The Full Wiki

Southwestern University: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is about the university in Georgetown, Texas, USA. For the university in the Philippines, see Southwestern University (Philippines).
For other universities with a similar name, see Southwestern University (disambiguation).
Southwestern University
Southwestern University Seal
Seal of Southwestern University
Motto Non Quis Sed Quid
Motto in English Not Who But What
Established 1840
Type Private
Endowment USD $226.9 million[1]
President Jake Schrum
Staff 125
Undergraduates 1,310
Location Georgetown, Texas, USA
Campus Suburban
700 acres (2.8 km²)
Colors Gold and black         
Mascot Pirates
Athletics NCAA Division III, SCAC

Southwestern University is a private, four-year, undergraduate, liberal arts college located in Georgetown, Texas, USA. Founded in 1840, Southwestern is the oldest university in Texas.



Prior to its founding in Georgetown, charters had been granted by the Texas Legislature (Texas Congress 1836-1845) to establish four earlier 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. 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. Southwestern's founding date is 1840 when Rutersville College opened, making it Texas's first university. Southwestern is also the second oldest coeducational liberal arts college west of the Mississippi.

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. The Shilling Lecture series has drawn such names recently as presidential advisor Karen Hughes (2003), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2004), former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (2005), former Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean (2006), and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai (2009). In 2002, The Writer's Voice series presented Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon.[2] The Writer's Voice has also welcomed such authors as Joyce Carol Oates (2000), Margaret Atwood (2003), Amy Tan (2007), and Azar Nafisi (2008).[3]

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.[4][5]

As of 2007, 1,310 undergraduate students were enrolled with 125 faculty. The class of 2011 is 63% female and 37% male, with SAT scores averaging at 1220. The class comes from 17 different states, but a majority come from the state of Texas. Fifty percent of first-year students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class and 82 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school class. Twenty-two percent of first-year students are minority students. Southwestern University accepts about a third of its applicants.

99 percent of the faculty have earned doctoral or similar terminal degrees in their respective fields. The student to faculty ratio is 10:1, with an average class size of 14 students. This low ratio allows for students and faculty to engage in a less formal interaction as well as maintain a working relationship in the classroom. Collaborative research and publication with students is common.

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.



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.[6] The Student 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.[7]

Awards and rankings

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 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 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.

In 2007, Southwestern president Jake Schrum appeared on the Today Show announcing that Southwestern University would not participate in the peer review section of the U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings. Southwestern is a member of the Annapolis Group, a coalition of liberal arts colleges opposed to college ranking systems. Southwestern is one of the twelve original schools to sign the Presidents Letter criticizing college rankings.

The 2008 edition of The Best 366 Colleges, published by the Princeton Review, ranked Southwestern #7 in the country for Best Career/Job Placement Services. The list was compiled through a survey of 120,000 students at colleges included in the book.


Southwestern University is located in Central 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. 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

The Roy and Lillie Cullen Building in 2005

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.[8]

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. 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 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.

Fraternities and sororities

Southwestern hosts eight national social fraternities and sororities governed by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council.[9] The fraternities include Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, and Pi Kappa Alpha. The sororities are Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Delta Delta, and Zeta Tau Alpha. All four 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. Over the past few decades, the traditional Greek influence on social life has lessened. Only about 1/3 of the campus belongs to a social fraternity or sorority, a decline from being a majority of students.


The Megaphone, established in 1907, is the weekly campus newspaper published in print and online. The newspaper typically features sections for news, op-eds, sports, the arts, and humorous fictional news stories. The Megaphone has changed formats several times, alternating between broadsheets and tabloid paper. The newspaper publishes an April Fools edition every spring under the title The Megaphool. The Megaphone

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. 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 during Homecoming 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.

Incoming students participate in Matriculation Convocation held during orientation week. The ceremony is sometimes informally referred to as "backwards graduation."

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, often distributing free items emblazoned with the letter "B." 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 arrives at most events in a yellow and black Model T and 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 serving free food to students.


Southwestern University is home to the Pirates.

Southwestern is a member of the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Southwestern competes in 16 sports, including basketball, cross country, track & field, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, men's baseball, men's lacrosse, women's volleyball and women's softball. Intramural sports on campus include handball, rock climbing, ultimate frisbee, and equestrian activities. The school mascot is the pirate.[10]

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.[11] The women's team, still non-varsity, is a member of the Texas Women's Lacrosse League (TWLL) and 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 has not played football since the late 1940s after the program declined following World War II. Southwestern's football team had previously experienced growth during the war years due to the university's participation in the Navy's V-12 College Training Program. Southwestern won the Sun Bowl in 1944 and 1945.

Notable people


Southwestern has had many financial and non-financial supporters, but some stand out by the magnitude or timeliness of their contributions. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lyndon Baines Johnson helped Southwestern acquire the Navy V-12 Program during World War II at a time when the university was struggling financially. Johnson received an honorary degree several years later as a sign of gratitude. 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


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Writer's Voice presents Michael Chabon". 2002-11-04. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  3. ^ "The Writer's Voice". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Southwestern University: Academics". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  5. ^ "Southwestern University: Departments". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  6. ^ "Brown Symposium". Retrieved 05 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Student Works Symposium". Retrieved 05 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Special Collections in Smith Library Center". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  9. ^ "Student Organizations: Governing". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  10. ^ "Athletics at Southwestern". Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Southwestern to offer lacrosse as a varsity sport". October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "SU Historical Alumni Directory: 1844 - 1920". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  13. ^ "Stanley Hauerwas". Retrieved 11 December 2009. 

Further reading

  • Jones, Ralph Wood (1973). Southwestern University 1840-1961. Austin: San Felipe Press.
  • Jones, William B (2006). To Survive and Excel: The Story of Southwestern University, 1840-2000. ISBN 0967091241
  • Southwestern University from the Handbook of Texas Online

Coordinates: 30°38′10″N 97°39′53″W / 30.63600°N 97.66480°W / 30.63600; -97.66480


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address