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What would you do if you had $3,000 to give away?  

That was the challenge facing students in a new First-Year Seminar that was offered at Southwestern this year.  

The seminar, titled “Doing Good and Doing It Well: The Theory and Practice of Philanthropy,” was taught by Melissa Byrnes, a history professor with a particular interest in foreign aid and international development. Byrnes said she decided to offer the seminar after teaching a class on the history of humanitarianism in fall 2010.  

“I thought an FYS with a focus on philanthropy meshed well with our students’ interests and the university’s core purpose,” Byrnes said.

The class included a broad theoretical discussion of philanthropy from multiple disciplinary perspectives such as literature, philosophy, history, religion and even neuroscience. It also included a local, practical project in which students were asked to solicit grant proposals from area nonprofits and select one to receive a grant.  

Read more here.


At first glance, sophomores Erin Cressy and Emma Martinsen look like typical college students. However, they are already working well beyond their years, having recently founded their own theatre production company in Houston with their friend Wiley DeWeese, who is a student at NYU.

“It was something we had already thought would be a fun thing to do in the future, so we said to ourselves, ‘well, why not now?’” Cressy said.

This led them to create Bit of a Stretch Theatre Company, which, as it turns out, has not been much of a stretch at all thus far. Their first production under that company name had only four performances but sold out for two of them. The play they staged, Floyd Collins, is based on the true story of a Kentucky caver who became trapped while exploring Sand Cave in 1925.

They are already set to do at least one show during summer 2012. “We can’t do shows during the year while school is in session, but we’re still definitely working on it,” Cressy said. “We have to start planning and reserving spaces and getting rights to shows – it’s a really long process.”

Read more here.



Four bassoon players will be joined by pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa for a recital to be held on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. in the Caldwell-Carvey Foyer. The program includes works by Eugene Jancourt, Anton Reicha, Georg Phillip Telemann, Johannes Brahms and Peter Schickele.

The featured bassoon players will be Eric Stone Miller, Ann Shoemaker, Robert Horick and Jeanette Brown. Miller is principal bassoonist of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Chamber Ensemble and Shoemaker is a member of the Waco Symphony. Horick is a retired Southwestern faculty member and Brown is a current student at Southwestern. 

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


Oct. 15-16 will be a busy weekend in Georgetown, with both the annual Art in the Square event and the Chisholm Trail Days taking place the same weekend. The Art in the Square event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday on the downtown square and will feature works from 100 fine artists in a wide range of media including clay, drawing, sculpture, painting, jewelry, fiber and metal. For details on the event and participating artists, go to

In conjunction with Art in the Square, professor emeritus Ellsworth Peterson will introduce the community to the composers he has selected for the 8th annual Festival of the Arts, which will be held May 31-June 3, 2012. Peterson and several others, including music professor Eileen Russell, will offer an informal recital of piano, vocal and instrumental music at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Hewlett Room of the Georgetown Public Library.

The Chisholm Trail Days, sponsored by the Williamson Museum, will be held Oct. 15 in San Gabriel Park. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a cowboy breakfast. Other events scheduled for the day include living history encampments, western demonstrators, pony and wagon rides, a children’s corral, live music at the gazebo, and a cattle drive along the river beginning at 4 p.m. A BBQ dinner will be held at the Community Center from 5:15-7 p.m., with take-out meals available. Tickets for the dinner are $10 each. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit The Nest, one of the homeless student initiatives of The Georgetown Project, as well as the educational programs of The Williamson Museum. For more information, visit


Delta Delta Delta sorority is having a Catwalk to End Fat Talk on Thursday, Oct. 20, in the McCombs Campus Center. The event consists of a trunk show and fashion show to raise money and awareness for the National Eating Disorders Association.

The trunk show portion is from 2-7:30 p.m. and will feature local and national vendors, including The Exchange at Annarella, Stella & Dot and Lilly Pulitzer. Admission to the trunk show is free and 10 percent of proceeds will be donated directly to the NEDA.

The fashion show portion is at 6 p.m., and seating begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission to the fashion show is $5 for Southwestern students and $10 for non-students. The fashion show will feature models who are leaders on Southwestern’s campus of a variety of shapes and sizes to demonstrate that beauty can come in any form, not just the “thin ideal” imposed by society. The women will wear dresses by Lilly Pulitzer and Rent the Runway and men will wear clothing by Texas Clothier.

For tickets and more information, visit or email


An opening reception for the “Full Circle” sculpture exhibit, which is now on display in the Fine Arts Gallery, will be held Thursday, Oct. 20, from 4-6 p.m. in the gallery. The exhibit runs through Nov. 9.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun did a story on the “Food Access Chef Showdown” that students took part in for Professor Molly Jensen’s First-Year Seminar.


The League of American Bicyclists has given Southwestern an Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly University. Read more here.

Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre, did the costumes for Unity Theatre of Brenham’s production of “Steel Magnolias,” which runs through Oct. 23.

Senior softball players Lyndsy Maus and Taylor Turpin have been named 2011 All-America Scholar Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Read more here.

Katy Ross, associate professor of Spanish, has a chapter in a new book published by Macfarland Press titled The Changing Spanish Family: Essays on New Views in Literature, Cinema and Theater. Her chapter is titled “Why We Are All in the Club:  El club de las malas madres (2009).”

Laura Senio-Blair, associate professor of Spanish, is giving a presentation at the XXI annual conference of the International Association of Hispanic Feminist Literature and Culture to be held at the Universitat de Barcelona next week. The title of her presentation is “New Road Signs for Emerging Identities: The Hispanic Road Movie by Women Directors.”

Dustin Tahmahkera, assistant professor of communication studies, has an article titled “‘An Indian in a White Man’s Camp’: Johnny Cash’s Indian Country Music” in the current special issue of American Quarterly titled “Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies.”

Senior biology major Julia Von Alexander has been accepted into the Apprentice Austin program sponsored by the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce. Von Alexander will spend eight months being mentored by a public health professional.

Did you know?

Faculty and staff – as well as members of the community – are encouraged to refer students to Southwestern. If you know a high school student who would be a good candidate for Southwestern, you can use this form to refer them:


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