2017–18 Convocation Series

Convocations are held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and are free and open to the public.

Matriculation Convocation
Thursday, September 14, 2017
11:10 a.m

"What Do We Stand For"
President Mark Burstein

Mark Burstein became Lawrence’s 16th president in 2013. During a career in higher education spanning nearly 25 years, Burstein has focused on creating learning communities in which all members can reach their full potential.

He came to Lawrence from Princeton University, where he spent nine years as executive vice president. Prior to Princeton, Burstein held several senior positions at Columbia University, including vice president for facilities management, where he developed the plan and acquired more than $250 million of real estate for the construction of the new Manhattanville campus in West Harlem. 

A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and independent studies from Vassar College and a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Colman McCarthy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
11:10 a.m.
"Is Peace Possible?"
Colman McCarthy

Award-winning journalist, educator and long-time peace activist, Colman McCarthy directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., which he founded in 1985.

The son of an immigration lawyer and a stay-at-home mother who often welcomed refugees straight from Ellis Island into their home, McCarthy spent nearly 30 years as a columnist for the Washington Post. Since 1999, he has written a weekly column for The National Catholic Reporter.

As an educator who believes if we don’t teach children peace, someone else will teach them violence, McCarthy has taught courses on nonviolence and peace literature for more than 30 years. He is the author of 14 books, including 2002’s “I’d Rather Teach Peace” in which he chronicles his experiences introducing the theory and practice of creative peacemaking to classrooms ranging from a suburban Washington, D.C. high school to a prison for juveniles to Georgetown University Law Center.

McCarthy earned a bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College, a small Jesuit school in Mobile, Ala.

His appearance is supported by the Class of 1968 Peace and Social Activism Fund.

Jad Abumrad

Thursday, February 1, 2018
11:10 a.m.
"Gut Churn”
Jad Abumrad

Jad Abumrad, who studied creative writing and music composition in college, is the creator and host of “Radiolab,” one of public radio’s most popular programs. Broadcast on more than 520 stations nationally and downloaded more than nine million times a month as a podcast, “Radiolab” combines dialogue, music, interviews and sound effects to create documentaries that explore potentially intimidating topics ranging from the evolution of altruism to the legal foundation for the war on terror.

“Radiolab” has been recognized twice—2010 and 2015—with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. In 2011, Abumrad was named a MacArthur Fellow, an honor commonly known as a “genius grant.” In 2016, he premiered “More Perfect,” a spinoff of “Radiolab” which explores untold stories about the Supreme Court. Abumrad also produced and hosted “The Ring & I,” a look at the enduring power of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.” It earned 10 awards, including 2005’s National Headliner Grand Award in Radio.

His appearance is supported by the Marguerite Schumann Memorial Lectureship.


Ainissa Ramirez

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
11:10 a.m.
"Technology's Unexpected Consequences"
Ainissa Ramirez

Getting people excited about science is the passion of Ainissa Ramirez, author and science “evangelist,” who spreads her “gospel” through books, TED Talks, online videos and the podcast “Science Underground.”

She was named one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators by Technology Review for her contributions to transforming technology and has been the recipient of the American Institute of Physics’ Andrew Gemant Award.

Ramirez spent eight years teaching mechanical engineering & materials science as an associate professor at Yale University and also has been a visiting professor at MIT. She is the author or coauthor of three books, including 2013’s “Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game,” an entertaining and enlightening look at the big ideas underlying the science of football.

She has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others.

Her appearance is supported by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society.


Ken Bozeman

Honors Convocation
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
11:10 a.m.
“Voice, the Muscle of the Soul: Finding Yourself Through Finding Your Voice”
Kenneth Bozeman

Kenneth Bozeman, Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music, is the ninth recipient of Lawrence’s Faculty Convocation Award, which represents the judgment of faculty peers that the person’s professional work is of high quality and deserves the honor of selection.

A tenor, Bozeman has taught in the conservatory’s voice department since 1977. He is one of only 11 faculty members in the history of the university to be recognized with Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award (1980) and Excellence in Teaching Award (1996). He also was honored by the Voice Foundation with its Van Lawrence Fellowship in 1994 for his interest in voice science and pedagogy.

In 2017, his book on acoustic pedagogy, “Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers” was published. He is frequently invited to speak at seminars and master classes on acoustic pedagogy at universities and interdisciplinary conferences.

His appearance is supported by the Marguerite Schumann Memorial Lectureship.

Main Hall Forum

Main Hall Forum presents a wide range of lectures by Lawrence faculty and distinguished guest speakers on historical and contemporary issues and recent scholarship in the humanities.

Economics Colloquium

The Economics Colloquium began in 2010 and features talks from visiting scholars, distinguished alumni and guests, and Lawrence faculty.  Topics run the gamut from hardcore economic theory (presented in an audience-friendly  fashion, of course) to social science and policy issues more generally.  The Colloquium typically features an author of the Senior Experience work in economics.

Science Hall Colloquium

The Science Hall Colloquium presents a series of cross-disciplinary lectures that address research developments in diverse areas of the natural, physical and social sciences.

Fine Arts Colloquium

The Fine Arts Colloquium presents several occasional lectures during the academic year that touch on topics related to art, art history, and theatre.

The Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies

Established in 1987 and named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.

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