Are You Thinking Ahead?
Southwestern University has gone through remarkable changes since my first visit in the late 1950s, when I came to campus as part of what was then called the Weekend at College program. I came away from that visit very impressed with what I saw, and I also met with the basketball coach, Myron Dees, who offered me a basketball scholarship. Together, those factors made my decision to attend Southwestern an easy one. The liberal arts education I received has benefited me greatly throughout my life and in my career.
Now, more than 40 years later, I remain involved with Southwestern as a member of the Board of Trustees and as co-chair of the campaign cabinet for Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign. I volunteer my time and support the University with my gifts because I believe we are providing exceptional opportunities to talented students, and we are preparing them to be leaders in their fields.
Today, Southwestern University is in an enviable position in many ways. Our strong profile in 2006 is based on several decades of remarkable progress. We have moved from a position as a top regional institution to a nationally ranked onefrom a good school to a premier one. We have an exceptional faculty drawn from a national recruiting field, and the quality of our strong student body continues to rise. Our physical facilities are in excellent shape.
Yet, as we seek to take Southwestern to the next level, I am reminded of a truth I have learned from my career as a banker. Taking an institution from the 70th percentile to the 90th requires hard work and dedication, but it can be done. Its moving from the 90th to the 95th percentile thats really difficult, because the competition at the upper levels is much more intense. The highest-ranked institutionswhether banks or universitieshave the resources to compete and continually reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the competition. Achieving distinction for Southwestern in the arena of top liberal arts colleges and universities requires new resources and the contributions of all who care deeply about this institution.
Providing these new resources is the goal of Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign. Southwestern and its leaders are thinking ahead with programs like Paideia®a program that takes learning beyond the classroom and out into the world, where students make connections between academics and the issues facing society. They are thinking ahead about what it takes to retain and attract the very best faculty and students and to build a diverse campus community that reflects the world in which we live. Southwestern University is thinking ahead about providing facilities that will serve us well not only in the present, but for years to come. A great university does not stay great by standing still. As alumni, parents and friends, we now have the opportunity to be a part of something extremely important. Please join Southwestern University in thinking ahead.
Merriman Morton 63
Chairman, Austin Region, Texas Capital Bank