Volume 16 • Issue 2
Southwestern @ Georgetown
Karen Dulaney Smith ’86

Alumni News

— Kristen Card

Karen Dulaney Smith, Class of 1986

In Her Own Words: How Southwestern Influenced My Life

I graduated from Belton High School in 1983 and chose Southwestern because it was small, close to home and a place where education meant more than preparing one for the marketplace—though I have managed fairly well there, too. As a matter of fact, the career counselor at Southwestern helped me obtain the first job that started me toward the career I enjoy so much today.

My career began 17 years ago as one of public service at the United States Department of Labor. It has been intellectually demanding and, alternately, emotionally rewarding and draining. It satisfies my need to grapple with economic and social issues that affect all of us and to seek balance and harmony between competing ideas.

Helping businesses profit while treating their employees respectfully and compensating them appropriately is my bread and butter. Being involved in the political and social aspects of labor issues is more exciting. Recently, I have been interested in issues such as living wage as well as social and corporate responsibility. I have also been exploring issues in regulatory affairs and other governmental and nongovernmental checks and balances in the marketplace that increase worker power. More importantly, I am beginning to delve into global labor issues.

In 2003, a long awaited regulatory revision to a major worker-protection law was issued for public comment. I was incensed by the impact it would have on workers in terms of their rights and employers in terms of increased litigation. My husband encouraged me to contact Robert Reich, a former Secretary of Labor, about the issue. To my complete surprise, through that effort, the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington D.C. “think-tank,” responded to my e-mails. Subsequently, I helped them with some of their research.

When a revised proposal of the regulation came before the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee, Representative George Miller asked me to testify on a panel before the subcommittee hearing the issue. My remarks followed those of the current Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and Tammy McCutcheon, the Wage and Hour Administrator who was responsible for issuing the regulation. My role in the Congressional hearing was to educate the members on the regulation and its probable impact. The most exciting part of the whole experience was realizing that I had a chance to influence public policy in my area of expertise in a way that could affect millions of U.S. workers.

My experience at Southwestern led to a life that is intellectually fascinating and emotionally rewarding. It encouraged my community service and political involvement.

Frances and Angus Springer Honored at Palace Theatre Dedication Ceremony

Frances and Angus Springer had a profound and lasting impact not only on the students of Southwestern, but also on the entire community of Georgetown.

As head of the drama department at Southwestern for 35 years, Angus Springer produced a string of high-voltage plays designed to stimulate the intellect and touch the heart. From 1950 to 1965, Frances Springer taught English, drama, speech and debate at Georgetown High School.

Jerry Wayne Hardin ’51, who is currently an actor living in Hollywood, Calif., recalls, “Angus Springer was for me teacher, friend, fellow laborer, and a valuable influence throughout my life in the theatre and film.”

To honor the Springers, a fund-raising campaign for the Palace Theatre in Georgetown was capped off with a ceremony dedicating the stage as the Frances and Angus Springer Memorial Stage. The evening included a retrospective slide show that brought fond memories flooding back for those who knew the Springers. Those who were not fortunate enough to have known the couple left feeling as if they did. Georgetown Mayor Gary Nelon proclaimed the day of the dedication, April 8, 2005, Frances and Angus Springer Day.

Southwestern University President Jake Schrum recalled a particularly telling moment from Springer’s days at Southwestern. He said, “Rather than calling him Dr. Springer, many of his students addressed Angus as Papa Springer or Papa S., because he was so much more than a professor to them. At the conclusion of a particularly challenging rehearsal in the early ’70s, one of the student-actors remarked to Angus, ‘This stuff just isn’t very easy, is it Papa S?’ Angus responded to the group, ‘Our labor in the Vineyard becomes a whole lot easier when we remember Whose Vineyard it is.’ You see, Dr. Roland Angus Springer not only taught students how, he also taught them why, which was, looking back, perhaps his greatest gift of all.”

Dr. William C. Finch, president of the University from 1950–1961, penned the foreword to Springer’s history of Southwestern’s Department of Theatre, Exits and Entrances. In it he wrote, “Without drama’s growth and drama’s contribution, Southwestern [and Georgetown] would have been a lesser place.”

President Schrum concluded, “This town, which they helped to make so vital, is steeped in the personal history of the Springers and their legacy still thrives. Naming the stage in this theater, in the community fortified by their love of the theatre arts, is the perfect symbol of the enormous gratitude Georgetown feels for all the gifts Angus and Frances Springer gave to us.”

Student Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of Service

In August of 1978, Marilyn Mock stepped onto Southwestern’s campus and made some very interesting observations in her first few months as the Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.
Southwestern @ Georgetown
Current and former members of Student Foundation, faculty and staff gather for 25th Anniversary celebration.

“I was shocked,” recalls Mock. She was surprised to see no student participation in Homecoming and no weekend program available for parents. Determined to meet these needs, Mock researched what other colleges and universities did to promote student participation in campus events such as Homecoming. “Something needed to be planned for students, by students.” After consulting with student and administrative leaders and attending a regional conference at Texas Tech University, Mock instituted Student Foundation in 1979. Says Mock, “We envisioned Student Foundation to be ambassadors for Southwestern. We wanted them to do things, like help with making a Homecoming that was fun and a Parents Weekend that people wanted to attend.”

Gwen Griffin Sherman ’80 served as the first Student Foundation president. Sherman remembers implementing this new organization during those first months and how important it became to set a high standard for membership. She explains, “Student Foundation wanted to recruit members who were already active and self-motivated—students who had an interest in supporting the mission of the University. We also wanted diversity: representation from all of University life.” Mock, Dean of Students Barbara Brightwell, David Simmons ’79, who was the student body president at the time, and Sherman identified 25 student leaders and presented their recommendations to President Durwood Fleming.

Twenty-five years later, Student Foundation retains its core purpose of advancing Southwestern University.

Jim Zalles ’83, one of the first members of Student Foundation, recalls, “We were a ready-made volunteer pool who could represent the University well.” The current Chair of Student Foundation, Dan Slezak ’06, remarks, “We look for members who are excited and enthusiastic about giving back to the University.”

Some of the early activities and events for which the Foundation assumed responsibility were Phonathon, recruiting prospective students, Parents Weekend and the Senior Gift. Since Homecoming had such a crucial need for student participation, Student Foundation reinstituted SING! (previously known as Sing Song) and the Homecoming Parade. Finding students interested in initiating change at Southwestern was not difficult. The call to help advance Southwestern unified students representing varied campus organizations, residence halls, class years and interests. David Rowe ’87, a Student Foundation alumnus concurs. “I felt that it was the most vibrant, active campus organization that transcended all the cliques,” he says.

The legacy of Student Foundation continues to flourish. Today the Foundation continues defining ambitious goals for the organization and the University by encouraging better communication between students and administrators, launching new programs to invigorate campus life and upholding Southwestern traditions.

Adam Winkler ’04, a former membership chair, says, “It’s nice to see that it has evolved into an all-encompassing face of the University.”

Southwestern @ Georgetown

Alumnus Organizes Aldersgate Celebration

Early in the morning on Tuesday, May 24, passengers will board a bus in San Antonio, Texas, and travel to Southwestern University for a modern-day recognition of an event that occurred 267 years ago.

Southwestern University alumnus Henry Holloway ’50 planned this trip as a special celebration of Aldersgate Day—a commemoration of John Wesley’s “heart-warming” experience during a service at Aldersgate Church in London in 1738 that led him to found the Methodist movement.

Holloway organized this celebration to share his appreciation for Southwestern University, its place in the history of Methodism in Texas and his love of Methodist hymns. He says, “While my initial plan was to organize a trip for members of my church, Southwestern offered to open this special event to the community.”

The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24, in the beautiful Lois Perkins Chapel among the towering stained glass windows depicting John and Charles Wesley and other Methodist leaders. Ellsworth Peterson ’55, professor emeritus of music, will introduce traditional Methodist hymns and play them on the Chapel’s Aeolian-Skinner organ.

Following the singing of hymns, Norman Spellmann ’49, professor emeritus of religion and philosophy and a member of the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, will present an overview of The Methodist Excitement in Texas, his book on the history of Methodism in Texas.

Lunch will be available in the McCombs Campus Center following the Chapel program.

While this celebration pays tribute to the past, Holloway explains its relevance today. “One can hardly worship at any Christian church in the world and not encounter a Wesley hymn. Such a universality of hymn-singing is needed in the church today, particularly in the United Methodist Church. A day set aside for celebrating such a tradition is appropriate.”

Those who join Holloway on the bus ride from San Antonio will return that afternoon by way of Rutersville, the site where Methodists established Rutersville College, the first college in Texas. Rutersville College is recognized as one of the four root colleges of Southwestern University.

If you wish to attend this celebration, please call the Alumni Office at 1-800-960-6363.

Southwestern @ Georgetown

In Memoriam: Tex Kassen

As we celebrate Tex’s life, we will miss the entire point if we don’t learn something from him. I hope each of you will remember what Tex taught us. To be a better husband, to be a better boss, to be a little more gracious, to be more of a sport, to always remember “Thank you” and “Please” and mean it, to give more of our time to others. Be a giver, not a taker. Doc, we thank you for being such a positive influence on all the people who knew you, and we thank you for making this world a better place.

For information about the Dr. Tex Kassen Endowed Fund, contact Southwestern University’s Development Office at 800-960-6363 or 512-863-1482.