Portrait of President mark burstein

Welcome to Lawrence University


Founded in 1847, the year before the state of Wisconsin was established, Lawrence has always been at home on the frontier. We were one of the first colleges in the Midwest; we were the second coeducational institution in the country; and we were one of the first to require a Freshman Studies curriculum, which continues to thrive today. We take seriously the challenge of engaging ideas at the frontier of knowledge. Our nationally recognized Conservatory of Music enhances Lawrence’s reputation as a premier institution of liberal arts and sciences. We believe in a comprehensive, individualized approach to learning.

Lawrence was founded on the principle of providing an education to all—a tradition we proudly uphold today. A college of 1,500 students who hail from 44 states and 40 countries, we are dedicated to creating a community in which every member has a voice and all are challenged to explore their full potential. Lawrence prepares students for a lifetime of learning required by a dynamically changing society. Our students become leaders; our graduates become citizens of the world.

We have deep roots in Appleton, the city that grew up around and beside us in the heart of the Fox Cities, a metropolitan area of more than 250,000 residents. We also embrace the beauty of our natural surroundings at the 425-acre northern campus at Björklunden.

Today, Lawrence is an institution on the frontier of the future, building on the traditions of diversity and access envisioned at our founding. On behalf of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, I want to extend to you a warm welcome to Lawrence University. We are glad you are here.

Best regards,

Mark Burstein


Mark Burstein, Lawrence University’s 16th president, has focused on creating learning communities in which all members can reach their full potential during his more than twenty years in higher education.  Burstein’s vision for Lawrence builds on the unique intellectual strengths of the university, ensures the affordability of a rigorous liberal arts and sciences education, and provides social and academic support for students of all backgrounds.

He came to Lawrence from Princeton University (2004-2013) where, as Executive Vice President, he led efforts to enhance campus life and modernize operations and infrastructure.  While there, he taught in the Freshman Seminar Program.  He also created an award-winning campus master plan, wrote a sustainability plan which integrated teaching and research with administrative initiatives, and launched, with the Dean of the College, a four-year residential college system.

At Columbia (1994-2004) he held several senior positions.  As Vice President for Facilities Management he developed the plan and acquired over $250 million of real estate for the new campus now under construction:  Manhattanville in West Harlem.  He also oversaw the expansion of the university’s Morningside campus with over $1 billion in new construction.  Earlier, as Columbia’s first Vice President of Student Services, he managed the registrar’s office, financial, health, housing, and retail services for the benefit of 20,000 students.

Before Columbia he helped launch New York City’s recycling program as Director of Economic Development for the Department of Sanitation (1993-1994) including co-founding a commodities exchange for recyclables at the Chicago Board of Trade.  Before taking up government work, he was an associate in the Public Finance Division of Bear Stearns and a consultant at the Center for Applied Research in the firm’s strategy and organizational development practices.

Burstein earned his Masters in Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded a Morgenthau Fellowship, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Independent Studies with departmental honors from Vassar College. He holds an honorary Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley.

He served on the Vassar College Board of Trustees in many roles including as chair of the personnel and compensations committee. He currently serves on the board of ThedaCare, a community health organization serving more than 235,000 individual patients a year through a network of seven hospitals and numerous clinics in northeastern Wisconsin. He served on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Applied Sciences Advisory Board, and he was Chair of the Board of Directors of The Victory Fund: a national political action committee based in Washington, DC.

Burstein is married to David Calle, a former Unilever executive, who is an entrepreneur based in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Open Office Hours for Students with President Burstein

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person office hours are not advised at this time. If you would like to meet with President Burstein, please contact Alice Boeckers at alice.o.boeckers@lawrence.edu or 920-832-6525 to set something up.

All office hours subject to change. Updates will appear on this page.