Top News


Seventeen students and five staff members from Southwestern will go to three locations on the Texas Gulf Coast March 16-20 as part of the university’s annual Destination: Service program, which is now in its 14th year.

“The purpose of Destination: Service is to provide Southwestern students with opportunities to serve others in a spirit of care, concern, and openness to learning, in a context that is different from that of Southwestern and of central Texas,” said Aaron Rohre, interim director of religious life and coordinator of the program. “The great need resulting from the destruction and rebuilding efforts in Houston and other Gulf Coast cities was a great opportunity to retool the program for this year.”

Rohre noted the Houston-Galveston area has been a steady supporter of Southwestern, whether from student enrollment or organizational, foundational and alumni giving. “This area has given so much to Southwestern to make it the place it is for students, that this is a great opportunity for us to give back in some tangible way,” he said. 

Destination: Service participants this year will do social services outreach with Goodwill Industries of Houston, as well as hurricane relief in Galveston and Orange. 

Read the rest of the story here.



The Fountainwood Observatory at Southwestern University will hold a public viewing night on Friday, March 20, from 8-11 p.m.

The evening will begin with Saturn rising in the east in the constellation Leo. The Orion nebula, a stellar nursery 1,270 light years distant, will be setting in the west. Star clusters such as the Beehive Star Cluster in Cancer and M35 in Gemini will dot the sky. Distant galaxies such M65 in Leo or the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) in Canes Venatici should be visible.

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.


Southwestern senior Tyler King will direct a production of “The Man with the Flower in His Mouth” March 26-29 in the Heather McGaughey Rehearsal Hall (the “Black Box Theater”) on the second floor of the Fine Arts Center.

“The Man with the Flower in His Mouth” was written by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello and was the winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for Literature. The play is a one-act ”dialogue” that takes place between a man who is dying and a businessman who has missed his train.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5, and are available at or by calling the Sarofim School of Fine Arts Box Office at 512-863-1378.

Media Coverage

Southwestern is featured prominently in an article about Georgetown that appears in Texas Hill Country magazine. Read the article here.   

Student Ursula James was featured in a piece that aired on KUT-FM. Listen to the piece here.  

The Williamson County Sun ran a feature story on Southwestern’s new Mock Trial Team.

Star Community Newspapers ran a feature story on the Flower Mound student who got to meet Wangari Maathai at the Shilling Lecture.

Chris Pieper, a visiting faculty member in Sociology, was featured in a New York Times article about the tight job market for doctoral candidates. Read the story here.  

KEYE-TV interviewed two Southwestern students who went to the state Capitol to hear the debate on a voter ID bill. Read the story here.  


Three students and two faculty members from the Psychology Department will be giving presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association in San Antonio April 2-4.

Students Erin Dammann and Shane Littleton will present a poster with psychology professors Kevin L. Woo and Jesse E. Purdy titled “Predator Inspection in Mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus): Evidence of Group Cohesion Based on Social Information.”

Student Morgan Mingle will give an oral presentation with Woo and Purdy titled “Building Nemo: The Development of a 3D Animated Mummichog to Study Various Aspects of Schooling Behavior.” Guillaume Rieucau from the University of Québec at Montréal was also involved with this project. 


Ken Roberts, professor of economics, and Southwestern graduate Michael Morris had a chapter about remittances from Mexico published in a new book titled The Economics of Networks


Southwestern has awarded $139,000 to fund 11 faculty-student research projects in the coming year. The projects will enable nearly 30 Southwestern students to conduct research with faculty members, particularly during the summer. 

Laura Senio-Blair, assistant professor of Spanish, received $1,932 to study how Hispanic film can provide linguistic, cultural and professional opportunities for liberal arts students.

Romi Burks, assistant professor of biology, received $15,680 to continue her research on an exotic applesnail named Pomacea insularum.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry received $75,330 that will enable all of its faculty members to work with student researchers over the summer. Fourteen students will be funded through this grant. 

Sergio Costola, assistant professor of theatre, and Rick Roemer, professor of theatre, received $20,400 to create a play for Bulgarian and American youth. The play is about Eshu, a diety from African mythology. It will be performed in Bulgaria this summer and then will be performed at Southwestern in fall 2010 as part of the Theatre Department’s Theatre for Young Audiences program. 

Fumiko Futamura, assistant professor of mathematics, received $7,590 for a project to try and solve some problems with various Banach spaces, which involve understanding the shape and structure of sets of values arising from certain kinds of rearrangements. The work may have future applications in signal processing, which drives all our digital technology.

Melissa Johnson, associate professor of anthropology, received $4,743 for a study of different cultures that have intertwined along the San Gabriel River. 

Steven Marble, associate professor of education, received $4,345 for a study of Hispanic perspectives on Texas history. 

Alison Marr, assistant professor of mathematics, received $7,190 to study some new labelings on directed graphs. These problems could have applications to areas of communication networking and intelligence.

Jesse Purdy, professor of psychology, received a $4,900 grant to test the possibility that learning plays a role in the acquisition and performance of anti-predatory behavior in an endangered fish called the Oxylan Pygmy Perch, which is found in coastal fresh waters of eastern Australia. The funds will help him spend four months in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, working in an aquatic animal behavior and cognition lab associated with the Pet Porpoise Pool marine park and the University of Southern Cross.

Eileen Russell, associate professor of music, received $2,900 for a project to recruit and retain euphonium and tuba players in junior high and high school music programs.

Elizabeth Stockton, assistant professor of English, received $7,930 for a book project on the letters of Elizabeth Stoddard.


In Focus will not be published next week. Publication will resume after Spring Break.