As she welcomed me with a smile into her sunny office filled with soft music within the Fine Arts Building, or “the FAB” as it is lovingly called by students, the first thing you notice about Laura Sewell ’95 is her love for others. Her first priority will always be relationships with the students she surrounds herself with. Greeting me with a hug, she can’t keep a smile off her face when she discusses the love she has for every student. With a heart full of light, she tells me about her journey: from being a student at Southwestern, to managing STOMP OUT LOUD, to being the Director of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern (one of the most respected and sought after in Texas), she is nothing short of experienced in the topics of theatre and SU.

“At the last minute I changed my mind… And I came here and it was love at first sight after that.” This is something of a common theme among Southwestern students: many of them, including Laura, didn’t always know they would come here. But at the same time, as soon as they’re here, they can’t imagine life without it. Comparing her life as a student to now, Laura reflects on the good: “When you’re a student those are really really special times. When you have the opportunity to focus on your education, and give it everything you have.”

Laura has more of a story to tell than people might first realize. “I was with the show STOMP OUT LOUD. Our production was out of New York, and I was on Company Management for two years for that production. It was a fantastic experience. We performed ten times a week. We had celebrities come and see the show all the time. We went to LA and filmed TV shows. We were on the Latin Grammy Awards show, so, lots of fun experiences doing that show.”

A little later, she decided to return to Southwestern as a staff member. “I had such an amazing time when I was here as a student that I continued to volunteer here afterwards, and it was a really good fit for me in everything I had done throughout my career, and having given back all this energy and time through the years, I wanted to give back in a different way and transition into it being a full time job.”

Many schools have professors who work closely with their students, but there continues to be a pattern of particularly close relationships between Southwestern faculty and students. This is another thing Laura described: “I think every faculty and staff member has some pretty special relationships that make them come to work every single day. I am really lucky, I get to advise my students, but I also get to know students like you, which makes a big difference. We’re not here unless it’s for the student.”

Without staff members such as Laura Sewell at Southwestern, the school would be a completely different place. The reason prospective students choose Southwestern, current students love it, alumni never forget their time here–they all have had a personal connection with an employee that you cannot receive anywhere else.