Building a Southwestern University Liberal Arts Community
Southwestern University will advance the liberal arts like no other institution in the coming years. With applications at an all-time high, we welcome students to a campus being transformed by $120 million in capital improvements, including new LEED Gold standard residence halls and the renovation of beloved landmarks including historic Mood-Bridwell Hall. We are also adding a new chapter to our 183-year history as we embark on a plan to develop a liberal arts-inspired community on more than 500 acres adjacent to our campus. In the midst of the “Silicon Hills” near Austin, Texas, Southwestern University is poised to enter its third century as a destination for unparalleled learning experiences and career opportunities.
With more than 6,000 applicants competing for a limited number of available spots—an 18% increase in applications over last year—we are on the path to becoming a highly selective institution.
Southwestern University is dedicated to providing the best liberal arts education to its students, and we are passionate about showing students and their families that a private liberal arts education is attainable. Last fall we welcomed one of our largest-ever incoming classes.
The Class of 2026 came to us from 23 states and 10 countries including Canada, Nepal, Ukraine, Mexico, the Netherlands, Mongolia, Vietnam, Belize, Germany and Nigeria.
The $120 million investment we are making in our campus over the next three years is funded from a combination of sources including a long-term bond, major maintenance funds, and philanthropy.
Immediately following the spring 2023 commencement, a $17 million renovation of the second-oldest building on campus will begin. Blending 21st century technology with the deep history of Mood-Bridwell Hall, the renovation will include new community gathering spaces, classrooms, and a coffeehouse. An upper terrace—a beloved gathering space—will reopen as an outdoor classroom and a setting for social events.
Two new mixed-use residence halls will be ready for move-in in the fall of 2025. Designed to enhance the student experience, these buildings will feature lounges, workout rooms, and other gathering spaces to help students stay healthy and active while making connections and building friendships. One of the two new residence halls will be developed specifically for first-year students, strategically located next to the welcome center that will house admission and financial aid offices.
A multi-purpose athletics complex will bring football back to campus for the first time in more than 70 years. Plans are in the works to construct a stadium that will host football, lacrosse, and soccer games and will also serve as the venue for commencement ceremonies and special events.
As the University becomes more selective in admission, our retention rate has increased to 96 percent for first-year students, with the help of the advising and retention staff and six newly appointed first-year academic advisors.
Our advising philosophy involves intentional contact with students so that strong advisor-advisee relationships flourish. A strong student-advisor relationship encourages students to fully participate in academic and co-curricular experiences that otherwise they may be reluctant to try. The inclusion of first-year advisors is critical to supporting our students and meeting our retention goals.