Volume 18 • Issue 2
Jake B. Schrum, President, Southwestern University

Engaging minds. Transforming lives.

You may notice a new addition to the cover of this magazine. It’s the tagline “Engaging minds. Transforming lives.” that appears above the masthead.

This phrase is more than just a catchy slogan. It’s a new way to describe the impact Southwestern has on its students. We developed this branding statement after more than a year of careful research.

With the help of an outside consulting firm, we surveyed our alumni about what their Southwestern experience meant to them, and we surveyed prospective students about what they were looking for in a college. Interestingly, the results from both groups were remarkably similar. Our alumni told us how Southwestern was a place that changed their lives. Prospective students told us they were looking for a college that would offer a transformational experience. Alumni and prospective students alike value the quality of our faculty and teaching, as well as engagement with faculty members. As a result, we came up with Engaging minds, Transforming lives to help define Southwestern for all of our audiences. We plan to incorporate this tag into all our institutional messaging and into conversations we have with our various constituents.

Our alumni told us how Southwestern was a place that changed their lives. Prospective students told us they were looking for a college that would offer a transformational experience.

We learned a lot about this institution in our recent research efforts, and these findings now guide everything we are doing, from a future redesign of our Web site to creation of new recruitment materials.

Our research found, for example, that many potential students are discouraged from applying to Southwestern by the cost. As a result, we are making a special effort to communicate to students and their parents that what they actually pay to attend Southwestern is much less after grants and assistance. We’ve even developed an “affordability calculator” that gives prospective students and their parents an estimate of what it will cost them to attend Southwestern. You can go to our home page for the link to try it yourself.

In all, the research produced 57 recommendations, on everything from creating more compelling content about our Paideia® Program to increasing our alumni relations staff so that it can do a better job of engaging alumni in the life of Southwestern.

We hope that by implementing these recommendations, we will be able to raise the visibility of the University, convey more accurately the real cost of attending, attract a larger number of applicants across Texas and the nation, and reflect the outcome of the Southwestern experience through the accomplishments of alumni and their impact on their communities. That’s why we undertook the project in the first place. We hope it will lay the foundation to move Southwestern to a level that provides an even greater transformational education.

In this issue of Southwestern@Georgetown, we show how we are engaging minds and transforming lives when it comes to teaching and research in the natural sciences. We hope you will help us share these and other stories about your Southwestern experience.


Jake B. Schrum ’68
President, Southwestern University