Top News


The Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust of Wichita Falls will receive the 2008 President’s Philanthropy Award from Southwestern University. The award will be presented at a dinner on campus Sept. 27.

The Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust was established in 2000 by Robert T. Priddy and the late Ruby Norwood Priddy. From its beginnings, the Trust has had a well-defined focus on liberal arts education. In 2001, Mr. Priddy posed a remarkable question to 19 leading institutions, asking them to define “the major challenges as well as opportunities generally for liberal arts colleges for the next 10 years.” Southwestern University responded with its vision of a heightened, more intentional approach to undergraduate education a response that would eventually lead to a groundbreaking grant of $8.5 million from the Priddy Charitable Trust to found Southwestern’s Paideia(R) Program in 2002.

This grant enabled Southwestern to hire several new faculty members, fund a program director, and provide stipends for students to cover Paideia(R)-related expenses. Part of the grant was a challenge grant for a new Center for Lifelong Learning, which will house the Paideia(R) Program. Construction of that building is now under way.

Southwestern currently has 240 students participating in its Paideia(R) Program. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, program participants fulfill requirements in civic engagement, intercultural and diversity experiences, and undergraduate research and creative works. To read the rest of this story, go here:  


As a student at Southwestern, Jessica Hager felt she wasn’t able to do everything she wanted to. So after graduating in May, she decided to return to campus for another year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.

Working out of Southwestern’s Civic Engagement Office, Hager now assists students who want to take on civic projects of their own. “Mainly, I serve as a resource for students who want to contribute to their community but simply need a helping hand,” Hager says. “We talk about all the different options that are here, what they might like to do and how to get the ball rolling.”

Part of her job involves maintaining a database of the service opportunities available in the area. “Being part of your community, especially while you are in college, helps to make theory come alive,” Hager says. “It helps students see what their education can provide beyond academia.” To read the rest of this story, go here:



A ceramics exhibition titled “Near East Meets West” will open Oct. 1 in the Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibition will present the work of eight North American potters whose work is influenced by art of the Near East. The exhibit will run through Oct. 31, but will be closed during Fall Break, Oct. 11-14. Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. daily. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Thursday, Oct. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.


The Southwestern University Theatre Department will present a new adaptation of the classic Greek play “Lysistrata” Oct. 1-5. Performances will be held in the Jones Theater Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are available here or by calling 512-863-1378. The play is recommended for mature audiences. After the Oct. 3 performance, Michael Mark Chemers give a talk about his adaption of the play. Chemers is the founder and director of the Dramaturgy Program at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he has taught since 2004.


The Fountainwood Observatory at Southwestern University will have a public viewing night on Friday, Oct. 3, 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 #5 on campus map at 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.


Brian L. Bowman, Regent’s Professor of Music (Euphonium) in the College of Music at The University of North Texas, will give a guest recital on Monday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater located in the Fine Arts Center. The concert will feature a wide variety of low brass compositions ranging from sacred to opera and art songs to folk songs. Bowman will be accompanied by pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa. The recital is sponsored by the Music Department in the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. It is free and open to the public. For more information, call 512-863-1504.


The Theatre Department in the Sarofim School of Fine Arts is sponsoring a New York Theatre tour Nov. 26-30. The trip will include tickets to three Tony award-winning productions: the smash-hit musical “In The Heights“; the 2008 Tony Award-winning play “August: Osage County” from Steppenwolf, one of America’s premiere theatre companies out of Chicago; and “Boeing, Boeing” starring Christine Baranski, the 2008 Tony Award winner for Best Play Revival. For more information on the tour, go here. Payments are due Oct 13.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about Southwestern’s new “green” buildings.

Gilbert St. Clair, part-time professor of political science, was interviewed by KPSI radio in Palm Springs, Calif., about the impact of the Latino vote on the presidential race.

FOX 7 Television in Austin did a story about Biology Professor Romi Burks’ First Year Seminar on chocolate. See the story here

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the upcoming filming of an HBO movie at Southwestern.

The Williamson County Sun ran a photo essay and column about the kickoff party for the new Friends of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts.

Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion, was quoted in a column by Boston Globe religion writer Michael Paulson about the Humane Society’s new outreach campaign to religious congregations.

The Williamson County Sun ran a feature story about Suzanne Buchele’s experience teaching in Ghana.


Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, contributed two chapters to a book titled Mendelssohn in Performance, edited by Siegwart Reichwald and published by Indiana University Press. The book is the first collection of scholarly essays concerning interpretation of the music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy on stage. Cooper’s first essay, titled “From Notation to Edition to Performance,” concerns particularly thorny issues that arise in moving from Mendelssohn’s manuscripts to printed musical notation that will convey the same suggestions to modern performers that it did for his contemporaries. The second essay, “’For you see I am the eternal objector’ On Performing Mendelssohn’ music in translation,” addresses the problems and opportunities posed by his extraordinary variety of linguistic fluencies for modern performers. Cooper also published the premier edition of the first complete version of Mendelssohn’s secular cantata Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The first Walpurgis night) as part of the series “Recent Researches Concerning the Music of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries” (Madison, Wisconsin; A-R Editions), based on a 1799 ballad by Goethe. The edition is based on manuscripts held in Cracow, Paris, Berlin and Oxford.

Max Taub, associate professor of biology, will participate in a workshop in Washington, D.C., in October that is designed teach faculty members how to organize large quantities of data for use in the classroom. The workshop is sponsored by the Ecological Society of America. Workshop participants will spend two days working with data amassed within existing long-term data sets, including databases maintained by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the multi- institutional EcoTrends Project, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service. Conference organizers believe the ability to use such real-time, continental-scale data will move students into the forefront of ecological research.

Have a submission for “Notables“? Send it to