Top News


Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in drama, will deliver the 2012 Writer’s Voice Lecture sponsored by Southwestern’s A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center. The lecture has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Parks received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College, where she was encouraged to try playwriting by author and civil rights activist James Baldwin. She wrote her first play, “The Sinner’s Place,” while still in school. She won Obie Awards for her third play, “Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom,” and for her eighth play, “Venus,” about a South African Khoisan woman taken to England as a sideshow attraction.

Parks received the Pulitzer Prize in drama for her 2002 play titled “Topdog/Underdog,” which depicts the struggles of everyday African American life.

Parks’s other plays include “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,”The America Play,” about a man obsessed with Abraham Lincoln; “In the Blood, which updates Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; and “The Book of Grace,” a biblically inflected examination of the familial relations of a racist patriarch.

From November 2002 to November 2003, Parks wrote a short play each day for a year. The plays were performed in 2006-2007 as part of a project called 365Days/365Plays, which was  of the largest grassroots collaborations in theater history. 

Read more here.



Carl Robertson, associate professor of Chinese, will be the featured speaker at the Jan. 11 “Salon at Wildfire” sponsored by the Williamson Museum. Robertson will speak about  “The Biggest Holiday Ever − How the Chinese Celebrate New Year” beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the backroom of Wildfire Restaurant, 812 S. Austin Ave. in Georgetown.

Robertson’s talk will center on the importance of the New Year festival in traditional Chinese society and how these traditions continue, including gift-giving, family, connections to celestial events, and brush-writing Chinese characters for beauty and fortune.                                          

The Salon is a program hosted by The Williamson Museum with once-a-month presentations by leading professionals and researchers in their respective fields.  Presentations are followed by opportunities to visit with the speakers and others in attendance. For more information, visit


Southwestern will host a community dinner to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16, at 5 p.m. in the McCombs Ballrooms. The theme for the dinner will be “Sustaining the Dream.” 

Featured speaker for the dinner will be La Vonne Neal, dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Neal was on the faculty at Southwestern from 1997 to 2005 before she left to become dean of the College of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She was named dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Education in April 2010.

The dinner is free for Southwestern students, and $5 for faculty, staff and members of the community. For reservations, call 512-863-1342 or write

Read more here.

Media Coverage

Community Impact newspaper did a story on Southwestern’s new initiatives. Read the story here. Community Impact also did a story on Ron Swain, senior advisor to the president for strategic planning and assessment. Read the story here.

Former Music Professor Iola Bowden Chambers and her work with the Negro Fine Arts School were featured on KUT’s program titled “This Week in Texas Music History.” Listen to the segment here.

The Williamson County Sun included two stories about Southwestern in its 2011 Year in Review issue.

The Austin American-Statesman did a story about Southwestern students who are growing food to give to seniors in Georgetown. Read the story here.


Southwestern students Taylor Wright, Shae Seagraves, Abigail O’Connor, Daniel Ayala and Stephen Montes will be representing the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference at the 2012 NCAA Convention being held in Indianapolis Jan. 11-14.

Lois Ferrari, professor of music and music director of the Austin Civic Orchestra, performed a sold-out holiday concert Dec. 11 in Bates Recital Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus. The event included the presentation of an art work commissioned by Ferrari and the ACO and created by Star Varner, professor of art. A set of engravings created by Varner was presented to two long-time ACO supporters who lost their home in the Bastrop fire last summer. The ACO’s next concert will be performed in the Alma Thomas Theater on Saturday, Feb. 4. For more information, go here.

Ken Roberts,  professor of economics and holder of the Cullen Chair in Economics, was an invited participant in a seminar sponsored by the Social Science Research Council and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Dec. 6-8 in Beijing. The seminar was the first in a two-year project funded by the Ford Foundation on migration and social change. Roberts presented a paper titled “The Changing Dynamics of Labor Migration in Mexico and China.”

Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, has had an article titled “The Limits of Translation in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” accepted for publication in Shakespeare Survey, an annual publication of Cambridge University Press. The acknowledgments in the article name Southwestern graduate Sarah Gammill, who took an independent study class with Dr. Saenger on Lacanian approaches to the play.

Roger Young, director of Career Services, received the 2011 Southern Star Award from the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers. The award is presented to a person or persons who have made significant contributions to the career services and recruiting profession or had a sustained impact on the Association of Colleges and Employers over a period of time.