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For the first time in the organization’s 81-year history, two faculty members were among the new inductees in Lawrence University’s chapter of Mortar Board.

Derek Katz, assistant professor music, and Karen Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, were initiated recently as honorary members at the organization’s annual spring program. They are the first two Lawrence faculty members to hold honorary membership in Lawrence’s Iota chapter of Mortar Board, a national honor society for seniors that recognizes outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the academic community.

“Although Lawrence has never selected Mortar Board honorary members before, the contributions Dr. Katz and Dr. Nordell make to this campus and the larger community could not go unrecognized by our current chapter,” said Sarah Krile, student president of Mortar Board. “We felt that both of them fully exemplify and promote the three ideals of Mortar Board, namely the pursuit of academic excellence, the encouragement and practice of leadership and commitment to service. They are dedicated to their students and are highly respected among their peers. It was with great enthusiasm that we nominated them for this honor.”

Katz, who joined the conservatory faculty in 2000, was cited for his role as an advisor to Mortar Board and Sinfonia, the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, his work in helping to organize music history lectures and forums, sharing his expertise and time with the Russian and Eastern European Club, his regular attendance at recitals and lectures of students, many of whom he serves as both a formal and informal advisor and his “widely recognized” commitment to academic excellence.

Nordell, who also joined the faculty in 2000, was recognized for her accessibilty to students outside of the classroom, her role in organizing a variety of outreach programs, including the new PRYSM (Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Mathematics) Program, which creates mentoring partnerships between Lawrence women undergraduates majoring in math and science and area eighth-grade girls, her leadership as the instigator in many Lawrence students presenting at their first undergraduate research conferences, her volunteer service as coach of the crew team as well as her role of “host Mom” for student dinners and outings for international students who cannot make it home for the holidays.