Faculty Tribute: David Laws

Najja King ’25 and Tenjiwe Sithole ’25 in Features | May 26, 2024

         Where do I begin? The man, the myth, the legend: Dr. Laws. At first glance, Dr. Laws may appear to be an ordinary scientist; however, when you put him under a microscope, you see the intricate layers of his passion for both science and rowing.

         As a coach, Dr. Laws has been formative in every Lawrenceville rower’s career from their first novice row to their last varsity race. Last year, I had the privilege of coxing his daughter, and I soon realized that he didn’t just care about his daughter’s success, but he cared about the success of the boat as a whole. Throughout the season, he supported and encouraged me and the rest of the girls in our boat. His goofy jokes go a long way in lifting the energy on a rainy, cold practice day. - Tenjiwe

         On my first day on the water as a novice rower, the sunny weather quickly turned gloomy. Small gusts turned to heavy winds, and the clouds moved to cover the sun. Rain poured from the sky and the water sloshed its way into our boat. “Bow seat stroke!” called our coxswain. I was bow seat. I reached up to the catch to stroke, and soon the boat crashed into big tree branches on the shore. It was storming, and Dr. Laws’ voice emerged from the launch right next to us. He tried to advise us with his megaphone from the launch, but it didn’t end up being very effective considering the stormy weather. So, he did what any other amazing coach would do—he jumped into the water and swam towards us to help. He was in a full survival suit and appeared, as some might describe, as a highlighter-yellow marshmallow. Yet, I would describe his appearance as that of a hero. Dr. Laws has always been committed to the crew team, and he will forever be remembered as a team player and leader. - Najja

         As a rowing coach, Dr. Laws’ dedication and determination are unmatched. He doesn’t just train his athletes to row; he molds them into disciplined, resilient individuals who understand the value of teamwork and perseverance. His coaching extends beyond the physical aspects of the sport—it focuses on instilling life lessons and fostering personal growth. Sometimes, Dr. Laws even finds ways to work the rules of physics into practice to help us understand how to move the boat faster. He is a mentor and a guiding light for those fortunate enough to know him. His impact extends far beyond the classroom and the boathouse; it manifests in the lives he touches and the futures he shapes. 

         This season, one of our favorite memories was riding back to campus in the minivan with him and two other rowers after practice when the bus was running late. His Star Wars DVD-filled backseat and Kleenex at the ready demonstrate his childlike and caring personality. Dr. Laws may seem serious to some, but those who know him will understand his light-hearted, humorous, and amazing personality. - Girls’ Varsity Crew 

         We will miss him dearly, but we know that wherever he goes next, he will be successful and make the people around him feel supported and loved. Thank you, Dr. Laws.