Lisa Elaine Rusen '05
B.A., History and Education; Fairlawn, Ohio
Lisa Rusen was inducted into Phi Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta (history), Kappa Delta Pi (education) and Mortar Board (senior honorary). She held a Heritage Scholarship and a GAR Foundation scholarship. She volunteered in both campus and community organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Bread for the World, New Beginnings Battered Women's Shelter, the Newark Education and Literacy Center, Helping Hands, Newark Food Pantry, River Roundup, and Habitat for Humanity. Rusen was both vice president and president of the Denison Community Association, the umbrella organization that coordinates student volunteer activity and which logged more than 13,500 hours of community service by Denison students the past year. Rusen also served as a costume designer and constructor in the theatre department for four years.
Lisa, your four years at Denison have been marked by extraordinary intellectual grace and energy, by an outpouring of your time and effort to the Licking County community, and by a focused dedication to the art of costume making. Phi Beta Kappa and a double major in History and Education, you plan to continue the narrative of your love of teaching by working for the Teach for America program after you graduate. That narrative was enriched by your selection as a Young Scholar in the Education Department last summer, when you researched the historiography of the Civil Rights Movement and investigated how civil rights history might best be integrated into the high school curriculum. Your visibility in the Education Department has been matched by your successes in the history classroom, where you have been an intellectual force, leading one professor to say that you have "a gift for understanding historical causality and a demonstrated passion for research, writing, and talking about the past."
Your classroom accomplishments have been matched by your intense commitment to community service as vice-president and then president of the Denison Community Association. Under your leadership, DCA logged over 13,500 hours of community service in just one year. Many of those hours were yours: coordinating Homelessness Awareness Week for two years running, tutoring students at the Newark Education Community Center, working with children at the New Beginnings Shelter, mentoring teens at the organic community garden project, and working for Habitat for Humanity and the Real Break in Guatemala.
But if service has been your focus, costuming has been your passion. For all eight semesters at Denison you have worked in the theatre's costume shop, from designing and constructing costumes to taking measurements and soaking laundry. You have given of yourself tirelessly and quietly in this role literally "behind the scenes."
Lisa, we appreciate, applaud, and celebrate these distinguished achievements during your time at our college.