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It’s official. Southwestern’s Wilhelmina Cullen Admission Center has been awarded Gold Certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™.  

The LEED Rating System was launched in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED certification offers third-party validation of a project’s green features and verifies that the building is operating exactly the way it was designed to.

“Southwestern’s new admission center joins a prestigious group of projects that are the greenest buildings in Texas,” said Michele Van Hyfte, AIA LEED AP, advisory council chairperson for the U.S. Green Building Council Central Texas – Balcones Chapter. 

Southwestern scored 46 out of a possible 69 LEED credits for the building. A Gold rating requires between 39 and 51 credits.

Read the rest of the story here.


It’s Friday morning and 15 first-year students at Southwestern are sitting in a classroom waiting for their teachers to arrive.

When Professor Jimmy Smith comes in, there is a sudden round of applause. Smith has brought one of his dogs, “Norton,” to class with him today.

Norton is a nine-year-old boxer that Smith rescued from the Town Lake animal shelter in Austin. He has had two surgeries to repair the cranial cruciate ligaments in his knees, which are similar to anterior cruciate ligaments in humans.

Smith, who is a professor of kinesiology at Southwestern, uses Norton’s story to launch into a lecture about the physiological characteristics that enable dogs to reach speeds as high as 40 miles an hour.

Throughout the lecture, Norton circles the classroom, getting lots of petting from the students and licking several of them in return.

Welcome to “Going to the Dogs,” one of 24 First-Year Seminars offered to incoming students at Southwestern. The seminars are designed to be fun, yet at the same time expose students to important skills such as reading, writing, critical thinking, discussion and creativity.

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Four Southwestern University employees were recently honored for exemplary service to the university.

The four received the Joe S. Mundy Exemplary Service Award, which was created in 2002 as a memorial to the leadership of former alumnus and Trustee Joe Mundy. The award honors faculty and staff members who have demonstrated exemplary service to Southwestern.

This year’s award winners were Melissa Johnson, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Suzy Pukys, director of civic engagement; Glenn Schwab, head athletic trainer; and Paul Sicard, coordinator of audiovisual services.

Read the rest of the story here.



The Fountainwood Observatory will host a public viewing night on Friday, Aug. 28, from 8-11 p.m.

Fountainwood Viewing Nights are always free and open to the public. The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on campus map at Faculty members from the Physics Department as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

For those interested in attending the Aug. 28 viewing night, the evening will begin with a 62 percent waxing moon in the southwestern sky and brilliant Jupiter in the southeastern sky. By 8:30 p.m., brighter stars such as Vega, Deneb and Altair, the stars of the Summer Triangle, will begin to appear. By about 9:15 p.m. it will be dark enough to view dimmer objects such as double stars, open star clusters and the Andromeda Galaxy through a telescope.

Future public viewing nights will be held Sept. 25, Oct. 23 and Nov. 20. For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.


The French Program at Southwestern University has received an $1,800 grant that will enable it to host its third annual communitywide Tournees Film Festival. The festival will feature five recent films from France. Films will be shown Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. beginning Sept. 9 in room 105 of the F.W. Olin Building. They are free and open to the public.

For the complete schedule of films, go here.

Media Coverage

Community Impact News picked up the story about the admission center receiving Gold LEED certification. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a front-page article about President Schrum’s 2009 State of the University address.

Provost Jim Hunt wrote a piece that appeared in Inside Higher Ed. Read the piece here.

The Williamson County Sun ran the story about the NSF grant received by Biology Professors Maria Todd and Maria Cuevas.


Five mathematics, computational mathematics and computer science majors presented research and expository talks at the Mathematical Association of America meeting this month in Portland, Ore. Sarah Stern presented her research on “Labelings of Directed Graphs” that she did over the summer with Alison Marr, assistant professor of mathematics. Sean Watson presented his research on “The Structures of Series and Sum Ranges in Banach Spaces” that he did over the summer with Fumiko Futamura, assistant professor of mathematics. Watson received a Pi Mu Epsilon Student Speaker Award for his talk. Also presenting were Darren Allen, Stephen Foster and Tommy Rogers.

Richard Denman, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, has had an article accepted for publication in the College Journal of Mathematics, a publication of the Mathematical Association of America. The article, titled “The Tower and Glass Marbles Problem,” is co-authored by Michael Rothenberg and Southwestern graduate David Hailey.

Professor emeritus Walt Herbert was elected president of the Herman Melville Society.

Patricia Schiaffini, part-time assistant professor of Chinese, just returned from Tibet, where she conducted two workshops for early-childhood education, and distributed two new children books in Tibetan that have been published by her non-profit organization, the Tibetan Arts and Literature Initiative. She hopes to conduct similar workshops for Tibetan teachers next summer as well.