It will be perfectly understandable if Jordan Severson feels a touch of déjà vu Sunday, June 5 at Lawrence University’s 162nd commencement. After all, the senior from Kaukauna has already watched three older siblings earn bachelor’s degrees from Lawrence. (A fourth sibling, Jacob, attended Lawrence for a little over a year but wound up graduating from St. John’s University in Minnesota.)
Severson will be among an expected record 347 students awarded bachelor of arts and/or music degrees during graduation ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green.
Despite the family track record, Severson, the youngest of six children, said there wasn’t any pressure or sense of obligation to attend Lawrence.
“We all had our individual reasons for coming here,” said Severson, who will graduate with a double major in art history and studio art. “We each found the things we were looking for at Lawrence.”
The jury was still out on his college choice when he began his senior year at Kaukauna High School, but the opportunity to take three art history courses at Lawrence through the Youth Options program helped him finalize his decision.
“I got to know the campus climate here and became familiar with some of the faculty. Other places I visited didn’t have the same atmosphere,” said Severson, who also applied to Beloit, Grinnell and Macalester colleges. “I really enjoyed the art history department and decided even if I didn’t major in it, I would enjoy taking some courses in it.
“I’ve loved the academic challenge Lawrence provided, the opportunity to be introduced to new perspectives and the diversity here that doesn’t exist on a lot of other small college campuses,” Severson added.
When Severson shakes President Jill Beck’s hand Sunday on the commencement stage, he will join sister Jami (1995) and brothers Joshua (1997) and Justin (2008) as Lawrence alumni. And even though he didn’t graduate, Lawrence considers Jacob a member of its class of 2001. All four, along with brother Jeff, who graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, are expected to attend Sunday’s ceremonies to offer Jordan their congratulations.
Post-Lawrence, Severson hopes to land an internship with a museum in a large urban center before pursuing graduate school.