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Ernest Clark, the first African-American to graduate from Southwestern University, has been awarded one of the University’s highest honors – the Southwestern University Medal. The medals are given by the Board of Trustees for contributions to the University, either through service or philanthropy.

Clark enrolled at Southwestern in the fall of 1965 after having been a participant in the Negro Fine Arts School, an after-school music program for middle and high school students developed by Southwestern in partnership with the First Methodist Church of Georgetown. Clark participated in the program in 1959 and from 1962-1966.

After receiving a music degree from Southwestern in 1969, Clark taught music in the Dallas public schools until his retirement in 2005. He estimates that over the course of his career, he taught 36,000 students.

The medal was presented Nov. 6 during a gala event celebrating 40 years of African-American alumni achievements at Southwestern.

Read the rest of the story and see photos from the gala event here.


Three alumni along with a faculty member and a staff member received awards from The Association of Southwestern University Alumni last week. The awards were presented Nov. 7 during Homecoming Weekend.  

Mary Hale Visser, professor of art, received the Ms. Homecoming award, which is given to a faculty member as a token of the affection and respect of former students.  

Debbie Sanderfer, Mail Service supervisor, received the Pearl A. Neas award, which is given to a member of Southwestern in recognition of long and faithful service to the university.  

Dr. Douglas M. Benold, a longtime Georgetown family practice physician and member of the Southwestern University Board of Trustees, received the Distinguished Alumnus award. Benold graduated from Southwestern in 1944.  

The Citation of Merit award was presented to Dr. Lawrence R. Stanberry, a 1970 graduate who now serves as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Stanberry is also pediatrician-in-chief of the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian Hospital.  

The Young Alumna Achievement Award was given to Megan Schubert Leese, a 2001 graduate who serves as supervisor of managed care at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  


For the second year in a row, a team of students from Southwestern won its division and placed second overall in the annual Business Ethics Match hosted by the Texas Independent College Foundation (TICF).

The competition was held Nov. 6 in Fort Worth and featured 14 teams from small, independent (private) colleges and universities in Texas. The teams were split into East and West divisions and the two division winners competed against each other for first and second place.

This year’s Southwestern team consisted of Ross Harrison, Zach Joplin, Christopher McMartin and Ashley Richards. The team won its division, but lost in the final round to Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie in a match that had to be decided by a tiebreaker.

Read the rest of the story here.



The Southwestern University Orchestra will give a free concert on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The concert will feature “Elegie” and “Andante, Op. 30” by Tchaikovsky, Intermezzo  from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni, “For a Star Filled Night”  by Peter Askim, and Suite for Strings, “Holberg,” by Edvard Grieg.

The orchestra will be conducted by Lois Ferrari and student conductor Magen Comley. For more information, call 512-863-1379.


Violinist Nancy Zhou will perform a guest artist recital with pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The program will consist of works by Johannes Brahms, Eugene Ysaye, Fritz Kreisler and Henryk Wieniawski.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.


The Southwestern Theatre Department is presenting “Pinocchio” Nov. 20-22 as part of its Theatre for Young Audiences program.

Performances will be given in the Jones Theater Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the Friday performance are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors 63 and over, $14 for youth 16 and under, and $12 for students. Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday matinees are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for youth and $8 for students.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1-5 p.m. 


The SU Wind Ensemble will perform in concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The program will include “A Hymn to Yerevan” by Alan Hovhaness, “Suite Concertante” by Vaclav Nelhybel, “Rule Brittania” by John Hartmann, “Moon by Night”  by Jonathan Newman, “Cousins” by Herbert L. Clarke and “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull. Soloists include Susan Rider, trumpet, and Eileen Meyer Russell, trombone.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call 512-863-1379.

Media Coverage

The Austin American-Statesman ran a story about the 100th anniversary of Southwestern’s first homecoming. Read the story here.

Philosophy Professor Phil Hopkins was quoted in a Brandweek story about how Ayn Rand is regarded in academia. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about Southwestern recognizing its African-American graduates during Homecoming.

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about students who have received the 2009-10 King Creativity Awards.


Lois Ferrari, associate professor of music, conducted the Austin Civic Orchestra in concert at the Pflugerville Performing Arts Center Nov. 7th. The program featured clarinet soloist Kathleen Bohn and featured two pillars of the orchestral repertoire: “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov and Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” 

David Gaines, professor of English, gave an invited lecture last month at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. His lecture was titled “Bob Dillon’s Senses of Humor.

Laura Hobgood–Oster, professor of religion, attended the American Academy of Religion meeting in Montreal, Canada, last week, where she chaired all the panels on animals and religion.

Julia Johnson, assistant professor of communication studies, presented a paper titled “Qwe’reing/Queering Alliances through Silence: An Autoethnographic Exploration of ‘Living out Loud’” at the annual convention of the National Communication Association in Chicago this week.

Shannon Mariotti, assistant professor of political science, was recently asked to review Gerhard Schweppenhaüser’s new book, Theodor W. Adorno: An Introduction, for the Review of Politics. Her piece will come out in the journal’s next issue.

Laura Senio Blair, assistant professor of Spanish, presented a paper titled “Driving Class Conflict: Taxis and Taxistas in Contemporary Chilean Cinema” at the Geographical Imaginaries and Hispanic Film conference in New Orleans Nov. 4-6.

Senior Sally Spalding presented her paper “Power Play: The Intersection of Religion and Gender in Christian Women’s Narratives” at the Religious Communication Association preconference of the National Communication Association convention in Chicago Nov. 11. This paper was competitively selected and is a condensed version of her capstone research project in Communication Studies.


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