The annual Parade of Classes precedes the Reunion Convocation at Memorial Chapel.
The annual Parade of Classes, complete with group photos, is a tradition at Lawrence's Reunion.

Welcome home, alumni.

Nearly 800 Lawrence University alumni are set to return to campus for Reunion 2024, beginning June 13 and continuing through June 16.

The weekend will include multiple Alumni College presentations, including a panel discussion on artificial intelligence (AI), an all-reunion cookout, and the annual parade of classes, among many other activities.

“Reunion is a celebration of the people, places, and programs that make us uniquely Lawrence,” said Matt Baumler, associate vice president of alumni and community engagement. “We’re expecting nearly 800 alumni and friends to return home this weekend; home to a place where they were a student for four or five years and home to a place they will always be connected. Reunion truly celebrates what it means to be Forever a Lawrentian.”

The following classes and clusters will be celebrated:

  • 10th Reunion: Class of 2014
  • 20th Reunion: Classes of 2003, 2004, 2005
  • 25th Reunion: Class of 1999
  • 40th Reunion: Class of 1984
  • 45th Reunion: Classes of 1978, 1979, 1980
  • 50th Reunion: Class of 1974
  • Milwaukee-Downer
  • Golden: Classes of 1973 and older

Alumni awards to be presented

Headshots of all nine 2024 Alumni Award recipients.

The Lawrence University Alumni Association (LUAA) will present nine Alumni Awards during the Reunion Convocation on June 15. The recipients include:

Lucia Russell Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award: Cynthia Estlund ’78;

Marshall B. Hulbert ’26 Outstanding Service Award: Adam Locke ’03;

Gertrude Breithaupt Jupp M‐D’18 Outstanding Service Award: Rick Davis ’80, Jill Manuel ’84, Bonnie Maas McClellan M-D’62, and Eileen Paulson Johnson M-D’66;

Nathan M. Pusey Distinguished Achievement Award: Jacob George Allen ’03;

George B. Walter ’36 Service to Society Award: Christina Balch ’03 and the late Donald Brunnquell ’74.

A celebration of Milwaukee-Downer

Milwaukee-Downer signage is displayed on the Lawrence campus.
Milwaukee-Downer signage is displayed on the Lawrence campus.

A Milwaukee-Downer and Golden Reunion luncheon on June 15 will mark the 60th anniversary of the 1964 merger of Milwaukee-Downer and Lawrence College.

The influences of Milwaukee-Downer continue to be seen and felt at Lawrence University 60 years later. Downer traditions such as class colors are embraced, and items of historical and sentimental value such as the Teakwood Room in Chapman Hall and the sundial from Merrill Hall that is situated on the green on the south side of Main Hall remain important pieces of the Lawrence campus.

In addition to the luncheon, two Downer alumni are among this year’s recipients of Alumni Awards—Bonnie Maas McClellan M-D ’62 and Eileen Paulson Johnson M-D ’66.

Milwaukee-Downer was a pioneering women's college, with roots dating back to the 1850s. It was formed in 1895 with the consolidation of two women's colleges: Milwaukee College and Downer College of Fox Lake, Wisconsin.

In 1964, Downer's 43-acre east side Milwaukee campus was sold to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and 49 students and 21 faculty members transferred to Lawrence upon the merger. Forty-four of the original 49 Milwaukee-Downer students eventually earned bachelor's degrees from Lawrence, and 11 of the faculty members remained at Lawrence until retirement.

In addition to the sundial and Teakwood Room, other remembrances of Downer can be found on the Lawrence campus. The Chapman Library’s rare book collection, along with a selection of Downer memorabilia, is housed in the Milwaukee-Downer Room of the Seeley G. Mudd Library. A beloved grove of Hawthorn trees, known as Hawthornden, has been recreated near Colman Hall.

Alumni College sessions

Alumni will have the opportunity to return to the classroom on June 14 for sessions presented by Lawrence faculty and alumni. Among them will be a panel discussion on AI: “Navigating New Applications of AI in Academia and Industry: Efficacy, Ethics, and Inclusivity.” Panelists include Thomas M. Baer '74, executive director of the Stanford University Photonics Research Center (retired) and adjunct professor in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford; Gail J. Sonnemann '74, a career librarian who served as an information systems specialist (retired) with the U.S. Copyright Office; Mark T. Nelson '74, CEO and president of Microscopy Innovations in Marshfield, Wisconsin; Joseph J. Bruce '74, a retired Illinois 17th Circuit Court judge; and Constance Kassor, associate professor of religious studies and special assistant to the president at Lawrence. Kassor is a leader in developing Lawrence's approach to AI on campus.

Seven other Alumni College sessions will be offered, with topics including maternal mortality rates; the future of remote work; journalism in crisis; the legacy of Elda Anderson; the need for ethnic studies; being a classical singer in a post-pandemic world; and the art and science of craft beer. Details can be found here.

Traditions aplenty

Amid the various dinners, receptions, beer gardens, and other gatherings, Reunion weekend features numerous traditions, including the Vikings Athletics’ annual golf outing, an alumni music recital, the Coach Gene Davis Memorial Fun Run/Walk, Parade of Classes leading into the Reunion Convocation, an all-reunion cookout, and a day trip to Björklunden.

In addition to the presentation of Alumni Awards, the Reunion Convocation, held in Memorial Chapel, will feature the presentation of class gifts, music by the Alumni Choir, and an address from President Laurie A. Carter.