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Southwestern University has received a $250,000 Presidential Leadership Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will support two new initiatives.

President Jake B. Schrum was invited by the Mellon Foundation to apply for the grant in recognition of his leadership over the past 11 years.

President Schrum said the bulk of the grant will be used to help pay for Southwestern’s first chief information officer. Pamela McQuesten was recently hired to fill this position after a nationwide search. Integrating the library and Information Technology Services under a new chief information officer was one of several initatives President Schrum announced in September 2011.

A portion of the grant will go to help Mary Grace Neville, associate professor of business, plan a new Institute for Business and the Liberal Arts at Southwestern. Neville.

Read more here.


Sherry Adrian, an associate professor of education, and Andy Ross, a visiting instructor of business, have received the 2012 Southwestern University Teaching Awards.

The award was created by the Southwestern faculty in 1999 to recognize faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and comes with a $2,000 prize. Adrian received the award for a tenured faculty member and Ross received the award for a non-tenured faculty member.

The 2012 Excellence in Academic Advising Award went to Martín Gonzalez, associate professor of biology. This award comes with a $500 prize.

Read more here.


Jimmy Smith, a kinesiology professor who devotes countless hours to dog rescue efforts, has received the 2012 William Carrington Finch Award from Southwestern University.

The award is given every other year to a full-time faculty member “for exemplary accomplishment in furthering the aims of Southwestern University.” Criteria for the award include excellence in teaching, contributions to university governance, and contributions outside the classroom. It is presented at Commencement and includes a $5,000 prize. The award is named for Southwestern’s 11th president.

Smith has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1991. He has served as chair of the Kinesiology Department, chair of the Social Sciences Division and chair of the Academic Affairs Council. In 2011, he was elected the first faculty representative to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. His contributions were previously recognized in 2011 when he received the Joe S. Mundy Exemplary Service Award.

Read more here.



The streets of downtown Georgetown will transformed into a race course for 800 cyclists May 19-20 as the city hosts the inaugural “Georgetown Grand.” Professional and Olympic cyclists and bike racers from across the country are expected to compete in the race, which will take place on a one mile, double-loop circuit through downtown.

The Georgetown Grand also will include a non-competitive ride with routes of varying distances for recreational riders. The recreational ride will be held the morning of Saturday, May 19, and will start and end on the criterium course. Proceeds from all events will benefit The Caring Place.

For more information on the Georgetown Grand, visit


The 2012 Georgetown Festival of the Arts will be held May 31-June 3 and will feature the work of three French composers: Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Francis Poulenc.

Several of the festival events will take place at Southwestern, including three chamber music concerts. The free Saturday night concert in San Gabriel Park will feature the Georgetown High School orchestra, band and chorus and the Round Rock Symphony Chamber Orchestra. Music Professor Kenny Sheppard will lead the Festival Chorus and Orchestra in the final concert June 3.

A free pre-festival children’s concert will be held Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. in the Hewlett Room of the Georgetown Public Library. Pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa and Ellsworth Peterson, the artistic director of the festival, will perform Poulenc’s “Story of Babar the Elephant” and Peterson and Theresa Ford will perform Ravel’s piano duet “Mother Goose.”

For details and ticket information, visit


Georgetown’s Senior University is offering a summer lecture series at Southwestern the week of June 4-8. Two lectures will be held each morning in Room 105 of the Olin Building. Topics include “Higher Education for Women in Texas” taught by Florence Gould, “The People of the Middle East” taught by Fran Turner and “How Science Changed the World” taught by Joseph Siebert.

There is a $30 registration fee for the series. For more information, visit

Media Coverage

2011 graduate Alex Overton’s work with underprivileged girls in Austin was featured in a story in the Texas Observer. Read the story here.


Twenty-three students from Southwestern were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa May 4. Southwestern’s 2012 initiates were Brooke Blomquist, Sarah Chatfield, Alexa Daniel, Lauren David, Donato De Luca, Donald Frye, Taylor Garcia, Susan Garrard, Harrison Glaser, Hayley Hervieux, Ancy Jacob, Kelly Johnson, Rory Jones, Alexis Kropf, Anna Malone, Kristen McCollum, Jenna Mossbarger, Jack Parker, Maria Pollifrone, Anastasia Porter, Kari Shearer, Violetta Vasquez, and Julia Von Alexander. See photos from the induction ceremony here.

Two graduating seniors have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships for the 2012-13 academic year. Rory Jones, who graduated with a double major in history and German, has been awarded a teaching assistantship in Germany. Lauren Radell, a business major with a minors in German and Communication Studies, has been awarded a teaching assistantship in Austria. Read more here.

Erika Berroth, associate professor of German and chair of the Chinese, French and German Programs, presented her research at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in Lexington, Ky., April 19-22, 2012. Her paper titled “Das Wunder von Bern (2003): Cultures of Affect, Spectatorial Responses, Perceptions of History” contributed to a panel of scholars working on German history and film.

Abby Dings, assistant professor of Spanish, and Ted Jobe, assistant director of the Language Learning Center, presented a paper at the annual conference of the South Central Association for Language Learning Technology in Boulder, Colo., April 13-15. The paper, “To caption or not to caption: Authentic materials and learner comprehension strategies,” focused on how second language learners’ comprehension strategies differ when watching authentic materials with captions (target language subtitles) and without captions.

Laura Glass, library assistant in the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library, is presenting a paper at the Twelfth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations being held in Vancouver, Canada, June 11-13. Her paper is titled “Fear of Finding the Needle in the Haystack: Library Anxiety in Marginalized Populations.”  

Alicia Moore, associate professor of education, has been sworn in as a member of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from civilian colleges and universities from around the United States. The committee is a subcommittee of the Army Education Advisory Committee and provides advice to CGSC’s senior leaders on ng issues of graduate-level education, including opportunities for improvement and compliance with prevailing academic standards to ensure continuing academic accreditation.  

Sumners Scholar Gillian Ring participated in a recent White House Youth Town Hall meeting held at The University of Texas at Austin. Ring is featured briefly in a video recap of the event that can be found at  

Ron Swain, senior adviser to the president, and Kylie LeBlanc are giving a presentation titled “Engaged Diversity: Institutional Transformation Through Student Leadership” at the 25th Annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education® (NCORE® 2012), to be held May 29 - June 2 in New York City. The presentation will focus on Southwestern’s Engaged Diversity Project, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and includes Dillard University, Huston-Tillotson University, Morehouse College, Rhodes College and Southwestern. Recent graduates Meagan Moore and Brandon O’Connor participated in the project, along with staff member Maria Kruger from Career Services.  

2009 graduate Michelle Perrin Blair has received a full doctoral fellowship in orchestral conducting from the University of Houston and will begin her studies toward the Doctor of Music Arts degree next fall.    

This is the last issue of In Focus for the 2011-2012 academic year. Publication will resume in August. To keep up with news from Southwestern over the summer, visit our Newsroom page at or follow us on Twitter at SU_News.