Engaging Minds. A Message from the President

A Message from the President

At last month's first-ever White House Science Fair to encourage and recognize undergraduate innovations and inventions in science, technology and engineering, President Obama said, "What happens when a young person is engaged in conducting an experiment, writing a piece of software, solving a hard math problem, or designing a new gadget--it is in these pursuits that talents are discovered, passions lit and future scientists, engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs are born. That's what is going to help ensure that we succeed in the next century--that we are leading the world in developing technologies, businesses and industries of the future."

Last night at a Southwestern event in Houston, James Adams '66, Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, moderated a discussion related to one of the University's highest priorities--creating exemplary undergraduate science facilities to foster an inclusive and cross-disciplinary community further enhancing our tradition of excellence in science education. Toward that goal, Shaping Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Southwestern University 2010-2020 underscores a focus on the University's academic mission--our commitment to providing every student with an education that extends beyond the simple transmission of knowledge and skills to a lifelong commitment to learning as a broad, integrated and transformational process.

Forty percent of all students who apply to Southwestern express an interest in the sciences, and 20 percent of all Southwestern students major in one of the science disciplines. Southwestern students are routinely admitted to top graduate science programs, and three quarters of our graduates who have applied to medical, dental and veterinary schools over the past 15 years have been admitted, positioning them well for participation in the rapid growth of the health care and health care education sectors.

At Southwestern, our teacher scholars expect to work side-by-side with students on a wide variety of research projects--experiences typically available only to graduate students at large research universities. The ever-increasing number of students and faculty interested in collaborative research requires an increased amount of space dedicated to such projects, as well as the continual renewal of laboratories and work areas. This is why enhancing our facilities is essential to the role the sciences play at Southwestern and in society at large.

In closing, I'd like to share the words of Dr. Martin Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Biology, who has said, "The ultimate benefit of the research we do in our labs will not be measured by the results we generate from our experiments, but by the interest the lab experience sparks in these young individuals to go out, advance their educations and make discoveries that will benefit us all."

Thank you.

Please share your ideas by writing to shareyourideas@southwestern.edu.

Jake B. Schrum ’68

P.S. Please join Professor of Biology Ben Pierce and me on a conference call at 7 p.m. (CST) Thursday, Nov. 18, to discuss the topic of the sciences at Southwestern. Participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to RSVP.

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