A Letter From LAMP Director Professor Spang

Monday, December 6, 2021

Dear friends and alumni/ae of LAMP,

How are you? When I think about everything that we—as a community, a campus, and a country—have been through in the last two years, I hardly know how to answer that question myself!

This semester has in many ways marked a return to “normal”: Michael, Laresa, and I work from LAMP House every day; most classes meet in person; and most spaces (on campus and off) are occupied to full capacity. We’ve all become adept at managing in “hybrid” settings and are grateful for how the ubiquity of Zoom and the excellence of campus technology has allowed us to connect with alumni all over the country. We’ve hosted three events in which LAMPers old and new (from the class of 1999 to that of 2020) talked with current students about their work experiences and career trajectories. We’re grateful (but not surprised) to have generous alumni working in everything from marketing for Universal Studios to data science at Instagram and organic farming in Indiana; thanks to Brian, Derek, Olivia, Laura, Steven, and Jason for taking the time this semester to re-connect! We’re looking forward to more such events in the spring.

Of course, even with an official campus vaccination rate close to 95%, the pandemic is far from over (cases in the county and the state are rising rapidly again). As a historian, I suspect that only time will let us fully assess the long-term effects of COVID. For myself, it’s brought some obvious changes (traveling less, wearing much less lipstick) but it has also really got me thinking about the relationship between science, business, and society. I confess to being stumped by people who are hostile to, or skeptical of, science and medicine but I also know the country wouldn’t be in the grips of a continuing opioid-abuse crisis if it were not for the pharmaceutical industry. Grappling with these problems really does require all the skills and perspectives developed through LAMP and the Liberal Arts more generally.

As the final leaves drop from the trees and the days continue to shorten, the winter holidays remind us that light shines most brightly in times of darkness and flashes most joyously when it comes from unexpected sources (be it a manger, an empty oil can, or a reindeer’s nose). As we give thanks for all we have and all we hold dear, I am especially grateful to direct a Program with such loyal and generous alumni, donors, and friends. Please be in touch. There are so many ways you can help and be involved.

Very best wishes for the end of 2021,



Rebecca L. Spang

Professor of History and Director of LAMP