President Jill Beck

JILL BECK assumed the presidency of Lawrence University in July 2004, becoming the college’s 15th president and first woman president. Her presidency has reflected a deep appreciation for Lawrence University’s rich history, as well as a commitment to advancing the college’s educational philosophy and traditions with innovative ideas for the 21st century.

President Beck launched the More Light! campaign in 2005—the most ambitious fund-raising effort in Lawrence history—raising $160 million in gifts and pledges for the college’s endowment, capital projects, The Lawrence Fund and new initiatives. At the heart of the campaign was a $34 million student center, regarded as a vital step forward for the college’s residential experience. After more than 20 years of planning and with her determination to complete the fund raising and construction, the Warch Campus Center opened in 2009 on time, under budget and with no debt. This was also the case with the expansion of Björklunden lodge at the college’s northern campus, and major renovations to Memorial Chapel, Memorial Hall and several residence halls. In addition, the campaign secured $55 million in new commitments for the Lawrence endowment, $25 million for endowed, multiple grants from prestigious national foundations, $8 million for new endowed professorships, and $4 million for four endowed Lawrence Fellows positions.

President Beck has been a strong advocate for individualized learning, and she increased the number and spectrum of individualized learning experiences for students. Under her leadership, Lawrence implemented a significant change to its curriculum requiring all students, beginning with the class of 2012, to complete a Senior Experience. Designed as a bookend to Lawrence’s nationally recognized Freshman Studies program, the Senior Experience engages graduating seniors in projects that demonstrate proficiency in the student’s field of study. Each individual project reflects an integration of knowledge and skills gained at Lawrence as well as the development of scholarly or artistic independence. President Beck also fostered collaboration between the fine and performing arts and the traditional liberal arts and sciences at Lawrence. She created an innovative postdoctoral teaching fellowship program, the Lawrence University Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. To date, 38 Lawrence Fellows representing the sciences, humanities and arts have participated in the program. Additionally, she established the LU-R1 Partnership Opportunities for Students program, creating opportunities for Lawrence students to work in laboratories at leading research universities.

President Beck also amplified efforts to enroll a student body that is as ethnically and culturally diverse as possible. In 2006, she established a partnership with the Posse Foundation and Lawrence joined an elite group of colleges and universities across the country associated with the program. Each year, a culturally diverse cohort of 10 student leaders from New York City public high schools is selected to join Lawrence’s incoming freshman class. Through programs like Posse, College Possible, College Horizons and a partnership with Providence St. Mel High School in Chicago, she has helped create educational opportunities for motivated students and has broadened the diversity of the Lawrence University campus, creating a richer environment for the exchange of ideas and learning.

During her tenure, President Beck also cultivated a desire for environmental sustainability on campus. In 2008, under her leadership, the Lawrence community began a Green Roots initiative to establish institutional policies and procedures for achieving a sustainable campus.
President Beck’s solid leadership and innovative ideas have raised the college’s national profile and have made a long-standing positive impact on Lawrence University and the entire community.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Board of Trustees of Lawrence University here records its sincere gratitude to President Jill Beck for her devoted and generous service to Lawrence, and hereby appoints her President Emerita.

June 9, 2013