December Graduates

December graduates Marisol Frausto-Martinez and Celia Campos congratulate each other after signing the Cullen Tower, which is a tradition for seniors who make a pledge to the senior class gift. Frausto-Martinez and Campos both earned degrees in biology. December graduates will be recognized Dec. 14.

Top News


Amber Cochran, Jonathan Miley and Amy Miller have already gained valuable experience working in the lab of biology professor Romi Burks.

This winter they will build on that experience by spending six weeks conducting research in Uruguay.

Burks is taking the three Southwestern students to Uruguay with funds from a National Science Foundation grant she received in 2011. The grant is designed to help undergraduate students gain experience conducting international research.

Each of the students has designed their own research project to do in Uruguay. The projects all focus on species of apple snails that belong to a diverse family of mollusks known as Ampullariidae.

“This family provides an exciting model to ask questions about biodiversity, conservation, phylogeography and ecology,” Burks said.

Read more here.


The latest addition to the Southwestern campus is a labyrinth that is located just south of the Howry Center patio.

Labyrinths originated in the Middle Ages as a way to recreate the arduous journeys that were made by pilgrims. University Chaplain Beverly Jones says the popularity of walking labyrinths has been on the rise since the early to mid-1990s.

“I don’t know how many campuses have them, but it is not unusual to see them at churches, hospitals and retreat centers as well as in public parks,” Jones said.

Jones said she has introduced labyrinths to students a variety of times on retreats as a pathway for prayer, meditation or just quieting one’s mind and heart. 2013 graduate Derrick Dolezal helped Jones build the labyrinth as part of a summer internship with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

The labyrinth is 36 feet in diameter and is constructed of limestone blocks. It is located on land that used to be part of the golf course at Southwestern. The pattern Dolezal designed is modified from the popular labyrinth design that was built into the floor of the Cathedral at Chartres in the Middle Ages.  

Read more here.

Media Coverage

History professor Thom McClendon participated in a live chat about Nelson Mandela that was organized by Read the archived chat here.

Betsy Naylor Warren from Counseling Services was interviewed for a story KUT did on college students and stress during finals week. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun did a feature story about the tradition of Candlelight services at Southwestern.


Seniors Matthew Nickell, Daniel Poole and Steven Resnik and were named to the NCAA Division III Men’s All-West Region Soccer Team. Read more here.

Former Registrar David Stones was awarded Honorary Membership in the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (TACRAO) in November. Earlier in the year he also received Honorary Memberships in the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Honorary Memberships are awarded in recognition of a member’s active involvement and contribution to the organization.

Dustin Tahmahkera, assistant professor of communication studies, attended the American Studies Association meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 21-24, where he chaired and presented in a session on “Decolonizing the Indigenous Archive.”


This is the last issue of In Focus that will be published this semester. For the latest news about Southwestern over the holiday break, visit the newsroom page at Publication of In Focus will resume Jan. 9. Happy Holidays!