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In Focus: 2/13/2009

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SIGNS CLIMATE COMMITMENT

With an internationally known environmental activist looking on, President Jake B. Schrum furthered Southwestern University’s commitment to environmental leadership by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The document formally commits campuses to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions over time and educate students about climate neutrality. 

Schrum signed the document Feb. 10 during the visit of Wangari Mathaai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work with the Green Belt Movement in Africa. Mathaai was on campus to give Southwestern’s 10th annual Shilling Lecture. She spoke at Southwestern the day after attending a hearing on Capitol Hill at which scientists reported that climate change is worse than they previously thought.

“Colleges and universities like Southwestern who believe in their core values have an obligation to be models for their students’ support for sustainability, which is absolutely crucial to saving our planet,” Schrum said in signing the document as Mathaai and more than 20 student representatives looked on.

Read the rest of the story here.

SOUTHWESTERN RECOGNIZED FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

Southwestern University is one of 20 colleges and universities in Texas that have been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2008.

The honor roll program, which was launched in 2006, recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. It is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Southwestern has been named to the Honor Roll every year since the program was started. The new Honor Roll, which was released Feb. 9, covers the 2007-2008 academic year.

Read the rest of the story here.

VARSITY SOFTBALL DEBUTS AT SOUTHWESTERN THIS WEEKEND

After nearly a decade of preparation, Southwestern is launching its first season of varsity softball competition.

The team will make its home debut Feb. 14 in a double-header against the University of Dallas beginning at 1 p.m. at the Taylor Sanders Softball Field (Number 19 on the campus map at http://www.southwestern.edu/visit/maps/campus_map.pdf). A variety of festivities are being planned for the day, including a pre-game tailgate party. Free commemorative t-shirts will be given to the first 100 fans.

Carol Miller, who has been a major supporter of softball at Southwestern, will throw out the first pitch at the game. Miller provided funds to build the softball field in 1999 and the field is named after her parents. She and her husband, Dr. Bradley Miller, who is a 1953 Southwestern graduate, made a $25,000 challenge gift to help get the varsity program started. Southwestern also received a $93,000 grant from the NCAA to help launch the program.

Read the rest of the story here.

Events

VALENTINE’S DAY GUITAR CONCERT FEB. 14

Guitarist David Asbury will give a Valentine’s Day concert at Southwestern on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert is free and open to the public.

The program is titled “La guitarra enamorada” and will focus on works that are thematically related to love and romance. It will feature works by Luis Bonfa, Roland Dyens, Jose Luis Merlin, Julio Cesar Oliva, Roberto Baden Powell and Francisco Tarrega.

Asbury has served on the Southwestern faculty since 1992. He has appeared on concert stages throughout the United States, Europe and Central America and has won numerous awards including the prestigious diploma of merit from the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy.

The concert is sponsored by the Music Department in The Sarofim School of Fine Arts
For more information, call 512-863-1379.

CHOPIN LECTURE FEB. 20

Pianist and musicologist Jonathan Bellman will give a public lecture and master class on “Chopin’s Rubatos” on Friday, Feb. 20, at 3:30p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Bellman is a professor of music and head of academic studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. He will be in Georgetown for the premier of Michael Cooper’s reconstruction of Fantasy and Variations for Two Pianos and Orchestra on the Gypsy March from Weber’s “Preziosa,” for which he will be one of the piano soloists (see below).

The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Music in the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. For more information, call 512-863-1379.

WORLD PREMIERE OF REDISCOVERED MENDELSSOHN PIECE TO BE PERFORMED AT SOUTHWESTERN FEB. 21

Of the more than 400 pieces written by 19th century German composer Felix Mendelssohn, only about 150 survive today in published form. A hundred of his pieces are believed to be completely lost, and the rest are missing.

Michael Cooper, an associate professor of music at Southwestern University, was browsing through an auction catalog in 1997 when he found a reference to one such missing piece at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. However, at that time the curators of the Conservatory’s music library were still hesitant about sharing their manuscripts with Westerners.

Cooper persisted, though, and in January 2003 the Conservatory finally sent him digital scans of the piece he was interested in. The piece, titled Fantasy and Variations for Two Pianos and Orchestra on the Gypsy March from Weber’s “Preziosa,” was jointly composed by Felix Mendelssohn and Ignaz Moscheles, a German pianist and composer who was a friend of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Central Texas residents will get the opportunity to hear the full version of the piece for the first time since 1833 when the Austin Civic Orchestra performs it at Southwestern on Saturday, Feb. 21. The piece will be performed as part of the orchestra’s winter concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

Read the rest of the story here

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran an article about the climate change teach-in held at Southwestern.

The Williamson County Sun ran a page of photos from the Brown Symposium and a page of photos from the 2009 SU Arts Festival

Phil Hopkins, associate professor of philosophy, was interviewed by KPSI radio in Palm Springs, Calif., about the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth.

KEYE-TV in Austin interviewed coach Angela Frobese about the debut of the varsity softball team.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about Southwestern being named to the Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2009.

Notables

Tim O’Neill, professor of political science, had his articles on “Abrams v. United States,” “Absolutists,” “Edwards v. Aguillard,” “Faith-Based Organizations and Government Funding,” “Larkin v. Grendel’s Den, Inc.,” “McConnell v. FEC,” “Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton,” “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society v. Village of Stratton,” and “Zorach v. Clauson,” published in John Vile, et al, editors, Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2008).

Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City on Jan. 25 as a guest performer on the New York Philharmonic Ensembles concert series. He, Philharmonic cellist Evangeline Benedetti, and first clarinetist Stanley Drucker performed the Clarinet Trio by the French composer Vincent d’Indy. The legendary Drucker marks his 60th and final season with the Philharmonic this year.