Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Southwestern to Hold its 170th Commencement Ceremony May 10

  • News Image
    1995 graduate Amanda McMillian will be one of the three featured speakers at the 2014 commencement ceremony.
  • News Image
    Senior environmental studies and international studies major Sarah Puffer will be the 2014 student commencement speaker.
  • News Image
    Senior English major Katie McLaughlin was selected to be the Phi Beta Kappa speaker.

1995 graduate and graduating senior will be featured speakers

Southwestern University will hold its 170th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 10.

This year’s commencement ceremony will be different from recent ones in several ways. One difference is an earlier start time. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the Corbin J. Robertson Center.

A second is the addition of two student commencement speakers. Sarah Puffer, an environmental studies and international studies double major, was selected by her classmates to be the student speaker. Puffer will present a speech about the student life experience at Southwestern titled “Moments in Time.” Senior English major Katie McLaughlin was selected to be the Phi Beta Kappa speaker. McLaughlin will give a speech about the academic experience at Southwestern titled “Academic Self.”

The other commencement speaker will be Amanda McMillian, a 1995 Southwestern graduate who now serves as Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, one of the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. McMillian will give a speech titled “Not If, But How.”

After graduating from Southwestern with a degree in political science, McMillian earned both a master of arts degree and a juris doctorate from Duke University. Prior to joining Anadarko in 2004, she practiced corporate and securities law at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she represented a variety of clients in a wide range of transactional, corporate governance and securities matters. 

McMillian has been active in a number of organizations, including the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the National Association of Corporate Directors, and the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association. She is president of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Board of Directors and serves on the Advisory Board of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and the Southwestern University Board of Visitors.

McMillian was named to Houston Woman Magazine’s list of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2013.

“Amanda represents the true promise of a liberal arts education − empowering individuals to see our multifaceted, complex world through many different lenses of human thought,” said President Dr. Edward Burger. “She also is an aspirational leadership figure who shows us the power and impact of wise, creative, innovative, strategic and effective thinking. Amanda is living proof that the intellectual as well as life-changing value of a Southwestern University education knows no bounds.”

Approximately three hundred and thirty-six December, May and August graduates are eligible to receive degrees at the May 10 ceremony.

For friends and relatives who are unable to attend the ceremony, it will be streamed live on the Internet. For details on how to watch the broadcast, go to

Overflow viewing also will be available in Room 105 of the Olin Building.

Other commencement-related activities include a Multicultural Recognition Ceremony, which will begin at 2 p.m. Friday in the Mood-Bridwell Atrium, the Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m. Friday in Lois Perkins Chapel, and a Lavender Graduation event which will begin at 5 p.m. Friday in the Prothro Center Lobby.

The complete schedule for commencement weekend is available at

The hashtag for this year’s commencement will be #SU14grad.



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