The 2021–2022 academic year has been one of the most extraordinary in Southwestern University’s 182-year history. The University achieved something that medieval alchemists dreamed of when it turned $66,000 into $28 million.

And it was accomplished not through magic, but through patience. We waited.

Southwestern, located in the picturesque city of Georgetown—a short distance from Austin, the music and food capital of Texas—has a rich tradition of philanthropy dating back to the earliest years of our founding as Texas’s first institution of higher education. The University has been given hundreds of acres of land in Williamson County, some gifted more than a century ago. This spring, with the extraordinary increase in real estate values in Central Texas, Southwestern sold two parcels originally valued at $35,080 and $30,730 when they were donated to the University in the 1930s. The final combined sales price was $28 million—the modern-day equivalent of turning lead into gold. Those proceeds will supplement our long-term financial strength as our endowment has reached the highest level in our history. 

Over the next three years, the University will create infrastructure alchemy and transform older facilities and construct new ones to support the faculty and student experience. Renovation of the University’s second-oldest building, Mood–Bridwell Hall, will begin in summer 2023. Home to the Brown College of Arts and Sciences, a renovated Mood-Bridwell will provide inclusive community gathering areas, an exciting performance space, electronic classrooms, and a coffeehouse. In addition, the historic upper terrace, which has charmed generations of students, will be reopened for outdoor classroom use and social gatherings.

Planning is also underway for two new mixed-use, LEED-rated first-year and second-year residence halls, scheduled to begin construction in summer 2023. These new sustainably built facilities will include workout areas, a dining facility, the bookstore, electronic classrooms, meeting rooms, study spaces, and the Office of Admission and Financial Aid. A new entrance is under design on the east side of our historic campus that will welcome all members of the Southwestern community.

Finally, for the first time since Pirate football began in 1908, the University is planning to build a multi-purpose sports complex. Scheduled to begin construction in December 2022, the complex will seat more than 5,000 people and host football, lacrosse, and soccer games as well as special events and performances, and commencement ceremonies.

Since our founding in 1840, Southwestern has been practicing alchemy by providing a transformative educational experience that provides students with a liberal arts foundation for graduate studies and future careers. Our core purpose is to foster a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well-being of humanity.