President Carter to be sworn in after 17 Days of Kindness

175th Anniversary mural on the third floor of Warch. Photo by Jamie Dong.

Lawrence University will celebrate its 175th anniversary on Saturday, May 14. This will be preceded by the official inauguration of Lawrence’s president, Laurie Carter, on Friday, May 13.

For the 17 days leading up to Carter’s inauguration, Lawrence is putting on a variety of events each day to celebrate kindness. The 17 days are in honor of Carter being Lawrence’s 17th president.

Carter discussed the importance of kindness and encouraged everyone at Lawrence to treat each other well while navigating COVID-19.

“Letting people know they’re valued and valuable is what kindness means to me,” said Carter.

17 Days of Kindness began with a challenge on Lawrence’s Instagram page to honor and thank members of Lawrence’s staff. On Thursday, April 28, Lawrence students took to Main Hall Green to write messages of kindness in chalk. Other events included an event to thank the facilities team at 8 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center on Thursday, May 4 and a yoga/tai chi class on Main Hall Green on Friday, May 6.

Events to follow will include a campus scavenger hunt on Saturday, May 7, which will begin at Main Hall Green at 2 p.m. There will also be a Mother’s Day celebration on Sunday, May 8 and a day to promote self-care on Tuesday, May 10. On Sunday, May 8 there will also be S’mores Sunday, where Lawrentians will be invited to Carter’s residence at Hamar House to make s’mores starting at 7 p.m. The event was originally planned for May 1 but was postponed due to weather.

175th Anniversary mural on the third floor of Warch. Photo by Jamie Dong.

On Wednesday, May 11, Lawrence will be encouraging students to honor staff that work night shifts, such as custodians and campus safety. The 17 Days will culminate with a Spirit Day on Friday, May 13. On the 13th, all Lawrence students will get a discount on Lawrence-branded clothes at the corner store.

At the end of the 17th day, President Carter will be sworn in as President at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel. This will be followed by a celebration on Main Hall Green. She plans to give a speech about her plans for the future, which she says will have a lot to do with helping Lawrence recover from COVID-19.

Tickets to the ceremony require advance registration on the Lawrence website. According to Matthew Baumler, the Executive Director of Alumni and Constituency Engagement, there will be music and a procession of faculty. The ceremony will also be livestreamed for Lawrentians unable to attend in person.

Although Carter’s official role will not change in any capacity, Baumler hopes that this will be an opportunity to officially welcome her to campus and let her set her vision for Lawrence’s future. He added that they would have liked to have the ceremony during Fall Term, but once it became clear that COVID-19 would make that impossible, the anniversary weekend seemed like a good time to hold the inauguration.

The following day, Lawrence will celebrate its anniversary. The day will start with a symposium in Main Hall starting at 9 a.m. Other events include an exhibit about Lawrence’s past presidents in the Seeley Mudd library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The main event will be the Brighter Together picnic starting at 11 a.m. on Main Hall Green, with free food and live music. Other events will include a series of talks from faculty and alumni from 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m., and a performance in the Memorial Chapel from the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, starting at 8 p.m.

Ed Berthiaume, Director of Public Information, is hopeful that the events will bring the Lawrence and larger Appleton community together.

“This weekend will be a wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate community but also build community,” said Berthiaume.

Carter reflected on her first year as president. Although she is frustrated that the pandemic has continued, she is hopeful for the future of Lawrence. She stated that her proudest accomplishment was bringing campus back together for the first year back in-person from COVID-19. She acknowledged that there are issues at Lawrence and in colleges around the country but hopes to continue building community and working towards solutions.

“As we look toward the future, I want us to look towards it with a sense of hope and a sense of community,” said Carter. “And that what we’ve endured and what we’ve learned will never leave us but doesn’t define us.”