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The Class of 2011 has left Southwestern but it will be remembered for years to come.

At the May 7 Commencement ceremony, the class presented President Jake B. Schrum with a class gift of $47,472.48 – the largest in the university’s history. The gift drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

In all, 55 percent of the students in the Class of 2011 contributed to the class gift. Student donations totaled $2,000 and parents contributed the rest.

Read more here.


Southwestern has selected Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG) to take over its bookstore operations beginning June 8. The new contract will run through 2021.

Southwestern began searching for a new company to run its bookstore after longtime local operator Larry Connell announced his retirement this spring.

Follett Higher Education Group, which is headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and more than 400,000 faculty members through more than 900 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website,, which provides services and products through a network of more than 900 campus stores.

“Follett is in an ideal position to leverage its experience and market presence to meet the needs of our students and faculty – bringing the best to our bookstore operation,” said Provost Jim Hunt, who co-chaired the Bookstore Selection Committee.

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Two new study abroad programs will enable Southwestern students to improve their Spanish this summer while at the same time gaining cultural awareness. Seventeen students will travel to San Joaquin de Flores, Costa Rica, and 24 Spanish and business majors or minors will explore the city of Granada, Spain.

Spanish Professor Katy Ross and Business Professor Andy Ross are leading the trip to Spain. Katy Ross will teach a course on “Cultures of Spain” and Ross will teach a course on “International Business,” which will take a deeper look at the function of the European Union, globalization and its affect on Spain, Spain’s current financial challenges, and a broader look at how Spain interacts both economically and socially with the rest of the world.

Sue Mennicke, director of intercultural learning, says she sees a growing interest in interdisciplinary trips that combine multiple areas of study and allow students to glean more from their study abroad experience. “The Granada trip is a nice model, and it is one that we might be able to replicate with other departments in the future,” she says.

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Southwestern’s Career Services Office has used a headless mannequin named Ichabod for more than a decade to show students how to dress professionally for job interviews (he wears clothes donated by Men’s Wearhouse). But in fall 2010 they decided to also use him to serve as the “face” of Career Services on Facebook.

Students who work in Career Services were instrumental in developing and implementing the social media campaign. To date, more than 840 students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends have signed up to be “friends” with Ichabod on Facebook and receive updates on what Career Services has to offer them on the path to professional success.

The campaign has been so successful that it earned Career Services the 2011 National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Innovation Excellence Award in the marketing and branding category. Director Roger Young will accept the award on behalf of the office at a June 2 ceremony in Dallas.

Read more here.



Members of the Southwestern University Woodwind Quartet will be the featured soloists in the Austin Civic Orchestra’s May 14 concert. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at St Martin’s Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th Street in Austin. The program includes Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor; the Theme and Variations movement from Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in Eb major, K. 297b for Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Horn and Orchestra; and Ten Emotions: A Tone Poem by Stephen Kaminski.

For more information, visit


Southwestern will celebrate its Methodist heritage on Tuesday, May 24, with a day of events to mark Aldersgate Day. Aldersgate Day is a holiday celebrated by Methodists to commemorate John Wesley’s “heartwarming” experience on Aldersgate Street in London in 1738. This year’s annual celebration at Southwestern has been coordinated by Ev Schrum ’70 with musical contributions by Henry Holloway ’50 and Ellsworth Peterson ’55.

Highlights of the day include a showing of the 2010 film “Wesley: A Heart Transformed Can Change the World” and a driving tour of Southwestern’s Methodist Heritage in Georgetown. For more information or to register, visit

The event is free and open to the public.


The 2011 Georgetown Festival of the Arts will be held June 2-5 and will feature the work of Johannes Brahms. Several of the festival events will take place at Southwestern and will feature Southwestern alumni.

A pre-festival event will be held on Sunday, May 15, at the Georgetown Public Library. At 2 p.m., three professional classical musicians − Anna Carney on clarinet, soprano Teri Johnson, and Timothy Nolt on piano − will perform works of Brahms for instruments and voice. Ellsworth Peterson, the artistic director of the Festival and Southwestern professor emeritus will talk about the music being performed.

Also, on May 21, the Round Rock Symphony is performing Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 as part of a concert that will be held at C. D. Fulkes Auditorium, 300 East Anderson Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.

For more information on the Festival of the Arts, visit

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about graduation.


An article by Shana Bernstein, associate professor of history, appeared in the recent journal Pacific Historical Review. It is titled “Interracial Activism in the Los Angeles Community Service Organization: Linking the World War II and Civil Rights Eras.”

Religion Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster is going to New York May 23-26 to participate in Book Expo America, the largest annual book trade fair in the United States. Her 2010 book, The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals, was Baylor University Press’s best seller last year.

Graduating senior Andrew Ivy received the 2011 Southwestern Partner of the Year Award from Georgetown’s Partners in Education program. Ivy was recognized for his work mentoring a student at McCoy Elementary School for the past two years. 

Professor of Political Science and University Scholar Eric Selbin’s book Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance: The Power of Story has been published in India by Books for Change.

Junior Alexis Kropf and 2009 graduate Colin Kyle were the authors of a paper that is being published in a special issue of Current Zoology focused on invasive species. Their article, titled “Prime waterfront real estate: Apple snails choose wild taro for oviposition sites,” provides evidence for a preference of apple snails to lay their pink egg clutches on another invasive species of plant (wild taro, Colocasia esculenta) and contradicts the prediction that larger females lay the largest egg clutches. Smaller snails can produce just as many eggs. Kropf and Kyle are students of Romi Burks, associate professor of biology.

Burks also has had a paper titled “Quite the appetite: Juvenile island apple snails (Pomacea insularum) survive consuming only exotic invasive plants” accepted for publication in the Journal of Molluscan Studies. Co-authors on this paper included 2008 graduate Sarah Hensley and 2009 graduate Colin Kyle. Hensley and Kyle monitored the growth and survival of two size ranges of immature apple snails over a period of six weeks during which the snails received a suite of three exotic, invasive plants. Ecologists usually consider these plants to be less nutritious and desirable than native plants, but contrary to what the literature would have predicted, the snails grew just fine on subpar resources. This suggests that island apple snails may be able to survive for periods of time with poor resources, possibly contributing to their success as exotic, invasive species. 




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