By Dave Block ’93

A double major in international affairs and history with a minor in Chinese, Morgan Limmer ’21 grew up in Bloomington, Minn., just outside Minneapolis. Her parents recently moved to New Mexico, where she’s been living since the quarantine started.

What was it like doing remote learning for the second half of the semester?

For the most part, my professors did their absolute best to restructure their classes in an accessible way for all of us. It was a bit of a challenge for me since everything took place two hours earlier than when I was at Laf, but after a few weeks, I adjusted. Having flexible deadlines really made the difference when things got challenging.

While the circumstances for the second half of the semester were difficult, what positives did you discover in the situation?

My father had a heart attack just days before the quarantine started, and I had to rush home before break to be there for him. While the first few weeks were difficult, quarantine really gave him the time he needed to recover and brought me home to be with him the whole way through.

I also learned how to find fulfillment within myself. I know no one in New Mexico, and while I could still contact my friends over the internet, it felt nowhere near what I had at Lafayette. I struggled with loneliness for a long time, but I slowly began to enjoy the frequent moments of silence. I also picked up cross-stitching!

What was your favorite two classes last school year and why?

My favorite classes last year correlate well with each other. Back when I studied abroad in London in the fall, I took a course discussing the history of anarchist movements around the world. It really challenged my perceptions about class theory, the role of the government, and social injustices in our modern state-led world. Conversely, Professor [Josh] Sanborn’s Human Rights and Modern War course this spring highlighted various ethical issues surrounding warfare and how it’s evolved over time. Comparing the two was very interesting.

What professor has had the strongest impact on you?

I’d say Professor [Suzanne] Westfall. Although I’ve never taken a course with her, she’s been my director [in College Theater] multiple times over the years. She’s really pushed me outside my comfort zone and challenged me to get inside the minds of every role I’ve played. I’ve come a long way in terms of acting skill since freshman year, and I definitely owe it all to her.

What's been your involvement in College Theater?

College Theater is basically my entire life at Lafayette. I’ve been involved since the very beginning of my freshman year and have had the privilege of being a part of most of the productions since. The thrill of a successful show with an engaged audience is one of the best experiences anyone can have. It’s nights like those when the cast, crew, and production team all feel the payoff of the months of hard, time-consuming work.

What's a College Theater production that's stood out for you?

College Theater has challenged me in a lot of ways, but I don’t think anything will top learning how to operate a robot for Heddatron. I knew that the show involved robots somehow, but I had no idea that the department had built fully functioning remote-controlled ones! We could even move their arms and adjust their eye color/brightness. Not only did we have to operate them from the catwalk, but we had to act at the same time as well. Singing and dancing to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as a robot was certainly a highlight.

What other extra-curricular activities did you do this past school year? 

I’m a member of Tri Delta! I didn’t really think Greek life was for me going in, but I’ve had a blast with this group of girls. Living in the house this year was fantastic; it made me feel closer than ever to my sisters.

I’m also a member of MAFia [Music Appreciation Floor] and lived on the floor my sophomore year. Although I didn’t live there this year, I still attended meetings and album-of-the-week events. MAFia has been a fantastic community for me, and I can’t wait to be back for another round of LipSync!

What's a funny story from the school year?

I made the mistake of mentioning that I knew all of “Baby Got Back” during the Heddatron rehearsal period, so [Professor] Michael O’Neill (our director) made me rap it in front of the entire cast all the time. He even had me do it at the end-of-the-year grass-trampling Zoom call that had alumni in attendance. Michael is the best.

What was the highlight of the school year for you?

Definitely stepping back on campus after a semester abroad. London was fantastic. I met so many great people whom I still keep in touch with and traveled to so many cool places, but that feeling of returning home after a long time in an unfamiliar place is unmatched. Getting to see all my friends and going back to my old study/hangout spots was refreshing and comforting. I can’t wait to go back.

What research are you doing this summer?

I’m doing EXCEL research for the history department under Professor [Paul] Barclay about how war is sanctified within the public consciousness, and that in turn, wars are perpetually fought. I will be scouring through newspapers to read about the perception of wartime and peacetime at the turn of the 20th century in the United States. This will contribute to larger research that Barclay is doing about wartime in Japan during the same era.

What are you doing for Chaplain Alex Hendrickson?

I am working as her new Interfaith Fellow for the upcoming year. I’ll be organizing interfaith events, helping other religious groups with their own events, and working with Alex to expand religious life as a whole on campus. During my time at Lafayette, I’ve realized it’s not contradictory to be both passionate about social justice and about my faith at the same time. Interfaith Council allows people in it to unite over what commonalities they share across faiths, and I would love to spread that experience to the entire Lafayette community.

What else will you be doing this summer?

I’ve been protesting in St. Louis over George Floyd’s unjust death by police brutality. This incident hit close to home since I’m from the Minneapolis area. It’s my friends whose lives are on the line protesting at the front lines back home, so although I can’t be with them, I want to support them in any way I can. I’m hoping to do as much as I can this summer to help the cause.

Who's the most interesting person you've met at Lafayette?

Professor [Paul] Barclay. I’m currently his EXCEL Scholar and [honors] thesis student. I’ve never met a professor as adept in banter as him, and his lectures are always a wild and engaging ride. Truly an icon.

What do you do for fun?

Back at Lafayette, I loved exploring the restaurants in Easton with my friends on show weekends. Easton is very different from Bloomington, Minnesota, so I’ve loved discovering new corners of the city. It makes the climb back up the hill worth it.

What's something surprising about you?

I had a rib taken out in one of the surgeries I’ve had! Did you know that ribs grow back?

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