A Compendium of Famous Lawrentians

Lawrence University attracts a whole host of colorful characters, from Nefarious Betty, the campus trickster, to Flinty Flynn, the delightful vagrant behind Plantz. But did you know that, since its establishment in 739 A.D., Lawrence has hosted a number of famous alumni as well? It has! And we have listed them here.

Matthew McConaughey ‘75: That’s right, the Hollywood heartthrob and “Interstellar” star Matthew McConaughey was a Lawrence grad. A classic “man’s man,” McConaughey was known around campus for his refusal to wear a shirt, even in the dead of winter. From November to March, McConaughey was in a constant state of intense hypothermia. The entire upper half of his body would get brutally frostbitten, causing immense swelling and purpling of the skin. His appearance as a swollen, purple man earned him the name “Grimace,” a reference to the large, purple McDonald’s character. He was forced to leave Lawrence once his veins stopped working.

Banksy ‘83: At Lawrence, renowned graffiti artist Banksy was a run-of-the-mill eccentric. Fiercely protective of his identity, Banksy draped his entire body in raccoon pelts to render himself unidentifiable. He was skilled at graffiti, but poor at raccoon skinning, causing much of his raccoon pelts to contain chunks of raccoon flesh that would decompose and attract horse-flies. Banksy attracted so many horse-flies that they became an invasive species, wiping out most of Lawrence’s plant life. He did not show any signs of remorse, instead creating a piece of graffiti artwork on Main Hall that depicted a horse-fly shooting a begonia. This led to Banksy’s expulsion after his first term.

Betsy Ross ‘95: The creator of the American flag, Betsy Ross, arrived at Lawrence in 1991 at the ripe old age of 239. Despite largely consisting of dust, Ross tried to create a flag for Lawrence as her senior capstone. In her old age, Ross had become excessively experimental, rendering most of her designs unusable. Proposed flags included a human head, a live badger and a pair of khakis slathered in Dijon mustard. Eventually, Ross submitted the flag of Brazil, which serves as Lawrence’s flag today.

Peter ‘20: The unkempt Peter is known across campus and the world for his general buffoonery.



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