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Home Sweet Nacogdoches

Hardy’s Pic

Dr. Tim King, professor of music and longtime director of SFA choral programs, directs the SFA A Cappella Choir in W.M. Turner Auditorium. The choir will embark on an 11-day tour to Austria and the Czech Republic in May, presenting at least six concerts in Salzburg, Vienna and Prague.

“Some of the most memorable performances I have seen in my time at SFA have been those of the university choirs. Whether it’s a Madrigal Dinner, a production of Messiah or just Christmas caroling in the Austin Building, hearing them sing is always a treat. I am very much looking forward to photographing their European concerts this spring.” – University Photographer Hardy Meredith


Spring 2012 • Volume 39, No. 1 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jeff Davis ’02, Executive Director of Alumni Affairs


EDITOR Amy Roquemore ’93, Editorial Coordinator, SFA Public Affairs ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Rhonda Crim-Tumelson, Director of Alumni Publications, SFA Alumni Association STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY is a comprehensive institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative work and service. Through the personal attention of our faculty and staff, we engage our students in a learner-centered environment and offer opportunities to prepare for the challenges of living in the global community. The SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the alumni, friends and current students of Stephen F. Austin State University through programs, scholarships and activities that create an attitude of continued loyalty and support.

FEATURES 6 Freshmen First

First-Year Commons program well-received on campus

12 On the Sideline

Head athletics trainer is department MVP


Stage Advice Theatre professionals share expertise with students

19 Nacogdoches

What’s new and nostalgic in our favorite college town

12 CAMPUS NEWS 2 3 4 11 15 18

SFA Observatory Faculty Advising President’s Message Environmental Science Vista Viewpoint ’Jacks of All Trades

ALUMNI NEWS 8 2 30 38 39 40 43 48

From the Association Burger Business Scholarships Chapters Class Notes In Memoriam All Hail to SFA

SAWDUST is published four times a year by the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association and Stephen F. Austin State University. Full subscriptions are included in Alumni Association memberships. SFA alumni and friends receive complimentary issues twice a year. CONTACT Sawdust P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962 (936) 468-3407 • (800) 765-1534 alumni@sfasu.edu • sfaalumni.com ON THE COVER SFA ad design major Emily E. Graves provided the cover art for this issue. Read more about the artist on Page 5.


Campus News The SFA Observatory: Supplies electronic data to the National Weather Service Offers free star charts downloadable at www.observatory. sfasu.edu Provides seismic data 24/7 to the U.S. Geological Service Was used by NASA to conduct lunar studies for the Apollo program Is visited by approximately 1,500 SFA freshmen enrolled in SFA 101 each fall In 2000, researchers at the SFA Observatory discovered a new asteroid orbiting the sun about midway between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid is now officially known as the minor planet “Nacogdoches.” Another asteroid discovered at the observatory is named “Sfasu.”

STELLAR MOVEMENT This recent time-lapse photo shows a 20-minute path of stars visible at the SFA Observatory. Photo by Stephanie Ballard



Reaching for the Stars WITH THE ADDITION of a new, remotely operated telescope, the SFA Observatory is continuing to provide astronomy students access to stellar technology and out-ofthis-world research opportunities. The second largest in the Central time zone, the SFA Observatory is located 11 miles north of Nacogdoches and employs a number of telescopes that vary in size and strength. The new addition is 16 inches in diameter and eventually will have the capability to be operated from the main campus or other research locations. “Both undergraduate and graduate students also have the opportunity to gain experience in robotics and computer programming through the use of the new technology,” said Dr. Dan Bruton, astronomer and professor in the SFA Department of Physics and Astronomy. “I want to provide our advanced undergraduates and seniors with state-of-the-art equipment that will allow them to do graduate- and senior-level projects.” The new remotely operated telescope will be used primarily for asteroid hunting, observing variable stars and imaging deep sky objects such as nebulae, star clusters, galaxies and supernovae. The observatory’s 41-inch telescope is used for star research, and an 18-inch telescope is used to search for minor planets. (11 asteroids have been discovered at the SFA Observatory.) Additionally, a 10-inch telescope is used mostly for training. The student observatory, the largest teaching observatory in Texas, provides approximately 825 introductory astronomy students each year with the opportunity to view and learn about the wonders of the sky. A dozen portable 8-inch telescopes and four 6-inch Newtonian Spring 2012

reflectors can be mounted on pedestals for student use. The research observatory is used by students and faculty members to broaden our understanding of the universe. It is one of the only facilities of its size in the world that permits regular use by advanced undergraduate and graduate students. The SFA Observatory also offers free public viewing opportunities – one each spring, summer and fall. Hosted by the SFA chapter of the Society of Physics Students, the public viewing sessions are listed on the observatory website. “Since many SFA students come from the Houston or DallasFort Worth areas, the views offered through these telescopes in the relatively dark skies of East Texas offer an enjoyable and often unforgettable experience,” said Dr. Norm Markworth, observatory director. SFA graduates who have taken advantage of the research facilities available at the observatory are prospering in their field, Bruton said. Among them is Justin Parish ’10, assistant director at The Center for Earth and Space Science Education at Tyler Junior College, who attributes much of his success to time spent at the SFA Observatory as a student researcher. “My experience and knowledge base was made stronger through this plethora of research, which ultimately led to my success in obtaining an assistant director position at a brand new planetarium,” Parish said. For more information about the SFA Observatory and upcoming public viewing sessions, visit www. observatory.sfasu.edu. – STEPHANIE BALLARD

Need to get your financial house in order but not sure where to start? Check out these tips for smart saving and investing from Banker Phares, estate planning attorney and adjunct lecturer in SFA’s financial planning program.

MAKE A PLAN Fewer than 50 percent of Americans have computed how much they will need for retirement. (The average person spends 20 years in retirement!) Most experts suggest budgeting for at least 70 percent of pre-retirement income. START SAVING SOONER RATHER THAN LATER Begin small and increase as time goes by. Take advantage of retirement plan options, particularly those provided by your employer. Stay informed about health-care options and changes in Social Security benefits. CATEGORIZE YOUR SAVINGS Divide savings physically (or mentally) into categories. For example, allocate for retirement, college tuition, medical expenses or a new home. Avoid using the amount allocated for one category for another. Be especially protective of your retirement allocation. CHANGE WITH THE TIMES Consider altering your investments as time passes. Make a careful study of the advantages and disadvantages of a particular investment. With changes in your age, tax laws and economic conditions, what was a smart investment at one time may no longer be in your best interest. CHECK YOUR CREDIT Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from three different companies. Check it often to make sure there is no incorrect information, and try to fix any problem areas on your report. SFA’s financial planning program is registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. For more information, contact the program director, Dr. Todd Brown, at (936) 468-1783 or brownta1@sfasu.edu.


President’s Message


AM HAPPY to report to our alumni on recent developments in accreditation. I spent several days in Orlando, Fla., in December with other members of the university administration at the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. I am pleased to share with you that the full accreditation of Stephen F. Austin State University was reaffirmed by the Commission. We are particularly happy that this reaffirmation comes with no requirements for follow-up “monitoring reports,” which are often required. Our next submission to SACS will be the standard fifth-year report.

Baker Pattillo ’65 & ’66

President, Stephen F. Austin State University

This is a significant accomplishment for our university, and I want to recognize those who worked so hard to achieve it. Every department, office and academic unit at SFA played an important role in the reaffirmation. The extra time and effort our faculty and staff devoted was considerable, and it is greatly appreciated.  While there are so many who worked long hours in this endeavor, I want to note the particular contributions of Dr. Richard Berry, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Mary Nelle Brunson, associate provost and dean of graduate studies; Dr. James Standley, dean emeritus; Dr. Larry King, university assessment coordinator; and Dr. Tara Newman, Quality Enhancement Plan coordinator. Their leadership in preparing the Compliance Certification and in putting together the institutional response to the committee report was invaluable. As Lumberjacks, we can all feel very proud of the reaffirmation of our SACS accreditation. It is a confirmation that we do many things at SFA very well. It is also a reminder that continued improvement in all we do is essential for our future success.

BOARD OF REGENTS John R. “Bob” Garrett, Tyler chair Steve D. McCarty, Alto vice chair James H. Dickerson, New Braunfels secretary Carlos Z. Amaral, Plano Dr. Scott H. Coleman, Houston Brigettee C. Henderson, Lufkin Kenton E. Schaefer, Brownsville Ralph C. Todd, Carthage Connie Ware, Marshall Sarah Feye, The Woodlands student regent

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION Dr. Baker Pattillo president Dr. Richard Berry provost/vice president for academic affairs Dr. Steve Westbrook vice president for university affairs Danny Gallant vice president for finance and administration Dr. Sid Walker vice president for development

Axe ’em, Jacks! OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS Shirley Luna interim executive director of marketing and public affairs Hardy Meredith university photographer Amy Roquemore editorial coordinator



Transatlantic Conference


SERIES OF panel discussions highlighting changes in global leadership and the ability of the European Union to continue to serve in a primary role was hosted in Houston by faculty members from SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts. Since World War II, the alliance between the United States and Europe has been the foundation for policies on both sides of the Atlantic. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the transatlantic relationship even became the foundation of global security and the core of the globalization process.

However, major shifts in the balance of power have surfaced, spurred by the rapid emergence of new worldlevel players such as China, Brazil and India. A sequence of crises added intensity to the shift, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, natural disasters, financial meltdowns, and protests and demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa referred to as Arab Spring. The international landscape has been vastly revised, and in the wake of these disruptions to traditional patterns of global leadership, the transatlantic relationship between the European Union and the United States may not be as relevant as it once was. “I think some people probably don’t realize how important the European Union is to Texas,” said Dr. Brian Murphy, dean of SFA’s College of Liberal and Applied Arts. “Texas is the largest beneficiary of European direct investments. That $58.2 billion translates into 212,000 Texas jobs.” The conference was hosted by SFA and the University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies. Also hosting was the Laboratoire Europeén d’Anticipation Politique, a think-tank that strives to foresee global economic developments from a European perspective, and its director, Franck Biancheri, served as a keynote speaker. Participants included Dr. Daniel Hamilton, Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation professor and director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland, deputy commandant and international affairs adviser at the National War College; and Dr. Zsolt Nyiri, director of the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Trends, a comprehensive annual survey of American and European public opinion. Finalized recommendations from the conference will be published in a book by the SFA Press.

Cover Artist NAME: Emily E. Graves HOMETOWN: Fort Worth MAJOR/MINOR: ad design/digital media


RAVES’ LONGTIME DREAM of becoming a published illustrator is taking shape even before she graduates from college. Her next big project will be illustrating A Winter Tale, a children’s book based on Alaskan folklore forthcoming from the SFA Press. “I am extremely excited about the project, and I hope to create something fantastic and magical,” she said. “With the training and experience I’m accumulating at SFA, I feel very confident about my future.” Graves, who uses a computer to create her impressive digital images, describes her artistic style as “painterly and soft – I just use a different sort of paint.” Much of her subject matter is found in nature, “especially little things that often get overlooked.” The towering pine trees are one of Graves’ favorite things about Nacogdoches, and they figure prominently in her cover design. “When asked to create something special for the Sawdust cover, I was flattered and a little terrified. But after meeting with the design team and learning of our goals, I knew this was something I was going to love painting. Living in Nacogdoches has been such a wonderful part of my life. I am so pleased with the finished product and happy to have been a part of this issue.”

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y first year living here has been great! The programs that the CAs and hall council do are fun and educational, and I like getting out of my room and just going to the learning lounge and hearing what they have to say. I enjoy living with other first-year students because we have a lot of the same classes. You know you are not alone in the hall because people there are going through the same things you are.

– Candace Mackie of Houston, vocal music education major

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Lumberjack Landing, SFA’s newest allfreshmen residence hall, was designed to meet the unique living and learning needs of first-year students.


BEGINNING WITH THE fall 2011 semester and marked dramatically by the opening of an impressive freshmen-only residence hall, the First-Year Commons is providing a nurturing, supportive environment that is helping fledgling students adjust to living and learning in an unfamiliar college environment. Midway through its second semester, the program is already drawing rave reviews from the campus community. ENGAGING RESOURCES Dr. Adam Peck, dean of student affairs, said the Commons was created to give first-year students all the resources they need to succeed. "I am optimistic that the First-Year Commons will help our beginning students have a successful university experience and graduate from SFA," Peck said. "I hear from people all the time that there is excitement and energy where there hasn't been before. Freshmen are more engaged than they have ever been." The newest hall, Lumberjack Landing, anchors the Commons area, which includes approximately 2,200 beds for first-year students in Lumberjack Landing, Steen Hall, Halls 14 and 16, and parts of Kerr Hall.


FRESHMEN-CENTERED But residential living with peers is not the only benefit of the Commons. Programs in three areas— academics, life skills and social engagement—help students become familiar with the intricacies of college life and learn how to be successful in their new environment. Large numbers of first-year students have taken advantage of this programming, which is designed to meet their specific needs. The Residence Life Department also has upped the number of community assistants available in the Commons halls, resulting in opportunities for many more personal connections between students and staff, said Jennifer Waters, assistant director of residence life. "The Commons staff members are specially trained to understand the challenges faced by first-year students and are equipped with techniques and strategies to help them grow and thrive in college." COLE ACADEMIC SUCCESS CENTER But the most important tool available to students in the First-Year Commons is the Ed & Gwen Cole Academic Success Center, located on the first floor of Lumberjack Landing. Modeled after SFA's awardwinning Academic Assistance Resource Center in Steen Library, the Cole Center offers state-of-the-art classrooms, walk-in tables for assistance in core subjects and room for an increasing number of Supplemental Instruction groups. SI groups are available for a variety of courses, including social and physical sciences, history and political science, mathematics, basic languages, and beginning business courses. M.E. McWilliams, AARC director, described the opportunity to take successful programs directly to first-year students in the Commons as “awesome.” "Freshmen are critical, because if we don't help them develop good learning strategies during the first year, they won't be back in succeeding years," McWilliams said.


Freshmen are critical, because if we don't help them develop good learning strategies during the first year, they won't be back in succeeding years. First-year students seem to enjoy the SI groups and other study opportunities afforded by the Cole Center because they are able to study and learn in a fun, informal atmosphere with their friends, she said. Even the open, glass-fronted design of the Cole Center was created to normalize the process of learning.

–M.E. McWilliams, AARC director

GETTING INVOLVED Also available to all freshman students is a special "satellite" for SFA's Involvement Center, located in the lobby of Steen Hall. There, first-year students can sit down with a peer adviser or staff member who is trained in involvement advising. The sessions help students locate extracurricular programs and student organizations in which they can participate. The range of support services available to new students through the First-Year Commons program is expected to positively influence the number of students who persist beyond the first year and eventually graduate with an SFA degree. Peck said he expects that "next fall we'll see more freshmen return ready to start their second year at SFA." –PAT SPENCE

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Work Space

What you’ll find in. . . Monique Cossich’s office

1. Lumberjack axe presented to the enrollment management team by the SFA Board of Regents in 2005. 2. Photo of Cossich’s husband, Marc, chief of the SFA University Police Department. 3. A “No Whining” sign. Enough said. 4. A favorite photo of the Cossiches’ 1-year-old son and “the light of our lives.” 5. Old license plate paying homage to her alma mater, the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette.) Cossich earned a bachelor’s degree from USL in 1986 and a master’s degree from SFA in 2006. 6. Inside the Yankees: The Championship Year by Ed Linn, a recap of Cossich’s favorite major-league baseball team’s 1977 World Series championship season. 7. Basket of

colorful notepads, sticky notes and cards that she keeps in easy reach for personalizing messages of gratitude and encouragement to students, colleagues and friends. “I am a big believer in hand-written notes to encourage my team members and prospective students.” 8. A New Orleans Saints football pennant. She’s a huge fan, but her husband is an even bigger one. 9. A hardback version of the children’s storybook The Little Engine that Could, “the best motivational book around.” Cossich frequently gives copies of the book as gifts to those who need a little extra encouragement in their lives. And, occasionally, she re-reads it herself. 10. Can of Diet Dr Pepper, her favorite soda. The office mini-fridge is fully stocked at all times. 11. A memo board bursting with photos of family and friends, cards, invitations, souvenirs, inspirational quotes and other mementos. 12. A Mickey Mouse poster featuring a favorite quote by Walt Disney: “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.” Cossich is a big fan of Disney, especially the company’s world-renowned customer-service philosophy. 13. A big plastic jar chock full of mini-swag, take-away publications and other promotional items. Cossich likes to keep all such goodies contained, but still close at hand for when she needs a little inspiration. 14. A collection of books by her favorite author, John Maxwell. Of Maxwell’s many volumes on leadership, Cossich’s favorites are Developing the Leader Within You and Developing the Leaders Around You. Monique Cossich ’06 describes herself as a “Cajun-jack” – an SFA alumna from Lafayette, the rich cultural mecca of South Louisiana. A born-and-bred Cajun, she embodies the philosophy of “joie de vie” or “joy of life.”  She credits her parents with instilling in her a strong work ethic and a servant-leader philosophy. In 1997, she crossed the Louisiana border to work at Angelo State University. After spending six years in West Texas, she headed east to SFA in 2003, assuming her current position of executive director of enrollment management. She thrives on helping change students’ lives for the better through her department’s various recruitment and retention efforts. Cossich believes her career in higher education is the perfect fit for her personally and professionally, but says if she could choose another job it would be at Disney World – either operating the “It’s a Small World” ride or serving as CEO of “Positively Outrageous Guest Services.” “I take great pride in watching team members grow as professionals and continue to learn from them daily,” she said. “We can all learn from each other and build on the strengths of the collective team.”



Environmental Science


ICK UP ANY newspaper or watch any television newscast, and you’ll find no shortage of environmental doom and gloom. From oil spills in the oceans to groundwater pollution to radioactive leaks, it seems new concerns about the state of our natural resources arise every day. At SFA, students are learning the skills necessary to not only help address these current concerns but also meet whatever unforeseen environmental issues Earth’s future may hold. “Our guiding philosophy is to produce graduates who are problem solvers – not handwringers,” said Dr. Kenneth Farrish, director of the university’s Division of Environmental Science in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. The division’s Bachelor of Science program emphasizes practical application of science to address real-world environmental problems related to

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both land and water resources and environmental planning and management. The Master of Science program is a collaboration of SFA and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and offers specialized tracks in both occupational and environmental health and land and water resources. The division also engages in important research concerning waterrelated resources and air quality. The staff of the Waters of East Texas (WET) Center promotes interdisciplinary research among SFA students and faculty regarding East Texas water resources and related ecosystems. The focus of air quality research within the division is to better understand the characteristics of air pollutants in animal buildings used in agriculture and to implement control strategies and technologies to limit their release into the environment. “The program’s rigorous sciencebased curriculum produces graduates who are in high demand by employers, most of which are in the private sector,”

Farrish said. “The biggest employers of our students are environmental consulting firms, and many of our graduates start out earning $40,000 to $50,000 a year.” Anthony Castilaw ’95 is owner and president of Castilaw Environmental Services, a natural resource environmental consulting firm based in Nacogdoches. Currently five other SFA environmental science graduates work with him, and he has hired a dozen alumni since opening the firm in 2005. Many started as part-time employees while still in school. He said SFA environmental science graduates have a competitive edge be-

cause of the hands-on experience they receive in the program and in-depth instruction in areas such as GIS mapping, dendrology, zoology and environmental hydrology. “I have worked with a lot of other companies that have students from bigger universities, and you can tell right off the bat that they really haven’t spent a lot of time in the field,” Castilaw said. “With an SFA student, we know we are getting someone who has real-world skills that we can tap into immediately.” SFA senior Jeff Lamb of Henderson will graduate in May and already has a job as an environmental specialist waiting for him at Luminant Energy’s Martin Lake lignite mine near Carthage where he completed an internship last summer. “I have been extremely impressed with the environmental science program and the professors at SFA,” he said. “They are not just there to teach. They want to make sure you learn what you need to get a job after graduation.” Employers visit the division regularly to recruit graduates. The division’s faculty actively assists in permanent job placement for graduates by arranging on-campus interview opportunities with companies that hire environmental science graduates and by maintaining a regularly updated jobs-available listing on the Web. “These people actually come to our school looking for us because they know we can do the jobs they need done,” Lamb said. “I don’t know very many other programs that can say that.”

– AMY ROQUEMORE Photos courtesy of SFA Division of Environmental Science




Head trainer reflects on three decades of working with SFA athletes

With SFA athletics enjoying so much recent growth and success, it may be easy to overlook the department’s own MVP – someone all the coaches hope they never need but whose value cannot be overstated.

THE UNIVERSITY’S head athletics trainer, Sandy Miller has been helping SFA athletes prevent and recover from sports-related injuries for three decades, guiding the department from its humble beginnings to a comprehensive university athletic training and rehabilitation program. “When I first arrived in 1981 it was me and Nina Partin,” he said. “Nina handled the women’s sports, while I took care of the men. Now we have four full-time staff members, four graduate assistants and 35 students. In addition, we have two certified athletic trainers who serve as fulltime, entry-level graduate athletic trainer program professors.” More than the size of the staff has grown during Miller’s tenure at SFA. The original training space was 900 square feet and utilized part of what is now the football locker room. The athletic training facility has since increased to nearly 5,000 square feet and features X-ray capabilities and an in-house physician’s office. “Looking back, there are times when I wonder how we made it,” Miller said. “But we received a lot of cooperation from the coaches and the student-athletes. I always felt confident that we would see growth. As an athletics department, we knew we needed to continue providing Spring 2012

quality care for our student-athletes while continuing to get better.” During the course of the past couple of seasons, Lumberjack and Ladyjack athletes have received numerous individual honors on the national level. SFA has received AllAmerica honors in football, men’s basketball, baseball, and track and field, including former quarterback Jeremy Moses who received the Walter Payton Award following the 2010 season. Not to be outdone by the athletes, Miller has been named to the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association and the National Athletic Trainers Association Halls of Fame. In addition to his national recognition, Miller was invited to serve as the athletic trainer for United States Track and Field at several international competitions, including the 1990 Goodwill Games and the 1995 World Championships. “A huge part of my career has been a simple case of being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “It is a huge honor to be recognized by your peers. Having the opportunity to work with USA Track and Field was also a great honor, and the university was kind enough to let me off to do that. If not for athletic training and SFA, there would have not been the opportunity to travel and work with these athletes.”

While Miller has a very humble opinion of his success, SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill understands how fortunate the university has been to have someone of Miller’s caliber on the sidelines. “Sandy is one of the most selfless individuals I have ever known, and he has an unbelievable passion for what he does,” Hill said. “It is because of those two things that he has endeared himself to his trainers and the student-athletes. He obviously has great knowledge, but it is how he uses that knowledge that makes others stop and take notice.” Miller has had a very distinguished career in his 30 years of service to SFA. When the time comes for him to step down, he says he doesn’t want to be remembered for what he did, but for what his past students are doing and what his current students will go on to do. “When my time here is complete, I would hope that I’ve done a good job in helping place our students out in the field with jobs,” he said. “I would love to be able to visit all of them down the road and observe them on the job to see what they learned while they were at SFA and how they have applied that knowledge.” –JAMES DIXON


Model Mentor

A Dr. Jim Towns is pictured in his campus office, which is chockfull of Dr Pepper memorabilia. His latest book, Reverse Mentoring, is now available from the SFA Press.

RECENTLY ENDOWED professorship honors Dr. Jim Towns, longtime SFA communication studies professor. The Jim Towns Mentoring Professorship was created to recognize and reward SFA faculty members who are excellent teachers and also serve as mentors for students outside the classroom. Faculty mentoring and reverse mentoring are among Towns’ research interests, and he has successfully mentored countless students throughout his distinguished 46-year career at SFA. “The Jim Towns Mentoring Professorship is an endowment that provides a salary supplement for a professor who instills, fosters and promotes a mentoring culture at SFA,” said Trey Turner ’98 & ’02, SFA major gift officer and a former student of Towns’. “The funding was largely raised by Dr. Towns with

additional support from alumni and friends.” The first professorship award will be given in the fall 2012 semester. Towns taught at SFA as an instructor for two years in the 1960s, rejoining the faculty as a full-time professor in 1970. He was named SFA Regents Professor for the 1994-95 academic year and received the 1996 Distinguished Professor Award from the SFA Alumni Association. He also earned the SFA Applied Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2002. “Looking back on my career at SFA, I think in many cases the time I have spent with students outside the classroom has been just as important, if not more so, than the time I spent Brundrett teaching them in class,” Towns said. “I really wanted to endow a professorship that would encourage those kinds of relationships, which I think have benefitted me as much as my students over the years.” Brian Sullivan ’09 is among the many SFA students who have been mentored by Towns, who continues to teach at SFA. Now in law school at Texas Tech University, Sullivan has maintained close contact with his favorite professor and credits Towns for instilling in him the confidence needed to achieve his goals in college and beyond.

“Dr. Towns helped me trust myself when I had doubts about my direction in life or my ability to be a leader,” Sullivan said. “He always had a way of giving me what I needed to go succeed. A lot of times, it was just the right words at the right time. But, more than anything, it was just how much I always knew he cared.” As a nontraditional student who had suffered long-term abuse, Connie Taylor Duren ’99 said having Towns as her professor and mentor at SFA literally changed her life. “I think he was the first person who ever validated me,” she said. “It was beautiful and completely transforming.” Duren now teaches interpersonal communication – the very course she took with Towns – at the community college level, where she uses the same holistic approach to student success as her mentor. “The mentoring process is key for those students who want to succeed,” Duren said. “When you are facing difficulties in school or any aspect of life, find yourself a good mentor, and you’ll make it to the end. I know that from experience.” – AMY ROQUEMORE

Kermet E. Clayton Scholarship


NEWLY ENDOWED scholarship named in honor of the late Kermet E. Clayton ’40, a former SFA basketball player, will benefit a member of the Lumberjack or Ladyjack basketball team each year. Clayton was a member of the Cushing High School state championship basketball team in 1936 and went on to play for the Lumberjacks from 1936 to 1940. He coached high school basketball in Spurger and Fannett school districts, leading the Fannett girls team to a state championship game appearance. He also refereed basketball for many years. Clayton moved to Conroe ISD in 1954 and taught at Anderson Elementary and Conroe High before becoming principal of Ben Milam Elementary. He retired in 1983. “My father was a special man, and we are pleased to establish this scholarship in his memory,” Clayton’s daughter, Dr. Kermeta “Kay” Clayton, said. “Basketball was such an important part of my dad’s life, and he enjoyed his years at SFA very much. He worked his way through college, and he would be so proud that the proceeds from this endowment will be


used to help student-athletes pay for some of their college expenses.” SFA Athletic Director Robert Hill said his staff’s first consideration when recruiting a student for an intercollegiate sport is whether he or she has the ability to graduate from SFA. “We are very serious about academics, and the Clayton scholarship provides us with needed funds to help deserving student-athletes complete their degrees,” Hill said. “Our success would not be possible without such scholarships.” The first recipient of the Kermet E. Clayton Scholarship will be named this spring.


Vista Viewpoint By Dr. Kimberly M. Childs

IT WAS MAY 1988, and I could scarcely hear the applause of my parents, my husband and our three children as I walked across the stage in the packed Johnson Coliseum. I had completed a master’s degree and, in the words of my young son, “Mom, it was worth it all!” – countless hours of study, long weeks and short weekends, lots of mathematics to learn, papers to grade, children to care for, and soccer games to coach. I was a non-traditional student, married with children and a full-time job; however, I had been mentored by the most caring faculty I had ever known in the SFA Department of Mathematics and Statistics. They pushed me beyond what I thought I could do and directed me to places I never expected to go. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to stand on their shoulders for a little while in order to see farther down the road and discover paths I had not anticipated. Before I completed my master’s degree, I had the opportunity to join the faculty of Lon Morris College in Jacksonville. My tenure there was exciting and fulfilling, but I continued to wonder if there was something else I should do. Watching my children grow and learn, I realized the importance of their conceptual development in mathematics and how that development was key to the study of mathematics and science. In thinking deeply about how to broaden the scope of my own work to address such issues, I turned to my SFA mentors for advice and soon found myself in a Ph.D. program at Texas A&M University. The road was long and tedious, but we tackled the task as a family, and I graduated prepared to move forward along a new path. I eventually found my professional home back in the SFA Department of Mathematics and Statistics. I have now been a proud member of the faculty for al Spring 2012

most 16 years, and I currently have the privilege and responsibility of serving in the College of Sciences and Mathematics as interim dean and director of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Research and Learning Center. I work with highly talented and dedicated mathematicians and scientists who care deeply about teaching and learning. Although we know that science and mathematics hold the key to our security and prosperity as a nation, we also know that we have yet to capture the attention of our students in those disciplines. The data is convincing, and the mission is clear. We must recruit and retain STEM majors who are academically prepared to enter STEM careers. The College of Sciences and Mathematics is positioned to have an explosive impact across Texas as SFA takes ownership in the national call for reform in STEM education. As faculty members across the college continue to contribute to the knowledge and research base within the STEM disciplines, they simultaneously engage in outreach and recruitment efforts designed to encourage and prepare students to enter STEM careers. We are committed to excellence and understand the Dr. Kimberly M. Childs magnitude of our mission. Interim Dean, College of Sciences and Mathematics We have great days ahead as we stamp the SFA footprint Director, STEM Research and Learning Center across Texas and widen the Professor, Department of STEM pipeline. Mathematics and Statistics


School of Theatre brings professional world to campus


OR THE STUDENT actors auditioning for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there were no “do-overs,” no interjections from a director who is familiar with their capabilities and previous work. Instead, guest director Chuck Hudson heard each SFA student’s audition and moved on, much like he runs open calls in New York. The rehearsals, too, were more intense (and “a bit of a shock for some” according to Hudson), but that level of professionalism is just what Scott Shattuck, director of the SFA School of Theatre, was seeking when he asked the internationally acclaimed artist to guest direct the Shakespearean comedy. To best prepare SFA theatre students for their


entry into the “real world of theatre” where they’ll be working with numerous directors, actors and designers, Shattuck is committed to bringing the professional world to campus. “Already each of our Bachelor of Fine Arts students completes a nine-month internship either with a professional theatre company or in European conservatories. But it’s important for all of our students to work with professionals throughout their undergraduate careers,” Shattuck explained. League City senior Rebecca Mersinger is thankful for Shattuck’s vision. When Robert J. Martin, the assistant costume designer of Mamma Mia and 12 other Broadway shows, agreed to design the Sawdust

opposite New York-based guest director Chuck Hudson offers blocking suggestions to SFA theatre students during a rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. below Toni Smith, award-winning actress and visiting assistant professor of theatre, coaches an SFA theatre student during an in-class breathing exercise.

costumes for SFA’s fall production of Rabbit Hole, Mersinger worked as his assistant designer. “It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn that there is more than one way to do something and to realize that even New York professionals are human,” Mersinger said. “I’ll be able to use that knowledge as I seek employment as a wardrobe master.” The three newest faces on the theatre faculty are also helping Shattuck meet his goal of exposing students to professionals. Newly appointed assistant professor Jason Davids Scott brings to campus more than a decade of experience working on both publicity and script development in New York and Los Angeles, where his employers included Castle Rock Entertainment and Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt. Members of The (New) Original Cast, a variation of the musical comedy troupe founded in 1990 by recently retired Professor Alan Nielsen, are benefitting from Scott’s training in improvisational comedy. The ensemble’s recent Christmas show was “a completely collaborative effort,” explained Scott, the group’s director. Award-winning actress and visiting assistant professor Toni Smith, who earned degrees from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of California-Los Angeles, has worked extensively on stage and screen and as a Spring 2012

voice-over artist. She uses her vast training in voice and dialects to teach and coach SFA actors. “Her lessons on articulation, clarity and voice preservation were immensely helpful for my portrayal of Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said Weslaco senior Jonathan Garcia. David Studwell, another visiting assistant professor, has more than 27 years of experience on stage, television and film and has taught at Cornell University and the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. His professional parts have ranged from Hamlet to the title role in the musical Sweeney Todd. The award-winning actor said the academic theatre setting allows him to work alongside the students, as he did while portraying Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Dr. Chebutykin in Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. “The collaboration reminds me of the European master, journeyman, apprentice model—a tried and true system in which (the trainees) learn by doing.” “Working with artists that really know the worlds of Broadway, Hollywood, Chicago and Europe prepares our students to launch professional careers,” Shattuck said. “Our alumni are confident that they can succeed in the most demanding venues because they’ve been trained by pros who have been there.” –SYLVIA BIERSCHENK


Sydney Davis ’07, motorsports marketing director SHE GREW UP in the fast lane, literally. At just 6 weeks old, Sydney Davis of Cypress attended her first car race. Today, she is the director of public relations and marketing at MSR Houston, a motorsports country club for auto and racing enthusiasts. Having studied journalism and photography at SFA, Davis decided if she couldn’t race professionally, she would write and take photos of those who did. At MSR Houston, she’s able to do just that, along with maintaining the website and Facebook page, designing advertisements, and representing the track at local functions. When she isn’t working, Davis can usually be found behind the wheel of her cherry red Mazda Miata emblazoned with the number 46. Each fall, she competes at the Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. In addition to racing in the SCCA, she also serves as the race chairman for the Houston region. “From the beginning, it’s something that I’ve loved,” Davis said. “Whether I’m racing or just watching, I truly enjoy just being at the track.” Davis was born into a racing family. Her dad and uncle began their racing careers in the late 1970s. Along with her cousin, Davis took up the family hobby about eight years ago.


co Photo

of J.R. M



“We chose the number 46 because my cousin and I are second-generation racers, and our dads’ numbers were 36,” Davis said. The year 2004 proved to be a turning point in Davis’ life. Not only did she launch her racing career, but she also lost her older brother, who was involved in racing as a timing official. “Brian was my best friend and the strongest person I ever knew. Whenever I don’t think I can do something, I always think of him and realize that anything is possible,” she said. Davis accelerated her racing career in honor of her brother in the months and years after his death. On the driver’s side of her Mazda, the letter “B” is displayed in Brian’s memory. Before each race, she tries to spend at least 10 minutes away from everyone and everything, just listening to her iPod. “I’ll visualize the track and basically focus on what I’m about to do. This isn’t always easy, especially if you are busy working on the car, but I try and take the time so I can calm myself and my thoughts,” Davis said. During the race, she says her attention darts between watching the other drivers and making sure her car is running well. “There have been times when I came off the track that I just sat in my car for a while because I was so exhausted and didn’t have the energy to get out,” Davis said. Although Davis says 2011 was a disappointing year because of mechanical issues, her team is looking forward to next season. “We’ve got some plans for the off season to make some serious changes to the car, which will make us even more competitive.” –ROBIN JOHNSON

Photo courtesy of Sydney Davis



H ome


by K AY L I H E A D

What's New & Nostalgic in Our Favorite College Town

Gracie the golden retriever greets visitors with a friendly wag of the tail at The Heart of Texas downtown. Owner Gerry Larabee runs the town’s oldest gift shop, featuring gourmet dips, rustic Texas décor and Nacogdoches souvenirs. >>>

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Feast on tried-and-true classics or try something new at one of Nacogdoches’ unique, locally owned establishments. Flashback Café—a favorite of sports fanatics and budget-minded college students, Flashback serves up tasty eats like 25-cent hot wings and a cheesy $5 pizza. Shelley’s Bakery Café—one part quaint bistro and one part decadent dessert haven, Shelley’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Open for lunch only, Monday through Saturday. Olde Towne General Store—tucked inside this downtown locale, comfort food and deli-style fare tempt the taste buds, and friendly service beckons visitors to stay a while. Pepper Jack’s—from Greek gyros to giant burritos, this popular lunch spot offers serious flavor.

Recently nominated as one of the friendliest towns in America by USA Today and Rand McNally, the East Texas town affectionately known as “Nac” has been home away from home to SFA students for nearly a century. The beautiful backdrop of towering pines and a charming small-town vibe make Nacogdoches an idyllic college setting. Strolling down its brick streets evokes pleasant memories of a time gone by, when local merchants knew you by name and neighbors became lifelong friends. The town also celebrates its significant history while embracing modern amenities.

Casa Tomas—a Nacogdoches staple for 25 years, “Casa” is known for its tasty Mexican menu that includes mouth-watering brisket tacos and petite margaritas. BBQ House—Nacogdoches’ oldest remaining restaurant, the BBQ House, has been serving up saucy poboys and slow-cooked barbecue since 1959. Butcher Boy’s (below)—known for their juicy burgers that are arguably the best in town, Butcher Boy’s is a lunchtime favorite.

Though some things have changed, Nacogdoches will forever hold a nostalgic place in the hearts of all Lumberjacks. Take a trip down memory lane to discover what’s new around town, remember old favorites and reminisce about your college days in the “Oldest Town in Texas.”




Step back in time to discover the historic landmarks and events that make Nacogdoches so significant to Texas history. Millard’s Crossing Historic Village—This charming reconstructed historic village enables visitors to imagine East Texas as it was in the 19th century. Reservations for weddings, receptions, reunions and other events are welcome in this unique and enchanting setting. Heritage tours are available for large and small groups of all ages, with fun, interactive activities for children and students and special options for adult group tours. For tour information, call (936) 563-6631. Java Jack’s (above)—since 1996, Java Jack’s has been serving more than 20 gourmet coffees roasted fresh daily, and service with a smile keeps residents coming back morning after morning. The coffee shop also hosts Second Saturday brunches with sweet potato pancakes and free mimosas.

Nacogdoches Railroad Depot—This newly restored century-old train depot now houses a museum featuring artifacts relating to the history of railroads in Nacogdoches County. For tour information, call (936) 468-4443. Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens—This 1830s home stands on its original site and offers interactive activities that harken back to that time period, including a blacksmith shop, smokehouse and historic gardens. Call (936) 560-4443 for tour information. The Old University Building—The birthplace of higher education in Nacogdoches, this 1858 landmark features Victorian Era furnishings and details the history of Nacogdoches University, which was chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845. The building also was used as a hospital during the Civil War. For tour information, call (936) 569-7292.

Auntie Pastas (above)—the rustic exposed-brick walls and romantic low-lit atmosphere make this train depot turned Italian eatery perfect for a date night. Visit its sister restaurant Clear Springs next door to enjoy a mile-high stack of crispy onion rings and fresh, flavorful seafood. Sterne Hoya House (above)—Nicholas Adolphus Sterne built the house in 1830, and it remains the oldest structure still standing on its original site in Nacogdoches. The building houses objects from the Victorian Age and the Empire period when the Sternes owned the home. A small reference library is also part of the collection and is still used by visitors looking for information on local and Texas history and genealogy. For group tour information, call (936) 560-5426. Spring 2012



For those who adore the outdoors or love the nightlife, this small town offers big fun around every corner. From a breezy, poolside patio to a boot-scootin’ dance hall, these are Nacogdoches’ top places to visit for a good time. Zip-line Tours at Zip Nac (opposite page)—Nacogdoches’ newest attraction, Zip Nac, offers a high-flying adrenaline rush for the whole family. The course consists of a 60-foot sky bridge and five zip lines ranging from 225 feet to a 900-foot side-by-side race to the finish. Knowledgeable guides lead guests on an exhilarating yet safe thrill ride through the Piney Woods. After the first visit, guests can come back for a Full Moon Excursion, where the moon provides the only light on the course. $40 per person. Reservations required. (936) 645-5094. Jazz on the Patio and Nine Flags Bar at Hotel Fredonia— A Friday-night hot spot for professionals with live jazz musicians and gourmet food. The hotel also hosts live, local musicians on Thursdays and Saturdays, along with the occasional wine dinner, comedy night and savory brunch.

Banita Creek Hall (above)—National-touring country music artists play to sold-out crowds at Nacogdoches’ only dance hall. Pictured at a recent show is Johnny Lee of Urban Cowboy fame.

Camp Tonkawa Springs—The cool blue waters of this natural spring-fed pond 15 miles north of Nacogdoches are a favorite place to cool off on a sunny day. Along with the springs, the compound provides camping and RV spaces, a sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits.


Plan a day of strolling the brick streets of Nacogdoches and exploring quaint shops. Unique boutiques with everything from chic women’s wear to vintage treasures dot the city. Some of the most popular include alumni-owned Macy May (right), Grace Boutique, House of Traditions and Brick Street Antiques. 22


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Kinnie Douglas ’99

Explore the natural beauty of Nacogdoches by playing a round of disc golf at Pecan Acres Park or hiking and biking the tree-lined 5.4-mile Lanana Creek Trail. “The numerous trails and parks in Nacogdoches are a valuable asset to the community,” said Kinnie Douglas ’99, who, along with the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition, was instrumental in securing funding to improve and expand the Lanana Creek Trail. “These spaces allow residents and visitors to be active and have fun while enjoying the beautiful scenery.” The trail expansion is a continuation of the work of SFA’s resident folklorist, Dr. Francis “Ab” Abernethy, who originated the trails in 1976 and whose work continues on the nearby Banita Creek Trail. Douglas says future projects include creating a 1.6-mile trail expansion from the Pineywoods Native Plant Center to Loop 224, a dog park and a community garden.




Nacogdoches’ many downtown festivals attract visitors from around the state to celebrate its unique history on the iconic brick streets and admire its distinct natural beauty. Freedom Fest—The family friendly July Fourth celebration features live entertainment, a burger cook-off and spectacular fireworks. Scare on the Square—This annual downtown Halloween bash features costume contests, interactive games and sweet treats.

Azalea Trail—A month-long springtime celebration featuring tours of SFA’s Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden– the largest in Texas. Events include driving tours, floral design exhibits and the Little Princess Garden Party. 888-OLDEST-TOWN Spring 2012

Photo by Kayli Head

Photo by Robin Johnson

Nine Flags Festival—The annual Christmas festival features the Tour de Nac bike ride, Jingle Bell 5K Run, Tour of Homes and lighted downtown Christmas parade.

Texas Blueberry Festival—Held the second weekend in June, “The sweetest festival in Texas” honors all things blueberry with events like baking contests, fresh blueberry picking, a classic car show and live entertainment. texasblueberryfestival.com


Photo courtesy of James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

“AXES UP to the 21 newly signed football players at SFA!” The Pine Log (Chopping Block)

“Proud of SFA doing the “Nonfire” – nice picture in the Sawdust, and glad to hear about the Burn Shirts. Way to go, SFA!” Jann Jeter ’73 (Sawdust Facebook)

“I was back two years ago for a fraternity reunion. Wow, the campus is great! I attended way back from 65-71 (Little time out for military.) Outstanding school.” Ben F. Caperton ’71 (SFA Facebook)

“Best-ever SFA ring inscription:

“I did it, Mama!”

(Alumni Association Facebook)

“I graduated in 2008 and absolutely loved my time at SFA. I still make it back every year to tailgate for football, and I love seeing how the campus keeps growing and changing.” Dustin Helton ’08 (LinkedIn)

“We went to the men’s basketball game in Corpus Christi. . .great game!!! Yay ’Jacks!!!” Stacie Morrow ’92 Alumni Association Facebook)


James A. Baker, III (left) with President Ronald Reagan on Air Force One

61st U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III to speak at SFA THE HONORABLE JAMES A. Baker, III, America’s 61st secretary of state, will be the featured guest at the 2012 installment of the Archie McDonald Speaker Series at SFA. Baker served as secretary of state and chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush, chief of staff and secretary of the treasury to President Ronald Reagan, and undersecretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. He also led their combined five presidential elections and in 2006 cochaired the Iraq Study Group. Baker, a resident of Houston, is the author of “The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War & Peace, 1989-1992” and “Work Hard, Study. . .and Keep Out of Politics!” and is a 1991 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts and honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and he serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The speaker series event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus. “Secretary Baker is one of the most influential policy makers of the 20th century, and, as such, has strongly impacted American politics and foreign affairs for

decades,” Dr. Archie McDonald said. “We are honored he has accepted our invitation to participate in the speaker series.” SFA’s speaker series, which debuted in spring 2010, was created to honor and preserve McDonald’s legacy as a distinguished scholar, educator and community commentator. In the tradition of McDonald’s writings and oral presentations, a prominent national figure is hosted annually at SFA to discuss contemporary cultural issues. Past participants in the speaker series have included former heavyweight champion boxer and iconic businessman George Foreman and Apollo 12 astronaut and professional artist Alan Bean. The event is sponsored by SFA’s Student Government Association. McDonald has taught history at SFA for 48 years and served as director of the East Texas Historical Association and editor of the association’s journal for 37 years. He is a past president of the Texas State Historical Association, past vice chair of the Texas Historical Commission and author/editor of more than 20 books on historical topics. Along with teaching, McDonald currently serves as the SFA university/community liaison and is a weekly commentator on Red River Radio in Shreveport.


Alumni News Director of alumni events and engagement seeks input from SFA alumni


A CENTER NATIVE, Samantha Mora ’08 knew in eighth grade that she would one day be an SFA Lumberjack. Visiting campus for a Science Day Fair, Mora and her friends made plans to come to SFA when they graduated from high school. While many went their separate ways after graduation day, she stayed true to her promise of attending SFA and made her home in Nacogdoches in the fall of 2004. Mora majored in hospitality administration and joined the SFA Alumni Association’s student group, the Student Foundation Association.

“The association has always held a special place in my heart from the very beginning because it first showed interest in my journey as a Lumberjack,” Mora said. After graduating from SFA, Mora became a lifetime member of the SFA Alumni Association and began working for American Cruise Lines. She returned to Nacogdoches and worked as the club manager for Hotel Fredonia and was most recently employed at the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau as the media and community relations coordinator. Mora became a part of the SFA Alumni Association team Feb. 1 as the director of alumni events and engagement. “I am honored to be a part of something as important as the association because we connect alumni back to their alma mater. I made lifelong friends at SFA, and my connection to the school is strong

because of the relationships I have built,” Mora said. Mora is a board member for Millard’s Crossing Historic Village, serves as a member of Nacogdoches Junior Forum and the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition, and is a committee member for Relay For Life of Nacogdoches County, the Nacogdoches Film Festival, and Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Circle and SFA-Chamber Connection. “If I could give one piece of advice to all students and alumni, it would be to be proud of where you started your journey and to stay a part of it…be 100% Lumberjack!” Mora is seeking input from SFA alumni and friends. Call (800) 8651534 or e-mail alumni@sfasu.edu with suggestions concerning programming and events.

Association extends partnership Liberty Mutual offers benefits to alumni THE SFA ALUMNI Association has renewed its partnership through 2016 with the Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group, which sells full lines of coverage for automobile, home, valuable possessions, personal liability and individual life. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering auto and home insurance to employees and members of more than 13,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups. “Since 2005, Liberty Mutual has been one of the trusted partners of the SFA Alumni Association. We are

Spring 2012

thrilled to extend our relationship with them into the future,” SFA Alumni Association Executive Director Jeff Davis said. “The direct benefits of this program for SFA alumni are tremendous, and the result for our organization has been an increase in funding for scholarships and programming. Working with a company like Liberty Mutual, a company that has made integrity and respect a priority, really speaks to the values of the association.” More information about Liberty Mutual benefits to SFA alumni can be found at www.sfaalumni.com.


From the Association


Curtis Sparks ’85 President, SFA Alumni Association

Join the SFA Alumni Association at these exciting events: Alumni Tailgate in Dallas SFA @ SMU Sept. 8 Battle of the Piney Woods Oct. 6 Homecoming Oct. 19-20

HOPE YOUR new year has gotten off to a great start. It is an honor to be presiding over your alumni association for the next two years. I have had the privilege of being involved with your alumni association for many years now, and I am excited about our accomplishments and the challenges that are in front of us. You will notice this issue takes a look at Nacogdoches. For those of you who have visited in the past year or so, you have noticed Nacogdoches remains the same vibrant college town it always has been. Sure, there are new businesses and restaurants, but the overall spirit and charm of the town remains the same. We may not have realized it while we were students, but Nacogdoches truly is a wonderful college town. While the city of Nacogdoches remains the same, your university and its campus have undergone tremendous change – new buildings, residence halls, parking garages, student center and recreation center. These changes have updated the campus and are, quite frankly, awesome. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit our campus, I encourage you to do so. You won’t be disappointed. Your alumni association is like both the city and the university. Like the city, our mission remains the same – committed to engaging our alumni by providing scholarships, activities, events and services. And like the university, we continue to evolve and look for opportunities to strengthen and improve what it means to be SFA alumni. Thank you for your past support, and I hope we can count on your continued support in the future. I hope the next time you’re in town you will take time to see for yourself what has remained the same and what has changed. And while you’re on campus, please take a minute to stop by the Tracie D. Pearman Alumni Center and show your support. We look forward to your visit!

SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Curtis Sparks ’85 - president Roger Robinson ’92 - president-elect Chuck Tomberlain ’84 - past president ASSOCIATION BOARD Wendy Buchanan ’85 Don Cox ’71 & ’76 Robin Dawley ’77 Karen Gantt ’95 Mike Harbordt ’63 Doris Havard James Hawkins ’83 Kent Hutchison ’92 David Madrid ’02 Justin McFaul ’04 Susan Roberds ’75 Phillip Scherrer ’99 Erika Tolar ’02 Steve Whitbeck ’75 Chris Woelfel ’95 Student Foundation Association Josh Perry ’12 SFA ALUMNI FOUNDATION GOVERNORS Chuck Tomberlain ’84 - chairman Brad Bays ’91 Lewie Byers ’68 Ford Cartwright ’69 Shirley Crawford ’58 & ’70 Stephen Greak ’92 James Hamilton ’77 Bill Roberds ’75 Curtis Sparks ’85 SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION STAFF Jeff Davis ’02 executive director of alumni affairs Katy Crawford assistant to the executive director of alumni affairs Rhonda Crim-Tumelson director of alumni publications Dale Green ’99 director of marketing & membership Samantha Mora ’08 director of alumni events & engagement Alicia Roland Chatman gifts & records specialist Emily Payne ’99 & ’01 chapter coordinator Beverly Smith ’96 accountant Mo Davis Williams ’09 scholarship coordinator



100% Lumberjack!

Member SFA Alumni Association types


Ladies first: Women account for 51% of membership, and men, 49%

Lumberjacks for life: Most members join for life.

Who are the 7,632 Association members?


Class year



Totally rad: 1/3 of our members graduated in the ’80s, and only 1/10 (213 people) are from class years ’29 - ’49.


Bigger in Texas: Less than 12% of members live in the other 49 states.







More members majored in business than any other subject.

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burger business

BOOMING Business grad takes twisted route to restaurant success

Jason Boso ’96

by Daniel P. Smith




HILE FILMING A segment for the Food Network’s popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives program at the Twisted Root Burger Company in Dallas, host Guy Fieri leaned into owner Jason Boso ’96 and whispered an apology. “Sorry about the show, man,” Fieri said. Fieri knew “Triple D’s” loyal following was about to unleash a new reality upon Boso and his upstart burger joint. Fortunately, Boso’s wise enough and “sprinkled with just enough crazy” to handle life’s surprises. In the three years since Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured the Twist-

Spring Fall 2011 2012

ed Root in April 2009, Boso’s eatery has grown from a pair of Dallas-based outlets crafting homemade burgers to a surging collection of seven stores. For the 39-year-old Boso, life’s unforeseen turns have led him to this unexpected reality. A Plano native, Boso landed at SFA for one sound reason – a well-respected business school – and another guided by youthful naiveté – a girl. At SFA, Boso not only learned the business fundamentals that would propel the Twisted Root, but also received a slice of inspiration for his future eatery in the form of Butcher Boy’s, a longstanding Nacogdoches favorite Boso enjoyed frequenting as a student.

After earning his business degree in 1996, Boso endured a three-year stint at Merrill Lynch, working in a cubicle and straining to see results. When a close friend met a sudden death, Boso began contemplating his own future. And Merrill Lynch, he determined, wasn’t in it. Boso moved to the Virgin Islands, embracing beach life and working on a restaurant boat called Molly Malone’s, where he attended to guests from all walks of life. “Truck drivers to millionaires and everything in between,” he says of the adventure. Molly Malone’s also provided Boso his first taste of the hospitality industry.



restaurateurs and recruit investors, who collectively pledged $150,000 to Boso’s start-up venture. “If you looked at opening a restaurant purely from the business perspective, you’d never do it, but I thought my SFA background would make the difference,” Boso says. “After all, running a successful restaurant is more about business than spices.” On May 3, 2006, the Twisted Root Burger Company opened its doors in Deep Ellum, the old warehouse district of downtown Dallas. Out of financial necessity more than design philosophy, Boso retained the space’s original brick walls and open ceilings. He outfitted the space with a mismatched array of secondhand tables and chairs. “It’s an upscale dive,” Boso says, admitting that he settled on burgers as his staple item because it was one of the few items he could sell behind a rickety screen in an old warehouse. “Gourmet burgers weren’t all over the place six years ago like they are today,” he notes. Boso adopted a simple philosophy: underpromise and overdeliver with a menu grounded in gourmet burgers, but rounded out with other protein patties, including elk, boar, bison and even kangaroo, as well as savory treats, such as homemade root beer and deep-fried pop tarts. “I wanted a place all its own,” Boso

Photos courtesy of Twisted Root Burger Company

“There was finally immediate satisfaction that my hands were doing something and that I was pleasing people,” he says. “But I knew I couldn’t be a beach bum forever.” After 18 months, Boso returned to Dallas and sold advertising at the local CBS affiliate. He was back inside a cubicle, feeling lifeless and uninspired. The frustrations led him to snap at a customer, an outburst that led to his immediate termination. “Finally, I was at a point where I had to really reflect on who I was and what I wanted,” Boso says. The restaurant industry beckoned, though Boso first needed to learn how to cook. He spent his next two years in culinary school at the Art Institute of Dallas. “I got to school early and left late,” he says. “I knew this was the world for me.” With his culinary degree in hand, Boso began working at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas near Dallas in mid-2003. There, he gained experience in the kitchen, learned front-ofthe-house operations and became a sommelier. Yet, a lingering dream pulled at Boso’s ever-ambitious, idealisticyearning soul: he wanted his own restaurant. He summoned his SFA business education to write a business plan, interpret the advice of seasoned

says. And though customers filed in, the restaurant trudged along for six months. “I was only a couple of months away from living in a ditch,” Boso admits. Then, the culinary gods smiled upon Boso. In the fall of 2006, the Dallas Morning News printed a 3.5-star review of the Twisted Root. Customers flooded the eatery, many waiting up to 90 minutes for a burger. “We had to close mid-afternoon because we ran out of food,” Boso recalls. The next day, customers returned in droves. The momentum continued for two years, boosting revenues enough that Boso was able to open a second Twisted Root in March 2009 and fund another concept, Cowboy Chow, which serves Texas-style southern comfort food out of its lively spot in nearby Roanoke. When Fieri and his crew arrived in January 2009, the Twisted Root was already exceeding Boso’s expectations with a robust $60,000 in monthly sales. As Fieri predicted, things would soon change. The first full month after the Twisted Root’s segment aired on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, monthly sales numbers tripled to $180,000. “Guy was most certainly right,” says Boso, who leans on a professional team that includes various SFA friendsturned-business colleagues led by Twisted Root Chief Financial Officer J.J. Pledger ’96. The acclaim continued into 2011 when Nation’s Restaurant News named Twisted Root one of its five “Hot Concepts.” The industry recognition, Boso says, positions the brand to attract key development partners and fuel expansion. This year, Twisted Root’s first franchised location will open in California. By Christmas, another outpost will be operating at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Boso, meanwhile, is talking development deals in Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona and elsewhere. “All of this has been a little surreal,” Boso says. “Sitting in Nacogdoches, I could never have imagined this life.”


Second Chances


F EARNING A high school diploma in Angelina County can be compared to walking a tightrope, Sallye Darmstadter ’83 & ’84 is the safety net stretched out below to make sure no one hits the ground. Darmstadter is the founder and longtime director of the Beth and Horace Stubblefield Learning Center, a cooperative between five Angelina county school districts – Central, Diboll, Hudson, Lufkin and Zavalla – along with the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce and Angelina College. The facility helps students of all ages earn their high school diplomas or catch up on the credits they need to graduate on time with the high school in their home district. In the 16 years since the center opened, 1,156 diplomas have been awarded to students between the ages of 16 and 21 who have dropped out or are in danger of dropping out of high school. In addition to the program for traditional-age students, the Chamber Program, financed by the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, allows qualifying Angelina County residents, regardless of age, to earn a diploma. Seventy-five “non-traditional” students have received diplomas through the program. “They set the younger students straight if anyone tries to get off task,” Darmstadter said. “The Chamber students are quick to remind them that they are here for a reason, and it’s important. They serve as great role models.” It was one of these Chamber graduates who Darmstadter said stands

Spring 2012

out in her mind as a prime example of why she loves her work. “At commencement, each graduate comes to the microphone and tells a little bit about themselves,” she recalled. “We had a 53-year-old black male who said, with tears in his eyes, ’Tonight, my life has changed forever. I am a janitor, and my salary will triple because now I have a high school diploma. I also have been accepted into the police academy at Angelina College, and I will never be the same.’ People say if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I can honestly say that I am excited to get up every morning and come to work. And that’s a good thing, because we are a year-round school.” The center operates during the summer to allow students who have fallen behind to earn the credits they need to get back on schedule and graduate with their class. Almost 5,000 students have participated in summer courses. “The Texas Education Agency does not pay for summer school,” Darmstadter explained. “We’ve been very lucky to have the Kurth Foundation finance that program.” Luck isn’t a strong enough word to cover the effort it has taken to fund the operation of the Stubblefield Center. From the $450,000 renovation funded by the T.L.L. Temple Foundation that transformed a former funeral parlor into a school – with facilities including a library, classrooms and computer lab – to financing a year of college for every student who graduates from the program, donations from non-profit agencies and generous Lufkin philanthropists have made the center possible. “We’re lucky; we’ve proven ourselves,” Darmstadter said. “These students are all at-risk, and they come to us with a lot of baggage. From homelessness to pregnancy – you name it, and we have seen it. A lot of days, I sit at this desk and I hear their stories, and I am amazed that they could have the courage to keep trying to finish high school." A social worker on staff coordinates field trips to the community college across the street for students to complete the college admission application and the paperwork for financial aid. Approximately 60 percent of Stubblefield graduates take advantage of the oppor-

DARMSTADTER tunity to pursue additional education. “The bottom line is that any child in Angelina County who wants to can go to college,” Darmstadter said. “This is the most giving county in the nation. I’m sure that any day now, someone is going to come up with the ’Beggar of the Year’ Award, and I’m definitely a candidate.” In addition to procuring donations from the Lion’s Club, Walmart and Sam’s Club, Darmstadter has proven the value of the center to groups outside of the county. The center recently received the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives’ award for the outstanding educational program in the state. Darmstadter credits her staff with making the difference in the success of the Stubblefield Center when compared to similar schools for high-risk students. “When I interview teacher candidates, I know within five minutes if they have the heart to be effective here,” she said. “They have to have true compassion for these students. I tell the kids every day that they are just as smart as any other student in the county, it’s just that their environment hasn’t been in their favor. These students do not care what we know; they just want to know that we care.” –SHIRLEY LUNA


What has now become a popular symbol of Lumberjack identity, the “Axe ’em, Jacks” hand sign originated more than 30 years ago as an attempt by a group of cheerleaders to boost school spirit and increase pride at SFA.


ECOGNIZING A LAG in school spirit, the SFA cheerleaders of 1979-80 set out to establish a hand symbol like those of larger universities in hopes of unifying the student body and creating enthusiasm on campus. And so, “the axe” was born. The collaborative brainchild of several cheerleaders, the symbol initially started with two fingers forming an axe. The thumb was added to not only make the symbol more unique, but also to form an “L” and a “J” when held side by side. The symbol also has been interpreted as the shape of Texas with two fingers pointed to Nacogdoches, but most of the originators of the hand symbol say it’s simply an axe. The “Axe ’em, Jacks” symbol was introduced at the first pep rally of the season in the fall of 1979 and was instantly embraced by the student body. Since then, it has become the definitive symbol of pride to generations of Lumberjacks. The 1979 squad recently held a reunion on campus to catch up and laugh over old yearbook photos. During their visit, the alumni stood, awestruck, as they looked at the newest publications showing hundreds of SFA students wielding their symbol of pride. They also met with the current cheer squads, who have continued the legacy of excellence with more than a dozen national championships.



“It was gratifying to see the tradition being continued,” said Marcus Lee, who was a member of the squad from 1980 to 1981. “To know that we were part of establishing a spirit icon and culture at SFA means so much to us.” –KAYLI HEAD



1979 -80 SFA Cheerleaders back row from left Tom Heslep, Marcus Lee, Monty Purdom, Elmer “Ty� Woodfolk and David Vanmeter front row from left Debbie Reimers Mueller, Wanda McNair Williams, Lynn Forrester Atchinson, Debbie Bullion and Kathy Roe Holt

Spring 2012


SFA alumni tour of Pacific Northwest and California features Washington, Oregon and California: July 30–Aug. 6, 2012 Explore the majestic Pacific Northwest and California on this eight-day adventure, from the wilds of Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge to the sophistication of Portland and San Francisco. Travel along Oregon’s beautiful Pacific coast. Enjoy a cruise up the Rogue River. Visit Redwood National Park. Explore Eureka, a historic timber and fishing village. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and discover the “City by the Bay” – San Francisco. Learn more about this exciting travel opportunity by watching a free webinar on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. CDT. Go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/827695466 to reserve your webinar spot. Information is also available at www.sfaalumni.com, alumni@sfasu.edu or by calling (800) 765-1534.

Monday, July 30: Seattle Tuesday, July 31: Seattle - Olympia Portland Wednesday, Aug. 1: Portland - Cascade Mountains - Portland Thursday, Aug. 2: Portland - Willamette Valley - Newport - Coos Bay Friday, Aug. 3: Coos Bay - Bandon State Natural Area - Redwood National Park - Eureka Saturday, Aug. 4: Eureka - San Francisco Sunday, Aug. 5: San Francisco Monday, Aug. 6: San Francisco

Call for nominations: Alumni Awards The SFA Alumni Association is accepting entries until June 1, 2012, for the following honors: Outstanding Young Alumnus • Distinguished Alumnus • Distinguished Professor • Hall of Fame 36

Criteria and nomination forms are available at www.sfaalumni.com or by calling (800) 765-1534. Sawdust

Upcoming Events

MARCH 13-17 SFA closed for spring holidays

20-21 SFA Ring Sales Event, Tracie Pearman Alumni Center

15 Nacogdoches Chapter: Networking lunch, noon, Auntie Pastas

26 Scholarship Donor Appreciation Reception

29 Nacogdoches Chapter: Meet & Greet Event, 5 p.m., Fuzzy’s Taco Shop 31 Showcase Saturday


SFA @ Central Arkansas


Dallas Chapter: Texas Rangers vs. White Sox Group Outing


13 Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting

19 Nacogdoches Chapter: Networking lunch, noon, Auntie Pastas

14 Texas National 2012 begins, Cole Art Center, Ledbetter Gallery

21 Student Foundation Mud Bugs & Mud Balls

25 Alumni Foundation Board Meeting 30 Senior Send-Off

For more information, visit www.sfaalumni.com/events.



Big Dip Ring Ceremony

18 Yellow House Family retreat

12 Commencement

SFA Alumni Night: Astros vs. Rangers, Minute Maid Park, Houston

18-19 Lone Star Native Plant Conference, SFA Gardens

28 Memorial Day

20 Dallas Chapter: Frisco RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Group Outing


Summer I Classes begin


Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting

25 Tyler Alumni Golf Tournament

*Times and dates are subject to change. Visit www.sfaalumni.com for the most recent information.

Spring 2012


Ila Nadine Coble Memorial Scholarship The Ila Nadine Coble Memorial Scholarship provides funds for SFA early childhood and resource interpretation majors. The scholarship honors a little girl who spent four wonderful years learning, painting and making friends in the Early Childhood Lab. The scholarship also commemorates the many happy times Ila explored our nation’s national parks with her mom’s online students as her trusty guides. Describing Ila requires adjectives that burst at the seams: spirited, energetic, radiant and fearless. Ila lived life full-throttle, loving everything within the sweep of her vision with tenderness and devotion. As a young girl, she had an amazing opportunity to live in Taiwan. Her preschool friends in Taiwan, her teachers and classmates at the Lab, her family members near and far—Ila encouraged them all with her eager smile. She never met a stranger. But more than that, she had a knack for bringing strangers together. Through this scholarship, we honor Ila’s spirit. We pray that everyone who knew Ila, and each student who receives this scholarship, can grow their heart as big as hers.

Dr. Darlene Renfro Westbrook Scholarship After graduating with honors from Athens School in 1968, Dr. Darlene Renfro Westbrook became the first recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship Award at SFA. She also was a charter member of the first African-American sorority at SFA, Delta Sigma Theta. After graduation from SFA in 1972, Westbrook became the first African-American to teach at Montclair Elementary in Corpus Christi. When she moved to Austin, she was transferred from one campus to another to integrate the faculty at each school. Westbrook served as a teacher for five years and was selected as the first African-American principal at Oak Hill Elementary in Austin ISD. She returned to her hometown of Athens in 1985, becoming the first African-American principal and district administrator since integration of the Athens Public Schools in 1965. On returning to Austin in 1990, she was selected as the first African-American principal at Lamar Middle School. Westbrook worked as an Austin district administrator for the remainder of her career, serving the district as director of curriculum and instruction, area superintendent, deputy superintendent, and chief academic officer. She received many professional recognitions for her work, including the University Council for Education Excellence in Leadership award, the Outstanding Texan award, the YWCA Woman of the Year award and the Texas Congress of PTA Exemplary Principal award. Westbrook earned a doctorate in education administration from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree from Texas State University and a bachelor’s degree in education from SFA. Westbrook is married to Gilson Howard Westbrook. He graduated from SFA in 1971. They have two sons and a daughter – Nicholas, Darrell and Deidre. They also have three grandchildren – Tyus, Sydney and Simon. Westbrook has often stated that the high quality education she received at SFA changed her life and opened doors of opportunity throughout her career in education.

Make the decision to help secure educational opportunities for generations of future SFA students. Contact us to find out how to start creating your legacy today. Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6096 Phone: 936.468.3407 Toll Free: 800.765.1534 Fax: 936.468.1007 E-mail: alumni@sfasu.edu Website: www.sfaalumni.com



Alumni Chapters Be proud. Be part of it.


LUMBERJACK! Happy Hours Networking WOODLANDS

Freshman Send-Offs

HOUSTON ALUMNI NETWORKS Exciting changes are coming to SFA alumni chapters! To better serve our alumni, seven networks have been identified in the greater Houston area. Socials, watch parties and other events will be conveniently located in multiple locations. See below for upcoming events in your area! Visit www.sfaalumni.com to find more information and to RSVP online. NETWORK Houston Kingwood




Thursday, April 19

5:30-7:30 p.m. Saltgrass Steak House

Friday, March 30

5:30-7:30 p.m. Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill

Bay Area

Thursday, March 29 5:30-7:30 p.m. Lupe Tortilla

Fort Bend

Friday, April 27

5:30-7:30 p.m. Flying Saucer


Thursday, May 17

6 - 8 p.m.


Thursday, May 17

5:30-7:30 p.m. Baker Street Pub & Grill

Friday, April 20

5:30-7:30 p.m. Alicia’s Mexican Grille


Tailgating Service Projects Luncheons Family Picnics Golf Tournaments

Berryhill Baja Grill - Market Street

Visit our website to find alumni networks and special interest chapters. www.sfaalumni.com




FORT BEND Spring 2012

Tyler Chapter Freshman Send-Off


Class Notes 1940

Joe ’41 and Patty Cross ’41 of San Antonio celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in February.


Thomas D. Hoffman ’74 of Pasadena is a member of the international Board of Governors of United Commercial Travelers.


Alstyne ISD.



Dr. John Y. Spies ’78 of Sherman is superintendent of Van

Thomas H. Heslep Jr. ’81 of Lewisville is senior vice president

of commercial lending at SharePlus Federal Bank. Stephen Waddell ’82 of Flower Mound is superinWADDELL tendent of Lewisville ISD. Neal Franklin ’84 of Mount Vernon is director of FRANKLIN operations for the East Texas Medical Center EMS service area. Tim Smith ’86 of Georgetown was promoted to the rank SMITH of colonel and serves as the chief information officer for the Texas Army National Guard.

Deloitte, the largest professional services organization in the United States, has appointed Jason W. Downing ’92 of Flower Mound managing principal of its North Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma practice. In his new role, Downing will oversee the more than 1,600 professionals who comprise the organization’s audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services groups across the region. As a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s strategy and operations practice, Downing has led major finance transformation initiatives at some of the country’s largest, most complex companies spanning the technology, telecommunications and manufacturing industries. Downing holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from SFA, and he is a certified public accountant and a certified management consultant.

Hardy Dotson ’89 of Henderson is principal at Henderson Middle School.



Kim Jones ’89 of Redwater is chief financial officer at Texarkana

Kimberly Miller Pankonin ’89 is district court judge for the Fourth Judicial District in Omaha, Neb.


John Yonker ’90 of Round Rock is principal at McNeil High School.

Kayli Steger ’08 and Derek Head ’09, both of Nacogdoches, were married Oct. 15 in La Grange.


John McCullough ’91 of Mount Vernon is superinMCCULLOUGH tendent of Sulphur Springs ISD.

A.J. Goff ’02 and Ronnie Herrington ’93 of Lufkin recently opened Goff & Herrington P.C., a fullservice accounting firm. Jeff Faust ’93 has been named counselor at Clements High School with Fort Bend ISD. Daniel Huerta ’93 of Lufkin is a member of the HUERTA Woodland Heights Medical Center Board of Trustees. Jon Moore ’94 of Tyler is senior vice president MOORE and senior credit officer at American State Bank. Chadwick Gulley ’95 of Tyler is the Smith County extension agent for the AgriLife Extension Service.


Ross Sproul ’96 of Pasadena is associate principal at Lake Travis High School. Jana Brazil ’97 of Lufkin recently became a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and has joined Pineywoods Obstetrics and Gynecology. Natalie Oswalt ’98 of Tenaha is director of the Shelby Regional Training Center.


April Cox ’02 of Kilgore is principal of Maude Laird Middle School.


Laura McCall ’02 and Leland Lacy of San Angelo announce the Oct.

13 birth of a son, Lane. Melvin ’02 & ’05 and Gail McMahan ’05 of FrederMCMAHAN icksburg, Va., announce the birth of their son, Melvin III. Candice Johnson ’05 of Corinth and Cory Rivenburgh of Livingston were married Oct. 15. Loyd Nations ’05 of Grand Saline is a member of the Grand Saline ISD Board of Trustees. Michael Ludlow ’06 of Grand Saline is head LUDLOW football coach at Grand Saline High School.

Romin Jahromi ’10, left, of Plano and Luke Johnson ’10 of Alto recently participated in a white-coat ceremony at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, where they are medical students. While attending SFA, both were active members of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, Gamma Pi Chapter.


Bryan ISD.

Dr. Thomas A. Wallis ’07 of Bryan is superintendent of

Kellie Jordan ’08 of Garland is band director at WhiteJORDAN wright Middle School. Travis Beavers ’09 of Sanger is head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs at Lon Morris College.


Bethanee Sales ’10 of Mesquite is a science teacher at W.H. Ford High School.

Photos courtesy of the Lufkin Daily News

Dustin Ellermann ’05 of Zavalla claimed the $100,000 grand prize on The History Channel’s Top Shot, a sharpshooter elimination contest.

Spring 2012

Sarah Sampietro Morton ’11 of Centerville published an article in Edinboro University’s Visions and Revisions: An Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Journal.


In August, 53 SFA graduates who are head football coaches throughout Texas started the 2011 football season. At the end of the season, 27 had qualified for the playoffs. When the state finals were completed in mid-December at Cowboys Stadium, two emerged as state champions with 29 combined wins and no losses. Terry Ward ’96 and ’08, WARD along with five assistant coaches who are also graduates of SFA, coached the Tenaha Tigers, ranked No. 2 in the state all year long, to a 14-0 season and a 52-28 win over Munday for the 1-A Division II state championship. He was assisted by Patrick Armstrong ’99, Todd Bodden ’10, Kevin Cates ’10, Scott Tyner ’09 and Ian White ’10. Thomas Sitton ’95, athletic director and head football coach at Tyler Chapel Hill, took home the 3-A Division I championship after losing in the finals in 2010 to Henderson. Chapel Hill was ranked No. 1 throughout the season and finished 15-0 with a 20-19 win over Alvarado in the finals. SFA alumni assistant coaches at Chapel Hill are Chris Tabor ’01, Jason Holeman ’95, Wes Schminskey ’00, Sam Brandt SITTON ’03 and Bill Toon ’90.

LIFE MEMBERS The SFA Alumni Association would like to thank the following alumni who recently became life members. We appreciate your support. 7720. Kandace K. Mullins ’10 of Columbia 7721. Derek D. Migl ’09 of Nacogdoches 7722. Tanya E. Day ’11 of Houston 7723. Dale A. Green ’99 of Nacogdoches 7724. Melissa M. Green ’01 of Nacogdoches 7725. Deanie L. Berry ’67 of Carthage 7726. Lori A. Etlinger ’97 of Bellaire 7727. Jacob A. Garza ’10 of Kingwood 7728. Robert W. Peddy ’75 of Tyler

Emily A. Parker ’70 of Dallas was recognized as the 2012 Lawyer of the Year in her practice area of tax litigation by The Best Lawyers in America, widely regarded as the most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Previously acting chief counsel and deputy chief counsel for the IRS, Parker represents taxpayers in IRS audits and appeals PARKER proceedings, state tax audits and hearings, and federal and state tax refund and deficiency litigation. She also advises on federal income tax and Texas tax planning, with special expertise in taxation of natural resources and partnership and corporate transactions involving the petroleum industry. She has represented clients in a number of precedent-setting cases that decided important industry issues and developed previously unsettled issues of tax law.


7729. Sharon Peddy of Tyler 7730. Robert B. Seale ’92 of Houston 7731. Jessica V. Patterson ’11 of Texas City 7732. Lt. Col. David A. Brazier ’80 of

Monument, Col.

7733. Susan Doré ’83 of Houston 7734. Caleb T. Stacy ’10 of Lufkin


In Memoriam Floyd Elton Bailey’56 of Austin, Nov. 18 Anniel M. Ross ’59 of Henderson, Dec. 30 John K. Justice ’42 of Abilene, Dec. 25 Corinne M. Jones ’38 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 26 Linda J. Ray ’61 & ’78 of Longview, Dec. 19 Jerry L. Kilgore ’83 of Arlington, Dec. 18 Mary J. Floyd ’90 of Longview, Dec. 19 Johnie T. Stewart ’66 of Lufkin, Dec. 15 I.W. Melder ’49 of Conroe, Dec. 7 Rita B. George ’66 of Longview, Dec. 15 DeLois Teer ’52 & ’80 of Lufkin, Dec. 4 G.W. Solomon ’65 of Hot Springs Village, Ark., Dec. 8 Donald D. Fry ’75 & ’81 of Victoria, Nov. 22 Sylvia R. Smiley ’75 & ’79 of Corrigan, Nov. 22 James R. Hileman ’61 of Lynchburg, Va., Nov. 21 Leonard L. Smith ’59 & ’61 of Nacogdoches, Nov. 15 Frances Katherine Robertson ’72 of Houston, Nov. 29 Alma N. Mabry ’58 of Deer Park, Nov. 26 Marjorie Jones ’40 of Tyler, Sept. 21 Mildred Kerr Jester ’41 of Houston, Dec. 19

Spring 2012

Bedford Larry Covin ’46 & ’48 of Kilgore died Feb. 5. He was born Sept. 29, 1919, in Longview to Bedford Forrest Covin and Jesse Lee Lawler Covin. He attended grade school in Mineola and graduated from Mineola High School in 1937. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SFA and a doctorate from the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn. While at SFA, he was co-captain of the football team, winning all-conference recognition in 1941. He set the current SFA records for the longest punt return for a touchdown (88 yards) against East Texas State in Commerce and for most interceptions (four) against Sam Houston State University. Lettering in football for four years, he also lettered in track and golf, and he is a member of the SFA Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1942, he was named Mr. SFA. He was commissioned into the U.S. Army Air Force on July 23, 1942, as a B26 bombardier and was assigned to England, where he flew 50 missions over enemy territory before returning stateside. His military recognitions include the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Presidential Unit Citation for his tour in the European Theater Operation. His professional career included teaching and coaching in Iraan and Nacogdoches public schools. During an 18-year career as a faculty member and administrator at SFA, he held the positions of director of orientation, director of guidance, chief testing officer and intramural director. While living in Nacogdoches, he became a member of the Masons, and, six months later, he became a Shriner, belonging to Milam Lodge No. 2 for 50 years. He then continued his career as a faculty member at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., for 13 years. SFA later awarded Covin the SFA Professor Emeritus Commendation for his service. Outside the classroom, he officiated football games for the Southwest Athletic Conference from 1952 to 1976. During those years, he was an official for the Cotton Bowl (1959), the Gator Bowl (1974), Rice Bowl (1974), Fiesta Bowl (1975) and three Sugar Bowls (1977-79). He also officiated basketball games for the Southwest Conference and the state high school basketball tournament from 1959 to 1963. He was president of the Southwest Basketball Officials Association from 1966 to 1968 and was a life member of the Southwest Football and Basketball Officials associations. After retirement from active officiating, he assumed the role of chief observer and evaluated game officials in both football and basketball for the Southwest Conference. He served as a member of the board of trustees for the Lindale Independent School District and the HideA-Way Lake Club board of directors and as commissioner of basketball officials for the Texas Eastern Athletic conference. In 1991, Covin moved to Kilgore and became an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. His community service included Kilgore Churchmen, Country Kitchen UMW, Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, Kilgore Habitat for Humanity and Kilgore United Way. He was cochairman of Derrick Fest and was a charter member of the Roy H. Laird Hospital Foundation Board. He also served as the director of the Kilgore Community Concert for many years. He has been recognized as the Ambassador of the Year for the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce and as Citizen of the Quarter by Citizens Bank. He was co-director of the Mother Teresa After School Program and a Junior Achievement volunteer for the second grade at Chandler School. The Larry Covin Football Scholarship is endowed with the SFA Alumni Association. Dr. Joe Ellis Ericson of Nacogdoches, retired SFA professor and chair of the political science department, passed away Nov. 11. He was born June 9, 1925, in Throckmorton County, Texas, to Lester Yelma Ericson and Lena Agnes (Ellis) Ericson and had lived in Nacogdoches since 1957. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church. Ericson authored numerous books and was a co-author of a political science textbook, Practicing Texas Politics. He enjoyed gardening and was active with many groups and organizations, including Sons of the Republic of Texas, Jamestowne Society, Magna Charta Barons, American Political Science Association, Southwestern Political Science Association, Alpha Chi, Knights of San Jacinto and the Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters. He was married to the former Carolyn Reeves on July 16, 1955, in Lubbock. They were married 56 years and raised three children, daughter Linda Diane Devereaux and sons Joseph Reeves Ericson and John Ellis Ericson.


How to Start a Scholarship We invite you to participate in a project that will forever link the past to the future: the SFA Walk of Recognition. For $100, $250 or $500, you may permanently make your mark on an inscribed brick. The Walk of Recognition is located in the Sesquicentennial Plaza around the Stephen F. Austin fountain. Your name carved in a brick will symbolize the spirit you felt when you were at SFA. The bricks are available in two sizes. They are hand-etched and laid geometrically in the plaza. Walk of Recognition bricks are ideal graduation and birthday gifts and provide a meaningful way to honor or memorialize a special Lumberjack. Printed certificates are sent upon request for such gifts. You may purchase bricks securely online or download an order form at www. sfaalumni.com. Contact the SFA Alumni Association at (800) 765-1534 for more information.

1 2 3 4 5

Make the decision to help. Future SFA alumni need your financial assistance. Plan your contribution today.

Name your scholarship. You may name your scholarship after yourself or in memory or in honor of someone else.

Determine eligibility criteria. You may include college major or GPA or restrict the scholarship to certain types of recipients.

Complete an endowment packet. You may download and submit documents online at sfaalumni.com or request documents via U.S. mail.

Contact us. (936) 468-3407 or (800) 765-1534 crawfordkp@sfasu.edu

The SFA Alumni Association awards scholarships through the SFA Scholarship Fund administered by the SFA Alumni Foundation.

Scholarships are endowed by cash or gifts of stocks, bonds, life insurance, memorial contributions and wills, as well as corporate matching gifts. A minimum of $20,000 is required to endow a scholarship. This can be accomplished over a 10-year period.



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Spring 2012


GET YOUR SFA GEAR! www.shopsfa.com caps | gifts | drinkware | tote bags clothing | auto accessories | and more!

A portion of the proceeds from ShopSFA goes to support the SFA Alumni Association




Liberty Mutual is a proud partner of the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association Celebrating Lumberjacks past and present!

Coverage provided by and underwritten by Liberty Mutual Insurance and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA. In Texas only, coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty County Mutual Insurance Company and it’s affiliates, 2100 Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, TX Š 2012 Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Spring 2012


All Hail to SFA

Sawdust would like to know more about this SFA photo. If you can help, please contact: alumni@sfasu.edu 800.765.1534 48

“The picture of the girl with the huge bubble on page 48 is Melba Stipe. She was a freshman in 1971 from Halton City near Forth Worth. She married my roommate Jerel Pawley who graduated in 1974.” – Charles McManus ’74, SFA all-american in track. Sawdust

k e a t a t B S . ry of

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936.468.5406 sfasu.edu/archie

Spring 2012


Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Stephen F. Austin State University

Be proud. Be part of it. 100% LUMBERJACK! Your membership in the SFA Alumni Association provides scholarships to students, supports campus outreach and funds alumni events like Homecoming, tailgates and chapter socials. Please join or renew today.

Join or renew by April 30, and receive a chrome SFA auto emblem. Visit www.SFAmemberchrome.com or call (800) 765-1534 today.





Profile for SFA Alumni Association

Sawdust Spring 2012  

Sawdust is the magazine of Stephen F. Austin University and the SFA Alumni Association

Sawdust Spring 2012  

Sawdust is the magazine of Stephen F. Austin University and the SFA Alumni Association


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