2 new professorships endowed at Lawrence

Amy Abugo Ongiri, left, and J. Copeland Woodruff (Courtesy: Lawrence University)
Amy Abugo Ongiri, left, and J. Copeland Woodruff (Courtesy: Lawrence University)
APPLETON - Donations are helping Lawrence University add two new professors - one to head up the college's film studies center, the other to direct the school's opera studies.

Lawrence alumni Tom and Julie Hurvis have endowed the Jill Beck Professorship in Film Studies. The professorship honors Beck, who served as Lawrence president from 2004-2013. To fill the position, Lawrence has hired Amy Abugo Ongiri, who is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Florida. Ongiri will also be the director of film studies at the Hurvis Center for Interdisciplinary Film Studies.

Meanwhile, an anonymous donation to encourage participation in music and the arts has led Lawrence to hire J. Copeland Woodruff as director of opera studies. Woodruff is currently an assistant professor and co-director of opera studies at the University of Memphis. Lawrence has staged an opera production annually since 1961.

"One of the many strengths that a Lawrence education develops is the ability to link a student's own talent and creativity with performance and presentation, a skill one needs to succeed in the world today," president Mark Burstein said in a news release. "The addition of Amy Abugo Ongiri and J. Copeland Woodruff significantly enhances our capability in this area both for students interested in film studies and in the conservatory and also in the larger Lawrence student body."

Lawrence requires a minimum $2.5 million donation to endow a professorship.