Four Longtime Supporters Receive SU Medal
Four longtime supporters of Southwestern University received one of the Universitys highest honors this springthe Southwestern University Medal. The medals are given for contributions to the University, either through service or philanthropy.
Houston businessman James V. Walzel received the award for his longtime service to the Board of Trustees. Walzel stepped down as board chair this spring after serving in that position for six years. During this time, he helped guide a presidential transition, initiated a new 10-year strategic plan and helped prepare for the largest fundraising initiative in the Universitys history. He also made several personal contributions to the University, and will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.
Also receiving the medal were three Wichita Falls residentsElizabeth Perkins Prothro, and Robert and Ruby Priddy.
The Priddys received the medal for their support of Southwesterns Paideia® Program. An $8.5 million grant from the Priddy Charitable Trust helped launch the program in 2002.
Prothro is the daughter of two longtime Southwestern supporters, Lois Craddock Perkins 12 and Jay J. Perkins. The Perkins-Prothro Foundation has donated $3.5 million for the construction of Southwesterns new Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Center for Lifelong Learning.
9/11 Commission Chair Delivers 2006 Shilling Lecture
Thomas H. Kean, the former New Jersey governor who was selected by President George W. Bush to chair the 9/11 Commission, presented the 2006 Shilling Lecture in March. The lecture was held as part of the kickoff for Southwestern Universitys Thinking Ahead fundraising campaign.
Kean said he accepted the commission position because he lost many good friends in the 9/11 attacks. The job involved interviewing more than 2,000 people and reading two million documents. The commission made 41 recommendations to improve the countrys readiness in the event of terrorist attacks.
Unfortuantely, Kean said, many of these recommendations have not been implemented. For example, he said the United States is still at the starting gate when it comes to information sharing among intelligence agencies. He added that an airline watch list is still not unified, and that a bill that will enable police and fire officials to share the same radio frequency does not go into effect until 2009.
Of greatest concern to Kean is the threat of terrorists attacking with a nuclear device. Osama Bin Laden has been trying to get a hold of a nuclear weapon for 15 years, he said.
Kean said the United States needs to improve its image in the Arab world and to encourage more Muslim students to study in this country.
Kean, also the former president of Drew University, praised what Southwestern and other liberal arts colleges provide. A liberal arts education is by far the best education to prepare students for the world they are going in to, he said. A liberal arts education is becoming much more valuable, not less valuable, in the world today.
New Book a Collaborative Effort for Students, English Professor
A book recently published by Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, represents an unusual collaborative effort.
In June, Ashgate Press published Saengers The Commodification of Textual Engagements in the English Renaissance. During the course of the project, Saenger invited three students to work with himKristen Pate 06, Jeremiah Lugo 05 and Lauren Coker 05.
The book focuses on the ways in which books were marketed in Shakespeares London and how books were presented to readers as products for sale. Current literature students read assigned literary works whereas the 1600s reader was shopping for books of immediate usefulness, Saenger says. By exploring these different perspectives, the book helps one understand the difference 400 years has made in the ways in which people read and interpret books.
Saenger says the project provided the students with a unique opportunity to participate in the final stage of a research project. I hope that the students found that research is fun, and that there are no boundaries on their abilities.