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 2021-2022 Tower Talks Series will offer one virtual event this year.  We look forward to having you join us this spring for our update on Southwestern University’s Endowment.


Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:00 p.m. (CDT)

Southwestern University ─ Endowment Review

Presented by Kenneth Snodgrass P’07, Board of Trustees and Chair of the Investment Committee

Kenneth Snodgrass P’07, a member of Southwestern’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Investment Committee, will share a brief historical overview of the University’s endowment and provide insight into recent trends and performance measures regarding the financial health of the institution.

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.


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Snodgrass Bio photoKenneth Snodgrass P’07

Kenneth Snodgrass retired as general manager of Shell Energy Europe (London),  where he was responsible for the gas and power trading and marketing activities in Northwest Europe. Previously, he was senior vice-president of Shell Energy North America (Houston).  During his 24-year career with Shell, Mr. Snodgrass managed Shell’s liquefied natural gas supply in the Atlantic Basin (Nigeria, Qatar, Europe, Mexico, and the United States), and discharged a number of global supply and trading assignments, in the United States, London, and The Hague.  Previously, he worked for Exxon and Felmont Oil Company as a reservoir engineer and manager.  He has served in leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America.

Kenneth graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a degree in chemical engineering in 1980 and earned his MBA from the University of Houston in 1986 where he was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma.  In 2016, he earned a master’s of theological studies degree from Austin Theological Seminary.  Kenneth previously served as a member of Southwestern’s board of visitors.

Laura Skandera TrombleyLaura Skandera Trombley

Laura 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

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