• Southwestern University. Education for Tomorrow.

With Southwestern University’s 180th fall semester well underway, the Board of Trustees extends our warmest welcome to the 1,506 new, transfer, and returning students who have chosen this University as their academic home. We want to acknowledge the leadership team, faculty, sta , and students at Southwestern who came together to work toward one common purpose: ensuring that everyone could safely return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Southwestern, reopening our picturesque campus, which sits on 700 acres on the edge of Austin, a hub for technology, music, and food, means our students continue to reap the benefits of in-person instruction, small class sizes, a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a tightly knit intellectual community. Our faculty are nationally recognized experts in their fields and dedicated mentors to our students. Our University is successful when our students are successful. By that measure, we have reason to be proud: within 10 months of graduation, 86% of our students are accepted into elite graduate schools or enter their first career.

Over the past year, Southwestern celebrated many remarkable achievements. The University appointed its 16th president, Laura E. Skandera Trombley, the first woman to lead our institution. In November, our women’s soccer team claimed its first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship in program history. One of our athletic and academic standouts, Alexis Dimanche ’20, became the first Southwestern tennis player to receive the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award in May. Alex Bell ’21, a Southwestern senior majoring in anthropology, was awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The highly competitive scholarship allows U.S. undergraduate students with financial need to continue their academic studies or intern abroad. Although Bell’s international experience was paused due to COVID-19, this outstanding student joins the ranks of 17 other Gilman Scholars from Southwestern since 2012.

And one year ago, we completed the state-of-the-art Fondren–Jones Science Center, which exemplifies our commitment to sustainability and the ongoing evolution of a campus powered by renewable and clean energy.

This fall, the University welcomed our second largest total enrollment and most diverse first-year class in our history to campus. Southwestern is committed to inclusive excellence and creating a socially just community. Our student body is also geographically diverse, representing 33 states and 12 countries, and 20% were in the top 10% of their high school class.

Southwestern’s financial forecast remains strong. The University has raised over $76,000,000 in new gifts and pledges in the last three years in support of student and faculty excellence. In addition, we have 12 new endowed chairs and professorships. We have also funded more than 200 high-impact experiences, including paid internships, student–faculty research projects, community-engaged learning opportunities, and study abroad assistance in just the last year.

Since 1840, Southwestern has been the top-ranked liberal-arts university in Texas. We have upheld that reputation for the last 180 years, with U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly, and The Princeton Review all ranking us the #1 liberal-arts school in the state. The Princeton Review also ranks our career services as #1 in Texas and #3 in the nation. These accolades reflect the achievements of our high-performing and highly motivated students as well as the talents of our dedicated faculty, staff, and alumni.

This has been a challenging year for us all, but Southwestern continues to demonstrate its resilience and unwavering commitment to providing a life-changing undergraduate experience for our students.

With regards,
Southwestern University Board of Trustees