With all the papers, tests, lists and music scores to work on at the end of eighth week, Lawrence can start to bear down on students as they wind their way toward finals week and the break that follows. Unfortunately, the reward is often soured. Come break, we chat with distant family and acquaintances as they nod their heads and smile, still confused by the very existence of a liberal arts institution they’ve never heard of.
Under such pernicious conditions, it is hard to maintain pride in your school. Turn on the television and you can see larger schools showcasing scientific breakthroughs or national championship wins. There is no panacea for this, but we have two recommendations to assuage this issue. First, we must recognize that comparing a purely undergraduate institution with a strong faculty to schools with large graduate programs and over 50,000 students is apples and oranges.
Second, consider that when Lawrentians go toe-to-toe with other college students on the regional and national level, they regularly surpass all expectations. Just this past weekend at Northwestern University, Lawrence’s fencing team placed second overall among both men and women, breaking previous school records at a major competition that included several Big Ten schools.
The list of accolades goes on effortlessly. Last Saturday, Lawrence’s Quizbowl team took first among Division Two teams at the Academic Competition Federation tournament. At a major competition for vocalists hosted by the National Association Teachers of Singing, nine of our own placed with high honors in their divisions. In addition, Luke Barthelmess and Andy Paider, two senior football players, garnered the Midwest Player of the Week awards from USA College Football.
These are just a few samplings of how Lawrentians have been recognized nationally in the past week. While our campus is small, our successes are not. Lawrence University is often dismissed in a sea of larger colleges and universities. We encourage all students to embrace this as a challenge to surprise, astound and impress anyone who does not know the name of Lawrence University.