Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

About Southwestern

Southwestern and The United Methodist Church

Southwestern stands in a United Methodist tradition of higher education. Non-sectarian and diverse in its collective life, Southwestern’s character is shaped by John Wesley’s famous appeal: “Let learning and vital piety be joined.”

A Great Tradition

UMC Cross and Flame The power of education to transform the lives of individuals, strengthen communities and benefit the well being of society has been at the heart of the Methodist movement since its 18th century beginnings in England. The high value placed on education continues for the United Methodist Church today. Southwestern University extends the United Methodist commitment to education through the liberal arts tradition. Critical thinking, oral and written expression, and collaborative research are central to our educational approach. Exploration of one’s own thinking, values and commitments is encouraged, as is the respectful appreciation of the thinking, values and commitments of others. Southwestern holds the first charter of an institution of higher education in Texas and is constituted by the six annual conferences of the United Methodist Church in Texas. Southwestern University furthers a great tradition in education as it continues to open hearts, minds and doors for the transformation of the world.

How Southwestern Expresses This Relationship

By virtue of its placement in the center of Southwestern's campus, The Lois Perkins Chapel building symbolizes the rich tradition of undergraduate education in the United Methodist Church – helping students realize their fullest human potential within an intellectually challenging, nurturing and inclusive community. Chapel Services are held each Thursday during the regular semester at 11:30 a.m., and open to anyone who would like to attend.

Southwestern expresses its church relationship in other ways, including financial aid and scholarships to United Methodist students, non-United Methodist students, ethnic minority students and other students. Concern for social issues, service and activism are encouraged on campus.

Rather than making policies to “enforce” good decision making, the University puts resources toward educational programming, well thought out policies and face-to-face relationships that enhance and encourage healthy, moral decision-making for all its students and community.

Resources for Our Community's Spiritual Life

Southwestern makes religious and spiritual resources available to the campus community through the Office Religious Life. All programs are voluntary. Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Weekly chapel services (staff, faculty and students are invited to attend)
  • Worship services during Parent Orientation, Homecoming, Family Days and Commencement Convocation
  • Advent Candlelight Service of lessons and carols
  • Pre-ministry student support
  • Interfaith dialogue
  • Destination: Service (volunteer service trips during Spring Break)
  • Special events (concerts, lectures and other performances)
  • Small-group discussion groups and groups for spiritual support
  • Pastoral care and counseling
  • Links for students with their preferred religious communities
  • Spiritual Life retreats

Resources for Students

Southwestern is also home to many student organizations through which students find support for their religious and spiritual growth:

  • AM Levy Jewish Student Association
  • Canterbury (Episcopal)
  • Catholic Student Organization
  • Cross Training
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Kappa Upsilon Chi (men)
  • Lutherans at Southwestern
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Sigma Phi Lambda (women)
  • United Methodist Student Movement

Invocations are given at some, but not all, University events and are given at the request of the group sponsoring the event.