Southwestern University is a four year liberal arts college based in the city of Georgetown, central Texas. The Methodist affiliated institution was founded in 1873 as a merger of prior colleges dating back to 1840, and lays claim to being the oldest university in the state. The city of Georgetown is home to the annual Red Poppy Festival and is just 30 miles from Austin, the cultural capital of the state.
There are over 40 majors and 26 minors on offer at Southwestern, across 26 academic departments. Physics students will be able to use the Fountainwood Observatory on campus for coursework and research, and the facility includes a high level reflecting telescope complete with a digital CCD camera.
A cornerstone course is Paideia, which focuses on interdisciplinary study and a close working relationship between students and faculty. Interlinked with the programme is the Office of Intercultural Learning, which offers faculty study abroad programmes in five locations including Buenos Aires and London. Southwestern also offers International Studies majors studies of East Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Athletics teams at Southwestern are known as the Pirates, and compete in the NCAA Division III. Basketball, tennis and golf are a selection of the twelve sports programmes offered, as well as an extensive intramural programme and a cheerleading squad.
Notable alumni of Southwestern include civil rights activist Jessie Ames, folklorist J. Frank Dobie, comedian Bill Engvall, meteorologist Robert Simpson, and congressman Pete Sessions. It is a tradition of students during their last semester at Southwestern to climb the stairs of Cullen Tower and sign the wall, adding their names to graduates of over a century ago.