Class of 2013

Members of the Class of 2013 pose for their class photo following their May 11 commencement ceremony. See more photos from commencement here. Read President Schrum’s speech to the graduates here. (Photo by Lucas Adams)



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The United Way of Williamson County has selected Southwestern University as its Volunteer Partner of the Year for 2013. The award is given annually to a United Way campaign partner that has shown the greatest commitment to volunteering in Williamson County.

“Selecting Southwestern for this award was an easy choice,” said Laurie Garza, development director for the United Way of Williamson County.

Garza said Southwestern was selected to receive the award during a conference call with the 18 local nonprofit agencies that are funded by United Way of Williamson County.

“We asked our agencies to nominate a workplace campaign site that in addition to conducting an employee giving campaign, also works to better the community by volunteering with those organizations,” Garza said. “They came up with a laundry list of ways that the students and faculty at Southwestern have make a difference to Williamson County.”

Read more here.


Sometimes a little friendly competition can be a good thing.

After the Class of 2012 set a record for participation in the senior class gift, members of the Class of 2013 decided they wanted to top it.

And they did – just barely.

When all the checks had been counted, a record 76 percent of graduating seniors had contributed to the senior class gift. This tops the previous record set by the Class of 2012, which was 75 percent.

In addition to setting a record for participation, the Class of 2013 also gave Southwestern the largest class gift ever − $113,458. Student donations totaled $15,399 and parents contributed the rest.

Read more here.


As new and returning students begin selecting their courses for the fall, they will have another option to choose from – a new minor in Race and Ethnicity Studies.

The new minor incorporates classes from 14 disciplines. Students who choose to pursue the minor must take five courses for 18 credits, 12 of which must be upper-level. Classes must also span at least three disciplines.

“Our world is increasingly multicultural,” said Melissa Johnson, associate professor of anthropology. “People are interacting with other people from all over the world, from all kinds of racial and ethnic backgrounds, so having an understanding of what that means and how those differences operate in the real world will be helpful for any career.”

Johnson said the new minor is part of a broader diversity initiative that has been ongoing at Southwestern since 2000.

Read more here.



Georgetown’s Senior University is offering a summer lecture series at Southwestern the week of June 10-14. Two different lectures will be offered each morning. Among the lectures to be offered is a June 11 lecture by Eric Selbin, professor of political science, on “Revolution 4.0: Revolution in the Real World.”

All lectures will be held in Room 105 of the Olin Building.

There is a $30 registration fee for the series. To see the complete schedule, visit

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about Southwestern’s relation to Georgetown.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about Southwestern’s 2013 Commencement ceremony.


Thirty-one graduating seniors were inducted into Southwestern’s chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society May 10. The 2013 initiates were Emi Anderson, Katelyn Bartell, Erick Bauman, Sarah Bond, Shaylee Bushner, Cortney Carlson, Kalyn Chacon, Allison Chance, Allison Everett, Caitlin Ferrell, Anna Fetchick, Patrick Flanigan, Jenna Gaska, Christina Hadly, Kevin Hutzler, Steven Jones, Brady Kent, Angela Klemm, Lauren Knutti, Kylie Leblanc, Kristi Lenderman, Yasmin Leon, Stephanie McCauley, Kira McEntire, Marlys McKinney, Carolina Mendoza,Yvette Niyomugaba, Van Ngoc Thu Pham, Elise Riggs, Deborah Saddington and Rachel Thibodeau. The speaker for the induction ceremony was Josephine Thinwa, a 2006 Southwestern graduate and member of Phi Beta Kappa who is now a student at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. Read more here.

The men’s golf team has been selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships for the first time in its history.The tournament is being held this week at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, in Destin, Fla. Read more here.

Three members of the women’s softball team were named to the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-Region Team. Junior Karen Ramirez was named to the Second Team, while junior Tessa Galloway and senior Abigail O’Connor were Third Team West All-Region selections. Read more here.

The SU Police Department presented Good Samaritan Awards in May to students Danielle Decker and Natalie Tonner for helping take care of a prospective student who became ill while visiting campus. Local residents Don and Helen Wright also were honored for helping a Southwestern student who needed medical attention.

President-elect Edward B. Burger and his co-author Michael Starbird from UT-Austin have won a silver medal in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards for their book The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking. They will receive the award May 29 in New York on the eve of the Book Expo America convention. Read more here.

First-year student Gabby Hunt has been named to the 2013 Women’s All-SCAC Tennis Team. Hunt had a 12-2 overall record in her first season as a Pirate and helped lead the team to a second place finish at the SCAC Championship. Read more here.

Allison Miller, assistant professor of art history, gave an invited lecture at the San Antonio Museum of Art on April 16th titled “From Splendor to Revolt: Royal Intrigue and the Terracotta Works of Early Han China.” The talk focused on Han ceramic warrior figurines and was held in conjunction with the special exhibition, “Entombed Treasures: Funerary Art of Han Dynasty China.”

Golf coach Dan Ruyle has been named the SCAC women’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time since 2007. Ruyle guided the team to a conference championship this year and they traveled to Destin, Fla., this week to play in the NCAA tournament. Read more here.

President Schrum surprised those attending the 2013 commencement ceremony by presenting one of the Joe S. Mundy Exemplary Service Awards to Ella Sedwick, a Sodexo employee who works as a cashier in the cafeteria. Sedwick has worked at Southwestern for 15 years and is one of the best-known and best-loved people on campus. Watch a video of the presentation here.

David Utterback, part-time instructor of music, is among the performers in the American Liszt Society Festival that will be hosted by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music May 30-June 1. Utterback will perform in a June 1 concert of Wagner transcriptions. Read more here.

Bishop-in-Residence Joe Wilson is retiring this month after serving 12 years in the position. Wilson’s great-great-great grandfather, Francis Wilson, founded Wesleyan College, one of the four “root colleges” of Southwestern University. He graduated from Southwestern in 1959 and served as a trustee of the university from 1989-2000. He became Bishop-in-Residence in 2001 after retiring as Bishop of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Wilson received Southwestern’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995.


This is the last issue of In Focus for the 2012-2013 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. Please feel free to submit items for In Focus over the summer to Noteworthy items will be put on our home page.



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