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Southwestern University is financially stronger than 80 percent of the colleges and universities in the country, but will nonetheless continue to tighten its belt to survive the current economic crisis. 

That’s the message President Jake B. Schrum had for the university community in recent addresses to faculty and staff members. In his talks, the president stressed two key points: 

  • Southwestern is “alive and vibrant.”
  • It is “deeply engaged” in both short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the current economic crisis.

“No one at Southwestern is standing still,” the president said. “We will work through this time with diligence and strategic actions.”

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American writer and literature professor Tobias Wolff will be the 2009 speaker for the Writer’s Voice series sponsored by the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library at Southwestern. The 2009 Writer’s Voice lecture has been set for Nov. 10, 2009, in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Wolff’s books include two memoirs, This Boy’s Life and In Pharoah’s Army. This Boy’s Life was made into a 1993 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.

Wolff also has written a short novel titled The Barracks Thief, the 2003 novel Old School and three collections of stories: In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World and The Night in Question. His most recent book, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories, was published this spring.

“Tobias Wolff is the quintessential American novelist and short-story writer,” said Lynne Brody, Dean of Library Services. Brody said her favorite Wolff book is Old School, which she says “captures the essence of youth” and “is a celebration of the impact of literature on young people.”

Wolff currently teaches in the creative writing program at Stanford University and is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford.



This Saturday is the annual Christmas Stroll in downtown Georgetown. More than 100 arts and crafts booths will be set up around the Square, and a variety of events will take place from noon-8 p.m., beginning with a parade at noon.

“Tuba Christmas,” organized by Southwestern music professor Eileen Russell, will begin at 2 p.m. on the 8th Street side of the square.

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Junior music major Magen Comley was accepted through competitive application into the 2009 Small College Intercollegiate Band. Only 90 students were chosen for this group from a national pool of applications from 48 states. The SCIB will perform under the baton of Virginia Allen of the Curtis Institute of Music and as part of the College Band Directors’ National Association conference, to be held in March 2009 at the University of Texas at Austin.

***  Five faculty members have received Brown Fellowships and Awards for 2009-2010.

Sandi Nenga, assistant professor of sociology, and Alison Kafer, assistant professor of feminist studies, received Brown Junior Fellowships of $5,000 each. Nenga will use her fellowship to rewrite the manuscript of a book titled Claiming Community: Youth and Volunteer Work. Kafer will use her fellowship to work on revisions to her book Accessible Futures: Feminist, Queer, Crip.

Eileen Cleere, associate professor of English, and Emily Niemeyer, associate professor of chemistry, received Brown Senior Fellowships of $5,000 each. Cleere will use her funds to complete the manuscript for her book titled The Sanitary Arts: Aesthetic Philosophy and the Victorian Cleanliness Campaign. Niemeyer will use her funds to complete two articles on chemical analysis of polyphenolic compounds in plants.

Fumiko Futamura, assistant professor of mathematics, received the Brown Innovation in Teaching Award. She will use the $5,000 award to research methods for improving the teaching of mathematics and computer science.


Seven faculty members have been named 2008 recipients of awards from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund. The fund provides monetary awards for the continuing education and development of full-time faculty members of United Methodist colleges and universities in Texas. Southwestern received a total of $13,620 in grant money from the fund this year. Faculty members receiving awards and their projects are as follows:

David Asbury, assistant professor of music, will use his funds to research the correspondence of 20th century Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s correspondence with other significant 20th century musical figures will present a unique portrait of the composer and also offer glimpses into the lives of other important musical figures, events, places and practices.

Erika Berroth, associate professor or German, will use her award to fund research in Germany in the summer of 2009. Berroth is working on a book chapter about authors who have migrated to German-speaking cultures from communist Eastern Europe. She is focusing on three particular authors from Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

Alisa Gaunder, associate professor of political science, will use her award to fund research in Japan during her upcoming sabbatical. The research will focus on electoral obstacles facing women candidates for national office in Japan and the United States.

Thomas McClendon, professor of history, will use his funds to help pay for maps and images for his book titled White Chief, Black Lords: Shepstone and the Colonial State in Natal, South Africa, 1845-1878.

Jacqueline Muir-Broaddus, professor of education, will use her funds to conduct several studies to determine whether speeding presentation rates can enhance learning, problem solving and task performance among adolescents. Five students will assist her on the research project.

Aaron Prevots, assistant professor of French, will use his funds for a research project that explores spiritual and ethical questions in the work of three preeminent contemporary French writers: Yves Bonnefoy, Philippe Jaccottet and Jacques Reda.

Elizabeth Stockton, assistant professor of English, will use her funds to travel to Boston, Mass., in the summer of 2009 to conduct research for her book titled The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard. Stoddard, who lived from 1823-1902, was a novelist, short story writer, poet and journalist. Her personal letters, as well as the letters she wrote to her many editors, provide valuable insight into the American women’s experience throughout the last half of the 19th century.