Virginia Merrifield ’80

Virginia Merrifield

When I checked the box asking “Do you want to receive information from colleges?” on my SAT test during my senior year in high school, I had no idea how that casual decision would change my life.

As a California kid, I had never heard of Lawrence University, but I knew I wanted to attend a liberal arts college that was far away from home and had an exceptional biology department. When I received an information packet from Lawrence (a result of checking the box on the SAT), the description of the college sounded charming and met all of my requirements.

I arrived at Lawrence to begin freshman year having never visited in person. I quickly realized it lived up to the promotional materials and infinitely more. During my time at Lawrence, I took advantage of as much as I could including participating on the Track team, pledging Kappa Alpha Theta, and studying in London for two trimesters.

While these activities can be found at many colleges, what I believe sets Lawrence apart are the intangibles; especially the environment of closeness, respect, trust, and honor. The low student/teacher ratio is something few institutions can claim, and living by the honor code sets a tone of trust. Treasured moments like ice skating in the moonlight outside of Ormsby as well as having heartfelt conversations in the Viking Room and even conducting silly shenanigans all shaped my Lawrence experience.

I arrived at Lawrence as a biology major, but in true liberal arts fashion after taking a broad spectrum of classes, graduated with a degree in Spanish. Between the excellent education provided, the friendships forged, and the life lessons learned, Lawrence truly shaped the course of my life. I have enjoyed a successful career in Marketing since my Lawrence days, but the honor code, values, and friendships solidified at Lawrence have been a constant guide. I had no idea that checking a little box on a test would change my life so profoundly.