On behalf of the Southwestern University Alumni Association, its 14 chapters and over 15,000 global members, it is an absolute honor today to celebrate Dr. Laura E. Skandera Trombley as the 16th president of our Southwestern University.
President Trombley, through a Civil War, Two World Wars, a Great Depression, A Great Recession, the 1860s yellow fever epidemic along the Texas coast that severely reduced the state’s population, and a modern age Global Pandemic, Southwestern University’s Alumni have not only stood by her, but have also served, supported and strengthened our mission and our institutional values.
The Southwestern Experience was launched on Feb. 5, 1840, which marks the date on which the founders of Rutersville College were granted the original charter. For 181 years, our mission has remained steadfast and loyal to our founders’ vision of establishing “a place to engage the minds and transform the lives of those who seek to embrace the challenges and opportunities of the future.”
Following the Texas Legislature official recognition of Southwestern University as the successor to its four predecessors, our Alumni Association began in 1876 with it four first graduates who received their Bachelor of Arts in July 1876.
146 years later, our Alumni’s work to serve and strengthen our mission and values continues. It is powerfully exemplified by Dr. Bob Bednar, a 1989 Alumnus, Associate Professor of Communications Studies and Co-Chair of the Tactical Plan Task Force. Culminating her first nine months at the helm, President Trombley and Dr. Bob Bednar - alongside students, alumni, faculty and staff – presented the Tactical Plan to the Board of Trustees for its approval and stated that “If we are to thrive as an institution and serve as an inspiration to other liberal arts institutions, it will be because we know who we are and because we are focused on taking care of the things we have while critically examining how we can become more inclusive at every level.” And with this bold statement, we begin to better understand the work that comes before us.
President Trombley, we are excited about your vision, we are proud that the board of trustees unanimously chose you to be the first woman to lead Texas’s first university; and on behalf of over 15,000 alumni, we give you our commitment that we will serve, support and strengthen your vision to ensure that we all – students, staff, administration and alumni – feel that we truly do belong here, and will thrive for a better tomorrow and an enduring Southwestern University.