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Southwestern University

This article is about the U.S. university. For the university in the Philippines, see Southwestern University (Philippines).

Southwestern University
File:Southwestern University Seal.png
Seal of Southwestern University
Motto Non Quis Sed Quid
Motto in English
Not Who But What
Established 1840
Type Private
Affiliation Methodist
Endowment $252.95 million[1]
President Edward Burger
Provost James Hunt
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1,536
Location Georgetown, Texas, US
Campus Suburban
700 acres (2.8 km²)
Colors Gold and black         
Athletics NCAA Division IIISCAC
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Pirate

Southwestern University (also referred to as Southwestern or SU) is a private, four-year, undergraduate, liberal arts college located in Georgetown, Texas, USA. Chartered in 1840, Southwestern is the oldest university in Texas. The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church with a nonsectarian curriculum. Southwestern offers 40 bachelor's degrees in the arts, sciences, fine arts, and music as well as interdisciplinary and pre-professional programs. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Association of Schools of Music.

Southwestern is home to the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education and the National Hispanic Institute's Center for Hispanic Studies. The university is a member of the Annapolis Group, the Associated Colleges of the South, the Council of Independent Colleges, and is a signatory of the Talloires Declaration.


Prior to assuming the university's current form, charters had been granted by the Texas Legislature (Texas Congress 1836–1845) to establish four educational institutions: Rutersville College of Rutersville, Texas, Wesleyan College of San Augustine, Texas, McKenzie College of Clarksville, Texas, and Soule University of Chappell Hill, Texas.

The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building shortly after completion

In 1873, the union of these four institutions opened in Georgetown as Texas University.[3] Wishing to reserve that name for a proposed state university in Austin, the University of Texas, the Texas Legislature instead granted a charter in 1875 under the name Southwestern University as a continuation of the charters for Rutersville, Wesleyan, McKenzie, and Soule. The university's founding date is 1840 when Rutersville College opened. Southwestern is the oldest university in Texas and the second oldest coeducational liberal arts college west of the Mississippi.

File:Mood 1910.png
Students in front of Mood-Bridwell Hall in 1910

Southwestern was a charter member of the Southwest Conference in 1915. Southern Methodist University was Southwestern's main rival for several decades in remembrance of an unsuccessful attempt to relocate Southwestern to Dallas which instead resulted in the establishment of SMU. When SMU's student population became much larger, students at Southwestern began considering Trinity University and Austin College to be the school's main rivals. After World War II, Southwestern transformed itself into a small liberal arts institution, discontinuing its post-graduate degrees, disbanding the football team, and rebuilding much of the campus with a massive capital campaign. The endowment rose substantially.

Southwestern has a history of drawing prolific lecturers to campus, including William Jennings Bryan, Helen Keller, Bell hooks, and alumnus J. Frank Dobie. Orators traveling by train often stopped off on their way to or from Austin, giving their lectures and catching the next train. Speakers at the annual Brown Symposium have included author Isaac Asimov (through a video conference) in the early 1980s and Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in 2002. Since it began, the Shilling Lecture series has brought a variety of prominent figures, including presidential advisor Karen Hughes (2003), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2004), former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (2005), former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean (2006), former Secretary of State James Baker (2007), former U.S. senator Bill Bradley (2008), Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai (2009), senior fellow in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program William Foege (2010), founder of TOMs Shoes Blake Mycoskie (2011), and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman (2012).[4] In 2002, The Writer's Voice series presented Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon.[5] The Writer's Voice has also welcomed such authors as Joyce Carol Oates (2000), Margaret Atwood (2003), Amy Tan (2007), and Azar Nafisi (2008).[6]

In 1998, Southwestern faculty, students, alumni, staff and trustees identified the university’s core purpose and core values. The core purpose was identified as "Fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well-being of humanity." The core values were "Promoting lifelong learning and a passion for intellectual and personal growth; fostering diverse perspectives; being true to one's self and others; respecting the worth and dignity of persons; and encouraging activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good." A sixth core value, cultivating academic excellence, was added in 2008.

In January 2010, to further its goal to become carbon neutral, Southwestern signed an agreement with the City of Georgetown to get all of its electricity for the next 18 years exclusively from wind power. This deal makes Southwestern the first university in Texas to get all its power from renewable sources.


The university offers 40 majors and 36 minors divided between the Brown College of Arts and Sciences and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. In addition to traditional academic majors, Southwestern offers interdisciplinary, independent, and paired majors as well as pre-professional programs in Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Theology.[7][8]

In the 2013-2014 school year, total student enrollment was at 1,536, with a gender distribution of about 60 percent female and 40 percent male. Of the entering first-year students in Fall 2013, 37 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class with an average SAT score of 1166 (*writing section not included). While the majority of students come from Texas (89 percent), the remaining 11 percent come from 23 other states and 6 countries. Minority students constitute 33 percent of the student body.[9]

The student to faculty ratio is 11:1, with an average class size of 15 students. Ninety-nine percent of the tenured or tenure-track faculty hold doctorate or highest degree in their fields. Collaborative research and publication with students is common.[9]


Southwestern hosts two interdisciplinary academic exhibitions each year to showcase research by students at Southwestern and researchers across the country. The Brown Symposium held in the early spring is an academic conference attracting guest lecturers and panelists. All Brown Symposium speakers present research that shares the symposium's theme for that year.[10] The Creative Works Symposium held near the end of the spring semester offers undergraduate students an opportunity to display their own research as a formal oral presentation, panel discussion, poster presentation, art exhibit, or technology demonstration. These student presentations are often the culmination of senior capstone projects, independent studies, collaborations with a faculty member, or a requirement for receiving research grants.[11]

Awards and rankings

University rankings
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Loren Pope, former education editor for The New York Times, included Southwestern in his 1996 book, Colleges That Change Lives. He wrote, "[Southwestern] is one of the few jewels of the Southwest whose mission is to prepare a new generation to contribute to a changing society, and to prosper in their jobs, whatever and wherever in the world they may be." Southwestern was included in an updated edition of the influential book in 2012.[15]

Southwestern is one of 16 colleges and universities featured in Sweet Sixteen: Great Colleges of the South. The book was published in March 2012 by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the organization’s founding. The book was developed to help high school students, their parents and high school guidance counselors learn more about these colleges.[16]

Southwestern is one of only 113 schools in the country that were named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for 2013. It is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Southwestern has been named to the Honor Roll every year since the program was started in 2006, but this is the first year it made the list of schools on the “Honor Roll with Distinction.” [17]

For three years in a row, Southwestern has led its athletic conference − the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) − in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s College & University Green Power Challenge. According to the EPA, Southwestern’s green power use of nearly 18 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity used by nearly 2,000 American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 3,000 vehicles per year.[18]

Southwestern was included in the 2014 Guide to Military Friendly Schools®, which is published by veteran-owned Victory Media. Only 15 percent of schools nationwide are included in the guide.[19]

Southwestern ranked 3rd among liberal arts colleges according to the Washington Monthly, which rates schools based on their contribution to the public good.[20]

Southwestern has been named a "Best Buy" in education by U.S. News & World Report, The Fiske Guide to Colleges, Money magazine and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. Most recently, Southwestern was named the nation's 7th "Best Value" undergraduate institution by the 2005 Princeton Review college guide, underscoring Southwestern's "value-added" educational experience.

The University's Career Services Office was recently ranked #1 in Texas and #7 in the country for Best Career/Job Placement Services by the 2014 edition of the Princeton Review's The Best 378 Colleges.[21]

In 2012, Forbes ranked Southwestern in the top 100 of their America's top colleges list. It has also been ranked the number 2 school in Texas, only behind Rice University(Houston).[22]

The National Survey of Student Engagement's 2007 Institutional Engagement Index found that students at Southwestern University were more engaged than the national average in all five areas of educational practice measured for the sixth year in a row. These educational practices include: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment. Among both first-year students and seniors, Southwestern was in the top 10 percent of schools nationally in the areas of student-faculty interaction and enriching educational experiences. It also ranked in the top 10 percent in level of academic challenge.


Southwestern University is located in Georgetown, Texas, about 30 miles (50 km) north of Austin. The campus comprises 700 acres (2.8 km²) mostly located north of University Avenue, although the eastern portion of these lands remains largely undeveloped with some portions serving as an EcoLab where faculty and students conduct research. . The main campus is organized around a central academic mall formed by a semi-circular grassy area bounded by a pedestrian walkway and academic buildings. Residence halls and on-campus apartments are located to the east and northwest of the academic mall. Sports fields, support facilities, and parking are on the periphery of the main campus.

Notable buildings

File:Rutlo 3772831372 Southwestern.jpg
The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building in 2009
File:Dustinc 263451159 Southwestern.jpg
The Lois Perkins Chapel situated along the Academic Mall

The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building (formerly called the Administration Building) was built in 1898 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Cullen Building currently houses the administration, business office, alumni relations, and classrooms. Throughout various times in its history, it has also housed the campus auditorium, gymnasium, chapel, and library. It is named in honor of Hugh Roy Cullen and his wife.

Mood-Bridwell Hall, originally a men's dormitory, was completed in 1908 and currently houses classrooms, faculty offices, a computer lab, the Debbie Ellis Writing Center, and an indoor atrium. Mood-Bridwell is included in the Cullen Building's listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The A. Frank Smith Library Center opened in 1939 as the Cody Memorial Library and was built as part of a WPA project. It was expanded in 1966 and again in 1989, receiving the new name as a result of the second expansion. In addition to books and periodicals, the library houses a film and audio collection, 24-hour computer lab, maps, sheet music, and special collections for Texas history and culture, John Tower, J. Frank Dobie, Jessie Daniel Ames, Herman Melville, Aaron Burr, Edward Blake, Thomas Bewick, and Australia.[23]

The Lois Perkins Chapel was built in 1950 and includes an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. Stained glass windows along the east and west sides depict Reformation leaders and Methodist leaders with seals for the educational institutions they were affiliated with.

The McCombs Campus Center opened in 1998, replacing the Bishops' Memorial Student Union Building and University Commons. It includes dining facilities, the campus bookstore, ballrooms, and student organization offices. It is named for billionaire entrepreneur and Southwestern alum Red McCombs.

The Fayez Sarofim School of Fine Arts is housed in the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Building, originally built in 1956 on the former property of the Texas rancher John Wesley Snyder, a Southwestern University benefactor.[24] The Fine Arts Building (FAB) has been renovated multiple times, most recently in 1998 and 2008. The FAB houses the 700-seat Alma Thomas Theater, the smaller Jones Theater, the Caldwell-Carvey Foyer, numerous practice rooms, art studios, a black box theater, and an instrumental rehearsal hall.

The Wilhelmina Cullen Admission Center opened in 2009, moving the admissions office out of the Roy and Lillie Cullen Building. It is Southwestern's first "green" building and was designed to receive Gold LEED certification. Some of the building's features include a bamboo floor in the lobby area, skylights in the center of the building, solar-powered sink faucets and reflective roof shingles. Southwestern plans to turn the area in the original Cullen Building formerly occupied by the Admission Office into a museum. The Admissions Center was named after Wilhelmina Cullen, the daughter of Roy and Lillie Cullen.

Student activities and organizations

There are over 90 student organizations on campus. The school hosts chapters of 16 academic honor societies, including a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the founding chapter of the Alpha Chi honor society. The national co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega also has a chapter. Several groups on campus participate in social activism and awareness on campus and in the Austin area, including College Democrats, Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK), Latinos Unidos, EBONY, and Amnesty International. Religious groups on campus include the national Christian fraternity Kappa Upsilon Chi, Christian sorority Sigma Phi Lambda, Jewish Student Association, Muslim Student Organization, and Buddhist Meditation Group. Other groups include Habitat for Humanity, Model U.N., and German Club.

Student government

Student government is primarily handled by the Student Congress, with each member elected to represent students living in residence halls, Greek houses, and at-large for students living off-campus. The Student Congress is headed by a president elected through popular vote. An independent organization, Student Foundation, serves as a liaison between students, faculty, alumni, and the university's administration. A panel of students and faculty maintain the university's honor code, replacing the Student Judiciary which previously adjudicated violations of the honor code.

Greek life

Southwestern hosts eight national social fraternities and sororities governed by the North-American Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the National Panhellenic Council (NPC).[25] All fraternities occupy houses on the western side of the campus. The sororities do not have dedicated housing, although they maintain chapter rooms in the Lord Caskey Center. Southwestern has a deferred rush allowing incoming students to become familiar with the campus before formal recruitment begins in the early spring.

IFC Fraternities/NPC Sororities

Organization Chapter Local Founding Date
Kappa Alpha Order Xi 1883
Kappa Sigma Iota 1886
Phi Delta Theta Texas Gamma 1886
Pi Kappa Alpha Alpha Omicron 1910
Organization Chapter Local Founding Date
Alpha Delta Pi Zeta 1907
Alpha Xi Delta Theta Lambda 1992
Delta Delta Delta Theta Epsilon 1911
Zeta Tau Alpha Lambda 1906

Southwestern also hosts the Alpha Tau chapter of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc. Kappa Delta Chi is a member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO). The Alpha Tau chapter is also a member of Southwestern’s umbrella organization the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice.


The Megaphone, established in 1907, is the official student newspaper of Southwestern University. Published online and biweekly in print, the newspaper focuses on the campus community, including sections on news, features, opinions/editorials, culture and sports. Throughout its history, the Megaphone has changed formats several times, alternating between broadsheets and tabloid paper. The newspaper publishes an April Fool's Day edition every spring under the title The Megaphool. The Megaphone (website)

Southwestern University Magazine is the student literary magazine. The magazine is the oldest publication on campus, established in 1882 as the Alamo and San Jacinto Monthly and renamed the Southwestern University Monthly in 1895, then the SU Literary Magazine, and finally The Spyglass in 2012. Currently published twice a year at the end of each semester, the magazine features student poetry, short stories, artwork, and photography.

SU Radio is an online radio station broadcasting music and student commentary in hour-long programming blocks. SU Radio


SING! is a variety show hosted by Student Foundation featuring skits performed by members of student organizations on campus. The skits tend to be of a humorous nature and include singing and choreography. The participating organizations compete for awards decided by a panel of judges and audience ballots. Up until 2013, SING! was held during Homecoming and Reunion weekend but has now been moved to the spring semester.

Incoming students participate in Matriculation Convocation held during orientation week.

During their last semester, seniors climb the spiral staircase of Cullen Tower to sign the tower's walls, adding their signatures to those of former students from over 100 years ago.

The Barcus Society is a secret society that periodically appears at events on campus. The society revolves around Barcus, a masked character wearing a bowler hat, wire rimmed glasses, an old suit and vest, a gold pocket watch, and a black umbrella. Barcus's appearance is intended to resemble former Southwestern president James Samuel Barcus. Barcus is usually flanked by robed students wearing sunglasses.

The Brooks Prize Debate is a yearly debate and oratory competition originally established by the university's literary societies in 1878. It is named in honor of alumnus Richard Edward Brooks who established a monetary prize for the debate winners in 1904.

Mall Ball, held in both the spring and fall semesters, is a family-oriented outdoor festival held on the Academic Mall.

Candlelight Service is an Advent tradition held in the Perkins Chapel the week before fall final exams.

There are several traditions associated with final exams. 24-hour quiet hours are enforced in all on-campus housing during exam week except for a 10 minute period called Final Scream where students attempt to make as much noise as possible. An event called Late Night Breakfast held one night during finals week involves faculty and staff serving free food to students. In past years, students shared haikus through the campus-wide e-mail listserv during finals week to complain, encourage each other, and distract themselves from studying.


File:Southwestern University Mascot Insignia Pirates.png
Southwestern University is home to the Pirates.

Southwestern is a member of the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Southwestern competes in 18 sports, including football, basketball, cross country, track & field, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, lacrosse, men's baseball, women's volleyball and women's softball. Intramural sports on campus include handball, rock climbing, and ultimate frisbee. The school mascot is the pirate.[26]

The men's lacrosse team became a varsity sport in 2009 after offering lacrosse as a club sport for 25 years. The men's lacrosse team won the Lonestar Alliance Division II Championship for four consecutive years prior to becoming a varsity sport.[27] The women's team is currently non-varsity and is affiliated with the Texas Women's Lacrosse League, although the university plans to field a varsity team in 2014.[28] The women's team won a division championships in 2007.

In addition to lacrosse, Southwestern has a nationally ranked handball team that won the Division II National Collegiate Championship in 2007.

Southwestern reinstated football in 2013 after a 62 year hiatus.[28] The university previously fielded football teams from 1908 to 1951, reaching national prominence during World War II when the university's participation in the Navy's V-12 College Training Program enlisted talented players from other schools.[29] Southwestern was a founding member of the Southwest Conference and won the Sun Bowl in 1944 and 1945.[30]

Notable people


Southwestern has had many financial and non-financial supporters, but some stand out by the magnitude or timeliness of their contributions. During the Great Depression, a conditional gift from Southwestern alumna Louisa Carothers Wiess substantially increased the university's endowment and motivated the university to pay off all its debts. While serving in Congress, Lyndon Baines Johnson helped Southwestern acquire the Navy V-12 Program during World War II at a time when the university was struggling financially. Former student Red McCombs contributed financial support for the campus center and an apartment complex. The Brown Foundation, Cullen Foundation, and Mabee Foundation have contributed financial support for multiple construction projects.

Notable alumni

See also

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  1. ^ As of January 23, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Market Value of Endowment Assets and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  3. ^ Jones, William B. (2006). To Survive and Excel (PDF). Georgetown, TX: Southwestern University. pp. 59–75. 
  4. ^ "Roy & Margaret Shilling Lecture Series". Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Writer's Voice presents Michael Chabon". November 4, 2002. Retrieved October 22, 2008. 
  6. ^ "The Writer's Voice". Retrieved October 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Southwestern University: Academics". Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Southwestern University: Departments". Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Southwestern University Profile". Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Brown Symposium". Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Student Works Symposium". Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  12. ^ "America's Top Colleges". LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Forbes: America's Top Colleges 2011". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Special Collections in Smith Library Center". Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  24. ^ "H. Allan Anderson of Lubbock, Texas, "John Wesley Snyder"". The Handbook of Texas. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  25. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ "Athletics at Southwestern". Retrieved October 23, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Southwestern to offer lacrosse as a varsity sport". October 7, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  28. ^ a b "Southwestern Announces Plans to Reinstate Its Football Program, Add Varsity Lacrosse for Women". Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Texas Strong". Reading Eagle. September 5, 1943. 
  30. ^ "Sun Bowl Team Appearances". Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "SU Historical Alumni Directory: 1844 – 1920". Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Stanley Hauerwas". Retrieved December 11, 2009. [dead link]
  33. ^ Walter Prescott Webb, Eldon Stephen Branda, The Handbook of Texas vol. 3 (1952), p. 482

Further reading

External links

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