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