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For nearly 30 years, Jean Schumaker has been working on mechanisms for improving the learning effectiveness of students with learning disabilities as well as the instructional effectiveness of teachers.

The co-founder of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, Schumaker is one of eight Lawrence University graduates who will be recognized Saturday June 19 for their accomplishments and service as part of the college’s annual Reunion Weekend celebration.

Lawrence will welcome nearly 1,000 alumni and guests from 42 states and four countries, including Australia and South Africa, back to campus for a variety of weekend-long activities. Three alumni will be recognized with distinguished achievement awards and five will he honored with service awards during the annual reunion convocation Saturday at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Schumaker and David Hawkanson, executive director of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, will receive the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award. Named in honor of the second president of Milwaukee-Downer College, the Briggs award recognizes alumni of more than 15 years for outstanding contributions to and achievements in a career field.

A 1968 graduate with a major in psychology, Schumaker co-founded UK’s Center for Research Learning in 1978 and serves at its associate director today. Also an associate professor in the UK’s department of special education, Schumaker is regarded as one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of learning disabilities.

She has been principal investigator of research grants and contracts totaling nearly $60 million and has written more than 80 articles for professional journals, 29 book chapters and 45 books and instructional manuals for classroom teachers, including “Teaching Every Adolescent Every Day: Learning in Diverse High School Classrooms,” which she co-edited.

Schumaker also founded the International Training Network (ITN), whose 1,200 trainers teach educators throughout the world to use the scientifically based instructional practices developed by the CRL. In 1983, she established Edge Enterprises, an educational research and publishing organization that provides specialized instructional materials to educators.

She earned her Ph.D. in development and child psychology from the University of Kansas and was trained as a somatic experiencing practitioner in trauma therapy by the Ergos Institute. She is a member of the University of Kansas Women’s Hall of Fame and have been a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities.

Hawkanson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre and drama in 1969, has enjoyed a distinguished 30-year professional career managing regional theatres across the country. Prior to being named executive director of Steppenwolf Theatre in 2003, Hawkanson spent six years (1996-2001) as managing director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where he first began his career as a house manager in 1970. He also has held managerial positions with the American Conservatory Theater, served as managing director of the Arizona Theater Company and spent eight years as managing director at the Hartford Stage Company, which received a a special Tony Award in 1989 for outstanding achievement in regional theatre while under his management.

Before joining Steppenwolf, Hawkanson maintained a management consulting practice with clients in Arizona, Connecticut, Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico and Illinois. He has served as an artistic advisor to the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, been a program committee member for
the National Arts Stabilization Fund and worked as a panelist and advisor to both the Ford Foundation’s Working Capital Fund and the Minneapolis Foundation’s Working Capital Reserve Fund.

In addition, he is a former senior staff member at the National Endowment for the Arts and a former chairman and panelist for the theatre program of the NEA. He has served as an officer and board
member of the Alliance for Arts Advocates, Theater Trustees of America, the Theatre Communications Group, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, New York Stage and Film, and the American Arts Alliance.

Mary Louise Knutson, a 1988 graduate and piano performance major, will receive the Nathan M. Pusey Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes Lawrence alumni of 15 years or less for significant contributions to and achievements in a career field. The award honors the 10th and youngest president of Lawrence and an exemplary figure in higher education in the 20th century.

A jazz pianist and composer based in Minneapolis, Knutson has been called “one of the most exciting and innovative artists to happen to jazz piano in quite some time.” Her debut jazz trio CD, “Call Me When You Get There,” spent eight consecutive weeks in the top 50 in the United States and Canada following its 2001 release and earned Knutson “Top New Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year” honors. The CD’s title track composition was selected as the music for the art documentary “Wellington Lee: 60 Years of Artistic Photography” and soon will be heard at major art museums across the country. She has performed with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Slide Hampton, Richie Cole and Greg Abate, among others as well as Smoky Robinson, the Osmonds and Engelbert Humperdinck. She has toured internationally as lead keyboardist for Synergy (formerly known as Rupert’s Orchestra) and regularly plays clubs, festivals and concert halls around the country with her jazz trio or as a soloist.

Knutson has been honored numerous times as a composer, including two awards from Billboard magazine for her compositions “How Will I Know? and “Meridian.” In addition, her composition “Merle the Pearl” streams on the Internet as the theme music for “Jazz Release,” an interview program on

A former instructor in jazz piano and improvisation at Carleton College, Knutson is a member of the International Association for Jazz Education and teaches a variety of master classes, including “Jazz Voicings and Scales: Freedom from the Written Page” for beginning jazz students and “What’s Up with Jazz?” for non-musicians.

William Mittlefehldt, a 1968 graduate, will receive the George B. Walter Service to Society Award. Named in honor of Walter, a 1936 graduate and former faculty member and dean of men at Lawrence, who believed strongly that every individual can and should make a positive difference in the world, the award recognizes alumni who best exemplify the ideals of a liberal education through socially useful service in their community, the nation or the world. Since 1974, Mittlefehldt has taught social studies, futuristics, environmental issues and — by example — community service at Anoka High School in Minnesota with imagination, energy and personal commitment.

Widely recognized as the author of innovative and effective curricula, Mittlefehldt’s economics curriculum “Minnesota, Where Are We Growing?” earned first-prize honors in the 1987 National Economics Award Program. In 1992, he was honored by the Amway Corporation and Time magazine as one of nine “Earth Teachers of the Year” for his curricular unit “Energy: How Weather Is Created,” which also earned Anoka High School a $10,000 grant from Amway. In 2002, Mittlefehldt was named a regional winner of the NASDAQ Distinguished Teaching Award and most recently he was a first-place winner at the secondary-school level of the 3M-sponsored Innovative Economic Education Awards.

Mittlefehldt has led student teams to testify before the United Nations, the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee and the Minnesota legislature and has directed numerous other student ventures into the realm of education through activism. He serves on the national advisory board for Rescue Mission Planet Earth, is an advisor to Vermont’s Center for a Sustainable Future and serves as a curriculum designer for the Water on the Web team at the University of Minnesota.

Kelly Carroll Rhodes, a 1989 graduate, and Gina Perri Jaeckl, a 1994 graduate, will each receive the Marshall B. Hulbert Young Alumni Service Award. Presented to alumni of 15 years or less who has provided significant service to the Lawrence, the award honors Marshall Hulbert, a 1926 graduate known as “Mr. Lawrence,” who contributed to thousands of Lawrentian lives and served the college and the conservatory in many significant capacities for 54 years.

Rhodes, Edina, Minn., has served as class secretary for her class for 11 of the 15 years since she graduated. She has served on all three reunion steering committees and has volunteered as a career contact and an admissions volunteer. In 2003, she completed a four-year term on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors, during which she was a member of the student relations committee and later assumed leadership of the careers committee, which included serving on the board’s executive committee.

Jaeckl, Chicago, has been active with her 5th- and 10th-year reunion steering committees and also served on the gift committee for her 10th Reunion this year. She has worked as a volunteer for the admissions program and served for three years as a career contact. In addition, she has helped organize and host alumni events in the Chicago region and been active the Viking Gift Committee, soliciting support from young alumni for The Lawrence Fund.

Husband and wife Walter and Barbara Ives Isaac, Lakewood, Colo., will share the Gertrude B. Jupp outstanding Service Award. Named in honor of Gertrude Jupp, a 1918 graduate of Milwaukee-Downer College who was named M-D Alumna of the Year in 1964 for her long volunteer service to the college.

Both members of the class of 1964, the Isaacs have served as key alumni leaders, working on every reunion committee since they graduated. Barbara Isaac has served as a volunteer admissions worker in the Denver area for more than 20 years, coordinating countless admissions events and persuading many Denver high school students to enroll at Lawrence.

Walter Isaac served on the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors for six years, where he chaired the communications committee for two years and served on the executive committee for four. He served as president of the LUAA from 2001-03.