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Southwestern is one of the most sustainable colleges in Texas, according to a new report issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Mass., that seeks to advance energy efficiency, green building, recycling and endowment transparency on college campuses.

This year the institute analyzed indicators for 322 colleges and universities. The indicators fell into nine categories: Administration, Climate Change and Energy, Food and Recycling, Green Building, Transportation, Student Involvement, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities and Shareholder Engagement. The total scores of the nine equally weighted categories determined a school’s overall GPA on a 4.0 scale leading to the overall sustainability letter grade.

The highest rating given to a school in Texas was a B+. Southwestern and three other schools received this rating − Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. Only 52 schools in the country scored higher than a B+.

Southwestern received an “A” in the categories of Administration, Green Building and Investment Priorities.

Read more here.


As a student in Southwestern’s Paideia program, senior American Studies major Katie Mead has learned to make connections between her academic courses. This year, that ability landed her a book contract − before she has even applied to graduate school.

It all began when Mead took classes in both 20th Century American Literature and Native American Religions in her junior year. The interdisciplinary training that benefits Paideia scholars prompted Mead to examine Allen Ginsberg’s epic Beat poem “Howl” through the lens of Native American trickster mythology for her senior honors thesis.

A book based on her thesis, titled Howling: The Trickster in Ginsberg, is scheduled to be published in early 2012.

Read more here.


Biology Professor Romi Burks has received an $18,000 Planning for International Research for Students grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used to write a proposal for a program that will enable undergraduate students to conduct research in foreign countries.

Burks is going to Montevideo, Uruguay, in November to work on the proposal with collaborators from the University of Hawaii, the University of Montevideo and the Natural History Museum in Montevideo. The grant proposal is due in September 2011 and Burks hopes it will lead to funding that will enable six to eight students to conduct research abroad for three years.

Two Southwestern students will join Burks on the trip to help write the proposal − sophomore Allyson Plantz and senior Megan Rice.

Read more here.



Guitarist David Asbury will give a faculty recital on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Asbury has served on the Southwestern faculty since 1992. He is an active performer and teacher who has appeared on concert stages in Europe, Canada, Central America and throughout the United States.

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


Guest violinist Ayako Yonetani and faculty pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa will give a recital on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will feature the Sonata in A minor, Op. 23, by Ludwig van Beethoven; Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22, by Frédéric Chopin, the Sonata for Violin Solo, Op. 27, no. 2, by Eugène Ysaÿe; the Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 18, by Richard Strauss; and Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20, by Pablo de Sarasate.

Yonetani is a professor of violin and viola at the University of Central Florida and is a member of Japan’s premier chamber ensemble, Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo. Tamagawa is a professor of music at Southwestern and has appeared in concert throughout the United States and in six foreign countries.

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


Franklin Knight, the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University, will present the 2010 History Colloquium on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. in the Howry Center.

Knight will give a lecture titled “The 18th Century Revolutions and Their Legacies: Two Hundred Years Later.” The lecture will compare the United States, French and Haitian Revolutions and seeks to explain the divergent experiences of the new political states created or transformed. While the revolutions do not entirely explain the current realities in the United States, France or Haiti, the lecture will examine how the ideas and ideals of the 18th century are inescapable in the three societies.

Knight is a Latin American and Caribbean historian who specializes in the social and economic history of the late colonial period, with particular interest in American slave systems and the modern Caribbean. A Hopkins faculty member since 1973, Knight’s major publications include Slave Society in Cuba During the Nineteenth Century (1970); The African Dimension of Latin American Societies (1974); UNESCO General History of the Caribbean, Volume III: The Slave Societies of the Caribbean; and, with Teresita Martinez Vergne, Contemporary Caribbean Cultures and Societies in a Global Context (2005). He holds an undergraduate degree from the University College of the West Indies-London and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


The Fountainwood Observatory will host a public viewing night on Friday, Nov. 12, from 8-10:30 p.m.

The evening viewing will begin with a waxing crescent Moon in the southwestern sky while Jupiter and its Galilean moons are high in the southern sky. The planet Uranus will appear through a telescope as a small gray green dot about 3.5 degrees to the east of Jupiter. Viewers also will be able to see numerous star clusters as well as the Andromeda galaxy, some two million light years distant.

Fountainwood Viewing Nights are always free and open to the public, but donations are accepted to help pay for maintenance. The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on campus map at Faculty members from the Physics Department as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

For weather-related updates, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242. This will be the final public viewing night for the fall 2010 semester. Public viewing nights will begin for the spring 2011 semester in February.


The Fringe Benefits Committee and the Staff Affairs Council are sponsoring a free financial planning fair for students, faculty and staff on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Campus Center and Olin Building.

Certified Financial Planners will offer workshops on savings, investment, retirement, debt management and health care savings options. In addition, participants can attend an individual session with a planner to discuss their particular financial concerns.

For a complete schedule of events, or to register for the conference, go to On-site registration will also be available.


Southwestern’s Theatre for Young Audiences program will present four performances of “The Yellow Boat” Nov. 19-21 in the Jones Theater.

“The Yellow Boat” is a true story about a boy named Benjamin who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at the age of six. The play was written by Benjamin’s father, David Saar, who is the founder and artistic director of the Childsplay theatre program in Tempe, Ariz. The play is recommended for children ages 10 and up.

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20 and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and youth 16 and under. To purchase tickets, contact the Southwestern Box Office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1-5 p.m. or by going online to

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun did a story about Southwestern’s upcoming Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

History Professor Elizabeth Green Musselman appeared in an episode of “Bill Green’s Maine,” which airs weekly on television station WCSH in Portland, Maine. The segment is about Fiber College, an annual fiber festival where she taught two knitting classes in September. Watch the segment here.

The Austin American-Statesman and the Austin Business Journal reported on Southwestern’s good grade on the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card. Read the Statesman story here. Read the Business Journal story here.

The Mother Nature Network ran a Q&A with Religion Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster about her new book. Read the interview here.


Suzanne Buchele, associate professor of computer science, is serving on the Peer Review Committee for Fulbright Scholar grants to West and Central Africa Nov. 4-5 in Washington, D.C. This is the last of a three-year appointment on the committee, which is administered by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).

First-year student Connor Smith was selected to attend the World Affairs Council of America’s 2010 National Conference held in Washington, D.C., this week. Smith was one of 25 students and young professionals from around the country who received a scholarship to attend the event. Smith was chosen for his academic excellence and leadership both on and off the field as a NCAA DIII varsity lacrosse player and as president of the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security. Read more here.

Kim Smith, associate professor of art history, presented a paper titled “Vision and Primitivism in Franz Marc’s Slow Paintings” at the Southeastern College Art / Mid-America College Art Association joint conference held in Richmond, Va., Oct. 21-23.

Ron Swain, senior advisor to the president, and Ramona Jean-Perkins of Dillard University gave a presentation at the Association of American Colleges and Universities conference in Houston Oct. 22. The conference focused on “Facing the Divides: Diversity, Learning, and Pathways to Inclusive Excellence.” Their presentation was titled “Engaged Diversity: Institutional Transformation through Student Leadership” and was based on the Engaged Diversity Project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that Southwestern has participated in over the past five years. Charles Prince, a 2010 Southwestern graduate, helped write the paper with Jean-Perkins while he was an exchange student at Dillard University in 2009.


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