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Using innovative technology, Lawrence University President Jill Beck conducted the college’s first-ever phonecast March 1, creating the largest alumni event in the college’s history.

Nearly 4,000 alumni, parents and friends of the college from across the country participated in a personal one-on-one conversation with the president.

During the 30-minute phonecast, Beck, who announced in February her plans to retire as Lawrence’s president in June, 2013, discussed her priorities for the final 16 months of her tenure and fielded nearly a dozen questions from callers in Washington, D.C., New York City, North Carolina, Boulder, Colo. as well as Appleton and Neenah.

The president addressed questions ranging from her proudest accomplishment to issues of diversity on campus and the relevancy of a Lawrence liberal arts education in preparing students for careers in today’s economy. She said her focus for the remainder of her presidency would center on strengthening Lawrence’s innovation and entrepreneurship program, improving athletic facilities, enhancing an emerging interdisciplinary film studies program and growing the Lawrence Annual Fund.

Beck was joined on the phonecast by Terry Franke ’68, chair of the Lawrence Board of Trustees, who, in response to a question regarding the search for Beck’s successor, outlined the process and time frame for having Lawrence’s 16th president on board by July 1, 2013.

As part of the phonecast, participants were invited to respond to a series of poll questions related to institutional priorities, student recruitment and technology by touching appropriate keys on their phone pad.