For nearly 40 years, Appleton’s Austin Boncher life’s work has been music to the ears of generations of Fox Valley arts lovers.
As an educator, mentor, administrator, passionate advocate and driving force behind such notable area organizations as the White Heron Chorale and Fox Valley Symphony, his legacy has continued to resonate throughout the Fox Valley arts community long after his retirement.
Boncher will be one of six Lawrence University graduates recognized Saturday June 21 for their accomplishments and service as part of the college’s annual Reunion Weekend celebration.
More than 1,000 alumni and guests from 39 states and six foreign countries, including China and Russia, are expected to return to Appleton for a series of weekend long activities on the Lawrence campus. Five alumni will be recognized with service awards and one will be receive a distinguished achievement award during the annual reunion convocation Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
Boncher and David Hoffman, Milwaukee, will each receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Established in 1997 in honor of the late George Walter, a Lawrence graduate and education professor from 1946-75, the award recognizes contributions to socially useful ends in the community.
A 1963 graduate of Lawrence, Boncher devoted his life to developing arts programs in the Fox Valley. From 1963-70, he served as choral director at Xavier High School and Einstein Junior High School and as band director at Menasha High School before becoming the Appleton Area School District’s director of music and later supervisor of music and fine arts, a position he held until his retirement in 1998.
During his 28 years with the Appleton school district, Boncher wrote dozens of grants to bring performances of operas, ballets, instrumental and theatre groups to elementary schools, organized summer school music lessons and initiated a Suzuki pilot program. At the time of his retirement, all but one of the music teachers in the school district had been hired and mentored by Boncher.
His influence extended well beyond classroom as well, helping to change the face of the local arts community. Boncher founded the Fox Valley Symphony Chorale and the Fox Valley Youth Symphony and was one of the founders of the White Heron Chorale, the Appleton Boychoir and the Fox Valley Symphony, all of which are still thriving today.
The Fox Valley Arts Alliance honored Boncher in 1993 with its Renaissance Award for his contributions to the arts. And earlier this year, Boncher was recognized with Thrivent Financial’s Hanns Kretschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts for his role in “Sing for the Cure,” a musical production to benefit breast-cancer research.
Hoffman, a 1957 Lawrence graduate, dedicated his life to helping families in need. For 38 years — including 28 as its president — Hoffman served Family Service of Milwaukee, the oldest and largest nonprofit, nonsectarian family-support organization in Wisconsin, serving more than 10,000 children and adults each year. He retired from Family Service in December 2000.
Under his leadership, Family Service grew from a staff of 30 to more than 200. Hoffman expanded the organization’s mission to include a vast array of family support programs, including a training institute for marriage and family therapists, an employee assistance program and a credit counseling service. In 1995, Hoffman established an affiliation with Aurora Health Care that doubled Family Service’s capacity for serving low-income families and the elderly.
A member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and a former president of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, Hoffman convened the Wisconsin Association of Marriage and Family Counselors and served as the organization’s first president. He was twice appointed by Governor Thompson to the Wisconsin State Council on Mental Health.
Terry Moran, Washington, D.C., who has covered the White House for ABC News the past four years, will receive Lawrence’s Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions and accomplishments in a chosen field.
A 1982 graduate of Lawrence, Moran’s career has been a palette of late 20th- and early 21st-century social history. He began his journalism career as a writer for The New Republic magazine before joining Legal Times, where he covered the Supreme Court as a reporter and later served as the publication’s assistant managing editor. In 1992, he moved to the fledgling cable channel Court TV, where as a correspondent and anchor he covered some of the nation’s highest profile stories, including the murder trials of O.J. Simpson and Lyle and Erik Menendez as well as the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Supreme Court hearings.
Moran joined ABC News as the network’s legal correspondent in 1998, where he reported on the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and the Microsoft anti-trust case. A story on a reunion of dozens of former death-row inmates who were freed when evidence came to light proving their innocence that Moran covered for ABC’s “Nightline” earned him the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award from the Death Penalty Information Center.
In September 1999, Moran was named ABC News White House correspondent, where he currently covers all aspects of the Bush administration for “World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and other ABC News broadcasts.
Jonathan Bauer, Glen Ellyn, Ill., Michael Cisler, Neenah, and Priscilla Hausmann, West Bend, will each be presented the Gertrude B. Jupp Outstanding Service Award for exemplary dedication, leadership, commitment and volunteerism to Lawrence.
Bauer, a 1983 graduate, is a former president of the Lawrence alumni association board of directors. During his two years as board president, Bauer initiated the Career Contact Program, which connects Lawrence alumni to current students seeking answers to career-oriented questions and founded a student activity grant to support campus activities that enhance student life. A partner in Deloitte Consulting’s telecommunication/information technology business, Bauer has maintained an active relationship with Lawrence’s Career Center, participating in numerous mentoring and networking activities.
Cisler, the president and chief executive officer of Greenville’s JanSport, Inc., has served his alma mater in a variety of volunteer capacities since earning a bachelor of music degree in 1978. After serving seven years as a member of the alumni association board of directors, he spent two years as a member of the 2000 Board of Trustees commissioned Task Force on Residential Life that conducted an in-depth review of all aspects of undergraduate residential life at Lawrence. Cisler is a member of the current Presidential Search Committee that is seeking a successor to President Richard Warch, who will retire in June, 2004.
Energy, infectious goodwill and attention to detail have been the trademarks of Hausmann’s long and varied volunteer service to Lawrence. A 1953 graduate of the conservatory of music who now teaches piano and serves as her church’s organist, Hausmann spent six years as a member of the alumni association board of directors and served as class secretary for 17 years. In addition, she has been a long-time volunteer for the Lawrence admissions office.
Lawrence University, "Lawrence University Honors Six Alumni for Exemplary Service, Distinguished Achievement at Reunion Weekend Celebration" (2003). Press Releases. Paper 244.