Texas Tribune: A Triumphant Trajectory in Political Reporting

Texas TribuneA savvy assortment of founding members and supporters gathered Tuesday, Nov. 3 at The Belmont to celebrate the launch of The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan public media organization based in Austin, Texas. I was delighted to find myself among a host of Texans equally excited to celebrate a noble experiment in nonprofit political coverage. The Belmont served politically-themed mixed drinks across the aisle, spirits which included The Democrat, The Republican and The Independent.

Based online, The Tribune is an unbiased, interactive platform offering quality journalism, precise data and significant coverage of statewide affairs, following the nonprofit public broadcasting model. More than $3.6 million was raised between July 17 and the Nov. 3 launch, securing finances to support the organization for at least two years. The Tribune does not compete with existing news publications, offers free journalism to website visitors and other news publications across the state.

The launch fell just one day short of a year until the 2010 general election, when Texan voters will elect their next governor, as well as many other legislators and statewide officials. After months assembling a squad of high profile journalists and raising funds, The Texas Tribune set sail, offering free content, incorporating nonprofit funding with digital-only platform, engaging journalistic talents from Texas Monthly, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, El Paso Times, and The Texas Observer.

Just after Texas Monthly earned a distinguished Magazine Award for general excellence in July, Evan Smith stepped down as president and editor-in-chief of the booming publication after more than 17 years. Smith’s decision sparked significant attention, as he walked away from a coveted publishing job to launch a spanking new nonprofit news media model. The endeavor was committed to covering public policy news which had fallen through the gaps of state coverage among current news publications.

The Tribune acquired Texas Weekly, a highly esteemed political newsletter covering Texas politics, officials, government and politicians. While The Tribune incorporates the content of Texas Weekly, the newsletter maintains independent publication as a for-profit insider newsletter for subscribers, featuring exclusive material not presented on the Texas Tribune.

The interactive Tribune includes:

TribWire: This real-time content feed is a buffet of current content from other sources.
TweetWire: A comprehensive selection of tweets of all Texas politicians who are on Twitter.
OurBlogs: Features links to the blogs of Ross Ramsey, Evan Smith, Elise Hu and others.
Other blogs: A staff-selected medley of links to 25 national blogs across the political field.
Topic pages: Detail pages on a range of Texas topics, including: Death penalty, Border cameras, State Board of Education, Child Protective Services, Secession Controversy, Health and Human Services, The Texas Legislature, Immigration, Texas Education Agency, The Governor’s Office, Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, Tier One Universities, Republican Party of Texas, Texas Democratic Party, Texas Youth Commission, Texas-Mexico Border, and Department of State Health Services.
Library: A searchable database of public documents
Polling: Results of polls in partnership with the University of Texas
2010: A section offering content about the 2010 election campaign.
Calendar: A listing of all political events and fundraisers across the state.
CampusWire: A smattering of quality college and university journalism from around the state (Southwestern University Megaphone links have been featured)
Texas Weekly: A link to the political newsletter acquired by Texas Tribune

In a statement regarding bias in political reporting, The Tribune states, “Our only bias is in favor of Texas being the best place it can be, which means shining a light on the good being done and making as much noise as possible when the public interest is being subverted or ignored. It doesn’t matter to us if Democrats, Republicans, Independents or Wiccans are in charge. We’ll call ‘em as we see ‘em.”

Visit the Texas Tribune today.

Brooks Prize Debate Revived

A scene from the Brooks Prize Debate last year.On Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Southwestern Library, students will participate in the preliminary rounds of the Brooks Prize Debate, a long-time tradition at Southwestern that was revived last year. The topic for the preliminary rounds will be “Resolved: A democratic society has an obligation to provide adequate health care for its citizens. Teams of two will compete against each other in the debate, with one team arguing in favor of the resolution and the other team arguing against it.

This past spring the Brooks Prize Debate was revived in the Southwestern tradition. The Brooks Prize was originally started in 1878 at Southwestern University and was considered one of the most important events on campus in the years following. In the summer of 2008, Matthew Maschino researched the archives of the tradition in the A.Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center, and with help from Sarah Gould, reinstituted the long-lost tradition. The debaters will use the same desks their predecessors used 130 years ago. Maschino received permission from Special Collections to borrow the desks, which have been residing in the library.

The Brooks Prize Debate was originally started by a competition between the two men’s societies, the Alamo and the San Jacinto, on campus. It was named after alumnus Richard Edward Brooks in 1904. Between the years of 1878 and 1927, the Debate was a very important event that gave Southwestern state-wide and national recognition. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis attended one year, as well as William Jennings Bryan, who was the Democratic presidential candidate nominee in 1896, 1900 and 1908.

The men’s societies intended for the debate to revolve around controversial issues that were important both nationally and internationally. Some of the topics were about women’s suffrage, the railroad, the telegraph and Hawaii. This year’s topic deals with healthcare, while the spring 2009 topic was about multinational corporations.

“I think debating encompasses the intellectual experience that Southwestern wants to create for its students,” Gould said. “To have a campus wide debate that is celebrated not only by alumni, faculty and staff – people who are here all the time – but also by students who are in and out will be such a priceless treasure for Southwestern. I hope that it stays around for a long time because it is the epitome of the Southwestern experience to not only engage in this debate but also to celebrate it and what it means.”

The Brooks Prize Debate will be a very important and essential feature of this year’s homecoming celebration. Alumni will have the opportunity to view the students and witness the revival of an important feature of Southwestern’s past. It is hopeful that the Brooks Prize Debate will continue to provide a Southwestern tradition and a platform for inquiry and discussion into relevant topics in people’s lives.

2009 Electorial Results May Not Necessarily Be a Referendum

Chris ChristieThe mixed results from a number of the Nov. 3 elections paralleled a number of mixed feelings amongst the American public. Conservatives hailed the GOP victories in New Jersey and Virginia’s gubernatorial elections as a sign that Americans are fed up with the Obama administration. Liberals hailed the Democratic victory in New York’s 23rd congressional district as a show of continued support of the Democratic Party and signs of a splintering GOP. It would seem that both sentiments are true.

For the Obama administration, it would seem that the honeymoon is over. His approval rating has dropped almost 20 percent since January’s inauguration, and it is clear that his once-wild popularity is waning. This, however, is to be expected. Such a high level of popularity was highly unsustainable as the lofty campaign promises and rhetoric met with the plodding reality of Washington politics.

Many liberal Democrats (myself included), were hoping for sweeping reform in the areas of healthcare, the environment and the war in Iraq, and have been disappointed by the perceived lack of meaningful legislation in these areas. The gay community has largely withdrawn support as a result of similar disappointment in the area of gay rights. And of course, the GOP and other conservatives have not failed to harp on the so-called “far left” and “big government” policies of the Obama administration.

Despite this, Tuesday’s election results were not quite the referendum that many GOP politicians were claiming. In response to Chris Christie’s gubernatorial victory in Virginia, RNC Chairman Michael Steele stated, “Americans have grown sick and tired of big government and reckless spending, and this vote is a sound rejection of the far-left policies that are hurting our nation.”

Network exit polls in New Jersey and Virginia suggest otherwise. According to Politico.com, 60 percent of voters in Virginia and 55 percent of New Jersey voters said their feelings towards the president did not affect their decision. Rather, it would seem that a number of state and local issues were the main concern of gubernatorial voters, as is often the case.

The Democratic victory in New York’s 23rd congressional district, a first since the 19th century, did serve as a major indicator of national sentiment. The primary reason for this victory was a split in the conservative vote. Many “Tea Party” conservatives viewed the Republican nominee, Dierdre Scozzafava, as too moderate and instead chose to back Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava chose to drop out of the race, leaving her votes uncounted and giving the victory to Democrat Bill Owens. Outgoing Virginia governor Tim Kaine stated that “[the] race turned out to be the worst possible outcome for Republicans…what occurred in New York has exposed a war within the Republican party that will not soon end.”

Despite the cooling of Obama’s popularity, it is clear that the GOP is not necessarily faring any better. The splintering of the party by the increasingly radical libertarian “Tea Party” voters could prove disastrous for the party in 2010’s midterm elections.

"Procastination is the Assassination of Motivation"

Motivational Posters are Not Always MotivationalMy JROTC instructor used to tell us, “Procrastination is the assassination of motivation.” I have pondered this saying several times throughout my college career. Throughout the first semester of my freshman year in college, this statement stayed in my head as I continuously worked on not falling behind. I worked out a schedule for completing my assignments, which usually entailed working from 4 to10 p.m. every night, Sunday through Thursday. In theory, this would have allowed for me to have the weekends off and enjoy campus. I would be able to hang out with my friends all day on Saturday and Sunday and enjoy ourselves after a week of hard work. Within a few days, however, I realized that this was not the case. Many of my friends put off doing their homework so much that by Friday, Saturday and especially by Sunday, they were stuck in their rooms throughout the day, and sometimes even at night, trying to get their assignments done. The main cause of this situation was procrastination.

A lot of students at Southwestern, and everywhere in the world, enjoy putting off their tasks. They will spend their hours of supposed freedom playing video games or watching television. Many of them reason procrastination by saying that when they are left with only a few hours to do their assignments, they work better because they are under pressure. Unfortunately, this does not turn out to be the case most of the time, and these same students find themselves having trouble passing their courses or doing as well as they wish they could do.

But, why am I referring to these students in third person, when I myself am currently doing the same thing. Earlier today, I procrastinated on writing this article by talking through Skype with my fiancé for a couple of hours, and I am currently procrastinating on continuing my Capstone paper by writing this article. You see, procrastination comes in different forms. Sometimes we like to procrastinate by doing things they enjoy, such as going to weeknight parties or playing video games, while at other times we procrastinate by doing other things that seem to be productive and make us think that we are not really procrastinating.

Whatever the form it comes in, procrastination has the same cause: the desire to not face something that we feel we cannot take on. It has to do with our desire to wish our assignment would disappear. Whether it is because we think of it as boring or as bigger than ourselves, the point is that as much as we try to fool ourselves into thinking that we are only putting it off because we can address it easily and within a matter of moments, the reality is that it is worrying us and that it is stressing us out. And the more we procrastinate, the more we feel that our task is bigger than ourselves, and the more we feel incapable of doing a good job on it, especially with less time to work on it, which explains why procrastination is the assassination of motivation.

So next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, remember that the more you procrastinate on your assignment, the more difficult it will become to get it done in the future. It is always a much better idea to get your assignment done as soon as you can, to have it out of sight, out of mind and with the knowledge that you were capable of taking it on. But hey, I am no one to be lecturing on procrastination. I still have another article to write, and I am really thinking about having dinner instead of writing it – maybe later.

If You Can Read This, You're Not Abroad

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Passport? Check. Immunization shots? Check. Appreciation for foreign experiences in even more foreign places? Check! New York, here I come.

It’s an urban jungle out there of concrete and neon, a topical rain forest of controversy, a climate of constant change. It’s New freakin’ York.

Some of you naysayers might point out that I’m not really studying abroad given the whole lack of transatlantic voyage and, as a result, staying in the continental United States bit.

Pish posh to you people!

After all, Southwestern doesn’t have a study abroad office, but an Office of Intercultural Learning.

SU also states on its website: “Study abroad is a life-changing opportunity which can bring a fresh perspective to international political and economic issues, interpersonal relationships and career choices.” With going to New York, I could definitely knock out two out of the three.

Heck, going outside the Southwestern bubble could be considered international.

I’ll also gain marketable skills for future careers during my stay in New York, such as “street cred.” No one’s going to want to mess with this Texan after a few months of living in the 9-1-7. As far as interpersonal relationships are concerned, I’ll be meeting new people daily in situations that wouldn’t be possible in Georgetown – in clubs, at hotdog stands and even on various forms of public transportation. If it is still bothersome, then don’t think of it as studying abroad. Merely, think of it as learning away – far, far away.

Heck, New York is even right next to New England. Everyone knows that new is better than old so really I’m being more progressive as opposed to close-minded in my approach to studying abroad. It’s like an iPod. Everyone liked the old iPod, but everyone loves the new iPod. I like to think of New York as England version 1.5.

New York is also all about different walks of life. In fact, New York City is the most populous city of the United States. If I go there, it’ll be like speed dating for diversity.

There are even different dialects within the mighty Empire State. For instance, one can either say “New York” or “Noo Yawk.”

Besides, why limit myself to just one place of study? Sure, I could go to China and admire the sturdiness of the Great Wall. Yes, I could travel to Italy and awe over a ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and its so-called art. Through the geographical accessibility of New York, I could trek to Chinatown, Little Italy or even Brooklyn, and all on the swipe of my Metrocard.

You also know you’re in foreign territory when they don’t have a Whataburger. I know. What are they thinking? I’m a survivor, though. That’s just what I do. I say – bring it on, New York. Bring it on.

Swimming Dives Into Season

Go Pirates SwimmingThis past weekend the Southwestern Swim Team started the conference season off with an impressive bang (corny sports pun intended).
Both the men and the women beat Austin College this past weekend in a meet that demonstrated their developed talents and embodied the optimistic outlook for the team this season.

Everyone really swam their best, it was a great meet? said Senior Jon LaRochelle.

The men won both relays and the women finished third in both. The men had 7 first place finishes in individual events while the women had two second place finishes in individual events, both from Junior Baily Thompson.

One who is not familiar with sports may consider the team’s intense practice schedule crazy.

But from a team that practices at 6 am during the school week, a blissful 7 am on Saturdays, and multiple other times that seemed too incredulous to even be put into text, it appears to be just part of the routine.

LaRochelle contributes the optimistic season to not just the rigorous (or ludicrous, depending on who you are) practice schedule, but also to the dedication of the individuals themselves and the new leadership brought in this year for the team.

It?s really a blend of the new coach, the schedule, and the individuals talents of the team members themselves. “It’s a cohesive effort,” LaRochelle notes.

This weekend, the team takes on yet another seemingly impossible task: two swim meets in opposite directions in two days.
Friday, the team will swim against McMurry and against rival Trinity on Saturday. The meet Friday is in Abilene while the meet Saturday is in San Antonio.

The Pirates do not host a meet until January 23, when they compete against University of Incarnate Word. That meet is slated for noon. Although mentioned, not without a bit of shall we say apprehension, of the (in this journalistic opinion) brutal competitive schedule, LaRochelle looks to this weekend with the consistent optimism present throughout the discussion of the team. This optimism seems to represent the team as a whole. But really, who isn’t optimistic about waking up before dawn to practice?

Schedule of Events for Southwestern's 100th Annual Homecoming

Bob Schnieder is playing on the mall…It’s a celebration a century in the making: the 100th anniversary of the very first Southwestern University Homecoming. It’s guaranteed to be a weekend filled with food, history, fellowship, history, fun and SING. Gear up – an estimated 1,500 people are expected to attend. (Yes, for the record, that is the most in 100 years.)

“For 100 years, Southwestern University homecomings have provided alumni with occasions to return to Georgetown to celebrate a transforming time in their lives, the friends they made and the faculty who taught them,” said Georgianne Hewett, associate vice president for alumni and parent relations. “It’s a time-honored tradition that is as relevant today as it was in 1909.”

Friday

Gala

Southwestern will be holding a gala to mark the 40th anniversary of the first African-American student to graduate from our campus, Ernest Clark. During the gala, a film produced by 2003 graduate Yesenia Garcia will be played. The film highlights the accomplishments of African-American students since that momentous year 40 years ago.

This event and others throughout the weekend are possible thanks to several months of hard work and planning on the part of Gala Planning Committee, which includes Earl L. Moseley, Jr. ‘84, Roderick Sanford ‘90, Elizabeth Giullory Medina ‘97 and Yesenia Garcia ‘03. The events are the culmination of a year-long celebration.

Concert

Friday night, Student Foundation, Student Congress, and the University Programming Council will showcase Austin-based artist Bob Schneider during a concert on the Mall. SU alum John Branch of the class ‘99 will open for Schneider with his band Mudphonic. Branch will perform at 8:30 p.m. and Schneider will take the stage around 9:00. Arrive early to reserve your space on the Mall.

Alcohol Policy

According to Mike Leese, vice president of residence life, no coolers are allowed and all alcohol must be in a cup.

Saturday

Book Discussion

At 9:30 in the morning, students interested in “The Ties That Bind: A Georgetown Texas Memoir 1904-1909,” should head down to the Grace Heritage Center, located at 811 S. Main St. Author Louise Walsh will be speaking about her book, telling stories about early Southwestern University life and discussing her family’s history in the area.

Photo

Also on Saturday morning, participating alumni will have the opportunity to imitate the panoramic photo that was taken in 1912 at Southwestern University’s second annual homecoming. Participants will meet down on the intramural field across from the Cullen Building. They will be dressed in black and gold.

Picnic

Immediately after, they will head over to the Academic Mall for a picnic 1909 style – including Dr. Pepper in its original bottle. In 1909, the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in Waco donated cans to the Homecoming event. To continue tradition, they will be doing so again this Saturday.

Debate

Saturday at 2 p.m., the Brooks Prize Debate preliminary rounds will begin in the Prothro Room of the Library. The topic of the preliminary rounds will be, “Resolved: A democratic society has an obligation to provide adequate health care for its citizens.”

SING!

Look out for SING! The show starts at 8:00 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater and is guaranteed to please. For many organizations this is an annual event for which they spend hours planning, orchestrating and rehearsing skits in hopes of taking first prize. The show is currently sold out, but those without tickets are encouraged to come by before it starts to take advantage of unclaimed tickets.

Sunday

Chapel

During Sunday morning chapel, participants will sing “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” the hymn sung at the very first Southwestern University Homecoming.

Wolff to Lecture at 10th Annual Writer's Voice

Tobias WolffComing up next on the Southwestern calendar is the annual Writer’s Voice Series which this year will be featuring award winning novelist and short story author Tobias Wolff. This lecture series is sponsored by the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center and is a great way to bring literature closer to Southwestern students.

Wolff will be giving a lecture titled “Saved by Stories: This Writer’s Life” at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the Alma Thomas Theater of the Sarofim Fine Arts Building. His lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing in the Caldwell Carvey Theater.

The Writer’s Voice Series was started by Lynne Brody, Dean of Library Services in 2000 in order “to give SU students the opportunity to meet and hear from renowned writers,” said Dana Hendrix, head of the Collection Development and Acquisition in the library.

In regards to who gets invited to come to Southwestern for the Writer’s Voice Series, Hendrix said, “We look for authors from a variety of literary genres so that writers of fiction, plays, poetry, memoir, short story, film, etc., are represented over time. We only bring authors who are interested in meeting with students, and they always stay on campus two to three days. They are always interviewed by a student, and they attend two classes and a student lunch or coffee in addition to giving the public lecture and the book signing.”

Wolff will be the tenth author to participate in the lecture series. Past guests have included such big-timers as Margaret Atwood and Michael Chabon. The other speakers include Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, Carlos Fuentes, Robert Pinsky, Amy Tan and last year’s Azar Nafisi.

The program “works to enhance students’ reading and study of literary works both in and outside of classes,” according to the library’s website, and “brings together undergraduates and authors of national renown for intellectual exchange centered on the authors’ works and the issues they raise.”

Wolff has actually been on the “short list” of potential authors for quite a few years, but because the authors have such busy schedules and the program requires a few days time commitment, each year’s author must be contracted long before the actual date of their event.

According to Hendrix, Wolff “was chosen for his command over the short story format, his extensive body of work and for his interest in meeting with our students during his visit. We in the library also enjoyed the fact that Prof. Wolff’s novel ‘Old School’ focuses on authors’ visits to a particular school, and the effect those visits have on the students.”

Wolff’s resume includes three books, “This Boy’s Life,” which was turned in to a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro, “Old School,” and “In Pharaoh’s Army,” which is a memoir. He has also written several collections of stories, a short story entitled “The Barracks Thief” and has edited a few anthologies.

Most of Wolff’s childhood was spent in Pennsylvania before he joined the army and became a paratrooper in Vietnam. When he got back to the states, Wolff worked numerous jobs until he was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University in 1975. Wolff currently works at Stanford University as the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities.

Wolff’s work has won numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, both the PEN/Malamud and the Rea Awards for Excellence in the Short Story, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The lecture is free to Southwestern students, staff, and faculty as well as the general public, but you must reserve your ticket. Reservations can be made on the library’s website by filling out a quick information sheet and can be picked up at the Circulation Desk in the library.

Southwestern Fights In the Battle of the Brains

Battle of Brains LogoWhat do you call a competition of tens of thousands of the world’s top computer science students? It’s nothing other, of course, than the Association for Computer Machinery International Collegiate Contest, also known as the “Battle of the Brains.”

This battle, sponsored by IBM, challenges students by requiring them to solve real-world problems using advanced computing methods and technology within a five hour deadline. Students come from 1,838 universities across 88 countries on six continents.

“The Battle of the Brains is one of the most demanding intellectual challenges,” said Alan Ganek, chief technology officer and vice president of strategy for business and technology at IBM Software Group. “These students possess an amazing talent to solve pressing issues involving transportation, energy, water, climate and health. They are a generation with the ability to change the very way of life on planet Earth.”

This contest began at Texas A&M in 1970. In 1977, the contest turned into a multi-tier competition and has since continued to grow. The 2009 finals took place in Stockholm, Sweden where a team from St. Petersburg, Russia won for the second year in a row.

“The Battle of the Brains is a melding of industry and academia, for the purpose of fostering excellence in problem solving,” said Katharine Frase, vice president, technical and business strategy at IBM. “These students are charged with solving real-world, global issues. It is our responsibility to encourage these students to discover new and innovative ways of solving the most pressing issues our world faces today.”

To be specific, teams consist of three people all huddled around one computer to solve around eight or more real-world problems. Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner.

“It’s a competition that SU excels in,” SU participant Lane Hill said. “Furthermore, it’s an interesting contest that not a lot of people know about and rewards you for problem solving skills and not athletics.”

There are a few different ways to get involved here at Southwestern if you are interested.

“There is a class called Rapid Application Development that you can take for one hour, or you can simply talk to Dr. Rick Denman, who is the team coach, to get involved,” Hill said.

Hill said that Southwestern’s team usually succeeds at the local level and advances to the regional level. The next level is the finals in which 100 teams will compete for awards, prizes and bragging rights.

Creators and advocates of the competition comment about the impact that these brainiac students could have on the world in the future.

“The world faces some really daunting challenges. Problems of pandemic diseases, global climate change, finite energy resources, population density and congestion and urban development planning. It’s going to take some very bright, creative and innovative problem-solvers to tackle these problems, said Doug Heintzman, director of strategy for IBM Software Group and sponsorship executive of the ICPC. “So we believe it’s very important for the industry and academia to work in partnership to promote excellence in problem solving.”

All of these problems in the world are puzzling politicians and scientists. If there are solutions, there is the problem of gathering a consensus of people who agree. The more minds there are helping to solve these problems, the more likely it is that the problems will be solved.

“The world is a little distracted by the economy. But it’s important we focus on how to use technology such as cloud computing and social collaboration to solve big real world problems like energy waste and environmental pollution,” said Frase. “It is important that technology students think about these big concepts and figure out ways to solve them.”

Lost Letters Reveal SU and Georgetown History

Courtesy of Impact NewsEver wonder what life at Southwestern University was like in the early 1900s? I know you have – we all have. Now there’s an entire book about it. History buffs and curious students are bound to get a kick out of “The Tie That Binds,” a compilation of more than 500 letters written to one Southwestern University alum between 1901-1908.

Louise Walsh, the woman behind the book, started the project several years ago as a gift for her mother. “When my aunt, Louie Fleming Snow, died 12 years ago, I had to clean out her house and found a box containing all the letters [to my grandmother],” Walsh said. These letters recorded the correspondence between her grandmother and her college friends and family. “I decided to put them all on my computer.” The project matured from there. She poured over the newly-discovered letters for months, contacting family members along the way for supplemental information. As the project grew larger in scope, Walsh began to realize that it wasn’t only her family that could benefit from the historical nugget of gold she held in her possession. The book that started out for members of her family as a way of cataloging their history in Georgetown quickly blossomed into a bona fide publication. “I realized this isn’t just about us,” Walsh said. “It’s about Southwestern and Georgetown.”

Walsh’s grandmother, Early Price, was the youngest daughter of a prominent family from Georgetown. Early’s grandfather, Frank L. Price, contributed to the naming of Southwestern University. He selected the site for a Methodist college in the area, which eventually blossomed into the private liberal arts university we attend. The Prices’ influence is still felt in the area, and their family history is inextricably connected to ours. Most of her family is even buried in the cemetery behind the university.

“For all the ubiquity of e-mails,” Southwestern University Historian William B. Jones said, “they do not compare with the letters of the past. Letters were written with the knowledge that the contents were, in a sense, committed thoughts, authentic expressions of our mental processes. They might even be classified as mini-essays; they were literature.” It is this lost art of letter-writing that makes Walsh’s compilation so invaluable.

The compilation includes not only letters, but photographs, vintage postcards, newspaper and magazine clippings, greeting cards, invitations, letterhead, telegrams and announcements. The title of the book, “The Tie That Binds,” was taken from a hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” which was sung at the first Homecoming here at Southwestern University in 1909. “That song fondly described Early’s close association with the school and its influence in her life,” Walsh said. It’s all too apropos to pass up. “I congratulate Mrs. Walsh on presenting and preserving this exciting body of work,” Jones said.

Walsh will be available during Homecoming this year, as well as featured in a program on Nov. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at Grace Heritage Center, on 811 S. Main St. Copies of her novel will be available for sale during this time. If you already have your copy, she will be doing a signing on Friday, Nov. 6, at the Williamson Museum.

Cross Country 6th and 8th at SCAC Championships

Members of the Cross Country Team Keep Running The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the SCAC conference championships last Saturday in Conyers, GA. The teams had last competed in Arkansas at the Chili Pepper Cross Country Festival, where they had enjoyed good results.

The trip to Georgia was uncomfortable, with the weather doing its best to impede every step of the journey. Leaving Thursday at 11:00 in the morning, the team intended to arrive in Atlanta by 6:30 in the afternoon, but was delayed twice by storms in Houston. The team did not arrive at the hotel in Conyers until 4:30 in the morning. After some sleep, the Bucs surveyed the course, which, despite a large portion being smooth and flat, included an extremely rough section through some woods. The course, located at Georgia International Horse Park, has previously been host to the 1996 Olympic Mountain Biking competition.

The next morning, the nights rain cleared long enough for the men’s race. The race was run in warm and humid conditions. Senior Dan Rudd lead the Bucs with a 22nd place finish, immediately followed by first year Thomas Bobbitt and sophomore Zach Freeland, who finished 26th and 34th respectively.

“It was already a pretty tough course with a lot of hills, but all the rain turned it into a slippery, muddy race. That’s pretty much all we’ve ran in this year though, so our team knew what we were going into and we were ready for it,” said Rudd.

Senior Josh Gideon and junior Allen Smith rounded out the men’s top 5, with seniors Matthew Broussard and David Pruit, as well as junior Sebastian Winkler, also finishing. The men’s times were all suspiciously low, and further review by officials found the men’s course to be 123 meters short of the requisite 8 kilometers. Nonetheless, the men finished 6th as a team, an improvement over last year.

The women’s race was not so fortunate. It started raining shortly after the gun went off with the weather cooling considerably. As a team, the women finished 8th, with senior Tami Warner leading the way in 19th place. Sophomore Lisa Morse and first year-Christina Hadly finished closely together. Juniors Ursula James and Lili McEntire rounded out the top 5. First-year Laura Wooden also ran.

Despite the overall tough weekend, the team still was able to appreciate its success.

“We finished pretty well in the meet, considering that our conference is loaded, and that we were down one of our top runners due to a last-minute injury,” Rudd said. “Overall, I am really proud of the way our team, both the guys and the girls, ran.”

The team will next participate in the Jameson 5K during homecoming weekend, and then travel to the South/Southeast Regional meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, on November 14th.