Southwestern University, the first university in Texas, has seen multiple generations grow and get nurtured in its backyard. With the foundation stones dating way back to the 1840s, it has seen the tides of changing times in all aspects. Not only does the University have a magnificent history associated with it, but it also has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of ever-flowing time.
Today, with a sprawling campus at Georgetown, Texas, just 25 miles north of Austin, Southwestern University stands tall, with its every corner preaching emphatic tales of a glorious past.
The Knowledge Streams at the University
Southwestern University was the first institution of higher education in Texas and is one of the state’s top liberal arts and sciences colleges. Their curriculum incorporates the humanities, fine arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. The University’s 26 academic departments range from biochemistry and business to foreign languages and computer science. In addition, SU also offers seven pre-professional pathways, including pre-engineering, pre-law, and pre-medicine, with acceptance rates into graduate programs three times the national average.
With as many as forty bachelor’s degrees in arts, music, fine arts, and science on offer, Southwestern University also serves as a bastion of numerous sustainable practices both in letter and spirit.
In the 21st century, it is a well-accepted fact that students are required to advance the frontiers of knowledge through original thought and innovative creative work. Combining their breakthrough curriculum with real-world opportunities, the University equips students with the skills required to create new ideas, adapt, collaborate, and solve problems from multiple perspectives.
SU is the only school in Texas that is included on the list of “Best Schools for Making an Impact,” ranking third nationally. This further marks the validation of an impactful methodology for all-round development at Southwestern University.
Splendid Sprouts of Life and Career
SU students participate in multiple transformative experiences, such as study abroad, community-engaged learning, internships, and faculty-mentored research projects. The majority of SU students live on campus and are actively involved in one or more of its numerous student organizations. Students are civic-minded and have volunteered more than 22,000 service hours in the community in the 2016–17 academic years. Athletically, the Pirates compete in 20 different varsity sports at the NCAA Division III level, with many more involved in a club or intramural sports.
97 percent of SU students receive financial aid from the University. In the fall of 2017, Southwestern University awarded over $31 million in merit scholarships and need-based grants and over $2.5 million in federal and state grants.
Southwestern’ s Career Services ranks #1 in Texas and ranks #7 nationally, as recognized by The Princeton Review. The university has a staggering placement statistic of about 91%. Moreover, their alumni have gone on to become scientists, U.S. senators, members of Congress, actors, federal judges, attorney generals, mayors, philanthropists, social activists, championship athletes, and university presidents among many other prestigious roles.
Among the bright stars from Southwestern, John Tower ’48 (BA, political science) was the first Republican US Senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He led the Tower Commission, which investigated the Iran-Contra Affair during the Reagan administration, and was nominated by President George H. W. Bush for secretary of defense.
An Unwavering Commitment to the Environment
Southwestern is committed to sustainable practices with student-led initiatives, grant-funded projects, and the participation of the entire SU community. The University transitioned to 100% wind power in 2010, leading the way for the city of Georgetown to become the largest city in the nation to be powered entirely by renewable energy in 2017. In 2017–18, the EPA recognized SU as a Green Power Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. SU has switched to low-flow toilets and shower heads, installed solar panels on its rehearsal hall, and uses water-bottle refill stations and rainwater-collection barrels.
In 1999, a student group from the University, called Students for Environmental Activation and Knowledge (SEAK), successfully lobbied for the Environmental Studies Program. In 2011, a student’s research mapping the solar radiation potential of SU’s campus buildings was used by the city of Georgetown to optimize its own solar collection. The Environmental Studies Program’s 2014 capstone projects focused on furthering sustainability on campus. Since 2014, the 25-acre Ecolab has conducted soil and water sampling as well as wildlife monitoring. By digitizing historic photos of the land, Ecolab students have studied the area’s ecological history and how its landscape has changed over time.
The Architect of University’s Roadmap
An able leader always determines the perfect path for the flock. Southwestern University is blessed to have the impeccable guidance of President Edward Burger.
In 1997, Edward Burger (Ph.D., mathematics, the University of Texas at Austin) became one of the first individuals to make instructional mathematics videos accessible to a broader audience. Between 1997 and 2013, he created more than 4,000 such videos, which are watched by millions around the globe.
He was among Huffington Post’s “Game Changers” in 2010—a group of 100 thought leaders in 12 categories who are changing the way we look at and live in the world. The publication highlighted one of Burger’s innovative approaches to teaching: encouraging and rewarding effective failure as a means toward greater creativity and deeper understanding. Dr. Burger has received a number of national awards for teaching, and in 2013, he was inducted as one of the first fellows of the American Mathematical Society.
Burger has authored or co-authored more than 35 research articles and 12 books. His most recent book, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, co-authored with Dr. Michael Starbird (UT Austin), has been translated into 15+ languages and has led to speaking invitations from organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and U.S. Department of the Interior.
Burger has delivered more than 400 lectures worldwide and has appeared on more than 40 radio and TV programs, including an episode of NBC’s 2010 Science of the Winter Olympics series, which earned him a Telly Award, too. Burger also served for three years as mathematics advisor for a series of educational programs that accompanied the popular CBS television series NUMB3RS.
Words of Trust
“I love Southwestern because it’s very personal, it’s amazing, and it’s inspiring. It makes me feel like I’m in the real world, working with a very tight-knit group of people who specialize but who are also interdisciplinary. Southwestern has prepared me to really put my best foot forward and explore what the world has for me.” – Brandon Baker, Theatre and Dance
“Southwestern’s Paideia is an interdisciplinary program for critical and creative thinkers. It can connect you to other disciplines that you’ve never anticipated caring about or being engaged in. You see the world as more connected, but it also gives you confidence that you will have a place within that world.” – Alexandra Detmar, Biology and German