More than 1,000 alumni, family and friends made their way back to Lawrence University for the annual Reunion Weekend.
Cooler than expected temperatures and sporadic rains didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. Performances at Memorial Chapel, alumni award presentations and plenty of social opportunities kept things festive during the Thursday through Saturday reunion. Here are a few takeaways from the big weekend.
Back to college
Friday’s Alumni College, featuring a bevy of talks and presentations from faculty and/or alumni on a wide range of topics, is always a highlight of Reunion Weekend.
Glen Johnson ’85 provided a nice testimony to the value of the Lawrence experience during a session he presented. He shared photos and insights from his four years leading strategic communications for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a journey that took him to 91 countries between 2013 and early 2017 and led to the publication of his 2018 book, “Window Seat on the World: A View of U.S. Leadership and Diplomacy.”
As part of his work, the former Associated Press and Boston Globe reporter took on the duties of official photographer, giving him access to Kerry in public and private settings as they traveled across all seven continents. His presentation took the audience through dozens of beautiful and poignant photos from around the world and the stories behind them.
Johnson told the alumni gathered in the Warch Campus Center Cinema that his studies at Lawrence set him on a path to do “dramatic and interesting” things.
“I came to Lawrence because I wanted to go to a liberal arts school,” said Johnson, who grew up just outside of Boston. “I also knew I wanted to be a journalist. So I came to Lawrence to go to this liberal arts school but with an idea of preparing for a very specific vocation. And so I was able to take a breadth of classes that gave me an array of knowledge that helped me as a reporter, and then that success as a reporter gave me the credibility to have this opportunity down the road.”
A highlight of the annual Alumni Convocation, held Saturday morning at Memorial Chapel, is the presentation by each reunion class or cluster of financial gifts to the university.
The gift announcements often come with heartfelt testimonials.
Jeff Billings ’03, speaking for the cluster of the classes of 2003, ’04 and ’05, referenced a highway sign that points one direction to Freedom and the other to Lawrence. While the sign references the towns of Freedom and Lawrence, it always got a laugh from Lawrence students, he said.
“But the arrow should be pointing in the same direction,” he said, “because when you come to Lawrence, you are forever transformed. You’re taught to think, you’re taught to be creative, you’re taught to listen to other people — imagine that — you’re given lifelong skills that give you freedom to choose the life you want to have, whatever that life may be. I, for one, am extremely appreciative of that fact, and Lawrence has forever transformed my life.”
Andrea Powers Robertson ’94, speaking for the Class of 1994, said she savors the Lawrence experience 25 years after leaving campus and wants to pay it forward.
“As one who relied heavily on financial aid to make my Lawrence experience possible, I have a profound sense of gratitude for the Lawrence Fund supporters who preceded me,” she said.
The class representatives rattled off a series of class gifts to the university that added up to nearly $13 million, including $6.6 million coming from the Class of 1969 as it marked its 50-year reunion.
“The theme for our 50th reunion has been Bob Dylan’s song, The Times They Are A Changin‘, said Susan Voss Pappas ’69, “and we’re doing our best to keep up.”
President Mark Burstein called the class gifts “truly extraordinary.”
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is thanking Lawrentians for their investment in this university,” he said. “It means so much to this institution, and I think even more importantly to the students, generation after generation.”
Honoring outstanding alumni
Seven Lawrence alumni were honored during the Alumni Convocation with the annual Alumni Awards.
Jaime Nodarse Barrera, a 2005 graduate, received the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Outstanding Service Award. She is the assistant vice president of development at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and has been involved with many community service groups including the Kiwanis Club, Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill at-risk youth mentoring. She also served as the interim director of marketing and interim director of communications, and helped to coordinate communications efforts and crisis management during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
Elizabeth R. Benson, a 1969 graduate, received the Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. She is an expert in energy and international trade, with deep experience in issues ranging from the structure of electricity and natural gas markets to energy efficiency, renewable resources and climate change. She has operated a successful independent consulting practice since 2001.
Zoe Ganos, a 1955 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer, received one of two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards, presented to an alum of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer College who has provided outstanding service to Lawrence. She has been a teacher all her life, much of her time spent as an English as a Second Language teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools. In addition to using her language skills, Ganos has served on the LUAA Board of Directors and volunteered weekly at the Traveler’s Aid Desk at Mitchell Field Airport in Milwaukee.
Dr. Todd A. Mahr, a 1979 graduate, received the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. He is the director of pediatric allergy and clinical immunology at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He is also adjunct clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
Momodu E. Maligi, a 2004 graduate, received the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. He has been Sierra Leone’s minister for water resources since 2014, making him the youngest member of President Koiroma’s cabinet. Since his appointment, Maligi has overseen the reorganization of Sierra Leone’s water sector, rehabilitating damaged water facilities, bringing in private sector investors and changing the legal framework for water policy.
Chuck Merry, a 1957 graduate, received the Presidential Award, presented to an alum whose leadership has contributed to the betterment of Lawrence University. A Milwaukee native, Merry has been a fixture at LU events since he moved back to Appleton in 1962. He has served on the school’s Legacy Circle National Council, the Athletics Advisory Committee and the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He chaired the LUAA Capital Campaign Liaison Group and served as a member of the LUAA Nominations and Awards Committee. He serves on the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
Joseph F. Patterson, a 1969 graduate, received one of the two Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Awards. He is a real estate management entrepreneur in greater New York City. He previously served one term on the LU Alumni Board of Trustees, and since 2000 has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the School of Visual Arts of NYC. Throughout his real estate career, Patterson has promoted diversity of students on college campuses and public high schools, creating support programs to ensure successful experiences and achievement for all students.
Kudos to Laura Caviani ’84, who gave the audience at Friday night’s Alumni Recital at Memorial Chapel a treat by performing one of her original pieces.
Caviani, a successful jazz pianist, composer and educator in Minneapolis, performed “Give Me Your Tired” with Max Wendt ’94 and Jim Guckenberg ’94.
It was part of a recital that saw numerous alumni from a wide range of graduating classes perform, a testament to the long and successful history of the Conservatory of Music.
Consider the numbers
Attendance over the weekend topped the 1,000 mark. That number includes alumni as well as family and friends who came along for the fun. Here are some attendance numbers from classes marking major milestones.
The Class of 1969, celebrating its 50th reunion, posted the highest number of attendees, fittingly hitting 69. Other notable numbers included the Class of 2009 (10th reunion) with 57; the Class of 1979 (40th reunion) with 53; the Class of 1994 (25th reunion) with 49, and the Class of 1964 (55th reunion) with 19.
Here are a few of our favorite photos from Reunion Weekend. For much more robust photo galleries from the weekend, click here.
Ed Berthiaume is director public information at Lawrence University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast last October, some of the homes destroyed by its might included the music students of Javier Arau. Using his musical talents and connections, Arau helped raise thousands of dollars to help his students’ families rebuild.
The 1998 Lawrence University graduate and award-winning musician will be one of seven alumni recognized by their alma mater for career achievements, contributions to the betterment of society or volunteer service to Lawrence June 14-16 during the college’s annual Reunion Weekend Celebration. The awards will be presented Saturday, June 15 at the Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
Nearly 900 alumni and guests from 40 states as well as Canada and Mexico are expected to attend this year’s festivities.
For the second year in a row, members of the Lawrence 50-Year Connection, a cohort of alumni who have graduated 50 or more years ago, will unofficially open Reunion Weekend June 13 with a special series of panel presentations followed by small-group discussions. Conducted in the Warch Campus Center, the scheduled topics include “College Experiences that Mattered Later On,” “Paths Not Taken: What I Wish I Had Tried” and “Inspirational Moments.”
George B. Walter Service to Society Award
Arau will receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. A saxophonist who won two Downbeat Magazine awards as a student, Arau shares his love of jazz with people of all ages and abilities and inspires them to pursue their passions in music as the founder of the New York Jazz Academy. Since opening in 2009, the NYJA has grown into the largest jazz school in New York City, with locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island and instrument instruction ranging from viola and vocals to saxophone and harp! An online option began operating last December and is now offering free music classes to students worldwide.
To support school music programs that had difficulty in acquiring new music, Arau launched The Commissioning Project, which allows multiple ensembles to jointly commission a piece of music, making it affordable for all involved.
“The hurdles have changed at each stage in life,” says Arau, who lives in Jackson Heights, N.Y. “Invariably, however, I still find myself calling upon that confidence I developed at Lawrence whenever I need a boost to meet each new challenge along the way. Now I look at the world and recognize there is no limit to our capacity.”
Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award
As an applied medical anthropologist, Quandt works to correct health disparities experienced by rural and minority populations. Her research focuses on occupational health concerns of Latino immigrant farm workers and poultry processing workers, particularly pesticide exposure and occupational injuries and illnesses. She also investigates food and nutrition issues among older rural residents. She is the co-founder of the North Carolina Field Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increase awareness of the plight of the farmworker.
“Lawrence was where I first encountered challenges to using the Euro-centric lens for interpreting history and social relations that I pretty much took for granted,” says Quandt, who grew up in a small, all-white Midwestern town and attended school K-12 in the same building. “This dramatic change in viewpoint has shaped much of what I do today. I realize now that Lawrence provided the opportunities and support I needed to follow this path.”
Romero Hicks, a 1979 Lawrence graduate,is an attorney and the founder and managing partner of Romero Hicks & Galindo, a legal and consulting firm based in Mexico City. His professional accomplishments range from professor of law and economics at Guanajuato State University, where he later became a member of the Board of Trustees, to president and CEO of BANCOMEXT, the Mexican Bank for Foreign Trade.
He has served under both President Carlos Salinas and President Vicente Fox, holding appointments as director general for housing policy at the Ministry for Social Development and co-chair of the National Housing Policy Committee, respectively.
A frequent national radio and television commentator in Mexico, Romero Hicks has been recognized as one of the country’s 100 best CEOs and one of the 300 most influential leaders in Mexico.
“Lawrence laid the foundations for my professional career,” says Romero Hicks. “The unmatched quality of Lawrence professors has become more than evident over time. All courses seem like they were taught only a few weeks ago, although I still awake at times thinking that somehow I didn’t meet a deadline on a term paper. After Lawrence one never awakes as before. Now I sleep with the satisfaction of having served my community well, thanks to a Lawrence liberal arts education.”
O.B. Parrish, Chicago, Ill, and Marlene Crupi Widen, Milwaukee, will receive the Presidential Award, which recognizes a graduate of Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer whose exemplary leadership and actions have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence University community.
A 1955 Lawrence graduate, Parrish has been a member ofthe college’s Board of Trustees for 30 years, serving on the finance, investment and academic affairs committees, among others. One of Lawrence’s most loyal donors, Parrish helped lay the foundation for the successful More Light! campaign, which raised more than $160 million, by serving as a member of the campaign working group.
A successful entrepreneur, Parrish is president of Phoenix Health Care, a private company which invests in innovative health care opportunities, and chairman and CEO of the Female Health Company, a public company which developed the female condom. He also serves as chairman of Abiant, a private company that focuses on the early detection of and assessment of potential drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In March 2013, the financial website the Motley Fool named the Female Health Company one of the 25 best companies in America.
“Lawrence opened an intellectual door that enabled me to see life in a broad and total perspective as opposed to one that’s self centered,” says Parrish. “It encouraged me to always become involved in something more important than myself. I discovered this led to a unique sense of satisfaction combining personal and professional success and societal contribution. As a result I found that life became a challenging adventure where I have seldom felt I was working. Without Lawrence this door may have remained closed.”
Widen graduated from Milwaukee-Downer in 1955.As president of the M-D alumnae association, she helped assure a smooth transition during the school’s 1964 consolidation with Lawrence College and the spirit of Milwaukee-Downer and its proud traditions are ever present in Appleton because of her efforts. She has served as a class secretary for 30 years as well as a class agent and a member of the Lawrence Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has served as the co-chair of the Legacy Circle National Council, inspiring many to make planned gifts.
“Lawrence University is alive and well and so is my alma mater, Milwaukee Downer College,” says Widen. “The consolidation in 1964 provided the opportunity to meet Lawrence College alumni and become familiar with the campus and buildings. In cherishing each and every interaction with Lawrence, I realize that due to the past 49 years my Downer roots are truly embedded in my personal Lawrentian legacy today.”
Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award
A 1977 Lawrence graduate, Kraemer spent 12 years on the Board of Trustees (1999-2011), including three years as board chair. While on the board, he served as co-chair of the More Light! campaign, the most successful fund-raising effort in the college’s history, and has shared his talents with numerous other university committees. He has participated in the Lawrence Scholars in Business Program, been a Career Conference panelist and was the featured speaker for the college’s 2011 matriculation convocation.
The former chief executive officer of the multibillion-dollar global health care company Baxter International, Kraemer currently is an executive partner at Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity investment firm based in Chicago. He also is a clinical professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
“As I reflect on the first 58 years of my life, I realize that the four years I spent at Lawrence University were the most meaningful and impactful,” says Kraemer. “I remember my very first day at Lawrence when the president stated that the goal for the next four years was to enable each student to develop the skill set to educate ourselves for the rest of our lives. The skill sets that I learned at Lawrence —the ability to critically read, write and articulate my position on a wide variety of issues — prepared me in ways no other education could have prepared me.”
A 1978 graduate of Lawrence, Kumbalek’sdevotion to alma mater is legendary. For more than 20 years, she has served the college as an admissions volunteer, attending and hosting admissions receptions and representing Lawrence at numerous college fairs throughout the Houston area. She has represented her class on several reunion steering and gift committees and is a former president (2007-09) of the Lawrence University Alumni Association. She also served as a More Light! campaign volunteer and is currently a member of Lawrence’s Parents Committee.
Kumbalek has held various positions in the petroleum business and is currently a self-employed geophysical consultant.
“To me Lawrence is family, literally and figuratively,” says Kumbalek. “I believe the values imparted by a liberal arts education link all members of the Lawrence community as extended family. My student years at Lawrence gave me great confidence in my ability to learn, and deepened my understanding of the societal responsibilities incumbent on those of us fortunate to have had such an exceptional educational opportunity. Lawrence continues to inspire me to make my best effort to continue to grow intellectually and act compassionately.”
A tragic accident didn’tderail David Gray’s career. It redirected it.
The 1966 Lawrence University graduate will be recognized by his alma mater with the college’s Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award Saturday, June 16 as part of the annual Reunion Weekend celebration.
Gray, of St. Louis, Mo., will be one of eight alumni honored for career achievements, contributions to the betterment of society or volunteer service to Lawrence at the annual Reunion Convocation at 10:30 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
Nearly 800 alumni and guests from 41 states and seven countries, including Romania, Singapore and Spain, are expected to participate in the festivities.
This year’s reunion unofficially opens Thursday with a special series of panel presentations and small-group discussions organized by members of the new Lawrence 50-Year Connection, a cohort of alumni who have graduated 50 or more years ago. Scheduled topics include “College Experiences That Mattered Later On,” “Picking Myself Up and Getting Back in the Race” and “Words of Wisdom.”
Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award
At the age of 32, and shortly after completing his graduate studies, Gray fell from the roof of his home, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Undeterred, Gray put his Ph.D. in psychology and genetics to work as a researcher, advocate and spokesperson for those with disabilities.
After a long career with the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Education, Gray joined the Washington University School of Medicine as a professor of occupational therapy and neurology. He has collaborated regularly with the World Health Organization, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, helping to pass disability related laws, secure grants and bring about a greater understanding of disability issues to policy makers.
Most recently, Gray has been working with the country’s leading engineering schools and their students to design and produce more advanced equipment for those living with disabilities.
Alice Peacock, Nashville, Tenn., and Marcia Mentkowski, Milwaukee, will join Gray as recipients of the Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to, and achievements in, a career field.
A singer, songwriter and literacy activist, Peacock is living the dream of a professional independent musician. Since her debut album, “Real Day” in 1999, the 1992 Lawrence graduate has released three more albums: the self-titled “Alice Peacock;” “Who I Am” in 2006; and “Love Remains” in 2009. She has recorded with such notable artists as Bob Dylan, John Mayer and John Mellencamp while performing around the country.
Inspired by one of her own songs about individuals taking action to make a difference — “I’ll Start With Me” — Peacock partnered in 2003 with Hugh Haller, president of the Camping and Education Foundation and photographer Paul Natkin to create Rock for Reading. The nonprofit organization leverages the power of music to inspire literacy, motivating and empowering people to enrich their lives through reading.
Mentkowski, a 1961 Milwaukee-Downer College graduate, enjoyed a distinguished career in higher education. After completing a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mentkowski embarked on a career that included appointments at Harvard University and the University of Toledo.
A renowned expert in the field of educational evaluation, Mentkowski joined Alverno College in 1976, where she helped the institution refine its unique educational approach, one that employs alternative assessment techniques rather than standard letter grades. During her more than 30 years at Alverno, Mentkowski published extensively, served in leadership positions in a number of national professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, and served in consulting roles for numerous colleges, universities and governmental bodies.
George B. Walter Service to Society Award
Robert VanDale, New Wilmington, Pa., a 1957 Lawrence graduate, will receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Named in honor of Walter, ’36, beloved former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence, who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world, the award recognizes alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world.
Professor emeritus at Pennsylvania’s Westminster College, where he spent 25 years as director of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Center, VanDale devoted his long career, both inside and outside the classroom, to national and international ecumenical and interfaith dialogues. During a sabbatical in the late 1990s, he conducted taped interviews with 100 “peacemakers” throughout the United States.
In addition to teaching and curriculum development, VanDale traveled the world — Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Northern Ireland, among others — working on a variety of reconciliation and peacemaking efforts. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, VanDale turned his attention to bridging the divide between the Muslim and Christian communities, leading international teams in an interfaith cooperative movement. A member of several national and international boards, VanDale, in retirement, remains involved in peace and justice issues, including projects affiliated with Habitat for Humanity and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program.
Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award
George Chandler, Durham, N.C., Hugh Denison, Milwaukee, and Marian “Kirk” Kirkpatrick Torian, Mequon, will receive the Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp Outstanding Service Award in recognition of their extensive volunteer efforts on behalf of Lawrence.
A 1951 graduate, Chandler has contributed time, talent and treasure to his alma mater, most notably through the George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professorship in Music he and his late wife, Marjorie Olsen Chandler ’44, established in 2003. The professorship reflects the Chandler’s deep appreciation for their Lawrence educations, their love of music and their conviction of the importance of music and arts participation in a liberal arts education.
Chandler has served as a class agent since 2008 and as a committee member for his 50thand 60th reunions. He assisted with the plan for the public phase of Lawrence’s More Light! campaign as a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee and provided gifts and loans of artwork in 2011 to celebrate the successful conclusion of the campaign, as part of the “Lawrence Collects” exhibition.
Denison, a 1968 graduate who left a successful investing career with Heartland Funds at the age of 50 for eight years to focus on teaching Milwaukee inner-city youth, has spent the past six years as co-chair of the Legacy Circle National Council, promoting Lawrence’s planned giving program at events and through personal testimonials.
He helped lay the groundwork for the successful More Light! campaign by hosting a focus group and educating key volunteers and potential donors about it. As a member of the Lawrence University Board of Trustees’ development committee and capital campaign committee, Denison has been instrumental in the college’s fundraising efforts, crossing the country to develop strong relationships with alumni and supporters of the college and encouraging donors to realize their full philanthropic potential.
Denison has served as an admissions volunteer, was a member of the gift committee for his 40th reunion and has shared his investment expertise with students through the Lawrence Scholars in Business program.
Torian, a 1944 Milwaukee-Downer graduate, spent more than 30 years as a class agent, endearing herself to classmates by including an appropriate cartoon from The New Yorker with her letters. A member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association board from 1995-1999, she also served on committees for her 50th and 60th reunions. She is a former co-chair of the Lawrence-Downer Legacy Circle and presently serves on the Legacy Circle National Council.
Richard Boya, New Berlin, will receive the Presidential Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership and notable actions that have contributed to the betterment of the entire Lawrence community.
A 1952 graduate, Boya was instrumental in the creation of the Lawrence development office in the early 1960s, serving as the college’s first vice president for development and external affairs. In the role, he launched Lawrence’s planned giving program and established the Founders Club. Over the years, he has shared his expertise about best practices in fundraising with many Lawrence staff members.
A former admissions volunteer and class agent, Boya has served on various committees for his 40th, 5othand 60thclass reunions.
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 Lawrence on Facebook.
A special Reunion Weekend organ concert featuring five alumni organists will be held at 9:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public.
The concert will include works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean Langlais, Nicolas Gigault, Max Reger, Josef Rheinberger, Jehan Alain, and Jeanne Demessieux. Featured organists include Randall Swanson, ’81, Ryan M. Albashian, ’02, David Heller, ’81, Paul M. Weber, ’00, and Thomas F. Froehlich, ’74.
Swanson has been the director of music and principal organist at Saint Clement Church in Chicago since 1989. Prior to his appointment at Saint Clement, he served as assistant organist and choirmaster under Richard Proulx at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. He has conducted concerts in many of the musical centers of Europe, including Paris, Florence, and Rome.
Albashian held church positions at two of the largest churches in Appleton during his time at Lawrence. Upon graduating from Lawrence, he was awarded the title of artist-in-residence of First English Lutheran Church. In March of 2004, he was on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered playing the 1799 David Tannenberg organ, which he helped restore. Currently, he is an organ builder with Taylor and Boody Organbuilders of Staunton, Virginia. He holds the position of voicer and travels regularly to finish new organs. Heller has been a member of the faculty of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, since 1986, serving as professor of music and university organist. Prior to his appointment, he served as director of music and organist for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Pittsford, New York. An active recitalist, he has performed extensively throughout the United States and has performed internationally in Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Weber is an assistant professor of music at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he teaches organ and music history and directs the Schola Cantorum Franciscana and the Franciscan Chamber Orchestra. He is an active performer, composer, and author, having appeared in numerous concerts and competitions in the United States and Europe. He is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Yale University.
Froehlich has served as organist/choirmaster at St. Michael’s Church in Paris while studying with Marie-Claire Alain and Jean Langlais. In 1977, he left Paris to assume the position of organist at the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, a historic downtown church with a rich history of music and two mechanical-action organs. He has now held this position for nearly 30 years.
Getting fired at the age of 15 from her first job as a part-time assistant at the library — for spending too much time reading! — never dampened Kathleen Krull’s love for books. In fact, her termination produced determination: to create books that meant as much to others as they did to her.
Krull made good on her promise and today is an award-winning children’s author, with more than 50 fiction and nonfiction titles to her credit. Krull will be among six Lawrence University graduates honored Saturday, June 18 for their accomplishments and service as part of the college’s annual Reunion Weekend celebration.
Lawrence will welcome nearly 900 alumni and guests from 41 states (and two foreign countries) back to campus for a weekend-long celebration. Two alumni will be recognized with distinguished achievement awards and four will he honored with service awards during the annual reunion convocation Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
Krull will receive the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the Briggs award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to, and achievements, in a career field.
A 1974 graduate with a degree in English, Krull began her career in a variety of staff and editor positions for several different publishers and by 1984 had turned to writing full time, establishing herself as an accomplished children’s author. Working under the pseudonym of Kathy Kenny, she first wrote mysteries in the Trixie Belden series as well as a collection of Christmas carols. Her 1980 book, “Sometimes My Mom Drinks Too Much,” written under the pseudonym Kevin Kenny, earned Krull awards from the Chicago Book Clinic, the Children’s Book Council and the National Council for Social Studies.
She has since explored the famous and the accomplished through a series of award winning “Lives of” books, in which she has profiled musicians, athletes, artists, presidents and extraordinary women. The series has earned numerous honors, including Smithsonian Magazine’s “Notable Books for Children,” the New York Public Library’s “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing” and an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award, among others.
Krull’s passion for music — she was a church organist at the age of 12 — also has inspired several books, among them “Gonna Sing My Head Off! American Folk Songs for Children,” a comprehensive collection of 62 American songs in which she details their origins and 2003’s “M is for Music,” an eclectic look at the world of song in which she examines performers from jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong to rock musician Frank Zappa, instruments from the accordion to the zither and musical styles from a cappella to zydeco.
Working out of San Diego, Calif., Krull’s most recent work includes 2004’s “A Woman for President,” a biography of Victoria Woodhull, who ran for president of the United States in 1872 and a book about Harry Houdini.
Heidi Stober, a 2000 graduate, will receive the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to and achievements in a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.
A budding opera star with a growing list of roles, Stober is currently a studio artist with the Houston Grand Opera. She won the HGO’s prestigious Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers in February, 2004. More than 450 singers auditioned for the competition from around the world.
During the HGO’s 2004-05 season, Stober sang the roles of La China in the world premiere of “Salsipuedes,” the Rose in “The Little Prince” and was heard in the world premiere of “Lysistrata” earlier this year.
After earning a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Lawrence, Stober pursued a master’s degree at the New England Conservatory, where she earned the John Moriarty Presidential Scholarship and performed the roles of the dew fairy in “Hansel and Gretel” and Laurie in “The Tender Land.”
During the 2002-03 season, Stober sang with the Boston Lyric Opera, performing as Yvette in “La Rondine” and Sally in “Die Fledermaus.” She was recognized with the BLO’s Stephen Shrestinian Award for Excellence.
A native of Waukesha, Stober has sung as a studio artist with Colorado’s Central City Opera, covering the role of Nellie in “Summer and Smoke” and performing the roles of First Wife and First Gossip in the world premiere of “Gabriel’s Daughter.” She also has performed with the Milwaukee Opera Theatre and spent a year as the apprentice soprano in the Utah Symphony and Opera Ensemble Program.
James Auer and Richard Synder will be recognized with the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Named in honor of Walter, a 1936 graduate and former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence, who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world, the award honors alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world.
Auer, a 1950 graduate who grew up in Neenah and attended Menasha High School, will be honored posthumously. He died last December at the age of 76.
Considered by those who knew him best to be a classic Renaissance man for his broad array of interests — writing, photography, history and magic among them — Auer spent more than 50 years as a newspaper reporter, features writer and editor, including the last 32 with the Milwaukee Journal, and later the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, primarily as an arts editor.
An enthusiastic supporter of the visual arts and known for his gentle and polite demeanor, Auer was honored with a Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year in recognition of his contributions “to the wealth of artistic creativity” in the state.
Auer served as the first president of the board of directors of Appleton’s Attic Theatre and wrote the play “The City of Light” for the company. He began his journalism career in 1953 as a reporter for the Twin City News-Record in Neenah. He spent 12 years (1960-72) working for The Post-Crescent, including the last seven as Sunday editor. In addition to his print reporting, Auer wrote and narrated several award-winning documentaries and was a talented magician.
Snyder, a 1965 graduate with a degree in mathematics, rose to executive vice president of Cognex, a world-renowned high-tech computing company in Massachusetts before turning his attention to becoming “a meaningful volunteer.” Inspired by a trip to Japan, in 1997 he left the corporate world for a volunteer position with a Boston area day-care service. In a project he dubbed “Windows to the World,” Snyder began placing computers in day-care centers that served low-income, single-family homes so that children would have an opportunity to benefit from the technology before entering the school system.
A year later, Synder joined the Boston Public School system to work with its TechBoston program, an initiative designed to bridge the digital divide between rich and poor communities by teaching technical skills to help students who cannot afford to or choose not to attend college prepare for possible careers in high-tech industries.
Two years after Snyder became involved in the project, TechBoston’s enrollment grew from 10 students to 1,500 who were taking classes in 22 Boston high school and middle schools. In 2002, in response to a slow-down in the tech industry, Snyder created a separate company out of the program — TechBoston Consulting Group — to employ students to work on web development and networking projects for Massachusetts businesses and non-profit organizations. In its first two years, TCG generated $130,000 in revenue. Today, the program is used as a model for school districts around the country for similar initiatives.
Stephanie Vrabec will receive the Gertrude B. Jupp Outstanding Service Award. The award honors Jupp, a 1918 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College who was named M-D Alumna of the Year in 1964 for her long volunteer service to the college.
A 1980 graduate, Vrabec has been a board member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association and served on the executive committee as vice president for two years. She served as a member of the presidential search committee for Rik Warch’s successor and has been a regional event coordinator for the past 12 years. In addition, she has worked as a volunteer for the admissions office, served as co-chair of the 25th reunion steering committee and been a host parent for Lawrence international students.
Jamie Reeve will receive the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Service Award. Presented to alumni of 15 years or less who have provided significant service to the Lawrence, the award honors Marshall Hulbert, a 1926 graduate known as “Mr. Lawrence,” who contributed to thousands of Lawrentian lives and served the college and the conservatory in many significant capacities during a 54-year career.
A 1995 graduate and fourth-generation family member to attend Lawrence, Reeve has served his alma mater in numerous capacities, including chair of the 10th Reunion Gift Committee and member of the Viking Gift Committee and the 5th Reunion Steering Committee. Vice-president of his senior class, Reeve spent four years as a board member of the Lawrence University Alumni Association and has volunteered as a Career Center panelist. He was selected to represent all alumni as one of the welcoming speakers at last month’s presidential inauguration ceremonies of Jill Beck.
The following is a transcript of Lawrence President (1979-2004) Richard Warch’s final Reunion Convocation remarks, delivered in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel June 19, 2004.
I trust you will understand that I have anticipated this moment with mixed emotions for some time, and most especially in the last several weeks. In my recent letters to alumni, I’ve quipped that after Commencement, the final farewell event last Thursday, and Reunion Weekend, you could put a fork in me: I’ll be done.
That comment tripped rather easily off the word processor, but what began as an attempt to be lighthearted has taken on a greater and more poignant reality as the days have gone by. And so here we are — or at least here I am — for one last time. I’m pleased that this one last time is with Lawrence alumni and takes place in Memorial Chapel, one of the architectural icons of the campus. I’d like to take a moment to recognize with thanks the exceptional generosity of Dorothy Hoehn, who has provided Lawrence with the wherewithal to renovate the Chapel over the past decade and to thereby both retain its character and enhance its utility. We’re grateful.
Though I’ll try to come up with a few clever quips before I’m done, I take seriously the fact that this is my final opportunity to speak with alumni as Lawrence president. Come to think of it, it’s my final opportunity to speak to anybody as Lawrence president, so settle down and buckle up.
Many of you have heard one or another version of my Valedictory remarks, which I have delivered 15 times over the past several months, coast to coast, north to south. For those of you who have not heard the speech, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Lawrence needs and deserves alumni endorsement and advocacy of its purposes and alumni support to further those purposes; liberal learning as professed at Lawrence in both college and conservatory is a powerful and life-changing, if often undervalued and misunderstood, brand of higher education, and it will thrive in the future to the extent that those who have experienced its virtues promote its persistence into that future. That’s the short version.
Here’s the shorter one: Give to The Lawrence Fund! Naturally, I have sought to be slightly more circumspect in conveying that message over the years and in recent months, but with 11 days to go, I say the hell with circumspection: Give to The Lawrence Fund! Or, as I put in a letter of acknowledgment to an alumnus I know pretty well: “Thanks for the gift. We can use the cash.”
Seriously, nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing the alumni donor participation rate return — after a two-year absence — to the 50th percentile. Again borrowing from the Valedictory, I’ve been sharing with alumni a profound proposition, prompted by the fact that about 67 percent of you have made gifts to The Lawrence Fund at least once in the past three years. And here’s the insightful and innovative idea: if alumni made annual gifts annually — that is a difficult concept, so let me repeat it: if alumni made annual gifts annually — our donor participation rate would be truly enviable. We stood at 47 percent as of yesterday, so I assume a number of you in the Chapel this morning have the power to put us over the top or know those who can; I urge you to do your part and to spread the word.
But enough on that topic. I’ve only got 11 days to go, so won’t have many more opportunities to make the predictable presidential pitch and didn’t want to let this one pass by.
One of the consequences of being a college president for 25 years is that one tends to exhaust the repertoire of quips and quotations; tends to repeat oneself; becomes, at best, known for certain turns of phrase and, at worst, for certain rhetorical devices, alliteration being the petard on which I’m most often hung. Over the past several months, various folks have had the proverbial picnic providing parodies of my proclivities (did I mention alliteration?).
First, there was the faux issue of the student newspaper, entitled The LaWarchian, written by a gang of 19 merry pranksters from classes of the early 1980s. They called it “affectionate abuse,” and while I am pleased to acknowledge the adjective, I can assure you that the noun is accurate. Abuse it was.
Then, Greg Volk had a run at me at the Founders Club dinner on May 6, in a speech entitled “Never Can Say Good-bye” or, as he put it, “Never Can Stop Saying Good-bye,” which he likes to consider a terrific testimonial tribute (did I mention alliteration?) but which contained more than a few friendly jabs.
Next, Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester and former dean of the faculty at Lawrence, took his turn at giving me the business at the farewell event in Minneapolis last month, in which he said that it was a “great and good thing to speak of the values and virtues, not to mention the principles and purposes” that I’ve espoused over the years (did I mention alliteration?) and complimented me on being the “first college president to have his word processor retired by the editors of the Metaphors R Us website.”
And those are just from alumni and colleagues. The faculty — ah, the faculty — have had their own opportunities, which they have seized with reckless relish and devilish delectation, most often at the Senior Class Dinner. No faculty speaker, it seems, can concoct a set of remarks for that occasion that does not use me as a prop; a few years ago I was a physical prop and just a month ago a Photo-Shopped prop on a take-off of The Matrix called The LUtrix.
On the day the Board of Trustees selected me as the 14th president, Ed West [’32] took me aside and told me that I would be responsible for everything. Art Remley overheard the remark and told me that, as president, his grandfather, “Doc Sammy” Plantz, often did the shopping for the dining rooms.
That sense of presidential oversight and involvement with everything has certainly obtained for me over the past quarter century, but at least I haven’t received a letter from a faculty member resembling the one Professor of English W. E. McPheeters sent to Sammy Plantz in 1921 (he’d written on the same topic a year earlier, evidently to no good effect):
Dear Doctor Plantz: The ivy has grown over my office window to such an extent that when the leaves are out almost all the light is barred from the room. I would be very much obliged if you would have this cut away. It ought to be done now, I presume, before the leaves come out. A great deal of filth from the vines as well as from the birds that nest in them has accumulated just outside the window of my office. Will you please have the man who cuts the vines clear this away also, as it is not only unsightly but insanitary.
But, if the faculty have not harassed me about overgrown ivy and bird droppings, the students have had their moments, often about food service or other matters that strike them as a perverse example of the Lawrence Difference. Their complaints are familiar, as I had the same ones when I was in college. Our culinary question was this: “How can we have leftover lamb when we never had lamb?”
The students have had at me on other fronts as well. Over the years I have found myself interviewed in the Coffeehouse by an undergraduate who seemed to be auditioning to replace David Letterman, have been the subject of ”The Warch Hour” on Trivia Weekend, have gotten roped in to singing “O’er the Fox” for a musical show put on by a student I had taught in Freshman Studies, and have helped students raise money for worthy causes by having whipped cream pies thrown at my face, being placed in a dunk tank, and other moments of a like sort, none of which were intended to honor the dignity of the office, to say nothing of bolstering the self-esteem of the 14th holder of the office. I’ve had my face plastered on t-shirts and on reunion postcards, usually with some clever slogan appended. And I’m not even going to touch the April Fool’s edition of The Lawrentian. My principal claim to fame in that annual effort is that I share center stage with Bert Goldgar in providing grist for the undergraduate humor mill.
Among the indignities I’ve experienced over the years are those that deal with my name. Last spring, a student asked me why I spelled it that way, and I had to confess that my mother had come up with that version by reading Rudyard Kipling’s story about Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. At least she didn’t nickname me Tikki.
Nonetheless, I have received salutations addressed to Ric with a c, sometimes with a c and a k. There are those who have, in a failed effort to feign friendly familiarity (did I mention alliteration?), called me Dick; actually, my sons Stephen and David often called me Dick, but that was when they were upset with one of my parental rulings. My last name has been spelled like the month or like a swampy area, and while one obsequious writer saluted me as The Distinguished Richard Warch — though that letter was postmarked from overseas and written by someone who didn’t know any better — my favorites are letters addressed to me — inexplicably — as Shannon Warch and, at the top of the list, and two times, no less, as Richard Worst.
All of which is to say that, after 25 years, I have come to the conclusion that to be the Lawrence president is to be treated like a piñata by the various constituencies of the institution. And I am pleased to pass these particular and peculiar presidential prerogatives (did I mention alliteration?) on to Jill Beck with my best wishes.
The lady with the Manhattan
Of course, not everyone taking a whack at the piñata does so with the intention to be humorous; not all the abuse is affectionate. I’ve certainly had reason to confirm Abraham Lincoln’s claim that you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
In the course of a quarter century, there is a high probability that you will make decisions or take actions that will irritate somebody, and over time, those somebodies can constitute a considerable crowd. But that comes with the territory, and while I have not become wholly inured to the expressions of such aggravation, I have tried to soldier on. The secret, as Casey Stengel put it, “is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.”
There are, of course, some minor pleasures even here. As when one faculty member, with whom I had, shall we say, a difference of opinion, told me that he would outlast me at Lawrence and get his way eventually. I had the good grace not to remind him of that comment when he retired.
And then, of course, there are the alumni who, disagreeing with this or that policy or action, play the infamous “Not another dime” card. In these cases, the satisfaction comes from discovering, upon investigation of the donor rolls and records, that it turns out that most of them had not given the first dime, therefore mitigating the threat not to contribute another one.
Then there were the alumni who attended an event several years ago in the early stages of the dispute with the fraternities who passed out literature and treated the question-and-answer portion of the evening as a deposition of yours truly. I’m pleased to report that, a few months ago, following the settlement of that dispute, one of those alumni had the good grace and humor to stand at the question-and-answer portion of a farewell tour event to ask me if I would appreciate it if he didn’t ask a question, to which I replied in the affirmative.
I have many memories of alumni gatherings around the country, and memories especially of Reunion Weekends. The first time I took a tour to visit alumni was when I was serving as vice president for academic affairs and then-director of alumni relations Gil Swift [’59] took me to Chippewa Falls, Minneapolis, and Duluth. I had prepared a set of remarks, though when we got to Duluth for a mid-day luncheon gathering, only four women showed up, one of them from the Class of 1929.
We assembled at 11:30, and the member of the Class of 1929 promptly ordered a Manhattan. Hmmm, I thought, this could get interesting. In any case, with only four people there, I decided not to deliver my remarks but indicated I’d be pleased to respond to questions and have a conversation, at which point one of the women said, “I understand that there are coeducational residence halls at Lawrence, and will you please explain that?”
As I paused to contrive a response, the lady with the Manhattan piped up and said, “When I was at Lawrence, George Smith [I forget the name, but let’s say George Smith] got caught climbing through a window at Ormsby Hall [then housing women], and he and 11 sophomore women were kicked out of college.” She took a sip of her drink, and continued: “He went on to play football in Green Bay, and that’s why they’re called the Green Bay Peckers.”
Well, that defused any questions about coeducational residence halls and prompted me to think that Lawrence alumni were likely to be a lively and engaging group. I’ve not been disappointed. I’ve had wonderful visits with alumni since, but nothing to top that first encounter.
My first memory of Reunion Weekend dates from around the same time, when I was still the chief academic officer, and the alumni office assigned various members of the administration to serve as hosts for individual reunion classes. Margot and I were duly assigned and faithfully showed up and sat at a dinner table in Alexander Gymnasium with members of the class. At which point, the members of the class at the table promptly got up and moved elsewhere. It was not an auspicious beginning, though it has gotten better since, perhaps because we serve adult beverages and provide meals for some of the milestone reunion classes.
Over the past 25 years, I’ve welcomed over 20,000 alumni to this festive occasion and had the privilege and pleasure of conveying outstanding service and achievement awards to 158 of you, including the six this morning. I’ve enjoyed each of these celebratory weekends and appreciate the efforts all of you make to be here and to celebrate, appreciation that is shared, I might add, by the tavern owners along College Avenue, whose annual profits depend almost entirely on
Lawrence reunion weekends
I do want you to know that alumni — along with students, faculty, and friends — have also provided counsel to me over the past quarter century, leading me to realize that being a college president is the easiest job in the world: everyone knows how to do it and will cheerfully inform you of the fact.
Still and all, I look back on my Lawrence years and my interactions with alumni with gratitude and pleasure. I have heard your recollections of favorite professors and the ways in which your liberal education has served you long beyond graduation. I have derived reinforcement from you in appreciating the abiding value of Freshman Studies, and the transforming nature of a Lawrence experience.
I have embraced the traditions of the college; have promoted its special brand of liberal learning, in and beyond Freshman Studies; have acknowledged and sought to sustain and extend the contributions of a distinguished array of presidential predecessors; and have relished the opportunities to work with an assemblage of bright, interesting, engaged — if sometimes contentious — cohort of faculty members, the vast majority of whom I had the privilege of hiring and promoting.
Say what you will about the old adage that dealing with faculty is like herding cats, or that faculty are people who think otherwise, or that they are individuals, not to say independent contractors, who are not always amenable to “direction.” Indeed, faculty members sometimes respond to such direction like Bartleby the Scrivener: they “prefer not to.”
But, a feisty faculty is, frankly and for the most part, a first-rate faculty; that’s not, I’ll grant you, a causal relationship, but the traits are often paired. “Docile” is not a word I would apply to them, although on occasion “rebarbative” is (look it up!). But that too comes with the territory.
I know I’ll miss the company of such people and the stimulation they provide. They and those whom many of you remember from your Lawrence years carry the teaching and learning mission of college and conservatory forward with excellence, share the commitment to Lawrence and its purposes that you hold, and are a group I am proud to leave for Jill Beck.
The same may be said of students. To be sure, there are moments when their youthful behaviors whiten the hair, though at least those behaviors have not caused me to lose it (the hair, that is). At times one feels like the basketball coach who lamented “How would you like it if your job depended on a bunch of youngsters in shorts running up and down the court?”
But Lawrentians are a great group, and they achieve many moments of insight and accomplishment in their academic and creative pursuits. Observing the ways in which they grow and flourish in the college years is one of the great rewards of the job. I’ll miss them too.
Two years ago, when I was discussing my intention to retire with Harold Jordan [’72] and Jeff Riester [’70], then respectively chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, they told me not to feel dispirited if all that I might wish to see accomplished at and for Lawrence did not come to pass on my watch. That was good advice, though I am obviously pleased that the settlement with the fraternities has been accomplished and that the slate on that score is essentially clean for Jill Beck.
One often reads about departing college presidents who say that they’ve been in the job long enough, or that they have accomplished all they set out to do, or who leave for presumptively greener pastures. Clearly, whatever numerical figure one places on the notion of “long enough,” I’ve blown by it. And any college president who claims a completed set of accomplishments may have set his or her sights too low or may have served an institution without ambitions. However long one serves, there is always more to be done, challenges to be met, improvements to be made, initiatives to be imagined and undertaken. So while the tenure of a college president occurs in a fixed period, the job of a college president is ongoing. It is Jill Beck’s good fortune to have the chance to assume that ongoing job at Lawrence. And while other pastures may appear greener, the Lawrence pasture has been green enough for me.
Leaving Lawrence is, of course, difficult and bittersweet. I will miss the place and its people and especially the good friends I have been privileged to make here. I have been deeply touched by the notes and letters of well wishes extended to me by many of you; by the expressions of affection and support I have received from our alumni and friends on the farewell tour — including the “affectionate abuse” provided by the 19 alumni who produced “The LaWarchian”; by the thoughtfulness of the emeriti faculty in honoring Margot and me at a lunch in April and establishing a book fund at Lawrence in our names; by the spirited farewell and gifts from members of the alumni board, who feted and serenaded me at their spring meeting; by the recognition and the gifts from India, Ghana, and Jamaica from the students in Lawrence International at their International Cabaret; by the magnificent result of the Thanks Rik! Campaign, to which many contributed so generously, that will establish an endowed fund to support Björklunden; by the parting recognition conveyed by Mortar Board with its Honorary Award conveyed at the Honors Banquet last month; by the LUCC recognition, the Hyde Park bench and the Lawrence letter jacket from the all-campus farewell on June 5; by the print of my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh quotation from the residence life staff, commemorating my proclivity for reading bedtime stories to students; by having the Lawrence rowing club’s new shell named for me and Margot and christening it a week and a half ago; by the plot of moon acreage given me by the women in Sampson House; and by the bench and a Winifred Boynton cartoon given to me by members of my administrative staff three days ago.
I am also pleased that David Heller [’80], a member of the first class I taught at Lawrence when he was a freshman, has returned to play the organ this morning. If you want to hear the Brombaugh Opus 33 in full voice and some smash-mouth music, I urge you to stay for the postlude.
I assure you that leaving Lawrence is a physical act, not an intellectual or emotional one. Lawrence will be much on my mind in the months and years ahead, and it will be the focus of and the inspiration for the writing I plan to do in that time. And as an added bonus, I know that Björklunden is only 20 miles away from our retirement home in Ellison Bay.
The years ahead
Finally, then, to John Reeve [’34], who chaired the Board of Trustees in 1979, and to Jeff Riester, Class of 1970, who chairs it today, and to others who served with them on the presidential search committee in 1979, I extend thanks for the opportunity.
And to all of you, let me leave you with this last word: There is a Celtic saying that goes “we are warmed by fires we did not build, we drink from wells we did not dig.” And so might it be said that we are educated at colleges we did not create. But we can stoke the fires, we can maintain the wells, and we can support the colleges, in the present instance this college. None of us created Lawrence, but all of us have benefited from it, and thus I hope will work to sustain and enhance the college for the benefit of those yet to come. For you are not only Lawrence’s alumni, but also its stewards.
To all of you who claim Lawrence as alma mater and who share my great regard for its values and for the important work that it does, thanks for your devotion to this special place and the support you’ve extended to the college and to me for the past quarter century.
I urge you to do the same for Lawrence and for Jill Beck in the years ahead.
For nearly 40 years, Appleton’s Austin Boncher life’s work has been music to the ears of generations of Fox Valley arts lovers.
As an educator, mentor, administrator, passionate advocate and driving force behind such notable area organizations as the White Heron Chorale and Fox Valley Symphony, his legacy has continued to resonate throughout the Fox Valley arts community long after his retirement.
Boncher will be one of six Lawrence University graduates recognized Saturday June 21 for their accomplishments and service as part of the college’s annual Reunion Weekend celebration.
More than 1,000 alumni and guests from 39 states and six foreign countries, including China and Russia, are expected to return to Appleton for a series of weekend long activities on the Lawrence campus. Five alumni will be recognized with service awards and one will be receive a distinguished achievement award during the annual reunion convocation Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
Boncher and David Hoffman, Milwaukee, will each receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Established in 1997 in honor of the late George Walter, a Lawrence graduate and education professor from 1946-75, the award recognizes contributions to socially useful ends in the community.
A 1963 graduate of Lawrence, Boncher devoted his life to developing arts programs in the Fox Valley. From 1963-70, he served as choral director at Xavier High School and Einstein Junior High School and as band director at Menasha High School before becoming the Appleton Area School District’s director of music and later supervisor of music and fine arts, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.
During his 28 years with the Appleton school district, Boncher wrote dozens of grants to bring performances of operas, ballets, instrumental and theatre groups to elementary schools, organized summer school music lessons and initiated a Suzuki pilot program. At the time of his retirement, all but one of the music teachers in the school district had been hired and mentored by Boncher.
His influence extended well beyond classroom as well, helping to change the face of the local arts community. Boncher founded the Fox Valley Symphony Chorale and the Fox Valley Youth Symphony and was one of the founders of the White Heron Chorale, the Appleton Boychoir and the Fox Valley Symphony, all of which are still thriving today.
The Fox Valley Arts Alliance honored Boncher in 1993 with its Renaissance Award for his contributions to the arts. And earlier this year, Boncher was recognized with Thrivent Financial¹s Hanns Kretschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts for his role in “Sing for the Cure,” a musical production to benefit breast-cancer research.
Hoffman, a 1957 Lawrence graduate, dedicated his life to helping families in need. For 38 years — including 28 as its president — Hoffman served Family Service of Milwaukee, the oldest and largest nonprofit, nonsectarian family-support organization in Wisconsin, serving more than 10,000 children and adults each year. He retired from Family Service in December, 2000.
Under his leadership, Family Service grew from a staff of 30 to more than 200. Hoffman expanded the organization’s mission to include a vast array of family support programs, including a training institute for marriage and family therapists, an employee assistance program and a credit counseling service. In 1995, Hoffman established an affiliation with Aurora Health Care that doubled Family Service’s capacity for serving low-income families and the elderly.
A member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and a former president of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, Hoffman convened the Wisconsin Association of Marriage and Family Counselors and served as the organization’s first president. He was twice appointed by Governor Thompson to the Wisconsin State Council on Mental Health.
Terry Moran, Washington, D.C., who has covered the White House for ABC News the past four years, will receive Lawrence’s Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions and accomplishments in a chosen field.
A 1982 graduate of Lawrence, Moran’s career has been a palette of late 20th- and early 21st-century social history. He began his journalism career as a writer for The New Republic magazine before joining Legal Times, where he covered the Supreme Court as a reporter and later served as the publication’s assistant managing editor. In 1992, he moved to the fledgling cable channel Court TV, where as a correspondent and anchor he covered some of the nation’s highest profile stories, including the murder trials of O.J. Simpson and Lyle and Erik Menendez as well as the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Supreme Court hearings.
Moran joined ABC News as the network’s legal correspondent in 1998, where he reported on the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and the Microsoft anti-trust case. A story on a reunion of dozens of former death-row inmates who were freed when evidence came to light proving their innocence that Moran covered for ABC’s “Nightline” earned him the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award from the Death Penalty Information Center.
In September, 1999, Moran was named ABC News White House correspondent, where he currently covers all aspects of the Bush administration for “World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and other ABC News broadcasts.
Jonathan Bauer, Glen Ellyn, Ill., Michael Cisler, Neenah, and Priscilla Hausmann, West Bend, will each be presented the Gertrude B. Jupp Outstanding Service Award for exemplary dedication, leadership, commitment and volunteerism to Lawrence.
Bauer, a 1983 graduate, is a former president of the Lawrence alumni association board of directors. During his two years as board president, Bauer initiated the Career Contact Program, which connects Lawrence alumni to current students seeking answers to career-oriented questions and founded a student activity grant to support campus activities that enhance student life. A partner in Deloitte Consulting’s telecommunication/information technology business, Bauer has maintained an active relationship with Lawrence’s Career Center, participating in numerous mentoring and networking activities.
Cisler, the president and chief executive officer of Greenville’s JanSport, Inc., has served his alma mater in a variety of volunteer capacities since earning a bachelor of music degree in 1978. After serving seven years as a member of the alumni association board of directors, he spent two years as a member of the 2000 Board of Trustees commissioned Task Force on Residential Life that conducted an in-depth review of all aspects of undergraduate residential life at Lawrence. Cisler is a member of the current Presidential Search Committee that is seeking a successor to President Richard Warch, who will retire in June, 2004.
Energy, infectious goodwill and attention to detail have been the trademarks of Hausmann’s long and varied volunteer service to Lawrence. A 1953 graduate of the conservatory of music who now teaches piano and serves as her church’s organist, Hausmann spent six years as a member of the alumni association board of directors and served as class secretary for 17 years. In addition, she has been a long-time volunteer for the Lawrence admissions office.