The Reverend James Grace Runs for Autism

Many of us knew James Grace ’98 during our college days as “The Reverend” Jimmy Grace, radio DJ, on the now defunct KNAC in Austin. The radio persona has grown into an actual Reverend with Episcopal Church.

Jimmy lives in Houston with his wife and family. On January 18, 2009, Jimmy will run the Chevron Houston Marathon as part of a team representing the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). Jimmy is running to raise funds for Autism research. His goal is to raise $5,000.

You can learn more about Jimmy’s personal connection to autism, his young son James (pictured), as well as make an online donation on his fundraising page here:

A Note from the Active G.M.

Dearest Brothers,
Last night as I’m sure most of you are aware our brother Mr. Robert Patrick Atkinson was hit by a car. Rob died without any suffering immediately thereafter. The active brothers are pulling together and have received an immense amount of support from the Southwestern community. What we can all walk away from this tragedy with, is gratitude. Gratitude for being fortunate enough to know Rob intimately he was and is a beacon of hope and peace for all of us. I sincerely apologize for not contacting you all sooner if you have any questions or need support please feel free to contact me. With that my only wish is that you will show the people nearest you how much you love them and that we will see you soon. As Rob would say with Love and Respect.
G.M. Tanner Garth
Please forward this to your brothers

UPDATE: Memorial Services for Rob Atkinson

A memorial service will be held today on Southwestern University campus at 2 p.m, today, December 6 in the Howry center.

As noted below, a formal service will be held in January at SU.

We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.** First update below: 12/08/08.


Friday, December 05, 2008 7:57 PM


Dear Members of the Southwestern Community,

Many of you have asked how you can show support for Rob Atkinson’s family. We have spoken with his parents, John and Janice, today, and they have asked that expressions of sympathy be sent to them at johnandjan (at) afdop (dot) org.

The Atkinsons plan to have a memorial service for Rob in San Diego no earlier than Dec. 13-14. As mentioned earlier, we will have a memorial service for him on campus after the holiday break.

Donations in memory of Rob may be sent to the Peace Alliance, P.O. Box 70095, Rochester Hills,MI 48307. Be sure to specify that the donations benefit the Student Peace Alliance.

Jake B. Schrum


Fri 12/5/2008

Dear Members of the Southwestern Community,

I was deeply touched this afternoon as we heard students, faculty members and staff share the impact that Rob Atkinson had on their lives.

This message is to update you on our plans as we continue to help the campus community cope with Rob’s tragic death. Those who were at the gathering this afternoon heard that his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, plans an event to remember Rob at their house at 7:30 tonight. We will hold another campus-wide gathering tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 p.m. in the Howry Center. 

A formal memorial service for Rob will be held after the holiday break, and we will let you know as soon as the date for that service is set. We are still waiting to hear what arrangements Rob’s family is making for a service in his hometown. We do know they plan to come to campus for the memorial service in January. 

The chapel will be open all weekend for those who would like to use it. Please remember that counselors are available during working hours at the Robertson Center, and after hours by calling the SU Police at 512-863-1944. Counselors are happy to come meet with any individual groups on campus who have been touched by Rob’s loss. 

As you may have learned today, Rob’s death is really a double tragedy for our campus because the car that hit him was driven by a fellow Southwestern student. We ask that you keep [this student], his family members, and his Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers in your thoughts and prayers as well.

Jake B. Schrum




The loss of our brother, Robert Patrick Atkinson

It is with a heavy heart that we report on the death of Rob Atkinson, our active brother and student at Southwestern. We are all praying for Rob’s family, and his extended family, as we cope with the loss of someone so special.

As more information becomes available, we will post it on this site.

Copied here is the communication from SU President Jake Schrum to the Southwestern campus community.

Dear Members of the Southwestern Community,

Tragedy struck the campus Thursday night when senior Robert Atkinson was hit and killed by a car as he was crossing University Avenue around 8:20 p.m.

Rob was a leader on campus and was involved with numerous organizations, including the Theatre for Social Justice group and the Student Peace Alliance. His death is a tremendous loss for us, particularly coming at this time of year.

Those who knew Rob and would like to gather together today may do so at 1 p.m. in the ballrooms. We will keep you posted as additional services are scheduled. As always, members of our Counseling Services staff are available in the Robertson Center for those who need help coping with this tragedy.

Please keep Rob’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Jake B. Schrum

Local news coverage: news report story and video

Rob in his own words:

Students Unite for a Department of Peace
by Rob Atkinson

My motivation in doing political and social activism work is rooted in a strong spiritual desire for strengthening community identity and creating a normalization of compassion, which can be significantly furthered through political work. Along with being very involved in the Student Peace Alliance, I practice the Lakota spiritual tradition and am president of a Native American student organization on my campus, I am a musician, painter, and public speaker. I have also studied urban environmental sustainability through a collective I lived at last summer, and am looking forward to a possible internship this next summer working with nonprofit violence-prevention groups in central Texas. For me, it all boils down to political and social activism as a vehicle of spiritual integrity, and the deep joy that emerges when our abstract visions for a good world actualize into realistic and concrete initiatives.
—Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson – Teaching Peace Conference – Part 1