Top News


Members of the Southwestern community may begin reserving tickets next week for the 2009 Writer’s Voice lecture featuring fiction writer and memoirist Tobias Wolff.

Wolff will give a lecture at Southwestern titled “Saved by Stories: This Writer’s Life” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the Alma Thomas Theater. The event is free, but tickets are required.

Southwestern students, faculty and staff may begin reserving tickets Sept. 28. The general public may begin reserving tickets Oct. 12. Tickets may be reserved on the library web site.

Read more about the 2009 Writer’s Voice lecture here.


This fall, Southwestern welcomed two students from Rwanda − Yvette Niyomugaba and Jean Pierre Murenzi.

The two are at Southwestern as part of a program that was designed to help rebuild Rwanda, a country located in east-central Africa that suffered extensively during the 1990s as a result of genocide and civil war. The program began three years ago at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and there are now 52 students participating at colleges and universities across the country.

Read the rest of the story here.



The Fountainwood Observatory will host a public viewing night on Friday, Sept. 25, 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. 

The evening viewing will begin with a first quarter Moon in the southern sky and a 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. 

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.


The French Program at Southwestern University is presenting recent films as part of its $1,800 grant for a communitywide Tournees Film Festival. Films are being shown through Oct. 7 on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. 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


Southwestern’s Theatre Department is presenting the Shakesperean farce “Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” Sept. 30-Oct. 4.

The play, which was written by Ann-Marie MacDonald, poses the question “What would happen if the death sentences of Juliet and Desdemona were reprieved? Constance Ledbelly, a dusty and plucky academic, deciphers a cryptic manuscript she believes to be the original source for “Romeo and Juliet” and “Othello”, and is magically transported into the plays themselves. She visits Juliet and Desdemona, has a hand in saving them from death and finds out what they are all about, all the while engaging in a personal voyage of self.

The play will be presented in the Jones Theater on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday performances are $12 for a adults,  $10 for seniors (63 and over) and $8 for students and youth 16 and under.

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors (63 and over) and $12 for students and youth 16 and under. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 512-863-1378.


Soprano Claire Vangelisti and pianist Brian Marks will perform in a guest recital on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The program will consist of works by George Frideric Handel, Frederic Chopin, Alban Berg, Richard Strauss, Franz Joseph Haydn and William Grant Still.

Vangelisti was a member of the voice faculty at Southwestern from 1995-2007. She is currently an assistant professor and voice area coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Marks is an associate professor of piano at Baylor University.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about Resident Assistant Shelley Dormont and her work with first-year women in Brown-Cody Residence Hall.

The Williamson County Sun ran a photo spread on the opening of the new Holly Hughes exhibit at the Fine Arts Gallery.


Romi Burks, who teaches a First-Year Seminar class on chocolate, took chocolate-themed artwork done by several current and former students to the Austin Chocolate Festival last weekend. Current students whose work was featured included Erika Moreno (“A Piece of Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”), Hannah Witmer (“Without”), Jean Murenzi (“Dark Side of Chocolate”), Michael Espinoza (a musical performance titled “Layers”), Olubusola Okunnu (“The Anti-Hypertensive Agent”) and Rachel Thibodeau (“A Million Little Pieces”).

Artwork by former students that was featured included “Tasting,” a photo series by Michael Kamas, FYS ’07; “Daily Cacao Hit,” a line drawing by Eduardo Rameriz, FYS ’08); “Hershopoly,” a game spoof by Justice Kinley, FYS ’08; “Bitter & Sweet Sonnets,” by Julie Ann White, FYS ’07; “La Magdalene,” a nun in chocolate by Catie Ertel, FYS ’07; “Then and Now,” a collage by Nicole Rea FYS ’07; and “Jacobe de Hershey,” a splatter paint by Bailey Thompson FYS ’07.

Burks developed the artwork component of her seminar in collaboration with Star Varner, professor of art. “I like the openness of this creative assignment because chocolate as art now comes in so many forms − from sculptures to paintings to even accessories,” Burks said. To see photos of some of the students and their artwork, go here.

Eileen Cleere, associate professor of English, was invited by the Victorian Studies Seminar at Rice University to pre-circulate and present the final chapter of her book manuscript, “The Sanitary Arts: Aesthetic Culture and the Victorian Cleanliness Campaigns,” as a work-in-progress. Her seminar on Sept. 26 is titled “Intensive Culture:  John Ruskin, Sarah Grand, and the Aesthetics of Eugenics.”

Junior Cayla Comeaux recently participated in a five-day symposium held in Orlando, Fla., and at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The theme of the symposium was “21st Century Leadership Skills.” Events included workshops on technical and proposal writing by current engineering deans, personal financial training from a CNN financial analyst, scholar presentations on NASA summer internships, and a GRE strategy session by the Princeton Review. The event is one of several that Comeaux will get to participate in after having been selected as a NASA MUST Scholar for 2009-10. To read more about Comeaux and her MUST Scholarship, go here.

Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, will conduct the Washington All-State Wind Ensemble at the Washington Music Educators Association conference in February 2010. This ensemble is the premier group in Washington state and WMEA is its premier music education organization.