Homecoming 2012

Members of Alpha Xi Delta sorority show their spirit during the 2012 Homecoming Parade. For more photos from Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, go here.

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At $750 to $850 a month, child care can be expensive for any family, especially for single mothers.  

One local single mother is going to get help with her child care expenses this year thanks to a group of students from Southwestern University.  

Students in Melissa Byrne’s First-Year Seminar on philanthropy decided to give funds they had available this year to a new nonprofit childcare center in Georgetown. The center, which is called the Williamson County Community Coordinated Child Care, or WC4C, currently serves 25 children and has more than 50 on a waiting list.  

The Southwestern students were able to give the center a check for $4,000, thanks to funds the class received from Regions Bank and the Georgetown Health Foundation.  

Lisa Rivers, executive director of WC4C, said the center has identified a 24-year-old single mother as the recipient of the funds. The scholarship will enable this mother to keep her two-year-old daughter in day care for a year.  

Read more here.


Four alumni and a faculty member have received 2012 awards from The Association of Southwestern University Alumni. The awards were presented Nov. 3 during the 2012 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.  

The Distinguished Southwestern Service Award was given to Georgianne Hewett, a 1990 graduate who serves as the director of shared academics for the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) at Southwestern. She formerly served as Southwestern’s director of alumni and parent relations and associate vice president for university relations – alumni and parents.

The Distinguished Humanitarian Award was given to Farhana Mahmood Qazi, a 1996 graduate who currently serves as the senior instructor on the AFPAK (Afganistan and Pakistan) Regional Training Team at Booz Allen & Hamilton. She designs, develops and directs foundation-level courses, as well as senior-level seminars on Islamic civilization and all things Pakistan for U.S. government analysts and officers.   The Distinguished Professional Award went to Jay Richards, a 1989 graduate who is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality, and Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute.  

The Distinguished Young Alumna Award was given to Susannah (Suzy) Prucka, a 2003 graduate who is an active member of The Association of Southwestern University Alumni. Prucka is an assistant attorney general in the Office of the Maryland Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division and an adjunct professor in the Government and Politics Department at the University of Maryland.

Political Science Professor and University Scholar Eric Selbin was named Mr. Homecoming for 2012. The Mr. Homecoming Award is an honor bestowed upon a member of the Southwestern University faculty as a token of the affection and respect of former students.

Read more here.



Susana Almanza, the director of an environmental justice organization in East Austin called PODER, will visit Southwestern on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to give a talk titled “Indigenous Circle of Life.” The talk will begin at 4 p.m. in the Prothro Room on the second floor of the A. Frank Smith Jr. Library Center.

Almanza is a native of East Austin and is a former member of the City of Austin Environmental Board and former Planning Commissioner for the City of Austin. She also has served on numerous committees at the national level, including the EPA’s Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee.

PODER has worked to relocate the Pure Casting facility, which uses numerous toxic chemicals and is located across the street from an elementary school. It also is working on a campaign to get the City of Austin to approve bond funding to help build a new Montopolis Recreation Center & Health Clinic and is partnering with the East Austin Conservancy to help sustain affordable housing in East Austin.

Read more here.


Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary human biologist from Harvard University, will deliver Southwestern University’s 2012 Fleming Lecture in Science on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 4 p.m. in Olin 105. Lieberman’s talk is titled “An Evolutionary Perspective on Why Exercise Really is Medicine.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Lieberman’s research combines experimental biology and paleontology to explore his interest in the look and function of the human body. “An evolutionary approach to human anatomy and physiology not only helps us to understand better why humans are the way they are, but also helps provide key insights on how to prevent many kinds of illnesses and injuries,” he says.

Lieberman has been intimately involved in the “barefoot running debate” and published the first article suggesting that one of the key components to human evolution was distance running. 

Read more here.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun did a story about Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.


Romi Burks, associate professor of biology and co-chair of both the Animal Behavior and Environmental Studies programs, participated in a week-long career development symposium over Fall Break called ECO-DAS that is targeted at recent Ph.D.s in the aquatic sciences. Burks gave a presentation titled “Building a strong research shell: Development of an externally funded, international, undergraduate research program” that was designed to give participants a model for a career at a liberal arts college that promotes the Teacher-Scholar model. She also gave another talk that highlighted the five themes of her First-Year Seminar on chocolate and partnered with local chocolate maker Dylan Butterbaugh to offer a chocolate tasting. Burks also participated in the symposium’s career panel and worked individually with participants interested in pursuing careers outside of Research I institutions.

Alison Kafer, associate professor and chair of Feminist Studies, had her review of the 2011 book Disability and Mothering: Liminal Spaces of Embodied Knowledge published in the new issue of Disability Studies Quarterly. The review is titled “More than Reproduction.” Read the review here. On Nov. 10, Kafer will be participating in a roundtable discussion on disability and reproductive justice at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in Oakland, Calif.

Helene Meyers, professor of English and McManis University Chair, wrote a review of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue that was published in The Charleston Post and Courier. Read the review here.


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