Just a few short weeks ago, my family and I arrived in Appleton, and I officially started my role as 17th president of Lawrence University. The welcome we have received upon our arrival has only solidified the sense of community that I felt the moment I first interviewed for this position, and I am thoroughly enjoying Lawrence and Appleton first-hand as I settle into the rhythm of campus.
Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many members of the Lawrence community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees. I’ve taken to heart the conversations I’ve had with each Lawrentian, learning about their hopes for Lawrence’s future, as well as the challenges and opportunities we face together.
I want to share a few examples of the informative and inspiring conversations I’ve had with the on-campus community to date:
- I am grateful for the Physics faculty for being the first academic department to meet with me and to share their passion for excellence in teaching. I also had the opportunity to meet their students who are on campus engaged in summer research. The deep connection between Lawrence faculty and students was inspiring.
- I had lunch with three students who serve as Admission student ambassadors. They talked about their connection to campus, life-changing faculty members, and their hopes for the future. They articulated how Lawrence is stretching them and preparing them for life upon graduation. They embody what it means to be a Lawrentian, and I was honored to break bread with them.
- I toured the Conservatory with Dean Brian Pertl ’84. While the building was silent, the energy of creativity filled the air. I heard from students who are spending the summer preparing the shop for a busy fall term, and I met a student whose recently discovered ability to create new music is transforming his life.
I have walked away from each conversation confident in the good work our community has done to ensure that Lawrence meets its mission and serves its students even in the most challenging of times. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to meeting with even more Lawrentians, including our alumni and friends, listening, learning, and illuminating our path forward.
As we look to the immediate future, I am most excited to start the new academic year in September, when our community will reunite on campus for the first time in more than a year. This is a moment unlike any other in Lawrence’s history. We will all adjust to new ways of engaging with each other as we learn to live with the ongoing pandemic. Past traditions will be renewed, and new traditions will be introduced. Performing arts events and athletic competitions will resume. Many of us will meet classmates, students, or colleagues in person for the first time. I cannot wait to greet our new and returning students and to feel the energy, creativity, and excitement they bring to campus.
I am truly honored to serve as Lawrence’s 17th president at this moment and to join this vibrant community dedicated to academic excellence, student success, and inclusion. Together, we will ensure that the light of Lawrence shines brighter than ever before.
Laurie A. Carter
President, Lawrence University