CONTACT: Rick Peterson, Office of Communications, 920-832-6590
APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University found itself in the national spotlight once again Friday afternoon when Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney delivered a speech four days before Wisconsin’s primary election.
More than 600 Lawrence students, faculty, staff and members of the community turned out to witness the political process in action. Romney, who was introduced by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee, spoke for about 30 minutes in Lawrence’s Stansbury Theatre.
In an event welcome, student Jake Woodford, president of the Lawrence University Community Council, highlighted the college’s role in political campaigns in years past, having hosted numerous other presidential candidates, among them including John Kerry, George H.W. Bush and John Kennedy.
“This was an unbelievable experience, wholly unanticipated but completely unforgettable,” said Woodford, a junior from Appleton.
“Having Governor Romney here not only excited the campus, but actually showed us we are important as well,” said Josh Graber, president of the Lawrence University Republicans. “Romney’s visit has sparked meaningful discussion and hopefully has helped individuals gain some insight into why they support the party they do. His visit was influential in a political sense, but also extremely important in an educational sense.”
“It was quite exhilarating to represent Lawrence University College Democrats and to stand up for what I believe are the views of the majority of students on campus,” said the student organization’s president Rachel Wittkopp, who bravely sported an “Obama for President” button, whilesitting in the front row.
A handful of Lawrentians had the opportunity to meet Romney and Ryan face to face prior to his address.
“Talking to them before I had to speak surprisingly put me at ease. The moment was suddenly more human,” said Woodford.
Immediately following his address at Lawrence, Romney left for a campaign stop in Milwaukee.
“This was a great opportunity for Lawrence to take a leadership role in fostering democratic participation,” said Professor of History Jake Frederick, “and for our students to become informed on the democratic process. It will ensure that the opinions of Appleton-area citizens get heard by the candidates.”
Forty-two delegates will be up for grabs in Wisconsin’s primary on April 3.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.