University Experience

Chan Shun Centennial Library

Chan Shun Centennial Library serves as the intellectual center for campus. The library as physical space for contemplation and scholarship experiences thousands of visits every week. As the most public space on campus--open the longest hours--the library building serves as preferred group study and gathering spot during the week.

Resources for students and the community have been chosen to support scholarship, encourage faith, and increase the joy of recreational reading. Consortial agreements ensure that Southwestern’s students and faculty have access to academic libraries across the state, which translates into millions of titles available for interlibrary borrowing.

24/7 availability of electronic resources means that students are able to view journals, books, and films, as well as listen to audio selections anywhere in the world that offers internet. The library’s digital resources record tens of thousands of hits weekly. All disciplines taught at Southwestern are supported by the digital library as well as the physical library.

Formal research instruction and individual research consultations are offered throughout the week for students and community groups. Students make extensive use of the librarians as research mentors.

The Adventist Heritage Center collections give our community unparalleled opportunity for research in primary sources related to early Adventist history, institutional history, and local history. The Ellen White – SDA Research Center, a collection within the Adventist Heritage Center that is on long-term loan to Southwestern, houses copies of the unpublished manuscripts authored by Ellen White and research material prepared by the White Estate. Special access provisions grant our students and community the ability to use this faith-building group of documents.

Southwestern's Lecture Series

The Carol Sample Lecture Series, an endowed, annual series that honors retired English professor Dr. Carol Sample, supports guest lecturers whose work appeals primarily to writing and literature students.

The George and Dottie Saxon Lecture Series presents up to three speakers annually who address the connections between science and faith. The series, established in 2006, has brought to campus speakers such as Michael Behe, Kurt Wise, Ronald Numbers, and David Berlinski.

The Scholars Lecture Series supports all disciplines. Two presentations per semester offer insight into and commentary within many fields, often presented by individuals whose life experience has been outside the academy. Recent programs have included political analysis, psychology, music theory, history, religion, education, and international relations.

Southwestern's Dramatic Presentations

Southwestern offers a drama class every spring semester. Participants explore theoretical material on the drama in history and on drama as a genre, but also gain the practical experience of staging a full-length work by classic writers such as Shakespeare, Goldsmith, Wilde, and others. The students learn all aspects of stagecraft, ranging from acting techniques to the use of blocking, staging, props and costumes to achieve an overall effect. These performances enrich both the presenters and also the community that views them, as we together experience the best that dramatic culture has to offer about ourselves and our world.

Rough Writers

Writers meet weekly in The Write Spot to review one another’s work, encourage each other in the creative process, and offer suggestions and guidance. This is a great place to network with other faculty, staff, and students who share your love of writing. The Rough Writers present their creative work in public readings and performances.

Meadows Gallery

Meadows Gallery serves as Southwestern's focal point for displays and exhibits. Located within the campus library building, the Gallery has shown traveling exhibits as well as local talent.

The Herbert M. and Ivanette Woodall Hopps Museum and Welcome Center

Primarily a community and visitor center, this two-story facility is created by eclectic exhibits which include periodic displays of private collections as well as historic items dating from the university and town's beginnings in 1893. On-site tours, overseen by a local historian, describe the unique philosophy that gave birth to the original school and the surrounding community, and highlight the vision and contribution of many historic figures.

Southwestern's Paleontology Museum

Southwestern’s Paleontology Museum houses specimens from the Hanson Research Center in Wyoming, the Earth History Research Center (a collaborative endeavor among many academic institutions), and Southwestern’s own index collections of fossilized vertebrates and invertebrates. Most specimens can be viewed through the online portal to the museum (, but personal tours and research viewing can be arranged as well. Southwestern’s Harold Drake Preparatory Laboratory serves as a working exhibit in which visitors are welcome to observe the cleaning and preparation of geological and paleontological specimens in person or online at

Thomsen Observatory

Southwestern’s astronomy courses benefit from access to the Thomsen Observatory, which is adjacent to campus. The Observatory and related physics lab house a number of reflector and refractor telescopes that offer celestial exploration for students, faculty, and the community.