Southwestern’s Greatest Hits!

2008 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend breaks records

Members of E.B.O.N.Y. sing and dance to “It’s Raining Men” in their skit, “One Night Only.”

Pearl A. Neas Award: Monty Curtis

It’s easy to see why Monty Curtis was the 2008 recipient of the Pearl A. Neas Award. As associate vice president for enrollment services and co-founder and former coach of the lacrosse team, Curtis is the textbook definition of well-rounded. And, with over 20 years dedicated to the University, his service as an admissions recruiter is more than a career, it is a personal mission.

As a dedicated staff member and perennial lacrosse supporter, Curtis has been an innovator in both fields who continually goes above and beyond the call of duty. For him, the admission process is about more than the right grade point average and the requisite amount of extracurricular activities. “I do not form a class,” he says, “I shape a community,” carefully selecting students who not only have the potential to succeed academically at Southwestern, but who will both enrich, and be enriched by this community. His genuine regard for the diverse and exceptional composition of the student body not only makes him a favorite on campus, but consistently serves to produce outstanding first-year classes.

When it comes to lacrosse, Curtis has been an integral part of the team from its beginning as a fledgling club sport to its establishment as the first varsity lacrosse team in Texas. Though he retired as coach in 1995, he attends nearly every game, playoff and championship. He has been a player, coach, advisor and advocate, and proudly displays the team’s awards in his office.

The Pearl A. Neas Award is awarded to a staff member who exhibits long and faithful service to the University; someone who gives more in every task with which he or she is entrusted. To say Monty Curtis is dedicated would be an understatement, but it’s a good start.

Mr. Homecoming: Ken Roberts

The subject of economics has not historically been part of the Humanities curriculum, but this year’s “Mr. Homecoming” has done more than his share to change that image. Ken Roberts, professor of economics, has a knack for putting human faces to the numbers and helping students understand the culture behind the trends. It is his compassion and care for all humankind that moved former students to bestow upon him this prestigious honor as a token of their affection and respect.

It seems to all who know him that Roberts’ dedication to the rigorous study of economics is not motivated by professional recognition, but rather by the sincere desire to foster change in the world. He travels the globe to gain a better perspective of the cultural foundations that inform economic movements, and brings his findings straight into the classroom. For Roberts, opening his students’ eyes is as important as them opening their textbooks. He recounts for his students a trip to Tiananmen Square where he witnessed a protesting Chinese woman’s encounter with local authorities. Realizing that his vigilance had prevented the woman from being imprisoned for defying the government, he then followed her home to ensure the police did not arrest her. “Some people think economics is only about numbers, but it’s about people’s lives,” he says. Students who take his classes agree as they leave with a better understanding of humanity as well as of economics.

Roberts is a distinguished academician: he holds the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair in Economics, earned a B.B.A., M.B.A. and Ph.D., and has received more than 10 prestigious fellowship and scholarship awards. But, just as he teaches his students, it’s not just the numbers that are important; it’s the human persons behind the facts and figures that make the difference.