Southwestern University (also referred to as Southwestern or SU) is a private, four-year, undergraduate, liberal arts college located in Georgetown, Texas, United States. Chartered in 1840, Southwestern is the first 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. In 2015, Southwestern celebrates its (175th Anniversary ).
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.
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. 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.
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).〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.southwestern.edu/about/shilling/ )〕 In 2002, The Writer's Voice series presented Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon. The Writer's Voice has also welcomed such authors as Joyce Carol Oates (2000), Margaret Atwood (2003), Amy Tan (2007), and Azar Nafisi (2008).〔(【引用サイトリンク】 The Writer's Voice )〕
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.
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