Top News


For the second year in a row, a team of students from Southwestern has claimed the title of Top Undergraduate Institution in the region in the IBM-sponsored Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.

The contest is the world’s most prestigious computer programming competition and requires students to use their programming skills to solve as many problems as possible within a five-hour period.

The SU Root team made up of junior Tommy Rogers and seniors Stephen Foster and Bob Potter earned the honor at a regional competition held at Baylor University in Waco Oct. 17-18. More than 70 schools from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma participated in the competition, including 25 teams from schools that do not have graduate programs. The Southwestern team placed sixth overall and took top honors among the undergraduate-only institutions.

In addition to winning the Top Undergraduate Institution award, the SU Root team placed first in a Friday night “scripting contest” that was targeted at programming in scripting languages such as Perl, Python, PHP and Ruby. The Southwestern team programmed in Ruby, which is used to rapidly build web-based database applications.

The SU Pirata Informativo team made up of sophomores Sarah Doty and Nick Ashford and junior Lane Hill placed 28th overall in the competition and sixth in the Undergraduate Institution category.



The A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center at Southwestern is hosting a screening of the animated film “Persepolis” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28th, in Olin 105. “Persepolis” is based on director Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling graphic novels about her experiences growing up in Iran around the time of the Islamic Revolution, and won multiple awards in 2007-2008, including the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Bob Snyder, professor of political science at Southwestern, will speak about the Iranian revolution before the film is screened to provide historical context.


The Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Department of Music, is presenting the opera “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell on Friday, Oct. 31, and Saturday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The opera is based on a story from the fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The Queen of Carthage Dido and the Trojan refugee Aeneas meet when Aeneas and his crew are shipwrecked in Carthage. He and the queen fall in love, but Aeneas leaves to found Rome and Dido cannot live without him.

This presentation, directed by Bruce Cain, puts the opera in a modern “Goth” setting. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.


Southwestern’s new Blackbox Theatre Series will debut Nov. 6-9 with a production of “I Stand Before You Naked” by Joyce Carol Oates.

The play consists of 10 stories delivered by women in moments of confessional reflection. It incorporates specific issues of our time, from sexual abuse to insanity, yet goes beyond current topics to intimately explore universal themes such as aging, death, love and hope.

Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1978.

Performances will be given Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Heather McGaughey Blackbox Theater, located above the Jones Theater in the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center. The play is directed by senior directing student Sally Hall and is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain. Tickets may also be purchased online here.


Southwestern will host its second annual Pirate Golf Classic on Friday, Nov. 7th, at Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock. The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 12 noon. The tournament is limited to the first 96 registered golfers. For registration and sponsorship information, visit the web site, or contact Glada Munt at 512-863-1618 or by e-mail at All proceeds from the event will benefit Southwestern athletics.

Media Coverage

The Waco Tribune and the Austin American Statesman ran a column co-authored by Biology Professor Ben Pierce about science standards in Texas public schools. Read the column here.

The Summer 2008 issue of Southern Business and Development magazine featured Georgetown as one of 16 “Smart Small Towns” in the South due to the presence of Southwestern University.

The Austin Business Journal ran an article about the filming of an HBO movie at Southwestern.

The October issue of Women’s Health magazine quoted Fay Guarraci, assistant professor of psychology, about her research on caffeine.

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about Dr. William Engvall receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award.


Laura Senio Blair, assistant professor of Spanish, published an article titled “Bridges between the divide: The female body in Y tu Mama tambien and Machuca” in Studies in Hispanic Cinemas Volume 4 Number 1 (2008): 47-62. The article was co-authored with former Communication Studies professor Hector Amaya.

Brooke Arnold Calder, a junior English and Feminist Studies major, presented “As American as Apple Pie: Deconstructions of American Identity in Kavalier and Clay” at Sigma Tau Delta’s Southwestern Regional Conference. Calder originally wrote this paper for Helene Meyers’ Contemporary Jewish Literature course. Sigma Tau Delta is an English honor society.

Elizabeth Green Musselman and Thom McClendon, both of the History Department, recently participated in the eighth North Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa in Burlington, Vt. Green Musselman discussed the practicalities and possibilities of scholarly podcasting, while McClendon participated in a panel on whiteness in 20th-century southern African history.

Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion, is featured in a documentary just released by the Humane Society of the United States titled “Eating Mercifully.” The documentary examines the possible contributions of Christianity to a more humane system of food production in the United States. The DVD is available for free here.

Jesse Purdy, professor of psychology, presented his award-winning documentary, “The World of Weddell Seals,” to an audience at Centre College this week and gave a talk titled “Umwelt: Exploring the Self-Worlds of Human and Non-Human Animals.”