Category: 2022

May Campus Updates (May 19, 2022)

Dear Lawrentians,

In the words of our founder Amos Lawrence, much “great and good work” is taking place on our campus.

We hosted our first in-person Board of Trustees meeting since early 2020 last week, and the excitement, energy, and pride exhibited by our trustees and campus colleagues was palpable. We were all particularly excited to engage with our talented students over the course of the meeting, reminding us all of the true purpose and mission of our work: to prepare students for professional success and personal fulfillment.

The majority of our Board work focused on the Strategic Investment plan, on which administrators, faculty, staff, and students have been working to finalize since February. Leaders of the plan’s working groups—Academics, Brand Elevation, Capital & Technology, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Antiracism, Employee Compensation, and Recruitment & Retention—joined our meeting to showcase their progress. Their work included focusing our initiatives on those projects that would have the most immediate impact on the student experience and best prepare the university to face the enrollment challenges ahead. Plans, timelines, and metrics were presented to ensure that each investment is fully developed with ongoing assessments.

The Board enthusiastically affirmed our work, allowing us to move forward with this historic investment in Lawrence’s future.

I am grateful to our Board for investing in the future of this remarkable institution, as well as to all of the community members who served on the investment working groups to finalize our plans. Their hard work will support academic programs and faculty development; facilities and technological infrastructure; diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives; reputational enhancement; recruitment and retention initiatives; and better compensation for our faculty and staff.

We now turn our focus to implementing the plan and will share more information, including ways you can follow our progress and track our success, with the community over the next few weeks. Please watch your email for more information regarding upcoming opportunities to learn more.

One other significant action taken at the Board’s spring meeting was the approval of faculty for promotion. This year, three faculty members were promoted to full professor: Stefan Debbert, chemistry; Lori Hilt, psychology; and Jodi Sedlock, biology. Please join me in congratulating them on this important moment in their careers.

After the end of an eventful and productive Board meeting, we turned our focus to inauguration weekend. I knew this weekend would be special—family, friends, colleagues, dignitaries, and Lawrentians from around the world came to campus to celebrate a historic moment in Lawrence’s history—but I was incredibly moved by the support I received as I was officially inaugurated as Lawrence’s 17th president, as well as the appreciation shown for this remarkable institution.

It was a truly joyful occasion, from the warm welcome we offered our guests, to the spectacular performances of our Conservatory students during the inauguration ceremony, to the academic achievements showcased at the annual Harrison Symposium, to the Brighter Together gathering, to Mayor Woodford’s proclamation of Lawrence 175th Anniversary Day. The weekend brought members of the Lawrence and Appleton communities together to celebrate our shared history and bright future, and we proved that we are truly Brighter Together.

I’d like to thank Associate Vice President for Alumni & Constituency Engagement Matt Baumler, his team, and the Presidential Transition Committee, led by Trustee Martha Olson, for their tremendous efforts planning, organizing, and launching this eventful weekend. You can read more and see photos of the event online.

And congratulations to Coach Krepline and our Midwest Conference (MWC) Champions, our Vikings Baseball Team. After a truly spectacular season, the team hosted and won the MWC Championship on Saturday afternoon, securing a berth in the NCAA Division III baseball tournament for the first time since 1979. They leave on Thursday morning and head to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where they will face University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Not only will the game be live streamed, Student Life is also organizing a campus watch party in the Warch Cinema and a caravan of Lawrentians who will head to the game on Friday in support of the team. Be sure to cheer on the team, whether you join the caravan or tune into the live stream. And remember, it’s a great time to be a Viking!

I could not be prouder of our institution, this Beacon on the River that has drawn students to its light for the last 175 years. I am truly honored to lead Lawrence at this moment in history as we plan for our immediate future and look to what the next five, 10, and 20 years may hold.

We have more “good and great work” ahead of us, and I am confident that together we will ensure a bright, more inclusive, and kinder future for our institution and, most important, our students.


President Laurie A. Carter

Beacon on the River| Inaugural Address, May 13, 2022

Cory, thank you for that wonderful introduction and for your extraordinary leadership. And thank you all for joining us this evening. I would like to express my gratitude to the Board of Trustees for the honor of serving as the 17th President of Lawrence University. I thank the search committee for their role in bringing us to this day, to the presidential transition team, to the Lawrence students, faculty, staff, and alumni for the warm welcome my family and I received when we arrived in Appleton, and Mayor Woodford and the Appleton community for embracing us.

On behalf of the entire university, I want to extend this same warm welcome to all members of the Appleton and Fox Cities communities who are with us tonight. I look forward to seeing even more friends from the community at our Brighter Together picnic tomorrow, which celebrates the 175-year connection between Lawrence and Appleton. Not only are we brighter together, but we are also stronger together.   

I would also like to thank the speakers, artists, and dignitaries participating in tonight’s ceremony. Carl Allen, my partner in Jazz, thank you for your music and your friendship. And to Joseph, Ron, and Dan, your kind words mean a great deal to me. Each of you continue to play such an important role in my life. And Robert, watching you grow from a 17-year-old dancer into the leader of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s preeminent dance companies, has given me incredible joy. My career has always focused on students and their success. Having you here tonight is an honor. Thank you.

And for the last 17 days, Cole Hepburn and Carter Robinson, with the help of students and staff started the inaugural process by spreading kindness across campus and in the community. Thank you for reminding us that kindness matters.

I am incredibly blessed to have an extraordinary family and amazing friends and colleagues. Thank you for your support and for being here with me. I especially want to thank my three brothers, James, Bryan, and Jason, and my sister-in-law, Yolanda and brother-in-law Michael. Your support means the world to me. And to my nephew Willie, who with his three-year-old daughter, Maya, flew here from Italy to be with me at this moment. Thank you for being here to support me and to honor your mother. I know she is smiling down on us.  

And I would not be standing here tonight without the love and support of my husband, Gary and our son Carter. Gary, thank you for always being there for me while I live out my purpose. Carter, you are the light that your father and I brought into the world. We love watching you shine and know that you will use your light to make oceans cleaner and the world a better place.

Many of you know that I was a first-generation college student. Like many first-generation students, I didn’t have anyone to guide me through the college process. I had to figure things out on my own, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

Thankfully, I had people around me who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself: Coaches, faculty, and administrators who introduced me to literature and ideas that opened my eyes to the world, guided me when I needed direction, and challenged me when I got off track. I also had great cheerleaders in my parents, James and Harriet Carter, who were always there for me. I am so grateful for their love and support. They may not have known firsthand about the college journey, but they knew that their support mattered in my success. 

I stand on the shoulders of the generations that came before me. I observed my parents and grandparents live lives of service in the midst of adversity. Over the course of my college career, I leaned into those lessons and developed grit, determination, and drive through my experiences as a first-generation student. I thrived both inside and outside of the classroom. I tutored other students, performed in theater productions and hosted my own radio show. I was often first on the track in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, as well as in other sprints, relays, and field events. I earned a spot in my alma mater’s athletic hall of fame and that competitive spirit still lives in me.  

I brought that drive with me when I started my career. I was the first African American and youngest director of residence life at Fairleigh Dickinson University and then the first African American Vice President at The Juilliard School, where I was also the first General Counsel and the first Executive Director of Jazz Studies, a program I co-created. I was the first woman and first African American President of Shippensburg University and am now the first African American President of Lawrence University. Without realizing it, I embraced the first in first-generation and made it into a career of firsts.  

These opportunities have given me the chance to work with young people from across the globe and to mentor and support them as they grow and develop into people who are changing the world. I have had the honor of seeing them at their best and at their worst. 

Maya Angelou said nothing can dim the light from within. Experience has taught me that sometimes you need to help others find their internal light. When students feel they are in their darkest days, it has become my purpose, my “why,” to be a beacon to help them find their way, their light within, and, ultimately, to achieve their purpose. It is a gift to have been that beacon for so many young people.  

Not surprisingly, it is the light that drew me to Lawrence University. 

For the last 175 years, Lawrence University has sat on the banks of the Fox River, calling students to its light: a Beacon on the River. And this beacon’s light, more light called to me. The more light I have, the more I can share, and the more lives I can impact. This is why I am so honored to be standing here today.  

I came to Lawrence knowing that a liberal arts education is exactly what today’s society demands. It is what society has always demanded. When I review the resumes of Lawrence’s alumni—top lawyers, leading corporate executives, dedicated teachers, cutting-edge doctors, community organizers, entrepreneurs, and award-winning writers and musicians—I am inspired to ensure that Lawrence deepens its commitment to the liberal arts and secures its place as a national leader in the higher education.  

For 175 years, this Beacon on the River has illuminated students’ journeys of enrichment and exploration, igniting their passions and propelling them into meaningful careers that impact their communities, our nation, and the world. This is what a liberal arts education—a Lawrence education—does. 

Prior to arriving at Lawrence, I sat of the Board of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce. I listened to my colleagues from the business sector talk about the need for employees who can write well, present strong presentations, solve complex problems, work in teams, and think critically. It was apparent to me that they were talking about the skills gained through a liberal arts education. 

Not everyone shares this same appreciation for the liberal arts. Society questioned the value of higher education and the liberal arts, in particular, even prior to the pandemic. Some of the most prominent issues in this national debate are the cost of tuition, student loan debt and access to higher education. I am grateful to my predecessor, Mark Burstein, for his work to address these issues at Lawrence. 

Mark raised significant funds to put Lawrence on the course of becoming a full need institution, while reducing the amount of loans our students need to cover their costs. He also led the Lawrence team in creating a more diverse student body and a campus culture that is working toward creating a stronger sense of belonging for all students. Thank you, Mark.

Yet more work remains as we face the challenges ahead. The task before us will require all of us, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members alike, to work together to ensure this Beacon on the River shines brighter than ever before.

We know that students succeed when the faculty and staff supporting them have the resources they require to provide an exceptional academic experience. We have spent the last few months working across campus to identify Lawrence’s most pressing needs, listening to our community and exploring institutional data. The data tell us that we at Lawrence need to better resource our faculty and staff, increase our applicant pool, deepen our work in diversity, equity and inclusion, and continue to build our reputation. 

As Lawrence has done throughout its 175-year history, we are prepared to address these needs head-on. Earlier today, the Board of Trustees agreed to strategies and metrics for a strategic investment in the institution that includes additional support for academic programs and faculty development; facilities and technological infrastructure; diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism; reputational enhancement; and better compensation for our faculty and staff. 

This historic action by the Board will permit us to secure the equipment faculty require to prepare students for life after Lawrence; create more technologically advanced classroom spaces; and provide additional resources to some of our newer academic programs as they continue to grow. These innovations will enable us to keep pace with the demands and expectations of prospective students and their families. They will also send a clear message to our faculty and staff that we value them and understand that excellence requires investment. I want to thank our Board for investing in the future of this remarkable institution.

In the current challenging environment, maintaining our position as a selective national liberal arts institution is key to our future success. Lawrence continues to attract high academic achievers, yet the enrollment cliff predicted for 2025-26 means that there will be fewer high school graduates, particularly in the Midwest and the Northeast. We are already seeing the results of more aggressive recruiting and financial aid packaging from our peers as the higher education landscape becomes more competitive. But Lawrence is well positioned to continue to lead during this turbulent time.  

Thanks to generous donors, we have already made improvements to our residence halls. The investments approved by the Board continue our work, allowing Student Life to reorganize to respond to changing student needs; develop a first-year experience program to provide extra and co-curricular support to our students; review our student advising program to ensure it is consistent with best practices. We are also taking another look at our Career Center to create ways for students to have earlier engagement with the office and experience high-impact practices like internships, mentoring, and study abroad. Increasing support for the Conservatory and Athletics, which account for 20% and 25% of our student population, is also vital to the university’s success. 

Enhancing these student experiences will ensure that Lawrence remains a beacon for current and future Lawrentians.   

I mentioned earlier the diversity, equity and inclusion work taking place on campus. Last May, the Board determined that Lawrence should deepen that work and become an anti-racist institution. This work is consistent with the values of our founder, abolitionist Amos Lawrence, and Lawrence University’s status as one of the first co-educational institutions in the country. Our commitment to diversity extended even further when Lawrence joined with the all-women’s Milwaukee-Downer College in 1964.  

Our continuing work will be consistent with the needs of today’s society. A demographic shift is taking place in the country. It is forecast that more students of color will be attending college in the coming years. In addition, the number of first-generation college students is on the rise.  We must be prepared to receive these students and provide them with a sense of belonging. In all of my roles as a first, I have worked to create an environment where everyone can thrive, and I am committed to working across campus and in the community to do the same at Lawrence.

I have heard many stories from students and alumni who have not felt welcome or supported, but I am confident we can do better. Just last month, we held the annual President’s Ball. It was wonderful to see students of different colors, identities, and nationalities come together for an evening of music and dancing. The event demonstrated that there is a place for everyone at Lawrence. And we will continue to work to ensure that all students can thrive at the university.

You may have noticed our new website, which launched earlier this spring. I want to thank our communications and marketing team, as well as the entire campus community, for their work in updating that critical recruitment vehicle. The website was an important first step in better showcasing the university’s strengths and value. We have recently engaged a nationally recognized marketing firm to assist us in telling Lawrence’s story and highlighting the excellent education we provide so that it is more compelling to prospective students and their families. We also plan to expand our outreach by investing in more digital marketing opportunities. So don’t be surprised if you see Lawrence pop up in a few more Google searches.

Continuing this theme, I’d now like to take some time to boast a little on behalf of the university. Did you know that Lawrence is the #1 liberal arts college in Wisconsin? It’s also one of 40 schools featured in the New York Times bestselling Colleges that Change Lives. And home to a world-class Conservatory of Music. 

Our students regularly win national prizes like Fulbrights and Watson Fellowships. Our faculty conduct cutting edge research that is supported by grants from entities like the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Their work is featured in the New York Times and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and receives local and regional honors from community organizations and professional associations. 

These examples all showcase Lawrence’s extraordinary scholars and artists and the transformative education our students receive. And it’s more important than ever that we share this news with the world. And we ask each of you to share Lawrence’s good news as well.  

Lawrence students, faculty, staff, alumni—you are the best examples of a transformative Lawrence education. Lawrence parents and friends—you are our biggest cheerleaders. When you leave this ceremony tonight, share what you love about Lawrence. Or what you’ve learned about the university and its community during your time in Appleton. 

You can even start with this Tweet: Lawrence University is an extraordinary liberal arts community dedicated to excellence and integrity, collaboration and creativity, nestled in the vibrant city of Appleton, WI. Help us share our story far and wide!

This is not an easy time to be a university president, and I do not accept the challenge of leading this great university lightly. But as Langston Hughes said in his poem Mother to Son, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair,” and leading two different universities during a pandemic while grieving the loss of loved ones has taught me a lot about shining light into darkness.  I know full well that a flickering light can recover its brilliance. 

The world is rapidly changing. We cannot stand still. Like the river that flows through our campus, we must move with the current while honoring the shore around us. Buddha said, “Doubt everything and find your own light.” We have heard the skeptical discourse around higher education and the liberal arts. We doubt that it is insurmountable. We see clearly the shifting student demographics before us. We stand firm in our belief that the education we provide will meet the needs of current and future students.  We know that Lawrence is at a pivotal moment in its history. We illuminate a path forward.

We are Lawrentians.  

And as this Beacon on the River provides light, more light, we will continue to hold firm to our tradition of providing an exceptional liberal arts education to our students.

Students, you inspire me. You bring so much light to this campus. You have a light within that gives you the potential to become a beacon of your own. The beacon the world needs for a more kind and sustainable future. I encourage you to let your light shine. 

More coverage of Inauguration.

April Campus Updates

Dear Lawrentians,

Today is the first day of Earth Week, and the LUCC Sustainability Committee has coordinated with other sustainability organizations to plan a robust week of activities celebrating our planet. Festivities include educational opportunities, campus beautification projects, and plenty of fun. Earth Week is also a time for each of us, as well as the university as a whole, to assess our environmental footprint and commitment to sustainability.

I am impressed by Lawrence’s longstanding commitment to foster a culture of sustainability, from the work of Sustainability Steering Committee, to the robust student engagement with initiatives like recycling and the SLUG garden, to the campus solar panels that generate 30,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, to the Net Zero Björklunden project. I also believe it is time for Lawrence to take the next step.

On Earth Day, this Friday, April 22, I will sign a Climate Commitment that affirms our belief that colleges and universities must exercise leadership to create a positive and sustainable future.

I am excited for Lawrence to join the institutions across the state and country that have made this vital commitment. It is an important reflection of our values and the university’s dedication to a sustainable future. A key component of the Climate Commitment is the development of a comprehensive Climate Action Plan for Lawrence, which includes carbon neutrality and resilience.

Please join me, along with faculty and student representatives from organizations dedicated to environmental action, at 4:00 p.m. on Friday in front of Main Hall for this historic event. Together, we will reaffirm Lawrence’s commitment to a sustainable campus and a sustainable future.

Just as we must be kind to the Earth to nurture its strengths and ensure its survival, we must also be kind to each other to nurture and sustain our community. Kindness may take many different forms, from individual acts to collective gestures. Acts of kindness can be random or intentional. Whatever the size and whatever the cause, kindness is a key component of community, particularly a community likes ours that values acceptance and belonging.

In a few short weeks, I will officially be inaugurated as the 17th president of Lawrence University. I can think of no better way to showcase our sense of community at this moment in the university’s history than to showcase the best of our community, especially our kindness to each other.

On April 27, we will launch a community-wide campaign leading up to my inauguration—17 Days of Kindness. Over the course of the campaign, we will honor one another by infusing kindness into our daily practice. There will be opportunities to show this kindness to your fellow Lawrentians and to those a part of the Appleton community. There will even be gifts!

More information regarding the campaign will be shared soon, so please watch your email, campus posters and digital displays, and social media. I look forward to joining each of you as we demonstrate together how a kind word or deed can lift up each other and our community.


President Laurie A. Carter

Our Next Vice President for Finance & Administration

Dear Lawrence community,

We are excited to announce that Samir Datta will be joining Lawrence as our next Vice President for Finance and Administration. He will begin his work at Lawrence later this spring.

Samir will join us after a 20+ year career in various successful financial and managerial executive roles, including most recently as the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), where he led a team strategizing short- and long-term financial planning for the state’s pension fund. His extensive experience is impressive and what we need as we position ourselves to thrive sustainably into the future. He has derived a sense of purpose from mission-driven work during his time at SWIB and has a sincere appreciation for higher education and the liberal arts in particular for its broad-based learning focus. You can read more about Samir on the Lawrence website.

Those who met with Samir during the hiring process appreciated his quiet confidence, active listening, and thoughtfulness; needless to say, his financial acumen. I’m grateful to the search committee for its hard work over the past few months. I also want to thank Mary Alma Noonan, who will work closely with Samir as he transitions to his new role at Lawrence. 

Please join me in welcoming Samir to Lawrence.



Academic Program Leadership (March 31, 2022)

Dear Colleagues,

I write today to announce that Catherine (Katie) Gunther Kodat will step down from the post of provost and dean of faculty into a terminal sabbatical at the end of this academic year. It gives me great pleasure to further report that Associate Dean of Faculty and Associate Professor of History Peter A. Blitstein has agreed to serve as interim Provost and Dean of Faculty, effective July 1. Peter will lead us through the planning and implementation of the strategic investments, with his primary focus on holistic academic pathways.

Katie was appointed provost in 2017, after serving as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Lewis & Clark College and dean of the Division of the Liberal Arts (as well as acting provost) at The University of the Arts. Her many accomplishments at Lawrence include successful partnerships with faculty and staff to secure external funding to support a wide range of academic initiatives. These include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence grant; a grant from the Mellon Foundation to support reform the University’s reappointment, tenure, and promotion process; and multiple awards to advance the scholarly and creative work of individual faculty. Under her leadership, departmental and programmatic external reviews were re-established; articulation agreements with Marquette University law school and the Medical College of Wisconsin were executed; and the Bachelor of Musical Arts degree was introduced, along with new majors in Computer Science, Ethnic Studies, and Environmental Science; new minors in Data Science & Statistics and Health & Society; and the introduction of Creative Writing and International Relations “tracks” within the English and Government departments, respectively.

A scholar of 20th-century U.S. literature and culture and a tenured member of the English department, Katie will enter her sabbatical with two publications on the horizon. Her collection of essays on the work of William Faulkner, Faulknerista, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in fall 2022. Her essay, “Faulkner after Morrison,” an examination of Toni Morrison’s transformative effect on the reception of Faulkner’s novels, is also forthcoming in New Faulkner Studies from the Cambridge University Press.

I am grateful to have had Katie’s institutional knowledge and administrative expertise during my first year at Lawrence and greatly appreciate her leadership helping the university meet its academic mission and enhance its academic offerings over the last five years, especially during the pandemic. 

I am excited to welcome Peter to his new role, as he brings a wealth of administrative and curricular experience with him. A historian of modern Russia specializing in the Soviet period and the history of nationalism and ethnicity, Peter joined the Lawrence community in 2001 as assistant professor of history. In addition to his teaching and scholarship, he has served as chair of the History department, the director of the senior experience program, and on numerous committees over the course of his career at Lawrence, including the Faculty Committee on University Governance, the Financial Planning Committee, and the Title III Grant Advisory Board, among others. As chair of the Instruction Committee, he was integral to helping the university meet its academic mission during the pandemic.

Peter was chosen as an American Council on Education Fellow in 2013 and was placed at Vassar College, where he worked with the dean of the faculty and dean of strategic planning and academic resources. He also completed site visits at 40 colleges and universities around the country during his year-long fellowship. This experience has served him well in his current role as associate dean of the faculty, which he has held since 2019.

I have enjoyed getting to know Peter over the past nine months and appreciate his candor and dedication to Lawrence’s faculty, academic mission, and future. I look forward to working with him in his new role and as we finalize and implement the strategic investments.

Please join me in thanking Katie for her service and wishing both her and Peter well in their new endeavors.



March Updates (March 16, 2022)

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Even as Lawrentians are preparing for finals and finishing up winter term, spring is in the air. Each day brings more light than the day before, and I’m seeing more faces of colleagues and students as I walk across campus. It’s clear that we are all ready for a well-deserved break and more days in the sun.

As we look to the possibilities for renewal that spring brings, I am pleased to report that we are making great progress on planning for the future of Lawrence. We have started to receive reports from our Guiding Coalitions, and to date, the Full Speed to Full Need and Amplifying Athletics coalitions have submitted their findings and recommendations. The Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Antiracism group will submit their report shortly, and the Visioning Committee is continuing to work through March and will submit their report in April, as will the Strategic Equitable Enrollment Management (SEEM) team.

Our Strategic Planning Committee has also made great progress evaluating the results of our current strategic plan, Veritas Est Lux, and preparing for our future planning process. The committee is currently assessing each component of Veritas Est Lux, noting where we have completed or institutionalized initiatives and where we’ve made progress or fallen behind. The work of the Guiding Coalitions and SEEM will inform the next phase of the process, during which the committee will partner with well-known consultant firm Keeling & Associates. Keeling will assist them through the remainder of the strategic planning process, which will outline an institutional strategy for the next 3-5 years. The committee plans to use our shared governance model, existing committee structures, new staff structures, town halls, and surveys to ensure we have input from all community members as we finalize a plan.

Simultaneously, we are working though shared governance to create our strategic investment plan. We held the first meeting last week with our planning team, which consists of students, faculty, staff, and Cabinet members, and we will continue to meet on a weekly basis until the May Board meeting. We have gotten a head-start on a few projects, including infrastructure improvements to Music-Drama and the Warch Campus Center as well as brand elevation work, both of which require time and resources to implement. I am excited about the work and opportunities ahead and look forward to sharing our progress with the community.

Thank you, once again, to all community members who served on the coalitions and committees and participated in various discussions and town hall meetings. Your participation and input in the process is invaluable as we work together to build Lawrence’s bright future.

I’m pleased to report that Eric Schacht, who graduated from Lawrence with a government degree in 1991, is returning to his alma mater to serve as our new university counsel. After graduating from Lawrence, Eric worked in risk management, litigation, and insurance for more than a decade before pursuing his J.D. from the University of Illinois. He has worked at the Wolfram Companies since receiving his law degree, most recently as general counsel.

Eric is truly excited to return to his alma mater, stating, “I have not lost my passion for the university, and I look forward to using my position to ensure that the current and future students of LU are able to succeed and thrive as I was.” I look forward to working with Eric, who will officially start his role on March 28 and will serve on the President’s Cabinet.

Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professor of Innovation and Associate Professor of Economics Adam Galambos will also join the President’s Cabinet starting this month in his role as special assistant to the president. He will replace Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and Associate Professor of Government Jason Brozek, who will end his term as special assistant this June. Adam is joining the Cabinet early to assist with the strategic initiatives planning process. I look forward to working with him in his new role at this exciting time.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on Women’s History Month, which is made even more special for me this year as the leader of one our nation’s first co-educational institutions. This institutional commitment was renewed in 1964 with Lawrence’s consolidation with Milwaukee-Downer College, one of our nation’s preeminent women’s colleges. And as a former student-athlete, I cannot forget to mention the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which leveled the collegiate playing field for women athletes, including me. Its impact is still felt today.

“Providing healing, promoting hope” is the theme of Women’s History Month this year. As we conclude winter term and look to the spring, I hope our upcoming break brings you moments of healing after a challenging term and fills you with hope for the new term ahead.



February Updates (February 22, 2022)

Dear Lawrentians,

It’s hard to believe that we are quickly approaching the final stretch of winter term, and I want to express my gratitude to our students, faculty, and staff for their continued dedication to the health and wellbeing of our community. I’ll be the first to admit that the start of our term was challenging for us all as we returned to campus at the height of the Omicron variant, but our collective commitment to Honor the Pledge has helped us limit the spread of the virus. Most important, we have slowly returned to hosting activities that bring us together as Lawrentians.

February has been a month full of opportunities for us to gather and celebrate Lawrence’s long-standing traditions, as well as Black History Month. After ending January with the Great Midwest Trivia Contest and the wonderful Lunar New Year celebration, we welcomed February with Winter Carnival, and this past week we hosted multimedia artist Alexandra Bell as our Winter Convocation speaker. On Saturday, the Black Student Union hosted the annual Black Excellence Ball, and we now look forward to Cultural Expressions to close out the month. Thank you to the Lawrentians, particularly our students, who helped to organize the term’s many engaging events.

Alexandra Bell’s Convocation talk reminded us of the important contributions Black artists are making to society. Black History Month is a good time to remind us that it is more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to supporting the university’s efforts to becoming an antiracist institution.

Last week, our community also participated in the It’s On Us Week of Action, which included a series of programs, events, and discussions to support the awareness and prevention of sexual assault. We will also soon welcome our new Title IX coordinator, who will help us ensure that Lawrence is a safe and respectful community for all. Dr. Eric Mayes, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion will share more information shortly.

Even with such engaging community events and celebrations, winter term can still take its toll on each of us, thanks to shorter days and prolonged winter weather. I want to remind us all to take a moment to ensure that we taking care of our mental health along with our physical wellbeing. Please take advantage of the programs that our Wellness Center and the Esch Hurvis Center for Spiritual & Religious Life offers, including intramurals, hikes along the Fox River, and massages, among others. Please also reach out to the support services available to us on campus through Wellness Services

The university’s Board of Trustees also hosts its annual winter meeting in February, and this year’s meeting brought an unprecedented and historic opportunity for the university—approving a proposal for a one-time, strategic investment designed to strengthen the Lawrence experience. This investment is designed to have a lasting impact on students, faculty, and staff; our educational mission; and our ability to recruit and retain students.

The President’s Cabinet is currently working through shared governance to disseminate information to faculty, staff, and students, create plans, and establish a timeline for implementation as well as key performance indicators. This process will coordinate with current work that is happening at the university and with the work of our Guiding Coalitions, the Strategic and Equitable Enrollment Management (SEEM) team, and Strategic Planning Committee. Our work will be presented to the Board at its May meeting. 

The Board’s confidence in our ability to use shared governance to create and implement a plan based on this proposal is thanks to the continued hard work of the Lawrence community, and I am grateful to the Board for giving us this opportunity to strengthen the university. This term has proven once again that we are brighter together, whether that’s in the classroom or Andrew Commons, on the stage or court, engaging with strategic work, or celebrating our many traditions and milestones. I look forward to working with each of you to make Lawrence even brighter.


Laurie A. Carter

Brighter Together: The Shared Past, Present, and Future of Lawrence & Appleton (January 26, 2022)

Good morning, Rotarians,

Let me begin by saying, thank you for the good work you do every day to make Appleton and the Fox Cities a better, brighter, and more compassionate community. Rotary has a long and proud tradition of building alliances and serving its neighbors. Your work truly makes a difference.

At Lawrence, we do not take lightly the need to nourish community, to build those important partnerships that strengthen us as a whole—intellectually, economically, culturally, and emotionally. We have a saying at Lawrence that we are brighter together, and I believe in my heart that that applies as well to the many ways Lawrence interacts with its neighbors in the Fox Cities.

In the nearly seven months since I arrived at Lawrence, I have been taken by the connections between the university and this place we call home. We are celebrating Lawrence’s 175th anniversary in 2022, a milestone that puts an exclamation point on the many ways in which Lawrence and Appleton have grown up together. As those of you with a love of local history may already know, Lawrence is named in honor of its founder, Amos Lawrence, and the city of Appleton in honor of his wife, Sarah Appleton Lawrence. 

It was on January 15, 1847, that Lawrence Institute was granted a charter, one year before Wisconsin would become a state, and six years before Appleton would be incorporated as a municipality. Upon his first visit to Appleton in 1857, in a letter back home to his wife in Boston, Amos Lawrence described the location of the university this way: “The streets extend along the high banks of the river, and the views up and down the river are picturesque and almost grand. The roar of the water over a succession of falls adds to the effect.”

Amos Lawrence, quite obviously, took to Appleton immediately. His beautiful description of the landscape still holds true today.

The Lawrence campus was but a single building in those early days. Situated on 84 acres on the eastern edge of Appleton’s downtown, the campus now includes 60 instructional, residential, recreational, and administrative facilities. The Fox River runs through the heart of campus. It truly is a gorgeous setting.

But, of course, there is much, much more to Lawrence University and its place in Appleton than those picturesque river vistas.

Lawrence today remains what it has been for much of its history—an undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences with a conservatory of music. With an enrollment of nearly 1,500 students, it continues to honor the vision of its founders and build on the heritage of excellence in undergraduate education. It is annually ranked among the nation’s best private colleges and is the top liberal arts college in Wisconsin, drawing students from nearly every state—including students from the Fox Cities—and nearly 40 countries. 

In 2018, Lawrence contracted with the consulting firm Appleseed for an Economic and Community Impact Study. The results gave us data that reflect how intertwined Lawrence is with the surrounding community. The study showed that Lawrence’s economic impact in the region totals more than $70 million annually. Students from the Fox Valley receive more than $1.4 million in financial aid from Lawrence. Our students, faculty, and staff contribute more than 10,000 hours of community service each year as we continue to build partnerships with area nonprofits and the Appleton Area School District.

That’s but a small sample of our community connections. Also consider these:

Through our Lawrence Community Music School, formerly known as the Lawrence Academy of Music, more than 1,500 area children and adults annually take private music lessons or perform in orchestras, ensembles, and choirs. The school has been an important part of Lawrence’s outreach to the community for nearly 150 of our 175 years.

The Conservatory of Music’s annual Jazz Celebration Weekend, meanwhile, has brought thousands of high school and middle school students to campus each fall for two days of high-level instruction with our world-class faculty and special musical guests. It just marked its 40th year.

A music education team led by Conservatory faculty, students, and alumni partner each year with Mile of Music to offer free interactive music experiences throughout the popular four-day festival in downtown Appleton. It’s an element that separates Mile of Music from almost any other music festival in the world.

Fox Cities residents are frequently invited to campus to hear guest speakers on a wide range of important topics, allowing us all to listen and learn and hopefully think a little deeper about issues that affect this world—locally and globally.

Our Athletics department hosts summer camps for Appleton area youth each summer, bringing dozens of Fox Cities children and families to campus to learn from our coaches and student-athletes in the Banta Bowl and Alexander Gymnasium.

A partnership between Lawrence’s education department and the Appleton Area School District regularly puts new Lawrence graduates into Appleton classrooms for year-long student-teaching assignments. Many of those graduates go on to be hired full time as Appleton teachers.

And one of my favorite examples is spearheaded by current senior and Kaukauna native Molly Ruffing. Ruffing, a psychology and English double major, works for our Center for Community Engagement and Social Change and runs our VITAL program. VITAL stands for Volunteers in Tutoring at Lawrence and matches Lawrence student tutors with K-12 students in the Appleton Area School District. Molly also created a new education-focused program called First of Many, a first-generation student mentorship program with her alma mater, Kaukauna High School,

Sadly, the Covid pandemic put a pause on many of these interactions. I eagerly await the day, hopefully very soon, when Lawrence can again open its doors to the community, inviting everyone back for theater, opera, music, and dance performances in Memorial Chapel, Stansbury Theater, and Harper Hall; to the impactful art exhibits that grace the beautiful Wriston Art Gallery and the convocation addresses that are so integral to our traditions; to the many public resources housed within Seeley G. Mudd Library; and to the athletic events that bring excitement and camaraderie to Alexander Gym, the Banta Bowl, and other spaces where our student-athletes compete.

I am also eager to extend our community outreach and partnerships across our community. I’d like for Lawrence to create new service opportunities with area non-profits through our Center for Community Engagement and Social Change; pursue internships with local businesses through our Career Center; and launch new continuing education classes taught by Lawrence faculty and open to Fox City community members.

Suffice to say, Lawrence’s commitment to serving the community and being a part of the community has never wavered.

That community partnership extends to Bjorklunden, Lawrence’s beautiful 441-acre educational retreat in Door County, where summer seminars on a robust and eclectic range of subject matter are open to the public. Residents from all over Wisconsin, including the Fox Valley, partake enthusiastically in those seminars, many coming back summer after summer. Most of the seminars are led by Lawrence faculty or alumni, who bring expertise from their areas of study, research or passion.

Speaking of Lawrence alumni, they are now more than 20,000 strong, living and leading and changing the world in places near and far. They have generously supported Lawrence through the years with their time, talent, and gifts, and many of them continue to graciously connect with and mentor our students as they prepare to launch careers.

Among our alumni is a Nobel Prize-winning chemist and a former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. Four Lawrence alumni have been appointed by U.S. presidents to serve as ambassadors throughout the world. Our Conservatory alumni perform on some of most acclaimed stages in the world, from Broadway to Paris. And they can be found in classrooms and boardrooms, leading community nonprofits and guiding Fortune 500 companies. 

Many of our alumni live right here in the Fox Cities. The Appleseed study showed that 5 percent of area residents with bachelor’s degrees are Lawrence alumni. In fact, I would not be surprised if we had some Lawrence alumni in our audience today.

And as many of you know, Appleton’s current mayor, Jake Woodford, is a proud 2013 graduate of Lawrence University. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Woodford on multiple occasions and have walked away impressed with his sincere commitment to serve the people of Appleton and to nurture the long-standing connections between Lawrence and its home community.

As we look to the future, Lawrence is not immune to the many challenges facing higher education. The Covid pandemic has posed new anxieties for colleges and universities across the country, and Lawrence is no exception, but our resolve is strong to build smartly and strategically on our 175 years of history and prepare to meet the needs of students today and long into the future.

That resolve includes our commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything we do. From the time we recruit a new class to the time we bid them farewell at commencement, we will make Lawrence a welcoming place for all of our students. We are trying to live those words every single day.

That commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion extends to the greater Appleton community as well, as we work with city leadership, including Appleton’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator Timber Smith, and important partners like Imagine Fox Cities to ensure that all of our students feel at home here in Appleton. We need them to feel embraced and respected, whether they’re on campus, on College Avenue, or elsewhere in the Fox Cities. That hasn’t always been the case, and it’s imperative that we all work together to make the commitment a reality.

Those cannot be hollow words. They have to play out every day, in everything we do. As community advocates through your work with Rotary, I know you understand the importance of unity and fairness and community-building, and I thank you for living those ideals in your personal lives, your work lives, and in your community advocacy.

We must do this together. A healthy Lawrence is good for Appleton, and a healthy Appleton is good for Lawrence.

As it has for all of its 175 years, Lawrence remains an important part of this community. We cherish our role in this community. We cherish the intersection of our shared histories and our shared interests, and we look forward to an even deeper relationship as we build a strong, vibrant future for generations of students to come.

We are, after all, brighter together.

January Updates (January 17, 2022)

Dear Lawrentians,

Thank you to all members of the Lawrence community for your patience and dedication as we’ve navigated a new term with new challenges. We all had to pivot quickly in the last month to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, which was not an easy task. I am grateful to our faculty who quickly adjusted their syllabi to accommodate for two weeks of remote learning; to our students and families who adjusted their travel plans to help us stagger the return to campus; and to our staff who supported our community through it all. I continue to be impressed by Lawrence’s commitment to Honor the Pledge and to ensure our collective health and safety.

Even though our term started a bit differently than we originally planned, we have much to look forward to in the coming weeks. From our year-long 175th anniversary celebration to long-standing traditions like Winter Carnival, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest, Cultural Expressions, and the President’s Ball, I look forward to enjoying what winter term has to offer. (And yes, I’m including opportunities to enjoy the Wisconsin winter weather!)

As I mentioned in the December campus update, the new year will bring with it a number of transitions to the university. Today, I share news of upcoming changes to the President’s Cabinet.

Mary Alma Noonan, vice president for finance and administration, will step down from her position at the end of the academic year. Mary Alma joined the Lawrence community in August 2020 and helped to lead the university during the height of the pandemic. She and her team, including Finance, Legal, Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities, and Campus Services, navigated the university through the financial, personnel, and safety challenges brought by the pandemic and ensured that the university continued to meet its mission during an unprecedented time.

I am grateful for the knowledge, empathy, and steady hand that she brought to the role and for her contributions as a member of the President’s Cabinet. We are working with the firm Storbeck Search on a national search for her position and will keep the community posted on its progress.

After 18 years of service to Lawrence University, Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment, is leaving the university to embark on a new career in higher education consulting. He is expanding his role at the firm RHB, where he has served as the Dan Saracino Chair of Enrollment Management since April 2020. He will lead and develop their enrollment practice. Ken joined Lawrence in 2004 as director of admissions and became dean of admissions and financial aid in 2011, and vice president for enrollment in 2016.

Over the course of his tenure, the university’s enrollment, as well as its racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity, has grown in size. Ken’s holistic approach to admission was a key factor to his work—and legacy—at Lawrence, always ensuring that prospective students and families, as well as all Lawrentians, were made to feel welcome and supported. Ken plans to join RHB in May. We are currently finalizing a firm who will help us conduct a national search to find our next vice president for enrollment; our goal is for this person to be in place in advance of the next admission cycle.

It has been a pleasure to work with both Mary Alma and Ken, and I wish them well in their new endeavors. Please join me in thanking them both for their dedicated service and many contributions to Lawrence University. Celebration plans will be shared with the community as they are available.

Stay warm and seek the places and people on campus that will bring light and joy to you during the term.


Laurie A. Carter
President, Lawrence University