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Professor's Gift Renovates Physics Laboratory Where He First Taught as a Graduate Student

Thirty — eight years ago, John K. Lawrence, MS '64, PhD '68, first began shaping the mind of aspiring your scientists as a teacher's assistant in the introductory physics laboratory in Churchill Hall. Today, his commitment to Northeastern continues with a $400,000 pledge to renovate the laboratory where he first taught.

"This generous gift will
allow the college to update
a key teaching facility.
We will also augment this physical renovation with changes to our teaching methods to facilitate
more active learning and
teacher-student interaction."

The decades — old physics classroom and laboratory space will be completely refurbished, thanks to the generosity of Lawrence and his wife, Barbara Kulik Lawrence. Once completed, it will be named the John K. Lawrence Laboratories.

"I spent my first years at Northeastern doing labs and teaching physics students in 1962 and 1963," says Lawrence, now an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at California State University, Northridge.

When he revisited the laboratory last year — the first time since graduating from Northeastern in 1968 — he saw first — hand the need for major improvements to the classroom and laboratory space.

According to College of Arts and Sciences Dean James Stellar, "This generous gift will allow the college to update a key teaching facility. We will also augment this physical renovation with changes to our teaching methods to facilitate more active learning and teacher-student interaction."

Lawrence is pleased that pedagogical changes will accompany the physical renovation to ensure a better integration of classroom and laboratory experience for first-year physics students. "I want to contribute to finding a better way to introduce students to physics because the way this is done at most universities is not effective," he says.

One of the first recipients of a doctorate in physics from Northeastern, Lawrence is the author of numerous articles and presentations on astrophysics. He is also a loyal supporter of the University as a patron of the Huntington Society, director of The National Council, and member of the College of Arts and Sciences Resource Council.

Stellar praises the generosity of Lawrence, whose gift boosts total individual giving to the College of Arts and Sciences during the past year over the $1 million mark.

"These funds will either directly benefit students through improved teaching facilities and scholarships or they will benefit faculty scholarship and service to the community," says Stellar. "For the college to do what must be done to achieve academic excellence, we need and appreciate the support of our alumni."

more...
 
Churchill Hall
Physics at NU
College of Arts and Sciences
  This article appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of Forefront.          

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