The Rev. Leigh Preston Appointed Interim Associate University Chaplain

Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen announced the appointment of the Rev. Leigh Preston as interim associate university chaplain in an email to campus this morning. Preston will begin her service on July 1, 2024. "Among a talented field of candidates, including clergy from three different countries and representing 12 Episcopal dioceses, Leigh stood out as a leader who couples pastoral warmth and care with a deep investment in the lives and experiences of students at both the College and the School of Theology," Pearigen wrote. "She is a respected leader in Latinx ministry across the Episcopal Church, and an ally and advocate in helping the church that she serves share the Gospel of Christ and be ever more inclusive and just. Having been shaped by the Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Georgia and Peterkin summer camp in the mountains of West Virginia, she brings enthusiasm for the many ways that an adaptive church can support the spiritual lives of young adults."

Mr. Hospitality

Sewanee alum Rondal Richardson’s journey from being the man behind the curtain for some of country music’s biggest stars to blazing a path in entertainment philanthropy—connecting celebrities with worthy causes and raising millions of dollars in the process—is a testament to the power of a generous spirit and the art of giving back.

Scott Wilson named provost of the University

Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen has announced the appointment of Scott Wilson as provost of the University, effective July 1. The Board of Regents approved his appointment at its meeting on campus last week. Wilson has been serving as acting provost since January 2022. He began his work in the provost’s office in 2019, first as assistant provost for global and strategic partnerships, and then as vice provost for planning and strategic initiatives, beginning in March 2021.

Elyzabeth Wilder's world premiere play runs June 13-30 at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

When “Zelda” is mentioned in Montgomery, it’s natural to think the conversation is about Zelda Fitzgerald, the Roaring 20s wonder woman from a century ago — known as “the first American flapper” of the Jazz Age, and wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

That’s not the case for Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s world premiere production of “Zelda in the Backyard,” which starts Thursday and runs through June 30 on ASF’s Octagon Stage.

“This particular play is probably the most personal play that I’ve written,” said playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, who described it as a love letter to her dad.

Theron and Wicklund finish as National Runner-Up in NCAA Doubles Championships

Congratulations and YSR to Sewanee tennis players Jordan Theron and Quinn Wicklund, who made an amazing run through the men’s NCAA Division III Doubles Tournament, getting all the way to the championship match before falling to Tyler Haddorff and Gage Gohl of Gustavus Adolphus on Tuesday.

Meacham Receives 2024 Lincoln Leadership Prize

Congratulations to historian Jon Meacham, C’91, seen here accepting the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Lincoln Presidential Foundation this week in Chicago for his “exceptional contributions to the historical canon and public understanding of American democracy.” Among the many well-wishers who sent videos of personal congratulations to Meacham to be played at the event were President George W. Bush, “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, country music artist Tim McGraw, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, and Sewanee’s own Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen and Professor Emeritus of English John Reishman.

Diamondback Terrapins Are in Serious Decline. A Forty-Year Study Sheds Light on Why.

A Sewanee alumna, Lindsey Liles, C’16, writes for Garden & Gun about a 40-year study of threatened diamondback terrapins that is now run by a Sewanee faculty member, Associate Professor of Biology Kristen Cecala.

Breaking the Ice

On a remote Alaskan island, coastal scientist Hannah-Marie Garcia, C’19, works at the intersection of climate change and Indigenous culture to turn ancient wisdom into contemporary solutions.

Three Students Receive Fulbright U.S. Student Awards for 2024-2025

The University of the South is pleased to announce that three students have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards for the 2024-2025 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The recipients are Cole Baker, C’24; Emma Ross-Sermons, C’23; and Adri Silva, C’24. With these three awards, Sewanee now boasts 60 Fulbright winners.

Moment by Moment at the Altamont Inn

Sewanee theater students and Grundy County inmates explore the realities of incarceration in a civic-engaged class project that helps transcend barriers and foster connections between classroom and cell block.

2024 Dean's Scholars Named at Commencement

At commencement on May 12, Interim Dean of the College Betsy Sandlin announced the recipients of the Dean’s Scholar award. Created in 2023 to recognize the top academic achievers in the graduating class, the award was given to five graduates of the College. The 2024 Dean’s Scholars included: Rebecca Cole, Meridith Frazee, Máté Garai, Silas McClung, and Adri Silva.

College of Arts & Sciences Commencement

The University of the South's 2023-24 academic year came to a close on May 12 with a Convocation for the Conferring of Degrees to 415 undergraduates the College of Arts and Sciences. 


The University Baccalaureate service was held on Saturday, May 11, in All Saints’ Chapel. Theologian Christoph Keller III delivered the baccalaureate address. Rev. Keller and The Rt. Rev. Susan Bunton Haynes, the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the diocese’s first female diocesan bishop, both received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

School of Theology Graduation

On Friday, May 10 the University of the South held a Convocation for the Conferring of Degrees from the School of Theology in All Saints’ Chapel. The seminary graduated 27 students with varying diplomas and degrees. The Rt. Rev. Frank Logue, the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, delivered the sermon and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.


The University of the South's 2023-24 academic year comes to a close May 10, 11, and 12 with commencement exercises marking graduation weekend on the Mountain. The 167th Convocation for Conferring of Degrees for the School of Theology will be held Friday, May 10; the University Baccalaureate will take place on Saturday, May 11; and a Convocation for Conferring of Degrees for the College of Arts and Sciences will be held on Sunday, May 12. Each of these ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in All Saints’ Chapel and will be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend.

How Did Fan Culture Take Over? And Why Is It So Scary?

Reboot, the new novel by Sewanee School of Letters Director Justin Taylor earned a rave review in the New York Times Book Review. “A novelist chases reality. If our current one eludes easy capture, points are rewarded for remaining competitive with an alternate. Taylor earns lots of points. His book is, in part, a performance of culture, a mirror America complete with its own highly imagined myths. … It’s a performance full of wit and rigor.”


Recognizing this urgent moment for American higher education and our democracy, the University of the South’s Vice-Chancellor and President Rob Pearigen is joining 60 other college presidents of diverse institutions from across the country to advance higher education’s pivotal role in preparing students to be engaged citizens and to uphold free expression on campus.

Assistant Professor Lily Thompson Receives NSF CAREER Award, Largest NSF Grant In University History

Assistant Professor Lily Thompson has received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the foundation’s most distinguished honor for early-career faculty members. She will receive $619,867 over five years from NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences, making this the largest NSF grant to be awarded to the University of the South in its history.

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