A three-member panel of scholars will discuss constitutional issues presented by the Civil War Thursday, Jan. 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The program will include a question-and-answer session with the audience.
The presentation is in conjunction with the 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibit “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” that is on display in Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library until Feb. 8. Both the panel presentation and the exhibition are free and open to the public.
Participating in the discussion will be Lawrence faculty members Jerald Podair, professor of history and Robert S. French Professor of American Studies, and Arnold Shober, associate professor of government. Joining them will be 1981 Lawrence graduate James Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Ill.
The panel will examine a variety of topics, among them:
• What the words “all men are created equal” meant in the Declaration of Independence, what they meant to Jefferson Davis and his fellow Confederates and how did Lincoln interpret the word “equal?”
• Was secession constitutional?
• How did Lincoln and Jefferson Davis reflect clashing understandings of the nature of the “more perfect Union” established by the Constitution?
• Did the Constitution form an unbreakable “contract” with the American people or a revocable “compact” between sovereign states?
• How did the stresses of civil war erode civil liberties in the United States?
• How did Lincoln balance national security and personal freedom during the Civil War, especially with regard to Northern critics of the war?
• Was Lincoln an extraconstitutional “tyrant,” as his political enemies argued?
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 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.
Is the “life of the mind” obsolete and does a liberal arts education have any value today?
Lawrence University historian Jerald Podair examines those questions in the college’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, May 31. Podair presents “The Only Life: Liberal Arts and the Life of the Mind at Lawrence” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Honors Convocation also will be webcast live. Watch it here.
Podair, professor of history and Robert S. French Professor of American Studies, will examine the value of a liberal arts education and why the hallmarks of a Lawrence education — critical thinking, deep reading, analytical reasoning and effective writing — are essential for success in a 21st-century economy as well as for a rich intellectual, emotional and spiritual life.
He was selected for the series as the third recipient of Lawrence’s annual Faculty Convocation Award. Chosen by President Jill Beck from faculty nominations, recipients are selected on the basis of the high quality of their professional work.
The annual honors convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty recipients of awards and prizes for excellence in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, languages and music as well as demonstrated excellence in athletics and service to others. Students elected to honor societies also will be recognized. The students and faculty award winners will receive their awards May 30 at the Honors Dinner.
His current scholarship includes the book “American Conversations,” a collection of transformative documents in American history scheduled for publication this fall and a baseball-themed book on the cultural implications of the Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.
Podair joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998 as the winner of that year’s Allan Nevins Prize, an award conferred by the Society of American Historians for the best Ph. D. dissertation in history written in the country that year. He was named a fellow of the New York Academy of History in 2009 and was appointed by the governor to Wisconsin’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which he served from 2008 to 2009.
A native of New York City, Podair earned his bachelor’s degree at New York University, a law degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook..
Four members of the Lawrence University faculty were recognized for teaching excellence, scholarship and creative activity Sunday, June 13 during the college’s 161st commencement.
David Becker, professor of music and director of orchestral studies, received Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.
Becker returned to the Lawrence conservatory in 2005 as director of orchestral studies after serving in the same capacity for four years early in his career in the mid-1970s. In between he held teaching positions at Oberlin College, the University of Miami and UW-Madison, where he spent 21 years as director of orchestras and professor of the graduate orchestral conducting program.
In presenting Becker his award, Lawrence President Jill Beck praised his “great skill as a master teacher.”
“Your marvelous direction of the Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra, your work with student productions such as opera and your involvement in every aspect of musical performance have had a profound effect on students, faculty and staff and the countless members of the community who have been present for the inspiring music events performed under your guidance,” said Beck. “Anyone who has attended a Lawrence Symphony Orchestra performance can sense the pride of the students and the love and respect they feel for you.”
A native of Pennsylvania, Becker earned a bachelor of music degree in viola performance and music education at Ithaca College School of Music and a master of music degree in viola performance and conducting from the University of Louisville School of Music.
Jerald Podair, professor of history and Robert S. French Professor of American Studies, received the Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which honors a faculty member who has demonstrated sustained scholarly excellence for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.
A specialist on 20th-century American history and American race relations, Podair joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998 as the winner of that year’s Allan Nevins Prize, an award conferred by the Society of American Historians for the best Ph.D. dissertation in history written in the country that year.
He is the author of two books, “The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis,” which examines a bitter racial controversy in New York City and “Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer,” a widely praised biography of the civil rights activist who organized Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington. Other recent projects include an essay on Rudolph Giuliani and New York’s racial politics and an introduction to a new edition of the classic book about the sinking of the Titanic, “A Night to Remember.”
“Your scholarly contributions to Lawrence have been outstanding,” said Beck in presenting Podair his award. “You have published two books while at Lawrence and are working on no less than three other books. Your work has been published in several important journals and has led to many awards and honors. If there is something more that you might be expected to do right now, I have no idea what that could be.”
His current scholarship includes a baseball-themed book on the cultural implications of the Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles, a book thatlooks at the United States from 1877 to the present entitled “American Conversations” and a collection of essays on the ways Americans have sought to define the concept of equality.
A native of New York City, Podair serves as a member of the Wisconsin Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was named a fellow of the New York Academy of History in 2009. He earned a bachelor’s degree at New York University, a law degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Patrice Michaels, professor of music, received the Award for Excellence in Creative Activity. Established in 2006, the award recognizes outstanding creative work for advancing Lawrence’s mission.
An award-winning soprano, Michaels has taught vocal performance and music theatre in the Lawrence conservatory since 1994. A specialist in the works of Mozart, Michaels has performed at prestigious concert venues throughout the world, including Salzburg, Austria in 2006 for the 250th anniversary celebration of Mozart’s birth.
She is well known for her performance of “The Divas of Mozart’s Day,” a tour de force theatrical production that celebrates the divas of late 18th-century Vienna. She has released 20 commercial recordings, among them the disc “American Songs,” which included eight world premiere recordings.
“You have been a powerful force for creative activity, both through your own work and through the inspiration you have provided to others,” said Provost David Burrows in presenting Michaels her award. “Your presence has helped many students develop their own creative abilities, helped by your supportive and friendly attention.”
In a career that has taken her to opera stages around the world, Michaels also has performed for the U.S. Supreme Court and Cuban President Fidel Castro. Most recently she has remounted an original program she first developed while at the Banff Centre for the Arts. “A Song for Harmonica,” featuring a 4-foot tall bib overall-clad puppet worked by Michaels, is a program designed for elementary school students to explore the nature of inspiration through operatic excerpts and original songs.
Michaels earned a bachelor’s degree in music and theatre from Pomona College and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Minnesota.
Dominica Chang, assistant professor of French and Francophone studies, received Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.
A member of the Lawrence faculty since 2007, Chang’s research interests include 19th-century French studies, literary history and historiography, print culture, film studies and language pedagogy.
In presenting her award, Burrows praised Chang for her “extraordinary success” in the classroom and for being a “wonderful example of the concept of individualized learning.”
“Students speak with enthusiasm about your ability to inspire everyone to learn and reach the highest levels of achievement,” said Burrows. “Your patience and warmth help students conquer their anxieties about writing and speaking and produce work of outstanding quality. Your feedback is frequent and helpful.
“Students say they strive to do well because they want to repay the trust you show in them and many give you the ultimate praise: you are the best professor they have ever had,” he added.
Chang earned a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from UW-Madison, a master’s degree in French studies from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from the University of Michigan. She also spent a year studying at the University of Paris.
Lawrence University President Jill Beck announced the appointment of Carol Lawton, Jerald Podair and Fred Sturm to endowed professorships Thursday (5/26) at the college’s annual honors convocation.
Lawton, professor of art history, was named to the Ottilia Buerger Professorship in Classical Studies. Podair, associate professor of history, was named to the Robert S. French Professorship in American Studies. Sturm, professor of music, was named to the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music.
Appointments to endowed professorships recognize academic distinction through teaching excellence and scholarly achievement. Lawrence currently has 47 endowed chairs.
Lawton, a specialist in ancient Greek sculpture, joined the Lawrence art department in 1980 and serves as curator of Lawrence’s Ottilia Buerger Collection of ancient and Byzantine coins. She has made research trips to Greece each of the past 25 years. Working with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, she is studying Greek and Roman votive reliefs excavated from the Athenian Agora, the center of civic activity of ancient Athens.
She has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the J. Paul Getty Trust and is the author of the 1995 book “Attic Document Reliefs of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods” (Oxford University Press).
In 2004, Lawton was recognized with Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, becoming the only faculty member to earn all three of the college’s major teaching awards. She was the recipient of the college’s Young Teacher Award in 1982 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University.
The Buerger professorship was established in 2002 by a bequest from the estate of Ottilia Buerger, a 1938 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lawrence with a degree in Latin. A native of Mayville, Buerger taught Latin and English for several years at high schools in Goodman, Wautoma and Beaver Dam.
Combining a life-long interest in history, classics and numismatics, Buerger began coin collecting as a hobby in the 1950s and wound up assembling a world-renowned collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins. Buerger’s collection of 352 coins was donated to Lawrence after her death in 2001 and is used extensively today as a teaching and research resource for students and faculty studying the ancient world.
Podair joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998. A one-time Wall Street lawyer, he turned his attention to 20th-century American history in the early 1990s, focusing his research interests on urban history and racial and ethnic relations. He was recognized in 1998 with the Allan Nevin Prize from the Society of American Historians, which honored him for the single most outstanding dissertation in American history that year. It was published as the book “The Strike That Changed New York” in 2003 by Yale University Press.
He served as a consulting scholar for the recent Joe McCarthy exhibition at the Outagamie County Museum and worked with documentary filmmaker Richard Broadman as a historical consultant on a film chronicling the history of Black-Jewish relations in modern New York City. He earned his doctorate at Princeton University.
The French Professorship was established in 2001 by a gift from William Zuendt in honor of his former high school counselor and long-time friend, Robert French, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence in 1948 with a self-designed major in American studies. The professorship is intended to embrace a broad array of subjects, including history, literature, political thought and artistic expression, in examining America’s past.
French, a devoted student and collector of items relating to Abraham Lincoln and his legacy, helped establish the Lincoln Reading Room in Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library. He donated a collection of more than 1,500 items related to Lincoln, among them books, artwork and published speeches.
Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music, is in his second stint as a faculty member in the Lawrence conservatory of music. A 1973 Lawrence graduate, he first directed jazz studies here from 1977-91, then returned in 2002 after spending 11 years as professor and chair of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music in New York.
An award-winning composer, his jazz compositions and arrangements have been performed by Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry, among others, and have been issued by numerous record labels, including Concord Jazz, RCA and Warner Brothers Records. Sturm received a Grammy Award nomination in 1988 and was named the 2003 recipient of the ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence.
He concurrently serves as principal guest conductor of the Hessischer Rundfunk (German Public Radio for the State of Hessen) Big Band in Frankfurt, Germany and as visiting conductor of professional jazz ensembles and radio orchestras in Europe. During his nearly 30-year university teaching career, Sturm’s jazz ensembles have been cited by Downbeat Magazine as the finest in the United States and Canada eight times. He earned a master’s degree in music composition from Eastman School of Music.
The Kimberly-Clark Foundation established the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music in 1995 in recognition and support of the cultural contributions Lawrence makes to the quality of life in the community.
Was President Abraham Lincoln acting on purely moral grounds when he issued his famous proclamation that ended slavery in the United States? Lawrence University historian Jerald Podair argues Lincoln’s motivation was driven by more than repugnancy for the institution of slavery.
Podair presents “Back Door to Freedom: The Paradoxes of the Emancipation Proclamation,” Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus.
Podair’s address is in conjunction with the traveling national exhibition, “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation,” which is on display in the Lawrence library until March 5. Both the lecture and the exhibition are free and open to the public.
Podair will explore the pragmatic reasons behind Lincoln’s decision, examining the Emancipation Proclamation not merely as a moral gesture of idealism but as a war measure to preserve the Union by destroying the Confederacy’s capacity to make war through its most important asset — slave labor. Podair argues part of the United States’ peculiar genius lies in its ability to produce leaders like Lincoln, who understood that pragmatism and self-interest may not be paradoxes after all.
A specialist on 20th-century American history, urban history and race relations and the author of the 2003 book “The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites and the Ocean Hall-Brownsville Crisis,” Podair joined the Lawrence history department in 1998. Promoted to associate professor in 2003, he earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University.
Lawrence University faculty members Michael Orr and Alan Parks have been promoted to the rank of full professor by the college’s Board of Trustees.
Four other faculty — Jerald Podair, Matthew Stoneking, Timothy Troy and Dirck Vorenkamp — have been promoted to the rank of associate professor and granted tenured appointments.
Orr, a specialist in medieval art and illuminated manuscripts, joined the Lawrence faculty as an art historian in 1989. A native of England, Orr has served as an exhibition consultant to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., and been awarded two research grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1992, Orr was recognized with Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teacher award. He earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University.
Parks has taught mathematics and computer science at Lawrence since 1985. A member of the American Mathematical Society, Parks’ research interests in applied mathematics include dynamical systems and differential equations. As a computer programmer, he has focused on the theory of computation, coding theory, and the analysis of algorithms and he written applications in C++, Fortran, Pascal and MATLAB. He was cited for his teaching in 1987 as the recipient of Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teacher award. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Podair, a 20th-century American historian specializing in race relations, joined the Lawrence faculty in 1998. His Ph.D. dissertation was recognized in 1998 by the Society of American Historians with the Allan Nevin Prize, which honored his work as the single most outstanding dissertation in American history that year. It was published as the book “The Strike That Changed New York” last fall by Yale University Press. Podair, who earned his doctorate at Princeton University, served as a consultant scholar for the recent Joe McCarthy exhibition at the Outagamie County Museum.
Stoneking, a physicist whose research interest focus on plasma physics and magnetic confinements of non-neutral plasmas, joined the Lawrence faculty in 1997. He’s been the recipient of a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $37,000 grant from Research Corporation to support construction of his plasma physics laboratory, including a toroidal vacuum chamber. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Troy, a 1985 Lawrence graduate, returned to his alma mater’s theatre and drama department first from 1989-92 and again in 1997. He directs Lawrence opera, play and musical productions, as well as the “Plays on History” series staged at the Outagamie County Museum. In addition, he serves as community artist-in-residence for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and wrote the libretto for Samuel Barber’s “Excursions” Opus 20, which premiered in January. He earned a master of fine arts degree at the University of Iowa.
Vorenkamp, a member of the Lawrence religious studies department since 1997, specializes in Asian religions, especially Buddhism. His teaching was recognized with the Lawrence Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 2000 and his scholarly research has been published in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism, the Journal of Asian Studies and the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, among others. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.