Brad Grimmer '06

Brad Grimmer ‘06

It’s strange to think that I am now more than twice as old as I was when I started a Lawrence. At 18, I was filled with optimism for the future and excitement for what I would learn and how I would grow. While my outlook on life hasn’t changed since then, my five years at Lawrence gave me a mindset, a skill set, and experiences that allowed me to navigate adulthood with curiosity, courage, and resilience. As I think about my time at LU, many memories rise to the surface: being matched with a roommate who shared many of my same interests, how intellectually stimulated (and sometimes intimidated) I was during discussions in Freshmen Studies, how accessible my professors were outside the classroom, long nights in the computer lab writing papers, the crunch of the snow under my feet while walking across Main Hall Green in the dead of winter, and inspiring choral rehearsals with Professor Bjella. My weekends at Björklunden are among my most cherished memories. If the campus has become known as the Lawrence Bubble, then Björklunden felt like a totally separate planet. That safe space magnified the impact of deep conversations, bonfires, music rehearsals, and quiet moments of reflection sitting by the water staring at the waves. But my time at LU wasn’t perfect. While I loved the small class sizes and the intimate bond I felt with friends in the conservatory, I felt smothered at times in such a small community. For better and for worse, everyone knew everyone else, social circles felt rigid, and gossip was unavoidable. During my first year at Lawrence, I sometimes wondered whether I might be happier attending a much bigger college where you were simply another anonymous person in the crowd. By my sophomore year, I settled into Life at Lawrence and proactively began seeking out resources and opportunities across campus. I found professors who were willing to mentor me in my areas of interest outside of class, did independent studies, and found my tribe. These were experiences I doubt I could have had at a large university, and were central to why Lawrence served me so well. The cornerstone experience of my time at LU was forming a 7-person all-male a cappella group with my roommate my freshmen year. We called ourselves the “The Con Artists.” What started out as a lightly attended concert in the coffeehouse on campus grew to producing a professional studio album, performing three concerts a year, and selling out Stansbury Theater for a ticketed “Midwest A Cappella Benefit Concert" with other groups from UW and Michigan. So…how did my time at LU shape who I am today? It fostered my creativity, my resilience, my adaptability, my work ethic, and my determination. It made me realize that I am in the driver's seat, and that it’s up to me to seek out resources and opportunities to create the college experience and the life I wanted. It cemented my love of lifelong learning and personal growth. It gave me the confidence to pursue my dream of a performing arts career. And 8 years later when that career no longer felt like a good fit, these skills helped me reinvent myself and navigate a career change into fundraising. That’s why I am compelled to give back and serve on the LUAA Board.