Author: Kelsey McCormick

The Work Ahead (6/10/2020)

Dear Lawrence Community, 

Thank you for sharing your hopes and frustrations with us individually or in larger community discussions over this past week. We too are experiencing anger and frustration and are at a time in our history when systemic oppression, racial injustice, and police violence are not just on the minds of our Black and other community members of color, but on the minds of all of us.   

As we wrap up final projects and complete the academic year, we will work to make Lawrence University a better place for all to thrive, especially for community members of color. Lawrence has a history checkered with racism and oppression. As our values have evolved, we have arrived at a moment to declare where we stand.  

We stand against racism. We stand against systemic oppression of people of color. We stand against police violence.  

To ensure that these values are realized, the President’s Cabinet has started to assemble institutional actions that will continue to foster an antiracist campus culture. We have much work to do—some of it builds on continuing initiatives; some of it is planned but not yet in action; and some of it still needs development. All of it is vital to our institution.  

Our next steps are outlined below. 


Resources, Reading & Workshops 

Recognizing that our community needs time to process all that has happened and prepare for concerted action in the fall, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has provided resources to help you, your families, and communities put this in context at your own pace over the summer. The resources, which can be accessed on the Lawrence website, include short articles, videos and books. 

We also invite all faculty, staff, and students to participate in a summer Community Read of How to Be an Antiracist by National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi. The University will provide books to all members of the community who would like to participate. Lawrence’s Antiracist White Affinity Group (ARWAG) will offer workshops over the summer as well. Details about how to get the book, as well as dates and times of book discussions and workshops, are forthcoming.  


Curricular Work 

Lawrence will focus on integrating works of Black and Brown scholars and artists into what we teach as well as teaching in ways that are antiracist. This will begin prior to fall term during the Freshman Studies Symposium and continue throughout the year with professional development provided for faculty by the Inclusive Pedagogy Committee. In addition, the Curriculum Committee will pursue strengthening the diversity-related general education requirements (GER) and centering anti-racist work in our curriculum more broadly.  


Student Support & Dialogue 

Student Life staff will work to enhance their ability to support student activists by engaging and learning from experts in peaceful protests. Staff will also increase the efforts to hear directly from students about their experiences on campus as we seek to develop more effective strategies to support a campus culture where antiracist work is central. Starting this summer, we, members of the President’s Cabinet as well as other campus leaders, will participate in structured Sustained Dialogue with student leaders to develop a shared sense of the work needed on these vital issues. 


Community-Wide Training & Response 

We will impact campus climate by expanding mandatory training for employees to include specific workshops related to racism in higher education and society. We will also provide additional training for students on antiracism throughout the academic year. Alumni will also be engaged in dialogues and trainings over the summer via virtual townhall meetings and other gatherings. In addition, the Bias Response Team will lead a task force this fall on preventing and responding to hate speech on campus. We will also add to efforts already underway to increase the number of staff and faculty of color on campus. 


We must take this moment, as a community and as an institution, to make real change in the battle against racism. Continuing to build on our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts will help to bring us closer to creating lasting, structural change. Please stay tuned as we update you while the work progresses.  


Sincerely, 

Mark Burstein 
President 


Christyn Abaray 
Assistant to the President 
Secretary to the Board 

Ken Anselment 
Vice President for Enrollment & Communication 

Kimberly Barrett 
Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion 
Associate Dean of the Faculty 

Christopher Card 
Vice President for Student Life 

Jeffrey Clark 
Special Assistant to the President 

Associate Professor of Geosciences 

Calvin Husmann 
Vice President for Alumni & Development 

Catherine Kodat 
Provost & Dean of the Faculty 

Brian Pertl 
Dean of the Conservatory of Music 

Megan Scott 
Associate Vice President of Communication Jenna Stone 
Associate Vice President of Finance 

A Safe Society for All (6/1/2020)

Dear Lawrence Community,

Events of the last week have reminded us that as we prepare campus and general society for a new normal in the midst of a global pandemic, other threats to safety exist for members of our community.  Like many of you, George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis left me angry and in pain.  The shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia earlier in February and the many other deaths of black people over the years underlines that Mr. Floyd’s death is not an isolated incident.  It belongs to a social pattern we must change if we are to create a society that is safe for all of us. 

It has been hard enough to watch the pandemic’s unequal impact on people in this country.  But when we continue to witness systemic racism in our communities, it is evident that we have more work to do than responding to a public health crisis.  The rapper Killer Mike, the son of an Atlanta police officer, said at a press conference Saturday in that city, “It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization.”  As we make plans to welcome you back to Appleton this fall we must also take Killer Mike’s charge and look for ways to fortify our own house, our campus community, to ensure we are a force for anti-racism, equity, and safety for all. 

We will schedule time over the next few weeks for the Lawrence community to gather via Zoom, to discuss these events, and determine how we should move forward together.  We also need to remember we are not alone in this work.  I was heartened Saturday to join more than a thousand people in downtown Appleton, including many students, faculty and staff, at a Black Lives Matter rally.  I know Lawrentians around the world participated in similar rallies and protests.

As we complete spring term and look to summer break please reach out to university services if we can be of help.  Assistant Dean Bell, Vice President Card, Vice President Barrett and I are available at any time if you need us. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Yours,

Mark

Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University

Looking Forward to the Fall (5/28/2020)

Dear Lawrentians,

I hope that you and your loved ones are well in your homes, on campus, across the nation, and around the world. Things are going well on campus. But I miss the energy that Spring Term brings when you are all here:  ensembles and theater performances, senior recitals, athletic competitions, research and art presentations, LUaroo and other community gatherings to attend. Most importantly, I miss the impromptu interactions I had with students, faculty and staff each day. I know I am not alone in a feeling of loss of these truly Lawrentian moments.

With midterms almost complete, we now turn our thoughts to fall and our hopes for gathering again as a community enriched by collaborations and supportive relationships among students, faculty, and staff, and by a campus culture wonderfully alive. We hope to welcome students back to Appleton this fall, if federal and state policies allow, even though we also need to develop contingency plans … just in case. If we are allowed to gather again in September, we will have rules in place that will foster a safer environment in response to the pandemic. We plan to make a final decision about the fall term before the end of July. 

Until then we will continue to make preparations for a reimagined re-union on campus, and a fall experience that embraces both community and physical distance. It is likely that fall term will begin two to three weeks later than our scheduled start date of September 7. This potential change to our academic calendar gives us more time to develop—in association with some of the state’s leading health care researchers and advisors—appropriate protocols to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater Appleton community.

Lawrence’s leadership team, including the President’s Cabinet and COVID-19 Management Team, are currently working with the University’s shared governance to develop a spectrum of scenarios for fall term. The range of scenarios includes on-campus learning as noted above, a second term of distance learning, and a mixed model featuring both on-campus and home-based instruction. Each scenario will aim to provide our students with the best educational experience possible, no matter the circumstances. Last week we announced our plans for summer. You can find that information here. If you have questions about this or any other matter, please reach out to the appropriate office, faculty advisor, or supervisor. Communication is essential as we determine the changes ahead.

COVID-19 is not the first pandemic that Lawrence has had to endure and overcome. The 1918 influenza outbreak also brought with it public health concerns and operational challenges that reached us here in Appleton. While the circumstances 100 years ago might have been different, the impact on teaching and learning for our student body is in many ways the same. We must strive to keep our campus community safe, while also preserving the University’s mission and rich, inclusive learning environment.

Thanks to aggressive state-wide actions, the influenza outbreak took less of a toll in Wisconsin than in other areas of the country. We are also grateful that, just as in 1918, our own current efforts are making a difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This success, along with the ingenuity of our students, faculty, and staff, brings me hope. I promise you that the University’s leadership will continue to work to ensure that we keep our community safe and that Lawrence continues to share its light with the world.

Be well and make choices that keep others well.

Yours,

Mark

Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University

Sampson House, 711 E. Boldt Way | Appleton, WI 54911-5699 | Office 920.832.6525

A Message from President Burstein (3/24/2020)

Dear Lawrentians,

These have been turbulent times for all of us. I would like to thank all members of the Lawrence community—your patience, ingenuity, and suggestions are helping us transition to distance learning and helping us do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. These have been challenging times for all of us. Guidance on how to address the spread of COVID-19 changes daily, sometimes hourly. This morning, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Designee Andrea Palm issued a safer at home order

I write today to share with you information on how the University will continue with this new order in effect. 

The safer at home order urges Wisconsinites to limit travel to essentials only—trips to stores and pharmacies for necessary supplies, and for medical care. It also limits business activity to essential services. Because of the nature of Lawrence, especially since we are still responsible for a residential community, much of our work remains in the essential category by definition. We have already taken steps to ensure that our University is doing its best to mitigate the spread of the virus. Many faculty and staff who are able to do so are already working from home. We are using digital tools to limit in-person meetings. And custodial services have been redeployed to high-traffic areas of the campus. To free custodial colleagues for this important work we have closed offices and buildings wherever possible. 

The Governor asks that we remain in our homes or dorm rooms as much as possible. Faculty and staff who have not fully migrated to home for their campus office should make plans to do so now. Staff should check in with supervisors to make sure we provide appropriate accommodations to ensure work can continue without being physically present on campus. Essential employees who will continue to work on campus are to follow all precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. If special identification of essential employees becomes necessary, Human Resources will issue such identification. At this time, there is no local requirement of special identification. 

We are focused on ensuring continuity of Lawrence’s operations and functions so that we may continue to deliver on our educational mission. Shared Governance continues to operate, with faculty committees actively addressing policy issues from instruction to curriculum. Many departments continue the work of hiring, tenure, and promotion. LUCC leadership is working to adjust its meeting processes and will continue to represent students. Core functions in all operational divisions continue and a COVID-19 management team meets daily to handle Lawrence’s ongoing response to this situation. 

As we work to adhere to our new statewide guidance and prepare for Spring Term, I want to take a moment to remind us all that our bonds as Lawrentians will endure. Community is a hallmark of the Lawrence experience. I mourn the loss of the vibrancy of the Spring Term. While it will be different, we must find ways of sustaining our social connection in these difficult times, including connections via social media, electronic gatherings, or other virtual means. 

In this spirit of social solidarity, I took a moment yesterday to record a short video to share my thoughts with the Lawrence community as we adjust to the many changes in our lives. As I say in the video, we promise to update our social media accounts frequently to give you a sense of what’s happening on campus. We hope that you share your experiences with us as well. Please also feel free to contact me via email or telephone to share your suggestions and ideas or just to hang out. These connections will make us stronger as a community and as individuals. 

As the virus progresses, more operational changes will be necessary. The COVID-19 blog will be updated as soon as any change is made. The LU Insider will now come out twice a week to summarize those changes as well as provide other information about our community. And, of course, continue to check email. 

I have faith we will weather this crisis together as we have before. Homer, David, and I look forward to having you all back on campus soon.

Be well and make choices that keep others well,

Mark

Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University

Sampson House, 711 E. Boldt Way | Appleton, WI 54911-5699 | Office 920.832.6525

COVID-19 Update from President Burstein (3/12/2020)

Dear Lawrentians,

Like many of you, I have been carefully following the global outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19. This past week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed this country’s strategy from one of outbreak containment to acknowledgement that this goal is no longer possible. We must now work to mitigate eventual spread of the virus throughout the United States. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the virus had reached pandemic status, and last night President Trump suspended all travel from Europe, excluding Great Britain, for a 30-day period. 

Our goals as a university are first to protect the health and safety of the campus community, including those members who are at high risk for severe complications from the virus, and to sustain the teaching and learning that are a hallmark of all that we do at Lawrence. Our community prides itself on the enduring relationship between faculty and students, and frequent personal interaction is core to this relationship. But this is difficult to sustain in an environment that asks for limiting in-person interaction.

I write today to share with you updates on how the University plans to address these priorities and ensure that we remain true to our core community values of compassion and respect. While there are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on the Lawrence campus, we recognize that we can no longer continue as usual and still protect all members of our community, especially those most at risk. As a result, and in consultation with faculty, students, and staff, we have determined that the best course of action for Lawrence is to move to distance learning starting Spring Term. This was an extraordinarily difficult decision to make. 

Here is what this decision means for our campus:

Spring Break

Spring Break will begin on March 19, as planned, and will be extended until April 5 to provide faculty and staff additional time to prepare for distance learning. All University-sponsored spring break trips, both domestic and international, are canceled. Students are welcome to stay on campus for spring break, but they cannot travel outside of the immediate vicinity. 

Spring Term Classes

Spring Term (or third term) classes will begin on April 6. Spring Term will end as-scheduled on June 10. Classes will be taught via distance learning. What we mean by distance learning is the delivery of instruction and participation in courses through the use of technology. We recognize that some courses, such as research laboratories, studios, or ensembles, will not easily translate to this format, and we are working closely with faculty to resolve these issues prior to the start of the term. The Provost or individual faculty will be in touch with their students before classes resume. No study abroad programs will run during Spring Term. 

Students can apply to the Dean of Students through this webform to remain on campus for Spring Termif returning home is impossible for various reasons. All other students will be expected to leave campus for the remainder of the academic year by April 5 and will need to plan accordingly. More information regarding move-out is available on the website.

Financial Assistance

Our goal is to ensure individual finances do not impact the important choices that lie ahead for each student and their familyFor students who leave campus and complete Spring Term from home, we will remove all on-campus related fees from your bill for the third term such as the final remaining room, board, as well as the student activity fee. Third term tuition still applies. Your financial aid will be adjusted proportionately to reflect the remaining amount due. For students who remain on campus, there will be no change to your third term bill or the financial aid you have already been allotted. We encourage all students to contact Financial Aid if they have any questions regarding their financial need, including their ability to travel home.

University Operations

The University will remain open to provide our students with needed support, including academic and career assistance. Staff will continue to work scheduled hours and will receive regular pay. We will issue guidance for University employees no later than March 19. If staff have any questions in the meantime about remote working options, leave, pay, or other issues, please contact your direct supervisor or Human Resources

University-Related Travel

All international travel on behalf of the university is canceled. Domestic travel is allowed only for essential purposes as approved by a member of the President’s Cabinet. Any individual who recently returned from a Category Level 2 or Level 3 country as defined by the CDC is required to self-isolate at an off-campus location for 14 days upon your return. Please note that the CDC recently designated continental Europe as a Level 3 area. Information on self-isolation and monitoring is available on the CDC website

Campus Events 

Campus events, such as lectures, theatre productions, musical performances, art exhibits, or other large public gatherings, are canceled for Spring Term. Information regarding Admission visit programs can be found on the website.

Commencement

I realize the decision to move to distance learning impacts the senior class in a unique way. The last term provides time to celebrate a glorious set of cumulative accomplishments. We are committed to helping each senior to complete their Lawrence requirements in time for graduation as well as ensure all students progress towards their degree of choice. Commencement and its surrounding events may need to be modified. We are working to finalize these decisions as quickly as possible and will share our final plans with the senior class and their families by April 15. I promise you that we will do our best to recognize your achievements and celebrate your graduation, even if we cannot all be together on the Main Hall Green.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of this global pandemic, I recognize these changes may elicit many questions. If you have any questions regarding our path forward, please email coronainfo@lawrence.edu, and we will do our best to answer them in a timely fashion.

We will host two live question and answer sessions tomorrow: one for Lawrence faculty and staff at 1:00 p.m. CDT, and one for Lawrence families and students at 3:00 p.m. CDT. Please use this form to submit questions in advance of the webinar.

Also, starting Friday, March 13, through Thursday, March 19, a call center will be dedicated to answering your questions. Please call 920-832-6576 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CDT. In addition, please visit the COVID-19 News blog for all recent updates and resources. 

I recognize this decision presents many challenges to our students, faculty, and staff. We have always risen to the challenges that face us with resilience and ingenuity. I know, as we have in the past, we will rise to this challenge and ensure that Lawrence continues to create a learning environment second to none. Thank you all for your patience, dedication, and, most importantly, your tireless work to support our institution. 

Please take care of yourselves, and each other.

Sincerely,

Mark

Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University

Sampson House, 711 E. Boldt Way | Appleton, WI 54911-5699 | Office 920.832.6525

Note on Community Approach to Upcoming National Events (2/3/20)

Dear Lawrence Community,

2020 brings two important moments in civic life: elections at the national, state, and local level, and the completion of the 2020 Census. I want to share information about both of these critical exercises and to ask all members of our community to participate in these important civic events. As we approach this next year we need to commit ourselves to upholding our value of civil discourse and debate as we seek understanding. We also need to respect the free expression of political views by all members of our community.

The 2020 Election Cycle

The 2020 election cycle is in full swing. Iowa holds caucuses today, and the New Hampshire primary is not far behind. They will be followed by dozens of states across the nation in the coming weeks and months. Wisconsin’s presidential primary is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. Our home state is set to be a battleground in this year’s presidential election. Several important state and local offices are also up for election on April 7, including the mayor of Appleton and a state supreme court justice. These two positions have direct impact on our daily lives here in Appleton. The primary for these state and local races is on February 18. One of the central responsibilities of being a citizen of this country is participation in the democratic process. I encourage all Lawrentians who are eligible to exercise their constitutional right to vote in these important upcoming elections. To be eligible to vote in Wisconsin, you must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen, and have lived in Appleton for at least 10 consecutive days.

As was the case in previous national election cycles, many politicians or their representatives may visit the Fox Cities, including Lawrence’s campus as they seek to share their message with voters. Lawrence is committed to the free expression of political views by members of our community; the university values civil discourse and debate as an essential underpinning of a liberal arts education. We must also ensure that any political activity on campus complies with state and federal law; the University’s policy governing campus involvement in electoral activity reflects this commitment. Please review this policy and understand our procedures, especially if you belong to an organization or department that is interested in hosting a campaign event on campus. The opportunity to engage with candidates for office provides all Lawrentians with a unique educational experience. I hope to see such opportunities available to our community in the coming months.

The Census

This year offers us the opportunity to exercise another important civic duty: the completion of the 2020 Census on April 1. The census is conducted every 10 years. It counts everyone who currently lives in the United States, regardless of citizenship status. Its results are the basis for congressional representation and help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds is distributed each year to support vital programs in states and communities across the nation. These funds shape our local health care, housing, education, transportation, employment, and public policy. The better our census completion rate, the more funding our community is eligible to receive.

Lawrence is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to support the census, and a campus committee is currently working to get the word out about this important initiative. Please stay tuned in the coming week for more information about the voter registration process and the 2020 Census to be shared via email, in the LU Insider, or through other communication channels.

We must engage compassionately with community members during this election season. We live in a truly polarized moment for our nation. It is difficult to find objective news sources; at times it can even be hard to converse respectfully with friends, family, and colleagues.  In this environment, we must uphold the tenets of our community: respect for others; openness to different, challenging ideas; and reliance on research and non-partisan sources to help determine our decision.

I look forward to connecting with our campus, local, and national communities in the coming year as we engage in the democratic process and help to set the course for our collective future.

Yours,

Mark

Sad News About Terry Franke ’68 (1/22/20)

Dear Lawrence Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that Terry Franke ’68 passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 73 with family at his side. Terry served as the chair of Lawrence’s Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2015, a capstone to five decades of service. During this extraordinary service to his alma mater he provided calm, insightful leadership and mentored countless students, alumni, and fellow Board members. 

Terry’s passion, unbounded energy, and strategic vision have carried Lawrence successfully forward. As Board chair, he delivered steady guidance during a time of great transition. His connection to Lawrentians on and off campus and his persistent support of many aspects of our learning community has had an extraordinary impact on the University. As Board chair during the presidential transition, Terry’s leadership ultimately brought me to the Lawrence community in 2013 as the University’s 16th president. He provided an essential sounding board during my first years in role. I know many Lawrentians join me in remembering moments when Terry’s advice offered exactly what you needed to hear to be the best version of yourself.

During his 16 years as a trustee, Terry chaired the Board’s Investment Committee during a critical time period, stewarding the endowment through the Great Recession of the late 2000s. His recruitment of many talented Lawrentians to that Committee fostered a decade of sustained endowment growth through appreciation and new gifts. Thanks to his leadership and the efforts and investments of many others, our endowment doubled during this period to more than $350 million today. It was also during his time leading the Board that we launched the Full Speed to Full Need campaign to support student scholarships. Upon leaving the Board four years later, he was honored by an anonymous donor, who gave a $1 million gift to establish the Terry and Mary Franke Scholarship Fund. 

Terry was a dedicated member of the Lawrence community from the moment he stepped on campus as a student in 1964. Since graduating in 1968, he fostered and maintained connections, sharing his time and knowledge with alumni, as well as current and future Lawrentians. He was always ready to lend a hand as an event volunteer, an admissions volunteer, and a member of reunion committees. He took particular joy in mentoring student interns at his consulting businesses. As a proud member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, he connected often with past and current fraternity members. 

Terry spent most of his professional career at Hewitt Associates, where he was a senior partner. He also served as a senior consultant for Productive Strategies Inc., a management and marketing consulting firm based in Northfield, Illinois, and Franke Associates, a consulting firm focused on clients in the higher education sector.

You can read more about Terry’s service to Lawrence in a moving tribute to his life and service here. We will share details on a Lawrence gathering to celebrate his life at a later date.

On a personal note, I will miss Terry immensely as a mentor, sounding board, and friend. I will especially miss seeing him hold court in the Viking Room during his frequent visits to campus. I know I am joined by many others in our community, as well as his family, friends, and colleagues, in mourning this loss and celebrating the life of this true Lawrentian.

Sincerely,

Mark

Note on the DACA Litigation (11/19/19)

Dear Campus Community,

On November 12, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Lawrence was one of 164 colleges and universities from across the country who signed an amicus brief in support of the litigation to uphold the program. While the Supreme Court could issue a ruling any time until the end of June 2020, many of us on campus are reading news stories that attempt to discern the court’s potential leanings. I can only imagine how unsettling this news may be to members of our community whose life at Lawrence and beyond could be affected by potential changes to this program.

In light of this uncertain moment, we encourage members of our community to share any questions or concerns about your status or the DACA program with Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion, Brittany Bell, assistant dean of students and director of the Diversity and Intercultural Center, or Leah McSorley, associate dean of students for international student services. Resources for students, faculty, and staff are also available on our website. Confidential counseling is also available at the Wellness Center and at the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

The university remains committed to supporting every student on our campus regardless of their immigration status. We will continue to offer institutional financial aid for students who do not hold a U.S. passport. We will continue to recruit faculty and staff from around the world, and we will continue to provide support and resources to undocumented students and ones with global backgrounds.  

A core value of this university is to ensure that Lawrence remains open to academically prepared students from all backgrounds. We are proud of our immigrant community and we are proud to support the national efforts to sustain their opportunity to succeed and thrive here at Lawrence. In the words of the brief we signed, “[We] have seen firsthand the positive effects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals… [T]housands of talented and hard-working young people have made significant and wide-ranging contributions to [our] campuses. They form a key part of our campus life and as institutions we benefit greatly from the energy and academic excellence they bring.”

Yours,

Mark

Remembering Firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard (5/20/19)

Dear Lawrence Community, 

Appleton received a heartbreaking loss last week with the death of Firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard, a 14-year veteran of the Appleton Fire Department and the first to be killed in the line of duty since 1933. Firefighter Lundgaard was one of the responders to a medical call at the Valley Transit Center in Appleton on May 15. This event escalated and was the cause of last week’s LU Alert. 

Mitch was a member of the firehouse that serves Lawrence University. He was a regular presence on our campus, responding to medical calls, fire alarms, and participating in routine safety inspections. Many of us on campus knew him as a colleague or simply remember seeing him during his visits to campus. We join our friends and colleagues at Station 1 and the entire Appleton Fire Department in mourning his loss. We also hold all those effected by this tragic incident in our thoughts.

For members of the Lawrence community who would like to discuss this event with someone, please reach out to Counseling Services, the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, or contact Human Resources to connect with Employee Assistance Program resources. A funeral procession will take place beginning at 1 P.M. today, and will pass nearest to campus at the corner of Drew and Atlantic Streets near the fire station. A public visitation will be held from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M. at Appleton Alliance Church, 2693 Grand Chute Boulevard, and an ecumenical community prayer gathering will also be held this evening in City Park at 7:30 P.M. 

Please join me in honoring Firefighter Mitch Lundgaard, a dedicated community servant and an extended member of the Lawrence family.

Yours,

Mark

Update on Commencement (5/9/19)

Dear Lawrence Community,

Following our announcement of a change of venue for Commencement 2019, we heard from many members of the graduating class and their families. They were concerned about the plan to move Commencement to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (PAC). Several administrators and I met with Senior Class officers, Miranda Salazar and Hoa Huynh, on Tuesday. We agreed to hold a forum that afternoon for the graduating class to ask questions and better understand the factors at play in the decision.

The discussion was representative of the best of Lawrence. Students engaged thoughtfully with this important issue and, together, we came to a better understanding of our different priorities. The University administration had prioritized ensuring a quality of experience defined primarily by sheltering participants and guests and mitigating issues around accessibility—even at the expense of potentially limiting in-person attendance. Forum participants expressed different priorities, specifically, providing a location that supports open, in-person, attendance and keeps Commencement in its traditional location of Main Hall Green.

Because not all members of the graduating class were able to attend the forum, and not all participants shared their preference publicly, we agreed to poll the entire class. The poll contained context about the pros and cons of each viable option. We were clear both in the forum and in the poll that the choice of Main Hall Green at this point means the vast majority of seating will not be covered by a tent; this might lead to a delay of Commencement exercises in the event of inclement weather. Furthermore, the condition of the Green may still be soft or muddy in places depending on weather leading up to the event. This said, we heard loud and clear from the class that they want as many family and friends as possible to watch them walk across the stage, to witness in person the culmination of their Lawrence experience. They also want the University to arrange for a rain site to prevent outright cancellation of Commencement in the event of sustained inclement weather.

The poll closed at 12:00 p.m. yesterday, and we met with Miranda and Hoa to discuss the outcome. The results revealed a resounding preference for Main Hall Green: 202 for the Green, 69 for the PAC, total participation rate of nearly 80% of the graduating class. In light of this feedback, we will plan for Commencement 2019 to be held on Main Hall Green on the same date, at the same time as originally announced: June 9, 10:00 a.m. CDT. Please plan for an open-air event.

In addition to making technical arrangements to hold the ceremony on the Green, University staff and faculty have begun arranging a viable rain site in the event of inclement weather on the day of Commencement. Please note that any rain site option will require tickets. These will be distributed to graduates at the Commencement Rehearsal on Friday, June 7, regardless of the forecast for the day of the ceremony. Please watch for additional communication about this change.

As a learning institution, civil discourse and learning from differing perspectives are essential elements of the education we provide and the values we uphold. We thank the Senior Class officers for organizing these important discussions—the perspectives and insights expressed by students helped us work toward a shared goal of making Commencement 2019 a memorable event for all.

Please remember to visit go.lawrence.edu/commencement for information regarding Commencement, including updates to the schedule or other important news. Thank you for your patience. I look forward to celebrating with you in June.

Sincerely,

Mark