Georgetown (Texas) - Georgetown resident Sherri Babcock will receive the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern University Oct. 21. The Distinguished Alumna/us Award is the highest honor annually awarded by The Association of Southwestern University Alumni. Recipients exemplify the qualities of excellence as taught and represented by Southwestern.

Babcock graduated from Southwestern in 1970 and was the first student to earn an American Studies degree from the University.

After graduation, Babcock had planned to teach English or history, but fell into the advertising business and found she had a knack for it. She spent 20 years with The Bloom Agency in Dallas, ending her career as a senior vice president overseeing national advertising accounts for clients such as Maybelline cosmetics, Southwest Airlines, Zales jewelers and Six Flags Over Texas. Along the way, she earned an MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

In 1983, Babcock was appointed to the board of the Southwestern University Alumni Association. She served as president of the association from 1988 to 1992 - a position that also made her a member of the Southwestern University Board of Trustees. Her responsibilities as a trustee included serving as chair of the board’s Student Life Subcommittee.

When the position of vice president and dean of students at Southwestern became vacant in the summer of 1992, then-president Roy B. Shilling asked Babcock if she would be willing to fill in on a temporary basis. She ended up being hired for the job permanently and stayed in the position until 2003.

During her tenure as vice president and dean of students, Babcock helped guide the construction of several new buildings on campus, including the Red & Charline McCombs Campus Center.

After leaving Southwestern, Babcock started Project Partnerships (, a company that advises liberal arts colleges on student affairs administrative transitions. She also serves as director of Christian education and young adult ministries at First United Methodist Church in Georgetown.

A battle with breast cancer 10 years ago moved Babcock to become involved with several breast cancer support groups. She has served as president of the Williamson County chapter of the American Cancer Society and participates in the annual “Relay for Life” walk.

Babcock also has served as chair of the board for the Georgetown Project, and worked with LifeSteps, a drug and alcohol prevention program in Williamson County.

Events surrounding Babcock’s Distinguished Alumna Award ceremony will focus on diversity - a topic she has had a passion for since struggling as a woman in the male-dominated field of advertising. Events planned for the day include a chapel service that will celebrate cultural differences in worship and a forum featuring Southwestern graduates of different backgrounds.

She said she hopes the event will encourage others to contribute to her favorite cause at Southwestern - the Dixon Scholarships, which help high-achieving African-American, Hispanic and Native American students attend the University.

“I want to help us understand why diversity is important and why the Dixon Scholarships are important,” she said.