Top News


Nearly 50 low-income students attending Austin Community College will have the opportunity to further their education at Southwestern University thanks to a three-year, $450,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

The grant will enable Southwestern to enroll 12 students a year from ACC for the next three years. Each group, or “cohort,” will be supported by a strong network of services to help them complete college and earn a bachelor’s degree.

Each cohort will participate in group seminars and will work together on civic engagement projects for team-building and academic enrichment. Southwestern also will sponsor week-long academic programs for the students during the summer. Students who enter the program during the first year will serve as peer mentors for students entering the program in the following years.

Southwestern will use some of the funds from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to hire a postdoctoral fellow who will run the program.

Read more here.


When the softball team defeated Hendrix 8-0 in its last conference home game this year, it was more than just another win for the team. It was the last home game for the first group of women to play softball at Southwestern. Despite being pioneers in a new sport at Southwestern, these students have done well by all standards – both on and off the field.

Led by head coach Angela Froboese, the team quickly climbed through the ranks to become one of the tougher teams to beat in the 25-member Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). The team won the SCAC West Division twice (in 2009 and 2011) and the whole conference in 2010. This year’s senior class consists of Amanda Ambrose, Lyndsy Maus, Kaitlyn Pavlicek, Taylor Turpin and Lauren Zearfoss.

“These [senior] players set the bar for future teams.” Froboese said.

Read more here.



The student organization SU Native is hosting its 8th annual Native Traditions Powwow April 14from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Robertson Center. The event is free and open to members of the community.

At least a dozen different tribes are expected to participate in the 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 Central Texas Civic Trombone Choir will perform at Southwestern on Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The performance will include works by Andrea Gabrieli, John Harmon, Edvard Grieg, Hector Berlioz and Tommy Pederson. The choir also will perform an original composition for trombone ensemble written by Jared Beu, and arrangements by guest conductor Willis Traphagan and director Andrew M. Russell.  

The concert is free and open to the public. 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. 


The Annual Student Exhibition sponsored by the Sarofim School of Fine Arts will be held April 19-26 in the Fine Arts Gallery.

This year’s exhibition will include the work of more than 30 students in all of the fine arts and architecture classes.

The gallery is open from 1-5 p.m. daily. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held April 19 from 4-6 p.m.


The SU Jazz Band will perform Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will directed by David Guidi and will include works by Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, David Guidi, Horace Silver, Clifford Brown, Billy Strayhorn, Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher.

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


Ten different musical acts will be on stage as Southwestern students present their second annual “Clusterfest” music festival on Friday, April 20, in the Robertson Center.

The headline performer for this year’s festival is Sleigh Bells, an electro-rock duo from Brooklyn, New York. Other bands scheduled to perform at the festival are Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Future Islands, Suzanna Choffel, Mother Falcon, Whiskey Shivers and The Frontier Brothers.

Clusterfest also will have a stage featuring Southwestern University musicians, including first-year student Sarah Cook, Dream Shake (featuring seniors Justice Kinley and Stephen Adams), The Staylyns (featuring junior Joe Kraft), and 2011 graduate Jasmine SayGan.

Tickets are $15 for students; $20 for faculty, staff and alumni; and $25 for general admission. Tickets may be purchased online at or in person at the Student Activities Office on the 3rd floor of the Campus Center.

Read more here.


 The SU Orchestra will perform on Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will be conducted by Lois Ferrari and includes Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Prelude and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, New World.  

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

Media Coverage

Focus on Georgetown magazine did a story on new head football coach Joe Austin. Read the story here.

The Austin Business Journal did a story on the grant Southwestern received to start a new program for transfer students from ACC. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun did a story about the grant Southwestern received from The Mellon Foundation to revamp its Paideia program.


The following students received awards at the 14th Annual Student Leadership Banquet April 10:

Overall Leader Award – Brady Kent
Emerging Leader Award – Eleanor O’Neil
First-Year Award – Sarah Cook and Carolyn Cotham
Sophomore Award – Allie Klein
Junior Award – Colton Ferrell
Senior Award – Jasmine Thomas
 Pirate Anchor Award – Sarah Ayers and Mike Cantu

The Student Organization Award went to the Community Garden and the Organization Advisor Award went to Religion and Environmental Studies Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster for her work with SEAK.


Two students from Southwestern gave presentations at the 6th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. Kynan Murtagh gave a presentation on “The Efficacy of Access to Water” and Van (Zoe) Pham gave a presentation on “High School and College Completion of Second Generation Americans.”


Senior Sarah Johnson won a Psi Chi Student Research Award for her paper on “The Effects of Gender and Self-Presentation on Perceptions of Student-Professor Interactions.” Johnson will be presenting the paper with Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology, at the Southwestern Psychological Association meeting being held in Oklahoma City April 12-14. Johnson and Giuliano also will be presenting a paper at the conference titled “Parental Openness as a Predictor of Attitudes toward Abortion and Public Sex.”


Several other faculty members and students in the Psychology and Animal Behavior programs are giving presentations at the same conference. Juniors Kevin Hutzler, Thomas Bobbitt and Lindsey Honeycutt are presenting a paper with Giuliano titled “You’re Hired: How Persuasion Tactics and Gender Stereotypes Affect Hireability.” Jesse Purdy, professor of psychology, is presenting a paper titled “Future Trajectories in Psychology: Perspectives From SWPA’s Past Presidents” at the Past Presidents Symposium. Purdy and Fay Guarraci, associate professor of psychology, are presenting a paper titled “Maintaining Interest in Comparative Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience: A Critical Role for Private Liberal Arts Institutions.” Purdy also is chairing several invited addresses and symposiums. 


David Asbury, assistant professor of music, and Bruce Cain, associate professor of music, performed selections from their “River of Words” song cycle on the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage last week. Watch a recording of the performance here.


Abby Dings, assistant professor of Spanish, has been selected to receive the Southwestern Partner of the Year Award from Georgetown Partners in Education. The award will be presented April 19 at Georgetown High School. Dings was one of several Southwestern faculty, staff and students who started a program in which Spanish III students mentor students at Mitchell Elementary School.


Alisa Gaunder, associate professor of political science, presented a paper titled “The Effects of Party Organization on Women in the CDU and the LDP: Chancellors versus ‘Assassins’” at the Southwestern Political Science Association Meeting in San Diego, Calif., April 4-7.


2009 graduate Michelle Perrin Blair is completing her master’s degree in orchestral conducting at UT-Arlington and has been accepted to the summer program at the internationally renowned Pierre Monteux School for conductors.


Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, associate professor of English, presented a paper titled “Big Ideas and Small Steps: Lessons from a Hmong Empowerment Organization in Sapa, Vietnam” at the Fourth International Conference on Hmong Studies, held at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., March 30-31. Piedmont-Marton’s paper was one of only 25 accepted for the conference. It reports on and analyzes the challenges facing Sapa O’Chau (SOC), a grassroots Hmong empowerment and education initiative she is involved with. Since its founding in June 2010, SOC has served as many as 88 students at a single time in its basic English and Vietnamese literacy classes, offering dozens of girls housing, tourist guide training and education in exchange for their promise to stop street-selling.


Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, shared a paper in the seminar, “Shakespeare’s Theories of Translation” at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Boston April 5-7. 


The Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción did an interview with Laura Senio-Blair, associate professor of Spanish, who is teaching in Concepción this spring on a Fulbright Fellowship. Read the interview here.