 years of service.

Lest you reach for your calculator, that’s 23% of the years that Lawrence has operated.

Rick joined the Lawrence staff in December 1979, after Lee Ester, then Lawrence’s director of public relations, lured him away from the Kaukauna Times, where Rick had been covering sports for 18 months after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. The Oak Creek (Wis.) native’s first day on the job came just two weeks after Richard Warch had been inaugurated as the fourteenth president of Lawrence University, which he would lead for 25 years.

Nearly four decades, two presidents and thousands of articles, stories, and press releases later, Rick Peterson stands on the threshold of retirement leaving a legacy of advocacy for the university that few have matched.

Dependable and dedicated

Mark Burstein, Lawrence University president, knows that Lawrence will miss Peterson’s touch. “Rick has a clear sense of Lawrence’s strengths that comes out in everything he writes or prepares about the university,” says Burstein. “It’s a unique gift that is irreplaceable.”

When asked her impressions of Rick’s contributions to Lawrence, Beth DeStasio, Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor of Biology, enthusiastically leads with, “Well, I just love Rick.” She adds, “He is one of the hardest-working people at Lawrence, always digging for more information because he truly wants to know what he’s writing about—and he’s really been able to capture the essence of Lawrence in everything he’s written.”

“He’s one of the most dependable, hardest-working colleagues I’ve had in my long tenure at Lawrence.”

-Cal Husmann, Vice President for Development

That dependability made a big difference with local media, with whom Peterson built a strong relationship. Ed Berthiaume, news director of the Post Crescent, worked with Rick for 25 years, and praises his reliability, accuracy, and honesty, even when the story may not be flattering about the university. “If Rick didn’t know the answer to something, he would work to find us someone in the community to connect with.”

Berthiaume notes that this kind of collaboration is unusual, “The way Rick treated people here at the Post Crescent was always professional and always respectful—and it helped forge a good relationship.”

A human touch… with a twist

Peterson used his gift for writing not just for telling the Lawrence story, but for bringing joy and delight to his colleagues and friends.

Liz Boutelle, one of the university’s art directors, has worked with Rick for 18 years and says she’ll miss his thoughtful gestures. “Everybody that knows him would get a birthday card from him,” she says, adding with slight amazement, “And not just a birthday card, but one with a big paragraph personalized to each person.”

“When he sent you a note, it was with perfect penmanship and always in a straight line like he wrote it with a ruler,” says John Tharp, former Lawrence University men’s basketball coach.

Tharp remembers how Peterson, who has been a scorekeeper at Vikings games for years, would come down to the team room in Alexander Gymnasium before basketball games just to sit with him. “He would have his lunch bag with him, and he and I would sit and talk while he was eating his lunch, and we would laugh.” Tharp adds, “I think it was his way of keeping me calm and relaxed. It was always a treat. He would say, ‘Good luck, Johnny,’ and then walk out that back door.”

Joe Vanden Acker, Lawrence sports information director, says he holds the job that Peterson invented as the university’s first SID. He learned a valuable lesson from Rick early in his tenure. “Rick was in my office. I was finishing a can of soda pop, and put my can in the garbage. Rick said, ‘Wait, there’s a spot for those,’ and he took me back to his office, and opened his closet, where there was a cardboard box where he was saving the cans.” Vanden Acker adds, “He was running a recycling program before Lawrence even had one.”

Ariela Rosa worked as an intern for Peterson from 2015 to 2016, and notes that she learned important lessons in that role. “I came to his department without any experience in journalistic writing, and Rick was always very patient with me, not interested in just fixing mistakes but in trying to explain why we do things the way we do them.”

Her work with Peterson prepared her for her current role as Lawrence University’s associate director of corporate, foundation, and sponsored research. She notes, “When I arrived to Rick as a student, I was always in a rush. But after working with him, I slow down more, am more careful, and double- and triple-check my work.”

She says that working with Peterson had an additional—and unexpected—benefit, “I received a world-class education in classic rock from Rick.”

And how did this education come about? “My fondest memories are of him playing 103.1 WOGB from clock-in to clock-out, with him quizzing me almost daily.”

Peterson seen here dreaming of a Milwaukee Brewers World Series championship, which the author wishes for him as a retirement gift. (Photo credit: Sharon Peterson)

Behold the power of Peterson

“The Lawrence community will miss Rick,” says Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication, “And I will miss him personally.”

Anselment adds, “Rick brought a style, voice, and sense of humor to the Lawrence stories he has written for decades. That combination of energy, production, and persistence is a gift to behold, and we are fortunate and grateful to have beheld it for so long.”

Despite it being closed for the summer while most students are on break, the Viking Room will temporarily reopen its doors to Rick’s friends and colleagues from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, to celebrate his retirement.

Rick Peterson may have written thousands of stories about Lawrence over his nearly four decades here, but Lawrence wrote this one about him.

Lawrence welcomes eight new tenure-track appointments to the faculty

Lawrence University welcomes eight new scholars to tenure-track faculty appointments this fall for the 2018-19 academic year. The first day of classes for Lawrence’s 170th year is Sept. 11.

The new tenure track appointments include: Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn); Danielle Joyner, art history; Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe); Linnet Ramos, neuroscience; Andrew Sage, statistics; Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics; Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies; and Allison Yakel, Spanish. Each joins the faculty at the rank of assistant professor, except for Lewis, who will start her Lawrence career as an associate professor.

“Over the past year, I had the great pleasure and privilege to work closely with search committees in the college and conservatory to identify and recruit talented candidates to our tenure track faculty rank,” said Catherine Gunther Kodat, provost and dean of the faculty. “These eight new faculty members will enrich the university in myriad ways, introducing new fields of study and fresh perspectives on traditional subjects. I’m thrilled to be able to welcome our newest colleagues to campus.”

Ann Ellsworth
Ann Ellsworth

Ann Ellsworth, conservatory of music (horn)
An international performer and recording artist, Ellsworth also brings nearly 30 years of teaching experience to the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. She joins the faculty from New York City, where she teaches at New York University, the Brooklyn College Conservatory and the City University of New York Graduate Center.

With a focus on new music, overlooked or rarely played pieces and arrangements, Ellsworth has recorded four solo albums, including “Rain Coming,” which was released in 2017. She has performed in music festivals around the world, been a guest artist or principal horn with nearly 20 orchestras or symphonies, including Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and the Oslo Philharmonic, among others. She also has performed for more than a dozen Broadway shows, as well as in concert with touring artists ranging from Shakira and Aretha Franklin to Diana Ross and Johnny Mathis.

A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Ellsworth earned a bachelor of music degree from Eastman School of Music, a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Rochester, took graduate studies at Juilliard School of Music and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Russia and earned a master of music degree from the University of

Danielle Joyner
Danielle Joyner

Danielle Joyner, art history
Joyner, whose scholarship interests include ecocriticism, environmental history and conceptions of the natural world, spent eight years in the department of art, art history and design at the University of Notre Dame and since 2015 has taught in the art history department of Southern Methodist University.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Joyner is the author of the 2016 book “Painting the Hortus Deliciarum: Medieval Women, Wisdom and Time,” and has a second book “Before there was Nature: Rethinking Landscapes and Early Medieval Arts” in progress.

She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Toronto, and a master’s and doctorate degree in art history from Harvard University.

Nora Lewis
Nora Lewis ’99

Nora Lewis, conservatory of music (oboe)
It will be a homecoming for Lewis, a 1999 Lawrence graduate who returns to her alma mater, replacing her former oboe professor, Howard Niblock, who retired earlier this year. She has taught oboe the past two years at Western Michigan University. Prior to that, Lewis spent nine years building oboe studios at Austin Peay State University (2007-08) and Kansas State University (2008-13).

During her career, Lewis has engaged extensively in national and global outreach, including artist residencies in Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, India and Panama and has delivered scores of master classes throughout the United States.

Since 2010, she has performed with the PEN Trio, touring with the chamber ensemble across the country. Her first book, “Notes for Oboists: A Guide to the Repertoire,” is in progress with Oxford University Press.

A double degree graduate of Lawrence — she earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.M. in performance — Lewis also holds a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Music and a doctor of music degree from Northwestern University.

Linnett Ramos
Linnet Ramos

Linnet Ramos, neuroscience
Ramos joins the faculty from Temple University, where she held an appointment as a postdoctoral researcher. She also held an adjunct professorship in the psychology department at Temple. Prior to Temple, Ramos worked as a postdoctoral researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2015-17. She served as a member of the diversity committees at both Temple and Children’s Hospital.

Her scholarship interests focus on identifying novel therapeutics to manage various mental health disorders, including drug addiction. Her research has examined the effects of these therapeutics on the neural circuits underlying social behavior.

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Temple University, a master’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Hartford and a Ph.D. in behavioral pharmacology from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Andrew Sage
Andrew Sage

Andrew Sage, statistics
A former high school math teacher, Sage has taught statistics courses at Iowa State University since 2014. As a graduate teaching assistant at Miami University prior to Iowa State, Sage was recognized with the mathematics department’s “Effective Graduate Teaching Award.

Sage’s research interests include data mining, statistical machine learning and statistics education. While at Iowa State, he was involved in a project using data analytics to help improve student retention among STEM majors.

Originally from Chardon, Ohio, Sage graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The College of Wooster, where as an undergraduate, he wrote a computer program to project complete times for tire tests at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics at Iowa State.

Elizabeth Sattler
Elizabeth Sattler

Elizabeth Sattler, mathematics
Sattler joins the mathematics department with research interests in symbolic dynamics, ergodic theory and fractal geometry.

A native of Dickinson, N.D., Sattler has spent the past two years on the faculty at Carleton College, where she’s taught courses in calculus, real analysis and complex analysis. From 2011-2014, she taught at North Dakota State University, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics.

While at NDSU, she was the recipient of two graduate student teaching awards. She’s been involved as a faculty advisor and mentor for undergraduate research projects at Carleton and NDSU. As a proponent of fostering an inclusive environment, Sattler co-founded the Society of Women in Math and Statistics (SWiMS) at Carleton for women and non-binary math students.

Katherine Schweighofer
Katherine Schweighofer

Katherine Schweighofer, gender studies
Schweighofer brings teaching and research interests in histories of sex and gender, feminist and queer theory, LGBTQ studies, queer geography and gender and sports cultures to the Lawrence faculty. She is especially focused on the histories of sexual identity, geography and political resistance and how it reframes the impact of the U.S. women’s land movement of the 1970s and ’80s.

Since 2015, Schweighofer has taught at Dickinson College following appointments at Butler University and Indiana University, where she received the Barbara C. Gray Award for Teaching Excellence. At Dickinson, she served on the college’s LGBTQ Advisory Board and was recognized in 2017 with a service award by the office of LGBTQ Student Services.

Schweighofer, who grew up in Rochester, Mich., earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a certificate in women’s studies from Princeton University. She also holds a master of arts from New York University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in gender studies from Indiana University.

Allison Yakel
Allison Yakel ’06

Allison Yakel, Spanish
Like Lewis, Yakel is returning to alma mater, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and government in 2006. Since 2014, she has taught Spanish courses as a graduate assistant at the University of Houston.

With an interdisciplinary approach, Yakel’s scholarship unites phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics as it pertains to Spanish and English in contact, and applied linguistics. Her teaching experience includes teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language.

While a student at Lawrence, Yakel spent three years as a Spanish/Italian tutor in the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning. After graduating from Lawrence, she earned a master’s degree in Spanish at Texas State University and a Ph.D. in Hispanic linguistics at the University of Houston.

A Wisconsin native, Yakel grew up in Edgerton.

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 music education team unleashes everyone’s “inner musician” at Mile of Music fest

Listening to great original music by a wide variety of artists is, of course, what Appleton’s Mile of Music is all about.

But the opportunity to personally engage in music, a unique feature of the four-day festival, aah, that’s what red lines Leila Ramagopal Pertl’s excitement meter.

Leila Pertl
Leila Ramagopal Pertl ’87

As the music education curator for the Mile of Music, Ramagopal Pertl will oversee a 28-person team of music educators, most with Lawrence ties, that will conduct 40 hands-on music-focused workshops during the festival, which runs Aug. 2-5.

This year’s festival — Mile 6— will feature 900 live performances by 208 artists/bands from 29 states as well as Washington, D.C., and Canada at 70 venues along College Avenue and the Fox River.

The interactive, education workshops designed for both the young and the young at heart range from Balinese gamelan and Ghanaian drumming and dance to didjeridu and ukulele.

“I’m so excited to see the growing number of people who schedule their Mile of Music education events ahead of time,” said Ramagopal Pertl, a 1987 Lawrence graduate and music education instructor in Lawrence’s conservatory of music
who has led the music education team since the festival’s inception along with her husband, Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory.

“Lawrence music education is not only providing hands on, music-making events to our public, but, in fact, is helping to change a mindset about who is musical and who is not,” she added. “We are all musical beings whose life experience must often be perceived and expressed in musical ways. When our Lawrence community, and especially our Lawrence music education students, contribute to this awareness and active process, their influence goes far beyond this campus, and, indeed, far beyond our own Fox Valley.”

Lessons in Ghanaian drumming attracts musicians of all ages during the Mile of Music education workshops.

At last year’s festival, the music education team engaged 5,000 participants in the workshops. Ramagopal Pertl hopes to increase that number by at least 500 this year.

New for Mile 6 will be a reinvention of a festival staple, the Great Mile of Music Sing-a-Long. This year’s sing-a-long will celebrate rich music diversity with culture leaders from all corners of the Fox Cities teaching songs from their traditions, including Oneida, Congalese and Latino cultures.

Jaclyn Kottman, a 2012 Lawrence graduate and a choral music educator in the Appleton School District who serves as the director of operations for the music education team, calls the annual sing-a-long “a touchstone of the festival weekend.”

“We felt this year’s sing-a-long was an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the rich musical and cultural diversity of the Fox Cities,” said Kottman, who also teaches voice and conducts one of the girl choirs at the Lawrence Academy of Music. “By lifting up these songs alongside the more traditional sing-a-long tunes, we’re broadening the concept of what ‘the music of our community’ sounds like on the Mile and beyond.”

José Encarnación, director of jazz studies at Lawrence and one of the country’s top jazz saxophonists, will trade his instrument for his dancing shoes. He and his wife, Marisol, will showcase their superb salsa dancing skills in a pair of workshops.

Singer B. Lilly, who graduated from Lawrence this past June, will both perform during the festival and lead a pair of workshops on songwriting. He describes his musical style as “soulful, coming from a pure place.,,influenced by the transparency of the Motown era. It is intentional and raw.”

“His artistry has a depth of thought and honesty that I find stunning,” said Ramagopal Pertl.  “I’m looking forward to how he brings these qualities out in others.”

Mile of Music gamelan workshop
The Balinese gamelan is always one of the favorites among the Mile of Music education workshops.

Another performer/education team member are the members of Porky’s Groove Machine, a seven-member band of all Lawrence graduates who call themselves “(unofficially) licensed providers of environmentally sustainable nerd-funk.” In addition to seven (7!!) performances during the festival, Porky’s will help groovers of all ages get their funk on in a pair of workshops.

“Being Lawrentians, the members of the band are not only top-notch performers, they are also first-rate music educators,” said Ramagopal Pertl.

New to the music education team this year will be an eight-person contingent of aspiring music educators from local high schools known as the MET Ambassadors, who Ramagopal Pertl described as “on fire about the positive effects of music education and excited about making music with their community.”

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.