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Dr. Robert W. Karr, a former pharmaceutical company executive and biotechnology entrepreneur, has been named the new chair of Southwestern’s Board of Trustees.

He succeeds Merriman Morton, an Austin banker who served as chair of the board since 2006.

Karr graduated from Southwestern in 1971 with a degree in biology. He received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1975.

Karr has been a member of the Southwestern University Board of Trustees since 2006. He also is a member of the Campaign Cabinet for Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign and served as chair of the Trustee committee that developed Southwestern’s strategic plan for 2020.

“There is no one better qualified to chair Southwestern’s Board than Bob Karr,” said President Jake B. Schrum. “I look forward to working with him to advance Southwestern to new heights.”

Read more here.


Merriman Morton, a 1963 Southwestern graduate who recently completed a six-year term as chair of the Southwestern University Board of Trustees, has been awarded the University’s highest honor – the Southwestern University Medal. The medals are given by the Board of Trustees for contributions to the University, either through service or philanthropy.

Morton served on the Board of Trustees for 25 years and as chair of the board since 2006. Under his leadership, Southwestern constructed two LEED certified buildings; added varsity sports in softball, football and men’s and women’s lacrosse; approved Shaping Our Future: The Strategic Plan for Southwestern University 2010-2020; operated under a balanced budget; and raised $69,304,033 in total gifts and pledges.

The medal was presented March 30, just before Morton presided over his last meeting as chair of the Board of Trustees.

Read more here.


Eric Selbin, a professor of political science whose research focuses on theories of revolution and Latin American politics, has been re-appointed to another five-year term as University Scholar.

The University Scholar program was established in 1981 to recognize faculty members who have achieved national recognition in their field, and who have made significant contributions to Southwestern over a substantial period of time. University Scholars are provided with opportunities that will enable them to focus on their research pursuits for a specified period of time.

Selbin was first appointed to the position in 2006. Since then, he has published several articles and book chapters, and written two books − one titled Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance: The Power of Story and another titled Decentering International Relations that was written with Southwestern graduate Meghana Nayak. Revolution, Rebellion, Resistance: The Power of Story has also been published in Germany and India, and is forthcoming in Arabic, Spanish and Turkish.

Selbin said another term as a University Scholar will enable him to complete some new articles related to who writes and tells stories of revolution and who hears and acts upon them. He also is working on another book.

Read more here.



Guitarists Alex Dunn and Steven Kostelnik will give a recital Monday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The recital will feature works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Kostelnik is a professor of guitar at Southwestern and Dunn heads what is considered one of Canada’s top guitar programs at the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

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


Pianist May Tsao-Lim and euphonium player Jamie Lipton will give a guest artist recital Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The recital will feature works by Gordon Jacob, Joseph Horovitz, Johann Sebastian Bach, John Stevens and Philip Sparke.

Lipton is an assistant professor of low brass at Henderson State University in Arkansas and Tsao-Lim is an associate professor of piano at Henderson State University.

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


The Southwestern University student organization SU Native is hosting its 8th annual Native Traditions Powwow on Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Robertson Center. The event is free and open to members of the Southwestern, Georgetown and surrounding communities.

At least a dozen different tribes are expected to participate in the April 14 event, with some people coming from as far as Canada.

Read more here.


The Southwestern University Chorale and the San Gabriel Chorale and Orchestra will give a joint performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah on Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The performance will be conducted by Kenny Sheppard, with Bruce Cain in the title role of Elijah.  

The concert is free for Southwestern University faculty, staff and students with an SU ID. General admission tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance at Tickets also will be available at the door (cash or check only).  

For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.


The Theatre Department will be offering performances of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” from April 18-22 in the Jones Theater. The dark-edged comedy, written by Sarah Ruhl, answers the question: What happens when a dead man’s cellphone keeps ringing and you decide to answer it?

Performances will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 - $18 and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 512-863-1378 or visiting The play contains mature themes and some strong language. 

Media Coverage

The Austin Business Journal ran a story about Dr. Robert Karr’s appointment as chair of the Board of Trustees. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun did a story about the “Yoga Under the Stars” fundraiser held at the Fountainwood Observatory.


A team of students from Southwestern placed 149th out of 460 institutions in North America in the most recent William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition administered by the Mathematical Association of America. The Putnam Competition involves a six-hour exam in which the students attempt to solve 12 challenging math problems. Each problem is worth 10 points. This year 4,440 students took the Putnam exam and the most common score was a 0. However, sophomore math/music major David Vaden scored an 11 and placed 646th and junior math major Zachary Anglin scored a 2, placing him 1,316th. These scores, along with the score from sophomore math major Alain Chau, were combined to form Southwestern’s team score.

Five student-athletes from Southwestern were selected as SCAC Player of the Week for their respective sports for the week of March 26-April 1. Amanda Ambrose was named Softball Offensive Player of the Week, Alex Lam was named Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week, Jamie Long was named Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week, Max Smith was named Baseball Pitcher of the Week and Daniel Tuttle was named Men’s Track Athlete of the Week.

Southwestern received three awards in the 2012 awards competition sponsored by District IV of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The Office of Creative Services won Gold Awards in the categories of Integrated Marketing Campaigns and Publication Design Series. Ellen Davis, director of news and media relations, received an honorable mention award in the Newswriting category for her story about Southwestern’s latest sculpture acquisition.

The sculpture exhibition Full Circle: The Art of Materials, Research and Creation in Rapid Prototyping that was curated by Art Professor Mary Hale Visser with artwork by Visser and students Alex Essex-Carmona and Lauraly Hernandez is on display through April 27 at the MIRIAD exhibition sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.

Michael Bray, associate professor of philosophy, has had an essay titled “Openness as a Form of Closure: Public Sphere, Social Class and Alexander Kluge’s Counterproducts” accepted for publication in Telos 159 (Summer 2012). He also presented a paper titled “El Pueblo Soy Yo?: On Chavismo and the Necessity of the Leader” at the Western Political Science Association conference in Portland, Ore., March 24, as part of a panel on “Neoliberal Consensus and Political Possibility.”

Thomas Howe, professor of art and art history, published a review of John Senseney’s book titled The Art of Building in the Classical World: Vision, Craftsmanship and Linear Perspective in Greek and Roman Architecture (Cambridge University Press, 2011) in the April 2012 issue of the American Journal of Archaeology.

Alicia Moore, associate professor of education, was honored at the Twelfth Biennial African American Women’s Profiles of Prominence 2012 ceremony held March 31 at the Carver Cultural Center in Austin. The ceremony was hosted by The Austin Metroplex Chapter of National Women of Achievement, Inc. Moore was a co-honoree in the category of Education.

Sandi Nenga, associate professor of sociology, presented a paper titled “Developing Cultural Capital and the Desire for Upward Mobility in a College Readiness Program for First-Generation Students” at the Pacific Sociological Association conference in San Diego, Calif., March 22-25. Nenga also served as a panelist for a forum on “Students as Research Collaborators.”

Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, presented a session titled “Playing Together: The Chamber Music Experience for Beginning and Intermediate-level Pianists,” at the Music Teachers’ National Association (MTNA) convention in New York City March 28. His hour-long talk, illustrated with audio and video clips that included Southwestern students in rehearsal, affirmed the pedagogical benefits of introducing younger pianists to chamber music, and offered a possible sequence of repertoire, mostly centering on the piano trio, that could be used. The session was one of 30 selected for the conference out of more than 400 submitted proposals.

Junior international studies major Katherine Tanner is presenting a paper at the Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union being held at Scripps College April 12-13. Her paper, titled “Security Implications of European Enlargement: The Case of Turkey,” was co-authored with Elizabeth Beutel from Transylvania University in Kentucky and Michael Mosser, visiting assistant professor of political science, served as their adviser.