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Senior business majors Roberto Juarez, Madison Leeper and Rachel Nowlain all hope to run their own business someday.   If their performance at Southwestern is any indicator, all three will do well.   The three, along with Colin Berr, a senior international studies and political science major, tied for the fourth highest possible overall score out of 3,800 teams from 239 colleges and universities worldwide who participated in a business strategy simulation the week of Feb. 13.  

The Business Strategy Game is an international competition that is done via the Internet and tests students in all aspects of business, from HR and marketing to product design, production and finance.

In the game, teams of two to five students imagine that they are running an athletic footwear company that competes in the global arena. Each team has to develop and execute a competitive strategy that results in a respected brand image, keeps their company in contention for global market leadership, and produces good financial performance as measured by earnings per share, return on equity investment, stock price appreciation and credit rating. They have to keep corporate social responsibility in mind as well.

“It’s really the ultimate capstone class,” Berr said. “You have to use everything you have learned in previous classes.”

Read more here.


Senior communication studies major Evan Rodriguez has been working in the food industry for 13 years as a cook, but what he really hopes to do someday is write about food.

Rodriguez is one of 12 students who signed up for a new class offered this semester by Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, associate professor of English. The class, titled “Eat, Read, Write” is an interdisciplinary seminar that enables students to craft their own research projects around a food-related subject that interests them. Before launching into their research projects, the students read a variety of materials from different disciplines, including some of the readings for the 2012 Brown Symposium, which focuses on food.

The class fits into a relatively new academic area known as food studies. Although food studies is not her academic specialty, Piedmont-Marton has been interested in food since she worked at an upscale restaurant in Washington, D.C., before attending graduate school. Her husband, who also worked in a restaurant when he was younger, has a similar passion for food and the two enjoy cooking and dining out frequently.

Piedmont-Marton first ventured into teaching about food by offering a First-Year Seminar titled Salt Cod and Cool Whip: Adventures in American Gastronomica. The seminar addressed how the way Americans produce, procure, prepare and eat food can be used to understand our culture. It proved to be so popular that a lot of students asked Piedmont-Marton if she could teach a full-semester course on the topic.

Read more here.



Pianist Gregory Allen will give a guest recital Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Caldwell-Carvey Foyer. The program will include works by Leo Smit, Alfred Gradstein, Carl Nielsen and Nikolai Kapustin.

Allen is a professor of piano at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught since 1973. His concert engagements have included appearances with the New York, Los Angeles and Israel Philharmonics, the Brussels RTF and Jerusalem Radio Symphonies, and the orchestras of San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. He also is a founding member of the Chamber Soloists of Austin.

Allen’s recordings include The Rubinstein Dedications, a unique project devoted to the many 20th-century piano works written for and dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein. Allen also has recorded the first complete collection of the piano works of the renowned Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, call 512-863-1504.


How can the world feed its growing population in the 21st century? How can we make our food choices less destructive to the environment?  

These are among the topics that will be discussed  Feb. 27-28, 2012 as Southwestern University holds its 34th annual Brown Symposium.  

The symposium is titled “Back to the Foodture: Sustainable Strategies to Reverse a Global Crisis.” It has been organized by Laura Hobgood-Oster, a professor of religion and environmental studies and holder of the Elizabeth Root Paden Chair.  

Hobgood-Oster said she picked this theme for the symposium because food is central to her two main fields of study – religion and ecology.  

“Food is part of celebrations and rituals in almost every religious tradition,” she said. “And our food choices have a huge impact on the environment. Discussions about global warming often focus on transportation issues, but climate change has as much to do with what we eat as what we drive.”  

Read more here.  


The Theatre Department and Music Department are collaborating on a production of “The Beggar’s Opera” that will be presented March 1-4 in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Written by John Gay and adapted by Benjamin Britten, “The Beggar’s Opera” brings to life the greed, lust and corruption of 18th century London. Guest director for the production is Ronald Ulen, who has appeared with opera companies from around the world in nearly 2,000 performances. Ulen recently joined the voice faculty at Texas State University.

Performances will be given at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14 - $20 and may be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office at 512-863-1378

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the appointment of Joe Austin as head football coach.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about members of the women’s basketball team who spent a day with participants of East Wilco Challenger Sports, which was created last year to provide children with special needs an opportunity to play sports.

The Austin American-Statesman and the Williamson County Sun did previews of the Brown Symposium. Read the Statesman article here.


Sophomores Augustus Crimm, Eleanor O’Neil, Bailey Olderog and Sarah Puffer have been selected to receive Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships for their junior and senior years. The scholarships, which are awarded by the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation of Dallas, are for $5,000 per semester, or $10,000 per year. Students are selected for the scholarships based on their academic history, extracurricular activities, and leadership experience. Crimm is double-majoring in history and accounting, O’Neil and Olderog are political science majors, and Puffer is majoring in international studies and environmental studies. Read more here.

Current Sumners Scholars Colin Berr, Priscila Hernandez and Katherine Tanner are attending the 2012 Hatton W. Sumners Student Leadership Conference being held at The University of Texas at Austin Feb. 23-26.

Barbara Anthony, assistant professor of computer science, has had an article titled “Operations Research: Broadening Computer Science In A Liberal Arts College,” accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the 43rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, March 2012.

Bob Bednar, associate professor and chair of communication studies, presented a paper titled “Remembering Road Trauma: The Lives of Roadside Crash Shrines in the American Southwest” at the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Feb. 9.

A teaching exercise developed by Reggie Byron, assistant professor of sociology, has been published in the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. The exercise, which focuses on sexuality and cultural values, can be found here.