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Ricardo Levario came to Southwestern planning to major in psychology and go to medical school. All that changed, however, when he took a drawing course the second semester of his first year.

“I asked my professor, Star Varner, how you decide what your major should be and she told me you should pick whatever you are putting the most time into,” Levario recalls. “I spent 60 hours on one of my projects for the drawing class. I hardly ever read my biology or chemistry books.”

Three years later, Levario is about to graduate from Southwestern with a degree in studio art and is receiving national recognition for his work.

Levario has had two large paintings accepted for publication in the summer 2009 issue of Creative Quarterly, a journal that highlights the best student and professional work in the areas of graphic design, photography, illustration and fine arts. One of Levario’s paintings received a silver award in the Student Fine Art category, and the other received a merit award in the same category. 

Read the rest of the story here



Specialists in German cultural, music and art history from across the country will join Southwestern faculty members April 3 to offer a symposium about the making of modernism in Central Europe. The symposium is being held in conjunction with performances of “The Color of Dissonance,” an original opera written by Southwestern faculty members. The schedule for the symposium is as follows:

10:30 a.m.

Welcome and opening remarks:

Paul Gaffney, dean of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Southwestern University

Kimberly Smith, Art & Art History Department, Southwestern University

Erika Berroth, German Program, Modern Languages and Literatures Department, Southwestern University 

10:45 a.m.      

Occultism and the Creative Unconscious in Fin-de-Siècle Germany

Corinna Treitel, Department of History, Washington University 

1:30 p.m.       

“Münter and Kandinsky’s Masquerade of Modern Love”

Bibiana Obler, Department of Fine Arts & Art History, George Washington University 

2:30 p.m.       

“‘The Air of Another Planet’: Kandinsky, Schoenberg, and Stefan George’s Entrückung

Severine Neff, Department of Music, University of North Carolina

4 p.m. 

“Making Modernism in Central Texas”

Sergio Costola, Theater Department, Southwestern University

Jason Hoogerhyde, Music Department, Southwestern University

Kimberly Smith, Art & Art History Department, Southwestern University 

5 p.m. Wine & cheese reception 

The symposium is sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Southwestern’s Global Citizens Fund, the Fleming Lectures in Religion, the Visiting Artists and Scholars Series, the Art & Art History Department, the International Studies Program, the Feminist Studies Program, and the Modern Languages & Literatures Department. 

Performances of “The Color of Dissonance” will be given in the Alma Thomas Theatre Friday, April 3, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 4, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, April 5, at 3 p.m. For more information, visit here.  


The Fountainwood Observatory at Southwestern University will hold a public viewing night on Friday, April 3, from 8-11 p.m.

The evening viewing will begin with a waxing gibbous moon high in the eastern sky. Around 8:30 p.m., brighter stars and the planet Saturn will begin to appear. By about 9:15 p.m., it will be dark enough to view dimmer objects such as double stars and open star clusters. By the end of the viewing session, brighter galaxies such as M 81 and M 82 in Ursa Major will be viewable. 

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 #5 on campus map here). Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

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

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the Southwestern students who attended the Power Shift 2009 conference in Washington, D.C.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the faculty-student research projects that were funded for 2009. It also ran a story about the competitive faculty development projects that were funded for 2009-2010.

The Austin Business Journal ran a letter from President Schrum making the case for private colleges vs. public colleges. Read the letter here.  

Southwestern’s music program and “The Color of Dissonance” are included in the cover story of the Austin American-Statesman’s weekly magazine, XL. Read the story here. 


Several economics students will be giving presentations at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Scholars Program to be held March 26-27. The program is co-sponsored by Austin College and is for undergraduate students in economics. 

Eric Franco and Wes Rivers will present a paper titled “The Effect of Social Networks and Health Care Interventions on Tobacco Use Outcomes.” Franco and Rivers did the research for their paper under the direction of Mary Young, professor of economics. 

Shannon Foster will present a paper titled “The Socio-Economic Predictors of Childhood Obesity.” Foster did the research for her paper under the direction of Dirk Early, professor of economics.

Three other students – Derek Sample, Lisa Cummings and Alex Jansen – also will be attending the conference. 

Thomas Howe, professor of art history, spoke at the opening of an exhibit sponsored by the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation that is on display in Ravenna, Italy, March 14-Oct. 4. The exhibit is titled “Otium Ludens” (The Game of Leisure, or The Play of Leisure). Howe is Coordinator General of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation. For more on the exhibit, visit here.

Interim Head Coach Nicole Kaupp and Interim Assistant Coach Scott McLean were named the 2009 SCAC Womens Coaching Staff of the Year.

Shannon L. Mariotti, assistant professor of political science, presented a paper titled “Damaged Life as Exuberant Vitality: Adorno, America, and the Sickness of Health,” at the recent Western Political Science Association conference in Vancouver. Her essay will also be published in a forthcoming special issue of the journal TELOS, dedicated to the topic of “Adorno in America.” 

Junior art major Paloma Mayorga created a portrait of composer Antonin Dvorak that is being used on the poster and brochures publicizing this year’s Festival of the Arts in Georgetown, which is focusing on the music of Dvorak.

Laura Senio-Blair, assistant professor of Spanish, has received a $4,000 grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation for research on Chilean film director Angelina Vazquez, who lived in Finland during Augusto Pinochet’s regime. The grant will enable her to access to Vazquez’s films, interview other Chilean exiles who still live in Scandinavia, and digitize related material for her research and for the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, which does not have copies of materials filmed in Scandinavia during the Pinochet years.

Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, and Hai Zheng, assistant professor of music, recently returned from a week-long concert tour in Asia. They were invited by Xiamen University to give a master class and a recital at Gulangyu Concert Hall in China, and then went to Taiwan at the invitation of the Chinese Culture University in Taipei for another concert and master class there.

Todd Watson, associate director of systems and networks in ITS, co-authored a paper titled “2006 Whole Earth Telescope Observations of GD358: A New Look at the Prototype DBV” that was published this month in the Astrophysical Journal. Watson collected data using McDonald Observatory’s 2.1-meter diameter telescope in May of 2006 as part of a global team of astronomers. This paper presents results from these datacombined with 24 years of archival data on a well-studied pulsating white dwarf star.  Understanding these stars helps unravel the evolutionary processes of stars like our sun.

Southwestern has awarded $111,653 in funds from the Competitive Faculty Development Program for 2009-2010. The funds will enable faculty members to travel to conferences or conduct research that will enhance their teaching and further their academic careers. A total of 48 requests received funding. Read the complete listing of grants here.


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