About Lawrence University
Lawrence University is a private liberal arts college located in Appleton, Wisconsin. Founded in 1847, the first classes were held on November 12, 1849. Lawrence was the second college in the United States to be founded as a coeducational institution.
Lawrence University has a 425-acre (1.72 km2) northern property, Björklunden, in Door County, Wisconsin, which serves as a site for retreats, seminars, concerts, and theatrical performances. Donald and Winifred Boynton of Highland Park, Illinois, donated the property to Lawrence in 1963.
Lawrence University is known by many for the Great Midwest Trivia Contest broadcast every January over the college radio station WLFM. The contest is now exclusively webcast because of WLFM's move away from traditional FM radio broadcast.
Lawrence's first president, William Harkness Sampson founded the school with Henry R. Colman, using $10,000 provided by philanthropist Amos Adams Lawrence, and matched by the Methodist church. Both founders were ordained Methodist ministers, but Lawrence was Episcopalian. The school was originally named Lawrence Institute in its 1847 charter from the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature.
Lawrence's first period of major growth came during the tenure of alumnus Samuel G. Plantz as president. From 1894 until 1924, when Plantz presided over the school, its student body grew from 200 to 800.
From 1913 until 1964, the school was named Lawrence College, to emphasize its small size and liberal arts education focus. The name was changed to Lawrence University when it joined with Milwaukee-Downer College, symbolizing the two schools united as one. The state of Wisconsin then purchased the Milwaukee-Downer property and buildings to expand the campus of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Initially, the university designated two entities: Lawrence College for Men and Downer College for Women. This separation has not lasted in any material form, though degrees are still conferred "on the recommendation of the Faculty of Lawrence and Downer Colleges" and the university by-laws still make the distinction.
The Lawrence Conservatory of Music, usually referred to as "the Con", was founded in 1894. The university confers a Bachelor of Music degree and also offers a five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in addition to the music degree.
Lawrence University is distinguished by originating the idea of freshman studies. Freshman Studies at Lawrence is a mandatory two trimester class that panoptically exposes students to noted literature from many fields. President Nathan M. Pusey is credited with initiating the program in 1945, although Professor Waples chaired the Freshman Studies Committee and was responsible for actually implementing the program. The program continues to this day, despite being temporarily suspended in 1974, and has been adapted by many liberal arts colleges.