Commemorative Gift

The Athletics Department honored retiring President Jake B. Schrum and his wife, Jane, Feb. 15 by presenting them with a custom-made basketball that commemorates their years of service to Southwestern. Shown here making the presentation are head men’s basketball coach Bill Raleigh, athletics director Glada Munt and head women’s basketball coach Kerri Brinkoeter. (Photo by Lucas Adams)

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Dr. Edward B. Burger, the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics from Williams College who has gained a national reputation for educational innovation and leadership, has been named the 15th president of Southwestern University.

Burger will replace Jake B. Schrum, who announced last fall that he would retire from Southwestern July 1.

A native of New York State, Burger graduated summa cum laude with distinction in mathematics from Connecticut College and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been on the faculty and served in several leadership roles at Williams College since 1990.

In 2010, Burger received the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching from Baylor University, one of the most prestigious teaching awards in the world. He spent a year at Baylor serving as the Robert Foster Cherry Professor for Great Teaching, after which the university invited him to stay an additional year and serve as vice provost for strategic educational initiatives.

“Ed brings his national stature, acclaim and recognition to Southwestern,” said Baylor University President Ken Starr. “I always felt that I was a better person after meeting with him, a little smarter than I was before.”

Read more here.


Every morning, it takes Stephanie Braccini 20 minutes just to get from the front door to her office. That’s because on the way, she stops to visit five gorillas, nine chimpanzees and four orangutans.

Braccini, who graduated from Southwestern in 2002, is the Zoological Manager of Great Apes at the Saint Louis Zoo, the largest free-admission zoo in the country.

“No two days are ever the same,” Braccini said. “If I get tired of working on my computer, I can walk 13 steps and observe  an orangutan. I enjoy the fact that I have a relationship with each and every animal in the building.”

Braccini’s work centers around behavioral observation in order to give the apes the optimal living environment. She spends her days interacting with each primate and researching ways to improve their experiences with each other.

Read more here.



Two documentary screenings will be held at Southwestern in conjunction with the 2013 Shilling Lecture, which will feature Jane Goodall. Both screenings are sponsored by Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster’s Paideia cohort. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the group issponsoring a screening of the documentary “Reason for Hope” at 4 p.m. in Mood-Bridwell Atrium. On Thursday, Mar. 21, the group is sponsoring a screening of the documentary “Jane’s Journey” at 7 p.m. in Olin 110.


Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Findlen and pianist Richard Masters will give a faculty and guest recital on Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The two will perform Kenneth Frazelle’s Songs in the Rear View Mirror before their New York premiere of this piece at Carnegie Hall on May 20.

Findlen joined the Southwestern faculty in 2012 and Masters is on the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin.

Songs in the Rear View Mirror is a collection of 10 songs that creates a portrait of Southern life and art. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call 512-863-1504.

Media Coverage

The Austin American-Statesman, KUT-FM, the Austin Business Journal and Community Impact newspaper covered the announcement of Southwestern’s new president. Read the Statesman story here. Read the ABJ story here. Read the Community Impact story here.

Alexandra Anderson from Career Services was quoted in a CBS News “Money Watch” story about the best place for college students to find a job. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun and Community Impact News covered the presentation of Southwestern’s 2013 Martha Hurtado College Town Award.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Cleburne Times-Review covered President Jake B. Schrum’s testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee about the value of federal income tax deductions for charitable contributions. Read the Chronicle story here. Read the Times-Review story here. The testimony can be viewed here.


Flute Instructor Adrienne Inglis will perform with the Round Rock Symphony Feb. 23 and 24. Inglis will perform Poem for Flute and Orchestra by American composer Charles T. Griffes. For more information visit

Martín Gonzalez, associate professor of biology, has been profiled on the website of the American Society for Microbiology-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Science Teaching Fellows Program. The program is designed to strengthen the science teaching skills of the fellows participating in this program. Read the profile here.

Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion and environmental studies, was invited to give a guest lecture at the University of Florida Feb. 21. The title of her lecture is “A Bond Into Eternity? Humans, Dogs, and Death.”  

Josh Long, assistant professor of environmental studies, had an article published this week in the journal City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action. His article is titled “Sense of place and place-based activism in the neoliberal city.”

Senior Kira McEntire will have a ceramic piece titled “Diatom Vase” on display at the Art of the Republic of Science exhibition, which is being held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Schreiner University Feb. 28-March 2. McEntire is a biology and environmental studies major and is minoring in art.

President Jake B. Schrum completed a review of The Governance Committee, a draft manuscript from the Association of Governing Boards (AGB). This booklet is part of AGB’s newly updated Effective Committee Series and has been written specifically for Governance Committee members of higher education institutions (including board chairs and presidents who generally serve as ex officio members), as well as the professionals who staff the committee.  

Judith Sonnenberg, director of counseling services, has been elected president of the Texas University Counseling Center Directors Association. The association is comprised of counseling center directors from the majority of four-year colleges and universities throughout Texas and is a primary source of support, information and consultation regarding the diverse problems and challenges that face counseling centers and their directors. It is a three-year term: president elect, president and past president.

Several pieces by Mary Visser, professor of art and holder of the Herman Brown Chair, are included in the “Eye, Hand, and Mind” exhibition that is part of the IIIrd WE ASC World Education Culture Congress 2013 organized by the Shruti Foundation with joint sponsorship from the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. The exhibition, which originated at Southwestern, is circulating from Delhi, India, to London to South Africa. Southwestern graduates Laurly Hernandez and Alex Essex-Carmon also have prints in the exhibition. Read more about it here.

Todd Watson, director of systems and networks, has been selected for the 2013 class of the Leading Change Institute and awarded a scholarship that covers his tuition. The program, which is sponsored by EDUCAUSE and the Council on Library and Information Resources, is designed for leaders in the information sector who want to further develop their skills for the benefit of higher education. It will be held in Washington, D.C., June 2-7.


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