Watching Over

Alumni who played under the late baseball coach Jim Mallon raised the money to have a bronze sculpture of Mallon made to overlook the baseball field. The sculpture will be formally dedicated at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 1 in conjunction with the annual alumni baseball game. Read more here.

Top News


Plans are taking shape for the inauguration of Southwestern’s 15th president, Dr. Edward Burger.

The formal inauguration ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 25, at 4 p.m. in the Robertson Center. That evening, NPR host Scott Simon will deliver the Shilling Lecture in the Robertson Center at 7:30 p.m.

Additional events are being planned for the week of the inauguration, including a gala that will support scholarships for first-generation students.

“Save the Date” invitations for the inauguration were sent via email Jan. 14. Registration for all events will be available to members of the Southwestern community beginning Friday, Feb. 7.

Details on the inauguration week events are available at


If NASA ever sends astronauts to Mars, Southwestern University kinesiology professor Scott McLean can say he had a small part in keeping them healthy.

That’s because McLean contributed to a research project NASA did to help determine how astronauts can best exercise in a zero gravity environment.

McLean’s contribution to the project involved helping NASA figure out a way to videotape astronauts running on a treadmill with varying levels of resistance. The footage was necessary to help researchers determine how much resistance is enough to stimulate the desired physiological responses while allowing the astronauts to run normally.

The tight confines of the space station made getting accurate video footage difficult – a problem McLean was able to help them overcome.

“They have learned quite a bit from this research,” McLean said. “I am proud to have played a small, but important part in it.”

In the kinesiology classes he teaches at Southwestern, McLean said he talks about this research project a lot because it is a great example of how students can put what they are learning in the classroom to use.

“Students often wonder how they are going to use what they are learning,” McLean said. “There is no better example than this. We took a problem that had unbelievable constraints and were able to get usable data out of it. I think that’s a huge success.”

Read more here.



Southwestern will host a community dinner in celebration of Martin Luther King on Monday, Jan. 20, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center ballrooms. The dinner will feature a keynote speech by Southwestern graduate and trustee Larry Haynes.  

The dinner is free for Southwestern students and $5 for faculty, staff and members of the community. For more information, or to make reservations, call 512-863-1342 or write

Members of the Southwestern community also are invited to participate in MLK Day activities that are taking place in Georgetown and Williamson County Jan. 20. These activities include an MLK community march in Georgetown and a Day of Service sponsored by the United Way of Williamson County.

Read more here.


Four health experts from different organizations will participate in a Jan. 21 panel discussion at Southwestern that will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Campus Center ballrooms.

The panelists will be Rebecca North, an expert on public policy and mental health from The University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Ann Marie Case from Dell Children’s Medical Center, an expert on end-of-life issues; Marjorie Gallece, a breast cancer patient advocate; and Davi Thornton, an associate professor of communication studies at Southwestern whose research includes health communication.

The discussion has been organized by students in the Paideia cluster on public health that is led by Maria Todd and Maria Cuevas and is being held in conjunction with the upcoming Brown Symposium.


The Austin Civic Orchestra will perform in the Alma Thomas Theater on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will open with the Intermezzo to Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and three arias. The second half will feature “The Planets” by Gustav Holst.

Southwestern faculty members Dana Zenobi (soprano) and Nicholas Simpson (tenor) will be the guest artists for the arias and vocalists from the Southwestern University Chorale will be featured in the last movement of “The Planets,” “Neptune.”

Music director Lois Ferrari and Physics professor Mark Bottorff will give a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m., and the Williamson County Astronomy Club will set up telescopes outside the Fine Arts Center for audience members to use after the concert.

The concert is free for all Southwestern students, faculty and staff with a valid SU ID. The general public can purchase advance tickets at the Austin Civic Orchestra’s website ( or at the door the evening of the performance (cash or check only). Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors/military/students. Children and youth 18 and under can attend free of charge.

Additional information is available here.


The Fountainwood Observatory has announced its spring 2014 public viewing schedule. Public viewing nights will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8; Saturday, March 8; and Saturday, April 5.

Viewing nights are from 8 to 10:30 p.m. The viewing nights are free, but donations are encouraged to help maintain the observatory.

A “Yoga Under the Stars” fundraising event to benefit the observatory will be held on Saturday, March 29.

The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on the campus map at Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.

Media Coverage

Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion and environmental studies, participated in a Huffington Post chat on cold weather tips for dogs. Watch the segment here.


Shana Bernstein, associate professor of history, chaired a panel on “Catholics, Racial Justice, and Reassessing Religion in the Long Civil Rights Movement,” at the American Historical Association conference in Washington, D.C., in early January.

Reggie Byron, assistant professor of sociology, had a teaching exercise he developed titled “Teaching Tokenism with Occupational Sex Segregation Data” published in the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. The exercise can be found here. Byron also has been appointed to a three-year term on the American Sociological Association’s Honors Program Advisory Panel. Serving on this panel will allow Byron to mentor some of the most exceptional undergraduate sociology majors from across the country.

December graduate Heather Petty presented a poster titled “Suppression of abnormally overexpressed claudin-3 protein decreases motility of MCF-7 breast cancer cells” at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium held Dec. 10-14. The symposium, which is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, is the largest international meeting devoted to breast cancer. The poster was based on research Petty conducted with Maria Todd, associate professor of biology. Todd collaborates on a project aimed at elucidating the molecular basis of breast cancer metastasis with Maria Cuevas, associate professor of biology, Rebecca Sheller, associate professor of biology, and Jonathan King, associate professor of biology at Trinity University. 

Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, assisted in the translation of program notes from Russian to English to accompany Igor Kazakov’s ongoing production of “Hamlet” at the Mogilev Regional Puppet Theater in Belarus. The production has been a popular success, and won praise from critics