Tower Talks

Special programming for members of Southwestern’s President’s Council, 1840 Society, and Tower Society. You are invited to engage online with representatives of the Southwestern community and fellow philanthropic contributors for timely discussions pertaining to the life of the University.

Event Details

Our 2020-2021 Tower Talks Series has concluded for this year.  We look forward to having you join us as we resume new topics of discussion in the fall.

We look forward to having you join us for our in-person Homecoming celebration being held October 15-17, 2021, that will include the Inauguration of President Laura E. Skandera Trombley, our President’s Appreciation Celebration, this year’s Shilling Lecture, as well as our traditional Homecoming festivities.

For more information about the Tower Talks series, or to share a suggested topic for discussion, please email Maria Kruger ’91, Director of Stewardship at, or call 512.863.1410.

View Previous Tower Talks


Laura E. Skandera TrombleyLaura E. Skandera Trombley

Laura E. Skandera Trombley, a gifted scholar, proven leader, and passionate advocate for liberal-arts education, is Southwestern University’s 16th President. She is the first woman chosen to lead Texas’s first university.

Trombley is the former president of the University of Bridgeport and president emerita of Pitzer College and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Previously, she served as vice president for academic affairs at Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Recognized by her peers as a champion of liberal-arts institutions, Trombley’s leadership has earned praise for her ability to raise sustainability awareness, establish best-in-class university operations, and drive exponential growth in fundraising. Under her leadership, both Pitzer College and the University of Bridgeport experienced transformational change, realizing a dramatic improvement in the schools’ national rankings and fundraising capabilities.

Trombley is a preeminent Mark Twain scholar. Her most recent book is Mark Twain’s Other Woman (Knopf, 2011). Her first book, Mark Twain in the Company of Women (University of Pennsylvania Press), was published in 1994. In 2017, Trombley won the Louis J. Budd Award for her contributions to Mark Twain studies. Her scholarly articles have appeared in the Paris Review,Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. She has edited three books: Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship (coedited with Michael Kiskis; University of Missouri Press, 2001), Critical Essays on Maxine Hong Kingston (G. K. Hall, 1998), and Epistemology: Turning Points in the History of Poetic Knowledge (coedited with Roland Hagenbuechle; Fredrich Pustat, 1986).

Trombley has also written extensively about the underrepresentation of women and people of color in academia.

A California native and the daughter of two educators, Trombley enrolled at the age of 16 as a first-year student at Pepperdine University and subsequently earned her bachelor of arts in English/humanities. She remained at Pepperdine to complete a master of arts in English, graduating summa cum laude. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California as a Virginia Barbara Middleton Scholar and a recipient of the Lester and Irene Finkelstein Fellowship for Outstanding Humanities Student.

Trombley is the proud mother of a recent college graduate. She resides in Georgetown, Texas.

 Read Trombley’s Full Biography


Upcoming Events

Our Tower Talks Series will resume in September 2021


View Previous Tower Talks