October 30, 2022

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The Reverend Ron Swain is joining Southwestern University.


Ron Swain to become Southwestern chaplain

Reverend will be director of religious and spiritual life

The Reverend Ron Swain — who has served as director of transformative mission ministries at First United Methodist Church since 2014 — will be chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life at Southwestern University beginning November 1.

“I’m excited about this opportunity even though it’s going to be a bit of a challenge,” Mr. Swain said. “I’ve been out of higher education for 10 years and today’s students are different from those of that time. I’m looking forward to getting to know them and serving the Southwestern community.”

He will remain in his position at FUMC until the middle of next year, he said. 

Mr. Swain brings more than 40 years of experience in higher education administration to Southwestern.

“We are fortunate to have such an experienced leader in higher education and spiritual life joining us at Southwestern,” Southwestern President Laura Skandera Trombley said. “Ron knows our university well and is widely respected on campus and throughout the Georgetown community.”

The position is the second he has held at Southwestern. In 2000, he joined the university as senior advisor to the president for strategic planning and assessment, serving as the university’s accreditation liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mr. Swain is active in the Rotary Club of Georgetown and the Providence Place Board of Directors in San Antonio. He is a past chairman of Georgetown’s Economic Development Commission and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. 

He is also a past chair of the board of directors for The Georgetown Project, Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County and Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center. He currently serves as chair of The Williamson County Institute for Excellence in Nonprofits and is a member of the President’s Advisory Council for the Texas Methodist Foundation.

A retired clergyman of the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Mr. Swain began his professional higher education career in the Student Affairs Division at Duquesne in 1970. 

In 1972 he moved to North Carolina State University at Raleigh, where he worked as a counselor and an adjunct member of the faculty. He later served in several positions at Raleigh’s Shaw University, the oldest historically Black college in the Southeastern United States. His last position at Shaw was vice president for institutional advancement and planning. 

In 1994 he became national director for the final phase of The United Negro College Fund’s Campaign. He subsequently served as the 15th president of Wiley College in Marshall. 

A leader in higher education, he formed Swain Consulting Services in 2013, serving as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education’s Division of Postsecondary Education. He also served on the National Council for the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University.

He has received awards including the Owen W. Sherrill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, which he received in 2012.

Mr. Swain holds undergraduate and masters’ degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, from the Shaw Divinity School in Raleigh, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctorate of education from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

In addition, he has completed postdoctoral study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Institute on Educational Management.