For Laurie Lawson, service is a way of life. The newly-minted chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work has spent the last three decades as the executive director of the Clinton Community Christian Corporation (a nonprofit better known as the 4Cs) while also balancing a teaching position in Jennings Hall, where she educates the next generation of MC social workers.
Lawson came through the program she now leads, graduating from Mississippi College in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Her long history of community service and commitment to the campus made her a clear choice for this year’s Distinguished Lecturer Award.
The award is given annually by the College of Arts and Sciences to recognize and reward outstanding faculty who demonstrate effective teaching, service to the institution, and scholarship in their chosen field.
“Dr. Lawson hits the mark on all three of these criteria,” Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Jonathan Randle said of her receipt of the accolade. “She is an engaging colleague, a caring mentor, and a dynamic instructor for students in the Social Work program.”
This is evident in the vast array of classes that Lawson has taught during her combined 27 years in the classroom at MC, as she has led classes ranging from crisis intervention to contemporary social problems.
Randle believes that Lawson’s extensive expertise in her field will benefit her students and colleagues in the School of Arts and Sciences as they begin to re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dr. Lawson’s experience and insight—to say nothing of her nurturing spirit—make her an ideal choice when we think about ways to pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding and reshaping our communities,” said Randle
Lawson’s experience and insight were hard-won, as the Tulane alumna spent time as a medical social worker and adoption specialist in the city of Jackson during the late 1980s and early 1990s. She also relies on that experience in her work in numerous professional organizations in social work, as she is a member of the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Christian Social Workers.
A date, topic, and venue for Lawson’s lecture will be announced at a later date.