Southwest Feels Like Home

Andrew West (@AndrewFWest) is the Senior Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Relations.  Andrew joined the staff of Seminary of the Southwest in 2012.  

Home. Some things in life just feel like home. They’re cozy, familiar, inviting and warm, regardless of the weather. They hold on to memories for you, allowing you the joy of reliving them as your eyes pass over those once forgotten reminders that have been kept in place for you. Sometimes it’s the people or the lifestyle that evokes these feelings but it is almost always your physical surroundings.

In my time here on campus (I arrived in March of 2012) one element has rung true in the many, many stories that Southwest alumni/ae have shared with me. Southwest feels like home. A spiritual home. A formational home. A communal home. To me, that’s one of the many things that makes this place so special.  

Thus, you can imagine my excitement as we host our annual Blandy Lectures & Alumni Convocation this week on campus. It’s the yearly invitation to come back home. To be amongst fellow Southwest family members and to share stories about where the pathway has taken you. Over the two days we are together this week we will learn, share, connect and celebrate. 

Of the many things we have planned, we will take time twice over these two days to recognize the ministry and outstanding work of two Southwest Alumnae: The Rev. Mary Earle, ’87 & Mrs. Heather Catto Kohout, ’99. Mary is this year’s Hal Brook Perry Distinguished Alumni Award winner and Heather is the Durstan R McDonald Teaching Award winner. 

Both of these outstanding women are so very deserving of these honors. But what makes it a truly remarkable occasion is the following. Mary Earle and Hal Brook Perry were friends, and her husband, the Rev. Doug Earle, ’84, received the same award a few years ago. Heather graduated from Southwest with the Very Rev. Durstan R McDonald – or “Dusty” as well have come to call him – as her dean. The connectivity of this group and the important work that both Mary and Heather have done make this a particularly special occasion.  The citations they will both receive are moving and I encourage you to read them here: Mary C. Earle and Heather Catto Kohout. We welcome both Mary and Heather back home for these awards and we could not be more grateful for their impacts on this community and those they serve.

As we gather again this year to reconnect, I invite those alumni/ae that are not with us on campus this year to make plans to come back home to Southwest. Whether it’s next year’s convocation or just a visit the next time you’re in Austin, our doors are always open and we hope to see you soon.