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Lawrence University

Lawrence University
Former names
  • Lawrence College (1913–1964)
  • Lawrence Institute (1847–1849)
Motto"Light! More Light!"
"Veritas est lux"
Motto in English
"Truth Is Light"
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1847; 177 years ago (1847)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$487 million (2021)[1]
PresidentLaurie Carter
Administrative staff
164 faculty[2]
Students1,555 undergraduates (fall 2013)[2]
Location, ,
United States

44°15′40″N 88°24′00″W / 44.261°N 88.400°W / 44.261; -88.400
CampusUrban: 84 acres (34 ha)
Björklunden: 425 acres (172 ha)
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIIMidwest Conference
Appleton is located in Wisconsin
Location in Wisconsin

Lawrence University is a private liberal arts college and conservatory of music in Appleton, Wisconsin. Founded in 1847, its first classes were held on November 12, 1849. Lawrence was the second college in the U.S. to be founded as a coeducational institution.


Lawrence's first president, William Harkness Sampson, founded the school with Henry R. Colman, using $10,000 provided by philanthropist Amos Adams Lawrence, and matched by the Methodist church. Both founders were ordained Methodist ministers, but Lawrence was Episcopalian. The school was originally named Lawrence Institute of Wisconsin in its 1847 charter from the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, but the name was changed to Lawrence University before classes began in November 1849.[3][4] Its oldest extant building, Main Hall, was built in 1853.[5] Lawrence University was the second coeducational institution in the country.[6]

Lawrence's first period of major growth came during the thirty-year tenure (1894―1924) of alumnus Samuel G. Plantz as president, when the student body quadrupled, from 200 to 800.

From 1913 until 1964, it was named Lawrence College, to emphasize its small size and liberal arts education focus. The name returned to Lawrence University when it merged with Milwaukee-Downer College. The state of Wisconsin then purchased the Milwaukee-Downer property and buildings to expand the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Initially, the university designated two entities: Lawrence College for Men and Downer College for Women. This separation has not lasted in any material form, though degrees are still conferred "on the recommendation of the Faculty of Lawrence and Downer Colleges" and the university by-laws still make the distinction.

The Lawrence Conservatory of Music, usually referred to as "the Con", was founded in 1874. Lawrence offers three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Musical Arts. It also offers a five-year dual degree program, where students can receive both B.A. and B.Mus. degrees.

First-year Studies (formerly named Freshman Studies) at Lawrence is a mandatory two-term class, in which all students study the same selected 11 classic works of literature, art, and music, the list varying from year to year. President Nathan M. Pusey is credited with initiating the program in 1945, although Professor Waples chaired the Freshman Studies Committee and was responsible for implementing the program. The program continues to this day, despite being temporarily suspended in 1975.[7]

Lawrence University is part of the Oberlin Group, a consortium of liberal arts college libraries.

Milwaukee-Downer traditions

Main Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an Appleton landmark.

The traditions and heritage of Milwaukee-Downer are woven into the Appleton campus, from the grove of hawthorn trees (called Hawthornden) between Brokaw and Colman halls, to the sundial on the back of Main Hall, to the bestowing upon each class a class color and banner.


Lawrence Memorial Chapel

University presidents

Presidents of Milwaukee-Downer College

  • 1895–1921 Ellen Sabin
  • 1921–1951 Lucia Russell Briggs
  • 1951–1964 John Johnson


Seeley G. Mudd Library contains over 420,000 volumes

The student/faculty ratio at Lawrence is 9:1.[9]

The college offers majors in most of the liberal arts. The school also offers the option of interdisciplinary areas of study and allows students to design their own majors. Lawrence grants Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees, with a double degree possible. Lawrence offers a number of cooperative degree programs in areas such as engineering, health sciences and environmental studies.[clarification needed]

All students are required to take First-Year Studies during their first two trimesters, which introduces students to broad areas of study and provides a common academic experience for the college. Known as Freshman Studies until 2021, the program was established in 1945, and aside from a brief interruption in the mid-1970s it has remained a consistent fixture of the school's liberal arts curriculum.[10] Lawrence's First-Year Studies program focuses on a mixture of Great Books and more contemporary, influential works, which include non-fiction books, fiction books, and various other types of works, such as paintings, photographs, musical recordings, and the periodic table of the elements. Readings are replaced every few years, with the exception of Plato's Republic, which has been included on the list since 1945.[11]

Conservatory of Music

The Lawrence University Conservatory of Music was founded in 1874 and has been a part of Lawrence University ever since. The Conservatory offers Bachelor of Music degrees in Performance, Theory/Composition, Music Education, and a five-year double degree option that grants both a BM degree from the Conservatory and a BA degree from the College. Approximately 25% of the Lawrence student body, or 350 students, is in the Conservatory. The Conservatory has three choirs, two bands, two jazz ensembles, a symphony orchestra, an improvisation collective, five world music ensembles, and numerous chamber music groups.

The Conservatory offers also a Bachelor of Musical Arts, primarily—but not exclusively—for students whose interest is in other than Western Classical Music; students take 3/4 of their classes in Music, and 1/4 in other subjects.

Academic affiliation

Lawrence is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, an academic consortium of 14 liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and Colorado which coordinates several off-campus study programs in a large number of countries as its primary activity.


The 84-acre (34 ha) campus is located in downtown Appleton, divided into two parts by the Fox River. The academic campus is on the north shore of the river, and the major athletic facilities (including the 5,000-seat Banta Bowl) are on the southeast shore. Lawrence also has a 425-acre (1.7 km2) northern estate called Björklunden (full name: Björklunden vid sjön), which serves as a site for retreats, seminars, concerts, and theatrical performances. It contains a chapel for weddings. Donald and Winifred Boynton of Highland Park, Illinois, donated the property in Door County to Lawrence in 1963.

Campus development

In the mid-1980s, the Physics Department built a $330,000 small laser laboratory (known as the "laser palace"), which includes 800 5 mW small lasers and more than 500 mirrors.

In 2009, Lawrence opened the Richard and Margot Warch Campus Center, a gathering place for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests from the Fox Cities community.[12] The 107,000-square-foot (9,900 m2) building is situated on the Fox River on the site of the former Hulburt House. The Warch Campus Center includes a cinema, campus dining services, campus mailboxes, and various meeting and event spaces. The building has earned a LEED Gold certification for meeting sustainability goals in energy conservation, environmental friendliness, and green building.

Student body

Hiett Hall, a dormitory

Lawrence enrolls about 1,500 students. The total enrollment in academic year 2010–11 was 1,566 students,[13] the largest student body in Lawrence University's history. Over 75% of the students identify as white,[13] about 12% are international students,[9] and about 25% of students study in the conservatory of music. In the fall of 2014, a quarter of the incoming class were domestic students of color.[14]

Lawrence students have been named Rhodes Scholars seven times. Since 1976, 57 students and nine faculty have received Fulbright Scholarships. Since 1969, 73 students have been named Watson Fellows.[15]

Student traditions

At the beginning of every academic year in September, incoming freshmen arrive a week before returning students to partake in Welcome Week. During Welcome Week, various activities are planned in order to help the incoming class get to know one another and to help them acclimate to college life.[16] During the first night of Welcome Week, students and their parents attend the President's Welcome, which concludes with the traditional matriculation handshake, where every member of the incoming class shakes hands and exchanges words with the university's president.[16]

During the fall term, the on-campus fraternity Beta Theta Pi hosts the annual Beach Bash. For this event, the brothers of ΒθΠ shovel approximately 14 tons of sand into the fraternity house basement,[17] and install a boardwalk and a lifeguard station that doubles as a DJ booth.This tradition was skipped in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18]

During spring term, Lawrence hosts a music festival, LU-aroo (a play on words on the popular music festival Bonnaroo). Held on the quad, the festival features many talented student bands, both from the college and the conservatory.[19] In 2016, the musician The Tallest Man on Earth played at the festival.[20]


The student newspaper, The Lawrentian, has been published for over a century.

Lawrence had a radio station, WLFM, from 1955 (broadcasting beginning in 1956) through 2005.


Lawrence Vikings
UniversityLawrence University
ConferenceMidwest Conference
Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (hockey only)
NCAADivision III
Athletic directorJason Imperati
LocationAppleton, Wisconsin
Varsity teams21
Football stadiumBanta Bowl (5,255)
Basketball arenaAlexander Gymnasium
Baseball stadiumWhiting Field[21]
NicknameVikings (1926)[22]
Fight song"Go, Lawrence, Go"[22]
ColorsNavy and White

Lawrence University's intercollegiate athletic teams, known as the Vikings since 1926,[22] compete in the Midwest Conference in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, ice hockey, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, fencing, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.

In 2005–06, the men's basketball team was ranked first in Division III for much of the season, after starting the season unranked.[23] The Vikings were the only undefeated team in all divisions of college basketball for the last six weeks of the season, ending with a record of 25–1. Star forward Chris Braier won the Josten's Award as the top player in the country for both playing ability and community service.[24] Coach John Tharp was named Division III Midwest Coach of the Year.[25] Beginning in 2004, Lawrence qualified for the Division III national tournament in five of the next six years (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009).[23] Their best result was in 2004, advancing to the quarterfinals (Elite 8), but fell to eventual national champion Wisconsin–Stevens Point by a point in overtime at Tacoma, Washington.[26]

In 2011, Lawrence's men's cross country team won the Midwest Conference championships for the first time since 1985, beating Grinnell College and ending its 14-year winning streak.


Lawrence was ranked 63rd on the 2022-2023 U.S. News: List of Best U.S. National Liberal Arts Colleges and 35th in its best-value schools list.[27]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2021. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2021 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY20 to FY21 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 18, 2022. Retrieved February 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b As of Fall 2013. "Lawrence University 2013 Profile" (PDF). Lawrence University. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Lawrence History | Lawrence University". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  4. ^ See also Charles Breunig’s book, A Great and Good Work: A History of Lawrence University, 1847–1964.
  5. ^ Council of Independent Colleges, "Main Hall", Historic Campus Architecture Project.
  6. ^ "President Mark Burstein". Lawrence University. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Freshman Studies History". Lawrence University. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  8. ^ West, Samantha. "Lawrence University announces Laurie Carter as its next president, replacing Mark Burstein". The Post-Crescent.
  9. ^ a b "International Resources - Lawrence University". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  10. ^ F. M. Doeringer, "A History of the Freshman Program, 1945–1986",, retrieved June 28, 2022.
  11. ^ Ed Berthiaume, "2020-21 guide to Freshman Studies reading list: 'Shows a remarkable range'",, August 5, 2020, retrieved June 28, 2022.
  12. ^ "About the Campus Center". Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  13. ^ a b As of Fall 2010. "2010 Profile" (PDF). Lawrence University. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 11, 2012.
  14. ^ "Hail to the Class of 2018: Lawrence Welcomes More than 400 New Students". Lawrence University News Blog. 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  15. ^ "Student Outcomes". 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  16. ^ a b "Welcome Week 2016 Schedule" (PDF). Lawrence University. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  17. ^ Birch, Hannah (7 November 2016). "Senator Tim Kaine campaigns on campus, pushes early voting". The Lawrentian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  18. ^ Denault, Ethan. "Y'all gonna make me act a fool". The Lawrentian. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  19. ^ Senye, Yame. "LUAROO". Lawrence University Student Stories. Lawrence University. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  20. ^ Nyman, Shane. "LU to host Tallest Man on Earth". The Post-Crescent. USA Today. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Lawrence University Athletics venues". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  22. ^ a b c "Traditions: Lawrence University". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Men's Basketball: Lawrence University Athletics". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Jostens Trophy Winners Archive - ODAC". 2002-01-06. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  25. ^ John Tharp. "John Tharp - Hillsdale College Athletics". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  26. ^ "Scoreboard: Saturday's men's results". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). March 14, 2004. p. E8.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: BAER, John Miller". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  29. ^ "BALDWIN, Melvin Riley - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  30. ^ "University of Southern California Official Athletic Site - Athletics News". Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  31. ^ "Myrt Basing NFL Football Statistics". 1957-04-29. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  32. ^ "Whoops! - Lawrence University". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  33. ^ "Whoops! - Lawrence University". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  34. ^ "Champ Boettcher, FB at". Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  35. ^ "BROWN, Webster Everett - Biographical Information". 1929-12-14. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g "Life after Lawrence - Lawrence University". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  37. ^ "Paul Driessen". Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  38. ^ "Siri Engberg". Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  39. ^ "Alumni Authors - Lawrence University". Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  40. ^ "WER: Edna Ferber / Writing Under Difficulties". 1998-01-01. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  41. ^ "Biographical Sketches : James A. Frear". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  42. ^ "Lawrence University Alumnus, Poet William Fuller Gives Reading". Lawrence University News Blog. February 16, 2005. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  43. ^ "A Captivated Audience – Film Studies at Lawrence". 2010-03-01. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
  44. ^ "Dominic Fumusa Biography". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  45. ^ "GAMBLE, John Rankin - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  46. ^ "GAMBLE, Robert Jackson - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n [1] Archived April 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ "Ed Glick NFL Football Statistics". 1976-08-13. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  49. ^ [2] Archived June 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ [3] Archived March 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  51. ^ [4] Archived September 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ "HUDD, Thomas Richard - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  53. ^ "Johnson's 'thesongadayproject' hits 2 years on YouTube".
  54. ^ [5] Archived March 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ "Takakazu Kuriyama 'Takes Five'". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2006-10-13. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  56. ^ a b [6] Archived June 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ [7] Archived January 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  58. ^ "Biographies: Major General John S. Mills". Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  59. ^ Alumni Record, 1857–1915 - Google Boeken. 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  60. ^ "Site Search | Television Academy". 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  61. ^ "Rip Owens NFL Football Statistics". 1970-08-22. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  62. ^ a b [8] Archived March 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  63. ^ "RIDDICK, Carl Wood (1872–1960)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  64. ^ "A Captivated Audience – Film Studies at Lawrence". 2010-03-01. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  65. ^ "WARNER, William - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
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Lawrence University
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