Page 1


It Takes a Garden


A ‘Nobel’ Profession


Manufacturing Mavericks



S T E P H E N F. A U S T I N


The foundation manages capital gifts for the sole benefit of the university.

The university’s Annual Fund raises monies to support academics, athletics and student activities.

Through annual membership, the association promotes alumni engagement and scholarships.

Accepts donations of properties and other valuable estate assets to further the university’s goals.



sfaalumni.com/ donations




T MAY BE springtime at SFA, but I would like to begin this letter with a Christmas story – one that promises many happy endings for our alma mater. Just a few days before Christmas, I received a phone call out of the blue from a representative of the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program. I am excited to share with you that the meeting resulted in the establishment of approximately 20 full, need-based scholarships for first-year students who meet the academic qualifications. These renewable scholarships will be awarded every year and have a cumulative value of approximately $70,000 each. I would like to thank the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program for offering what has to be the most surprising Christmas gift SFA has ever received. The generosity of those who support this philanthropic organization is truly inspiring, and the impact these scholarships will have on the recipients will be wonderful to witness. The marketing campaign the university began a year ago has now driven more than 100,000 visitors to the SFA website, and more prospective students and parents continue to visit us online daily. The campaign now is moving into a new and exciting phase – the redesign of our university website to reflect today’s user preferences and technological capabilities. The SFA website contains approximately 100,000 unique pages, so updating our online presence will be a time-consuming endeavor. Like our recent high-profile “Lumberjacks Make Great” advertisements, we expect the website redesign will help us significantly grow enrollment while increasing positive perceptions of SFA among all our stakeholders. The legislative session is well underway in the Texas Capitol, and as always, we are following several higher-education issues very closely. Our highest priority continues to be a Tuition-backed Revenue Bond that would fund a much-needed Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building for SFA. Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Travis Clardy have jointly filed bills authorizing this funding, which would allow the university to expand research and outreach programs across all the STEM disciplines. SFA is a leader in STEM education, which is critically needed to answer a nationwide demand for college graduates prepared for STEM careers. Many representatives of the university and community had the opportunity to visit with our legislators when we traveled to Austin in February for Nacogdoches-SFA Days. One of the highlights of the week was seeing the Lumberjack basketball team recognized on the House floor for its historic 2014 NCAA tournament run. In the coming months, two other well-known SFA groups will perform on the worldwide stage. In May, the SFA A Cappella Choir will travel to Italy where our talented singers have been invited to perform at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and other historic sites of particular interest to music scholars. In addition, the Lumberjack Marching Band will take its “Boldest Sound from the Oldest Town” to the streets of New York City in November to march in the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The LMB is one of only four university bands selected to participate in this year’s parade, which will be watched by an estimated 50 million television viewers. I’m confident everyone lucky enough to see and hear these upcoming SFA performances will wholeheartedly agree … Lumberjacks Make Great Musicians! Thank you for all you do to support SFA and our students and programs. I hope to see you back on campus for a visit very soon.

SFA is a leader in STEM education, which is critically needed to answer a nationwide demand for college graduates prepared for STEM careers.

Axe ’em, Jacks!

BOARD OF REGENTS Dr. Scott H. Coleman, Houston chair Brigettee C. Henderson, Lufkin vice chair and secretary David R. Alders, Nacogdoches John R. “Bob” Garrett, Tyler Steve D. McCarty, Alto Barry E. Nelson, Dallas Kenton E. Schaefer, Brownsville Ralph C. Todd, Carthage Connie M. Ware, Marshall Kelsey Brown, Flower Mound student regent ADMINISTRATION Dr. Baker Pattillo president Dr. Richard Berry provost/vice president for academic affairs Danny Gallant vice president for finance and administration Jill Still vice president for university advancement Dr. Steve Westbrook vice president for university affairs MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Shirley Luna executive director Donna Parish assistant director–creative Hardy Meredith university photographer

Baker Pattillo ’65 & ’66 President, Stephen F. Austin State University

SPRING 2015 1

Spring 2015 • Volume 42, No. 1 EXECUTIVE EDITORS Craig Turnage ’00 & ’05 Executive Director of Alumni Relations Dr. Shirley Luna ’85, ’06 & ’14 Executive Director of University Marketing Communications

NOTHING SIGNIFIES THE spring season more than chicks. SFA’s Walter C. Todd Agricultural Center has two state-of-the-art poultry-related facilities. The first, the Broiler Research Center, comprises four commercial broiler houses, where poultry science majors raise about 628,800 broiler chickens a year for the Pilgrim’s Corporation. On average, the students yield six flocks per year. The Broiler Research Center has generated approximately $1,143,989 in the past six years in rearing the birds for Pilgrim’s. In addition, the Poultry Research Center houses a research floor-pen facility, feed mill, pilot processing facility, 10,000-egg capacity incubator and hatcher, egg-laying cages, poultry selection and evaluation building, and a classroom.

EDITOR Donna Parish ’99 & ’07 Assistant Director-Creative, University Marketing Communications ART DIRECTOR Rhonda Crim 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 nonprofit 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. 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

SAWDUST ONLINE Read past issues, watch video extras, submit Class Notes and preview upcoming features: sfasu.edu/sawdust facebook.com/sfasawdust Photos by Robin Johnson


SFA horticulture students grow fresh produce on the campus that they offer for sale to the community each Friday. Unsold produce is donated to Hunger Jacks, a program that provides the donated vegetables to SFA students for free.



FEATURES 16 Preserving the Past


20 It Takes a Garden


26 A ‘Nobel’ Profession



Photos courtesy of Priefert Manufacturing




4 Spamalot

25 Association Letter

5 Faculty Advising

30 Alumni News

7 Generation Jacks

38 Scholarships

9 Vista Viewpoint

39 Class Notes

13 Brain Trust

42 In Memoriam

15 Athletics Highlights

48 From the Archives

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Spamalot SFA’S RECENT PRODUCTION of Monty Python’s Spamalot presented by the schools of theatre and music has garnered a number of awards and nominations from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. KCACTF is a national organization that celebrates the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. It promotes professional standards and provides students and faculty members with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds, according to Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA, who served as director and choreographer for Spamalot. “This brings regional and national attention to the school and the students,” Bacarisse said of the honors. “The students will be seen at regional auditions, and they could possibly advance on to national auditions. Just being nominated will be a great line on their résumés. For all of us, it is an acknowledgement of excellence in our area.” KCACTF invited the musical number “His Name is Lancelot” to perform at the regional festival in February in San Angelo. KCACTF officials “held” the entire show for consideration to be performed at the festival, which is a highly prestigious nomination, but one that the School of Theatre had to respectfully decline, Bacarisse explained. “This means that they thought the show was good enough to bring it to a larger audience,” she said. “I have traveled a show all the way to the national performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was a great opportunity for the students to pack a show in a truck and perform it in a different theatre. “We gratefully thank KCACTF for this acknowledgment,” she said. “However, Spamalot is just too big and involves far too many people, including the large cast, the orchestra and technicians, for us to be able to re-mount the production. So we declined the nomination.”



More than 2,200 people came to W.M. Turner Auditorium in November for the six-performance run of the musical by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes. Some returned to watch the show multiple times, bringing friends and family members to enjoy the humorous dialogue and clever songs. “We are grateful the community embraced our efforts and came out to see the show,” Bacarisse said. “We do a lot of different types of theatre. Some may be your cup of tea, and some may not. But we strive with every production to put our best foot forward. “This was an ensemble effort,” she said. “There is a saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ I have been saying: ‘It takes a village to put on a show!’ It was really great how everyone pulled together to make this happen and in such a joyous way.” The School of Theatre continues to solicit financial support for Bacarisse’s next major project, which will be directing two new plays that will travel to Edinburg, Scotland, this summer to be included in the 2015 International Collegiate Theatre Festival. During a two-week trip to Edinburgh in August, the School of Theatre will produce Hate Mail by SFA playwright-in-residence Jack Heifner and the student-written Mom and Dad by Nick Pinelli and Allison Day. Pinelli, a senior from The Woodlands, and Day, a senior from San Antonio, wrote the play as an honors project for their class with Heifner. – ROBBIE GOODRICH

FACULTY ADVISING In survey after survey, when people are asked to list something they fear most, public speaking is the number one answer. But, believe it or not, public speaking is a learnable skill that can be fun. Becoming a good public speaker can enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence and open up countless opportunities. Dr. Linda Levitt, SFA associate professor of communication studies, offers these strategies to help you prepare the next time you’re asked to give a speech or presentation.


much as you can about your audience before you begin drafting your talking points. How we speak greatly depends to whom we are speaking. You’ll use different language to explain a concept to a young child than you will to a teenager. The more you learn about your audience and their expectations, the better able you will be to craft an appropriate and relevant speech.

BE BRIEF: Ask how much time has been

allotted for you to speak. Then, work diligently to ensure you can concisely say what you intend to communicate in that time frame. Consider all of the brief messages we receive during the day –15-second sound bites, 30-second commercials, 140-character text messages and Tweets. In a culture increasingly accustomed to processing these quick communications, brevity is appreciated.

A cast of two dozen SFA theatre and music students joined together to present the Tony Award-winning musical Spamalot in November. Pictured, Amy Miller-Martin, a senior theatre major from Lufkin, enchants the audience with her Photos by Sarah of Fuller portrayal Lady of the Lake.

BEGIN AND END WELL: People are most likely to remember the first and last words you say. Find an appropriate and creative strategy to capture your audience’s attention. Make clear from the beginning why what you have to say is relevant to them. When you come to the end of your speech, close with impact. Strong closure is the best way to leave a convincing impression on the audience. DON’T READ YOUR SPEECH:

The audience wants to feel like speakers are talking to them, not reading to or talking at them. The best way to engage your audience is through a conversational delivery with plenty of appropriate eye contact. Following these simple tips combined with practicing your speech or presentation will help give you the confidence you need to engage your audience and deliver a powerful message.

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Pictured from left, Drs. Janet Tareilo and Ann Wilson, SFA advisory council members; Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president; Sylvia and Robert Hutson, representatives of the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program; and Dr. Todd Brown, SFA advisory council member.


Smith-Hutson Scholarships to be awarded at SFA UP TO 20 freshman students at SFA with financial need will have the opportunity to receive a full scholarship, housing allowance and one-on-one tutoring through scholarships offered by one of the larger privately funded scholarship programs in the state. The need-based scholarships will be awarded by the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program beginning in fall 2015 to students who demonstrate academic potential. The cumulative value of each scholarship is approximately $70,000. The scholarship program was established in 1996, and more than 190 scholarship recipients now hold university degrees. Smith-Hutson scholarships are awarded at Angelina College, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar University and Sam Houston State University. “We are honored the Smith-Hutson Scholarship program has chosen to assist students at SFA,” said Dr. Baker Pattillo, university president. “The generosity of the individuals who have contributed to this philanthropic organization is inspiring, and they truly are making a substantial difference in the life of each scholarship recipient.”


Robert E. Hutson, a Lufkin native and retired Houston-area banker, is the administrator of the scholarship program, which is funded by a private family foundation that makes no solicitations for contributions. The selection process will include an applicant interview with members of a selection committee. Applicants must not be married and must not have children. Students who maintain a 2.5 grade-point average will be eligible for annual renewal of the scholarship for four years. SFA faculty members who will serve as members of the on-campus advisory council for the program are Drs. Todd Brown and Ann Wilson, both interim associate deans in SFA’s Nelson Rusche College of Business, and Dr. Janet Tareilo, associate dean of the SFA James I. Perkins College of Education.   


Paving the Way

First-generation college students receive support through Generation Jacks program NAVIGATING THE OFTEN-COMPLEX process of starting a college degree can be overwhelming for anyone. But, what happens when new college students don’t have the benefit of a family member who attended college before them? Two SFA professors, Dr. Marc Guidry and Dr. Michael Walker, learned the answer to this question while investigating why some college students aren’t as successful in class as others. Guidry, associate dean in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts and professor of English, and Walker, assistant dean of student affairs for support services and associate professor of psychology, used statistics to help them solve this puzzle when they discovered a noticeable gap between the performance of first-generation college students and students whose families had a history in higher education. When the fall 2014 semester began, the pair launched Generation Jacks—a threesemester program for firstgeneration college students dedicated to helping build the necessary skills to succeed at SFA and beyond. Walker, himself a first-generation college student, said there are aspects to college life that may seem inconsequential to parents

who have been through the college process, but they may present major challenges for students without a college-experienced hand to guide them. Generation Jacks began at SFA with 23 students who were identified as needing assistance. Through working closely with the federal GEAR UP program, which works with low-income and at-risk students in middle school and high school, these students were introduced to the program.

During its first semester, Generation Jacks retained 22 students, Guidry said, and the student no longer associated with the program is still enrolled at SFA and occasionally works with the organization. The students come from diverse backgrounds from across the state, some of their parents barely speak English, and the students are often taking full course loads while working to help support their parents and families, Guidry said. Without the benefit of family members who have been through college before, first-generation students can feel like they don’t belong on campus or don’t fit in. Add that lack of confidence and negative perception to demanding coursework and requirements that family members might not be able to offer help, and obtaining a degree

can seem impossible, Guidry added. Generation Jacks members can take three linked classes, which help develop fundamental college and career skills. They receive academic mentoring from accomplished Lumberjacks through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and they work with SFA’s Career Services to land professional internships and full-time job opportunities.

This type of highimpact program is something Guidry and Walker said wasn’t discovered in their research of other institutions. Of course, the benefit isn’t only to students. Guidry and Walker said the program also helps with the university’s student retention. “The administration is committed to assisting more first-generation students in succeeding in higher education,” Walker said. The additional program benefit is the “paying it forward” aspect, which is realized when the student graduates and paves the way for siblings and other family members. “They (first-generation students) were successful enough to get into college,” Walker said. “Why not try to help the students who really need it the most? We’re trying to give them support because we think they have tremendous potential, and they just need an extra nudge.” – TIM MONZINGO

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SFA recognized for work in promoting accessibility SFA HAS BEEN recognized for its commitment to educating all students – regardless of physical challenges – with the 2014 Desire2Excel Award for Accessibility. The award is presented by D2L, a global leader in educational technology and the creator of Brightspace, an integrated learning platform used by SFA faculty members and students. The company lauded SFA for demonstrating how such partnerships and technology can make education available to more learners. “It is one of D2L’s core beliefs that education should be accessible to all,” said John Baker, president and CEO of D2L. “Brightspace was built and continues to grow with accessibility in mind. We strive to make our integrated learning platform easy for people to navigate and understand using assistive technologies or any and all devices that support their needs.”


A large part of the university’s dedication to accessibility is ensuring that faculty members are provided with professional development that includes how to make instructional materials accessible, according to Dr. Randy McDonald, director of SFA’s Center for Teaching and Learning. “We conduct rigorous professional development for faculty members concerning the design of online


courses, and we continually collaborate with the SFA Office of Disability Services to help ensure the needs of each and every student are met,” McDonald said. “The university is able to provide accessible support to students and faculty members using the Brightspace integrated learning platform,” McDonald added. Led by Andra Floyd, SFA’s D2L support team includes student workers who specialize in providing accessible tech support. SFA’s focus on accessibility for all students is “part of our DNA,” said Janet Kamps, distance education coordinator at the Center for Teaching and Learning. She said that commitment stems from the institution’s origins as a teacher’s college. “Personalized instruction, mentoring, and respect for and inclusion of all university community members are foundations of our university,” she said. “Brightspace has played a crucial role in enabling us to live up to those ideals and ensure that students’ access to a quality education is not obstructed. Taking responsibility for accessibility is foundational here – it’s something we all do.” D2L partners with thought-leading organizations to improve learning through data-driven technology that helps deliver a personalized experience to every learner, regardless of geography or ability. D2L’s open and extensible platform is used by more than 1,100 clients and 15 million individual learners in higher education, K–12, health care, government and the enterprise sector, including Fortune 1000 companies. The company has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. – AMY ROQUEMORE


Y LOVE OF diversity began early in life. I was born in Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities in the world, to two loving and caring Nigerian parents. Growing up in Southern California was an honor and a privilege because I had the opportunity to learn about many cultures and ethnicities without leaving the state. For example, I met Nigerians, Ghanaians, Croatians, Serbians, Germans, Iranians, Armenians, Filipinos and many other nationalities. I readily sought out friends from other cultures because I wanted to discover more about them and their backgrounds. While working toward my Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of California - Riverside, I had the opportunity to expand my circle of friends, a group so diverse that we referred to ourselves as the United Nations. As I continued to meet people from different cultures at UCR, I took courses to increase my cultural competencies. After receiving my degree, I moved back to Los Angeles to pursue a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Southern California. Believing I would never leave Southern California, it shocked my family and friends when I chose to work toward my doctoral degree in counselor education at Virginia Tech. I believed I was prepared for this new change in environment. However, I was not ready for the culture shock. When I first arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia, I frequently reminisced about the fun times I enjoyed with my family and friends in California, which led to missing them even more. I spent my first semester constantly talking about Southern California and not realizing that I was making myself miserable by failing to enjoy this amazing new culture. Following my first semester, I returned to Southern California for winter break. During my time home, I made a promise that when I got back to Blacksburg, I would not just learn about this new culture, I would embrace it. When I returned to Virginia Tech, I became involved with the Graduate Student Association. In addition, I joined the Black Graduate Student Organization, and I also started taking courses outside of my doctoral concentration. I enrolled in the Future Professoriate Certificate Program that

By Dr. Osaro Airen

was spearheaded by one of the most brilliant individuals I have ever met, Dr. Karen DePauw, vice president and graduate school dean. Through this program, I met graduate students from a variety of programs and cultural backgrounds and, at the same time, created long-lasting friendships. In addition, I was one of 10 graduate students selected by DePauw to participate in the first-ever Global Perspective Program. This program provided graduate students with the opportunity to increase their international education awareness and examine different academic practices. As a participant, I traveled to Switzerland and Italy. This opportunity sparked my passion for traveling in the United States and abroad. It was an incredible experience because when I opened my mind to the diversity around me and allowed myself to enjoy my time in Blacksburg, incredible things happened. Afterward, I had the privilege of traveling to the United Kingdom, Turkey, Romania, Ireland and Nigeria. I also have visited 28 states and lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, Nebraska and now Texas. My domestic and international experiences have influenced my approach to my position as the director of multicultural affairs at SFA. I believe that diversity is beautiful, and that we should all strive to explore other cultures and enjoy our similarities and embrace our differences. When we are open to all the possibilities, understanding comes and lifelong friendships form.

DR. OSARO AIREN Director of Multicultural Affairs

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ECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS DURING the past three decades have fundamentally changed how the publishing industry reaches audiences. Writers no longer peck away on typewriters, photojournalists don’t rush to develop prints in a darkroom, and page designers no longer cut and paste long galleys of text and manipulate it to fit the page. Today, media consumers increasingly are more likely to read the news on a screen than on paper. One constant among all the changes for aspiring journalism students at SFA has been longtime student publications director and instructor of mass communication Pat Spence, who announced her retirement in December after 28 years. Under Spence’s tutelage, SFA student publications has consistently proved to be one of the leading student media programs in Texas. Spence leaves a legacy of achievements and impact beyond The Pine Log newspaper and Stone Fort yearbook. Texas Intercollegiate Press Association named Spence “Adviser of the Year” three times—more than any other adviser in the state, but she said the students’ individual successes are the true measure of the program’s value. “That’s what I am most proud of,” Spence said. “We get a lot of individual awards in writing, photography and design. That’s a real shot in the arm for the students. It’s a great thing to put on your résumé, and it’s an incredible confidence booster when you win something at the state level.” Kasi Dickerson, Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s 2014 Designer of the Year, credits Spence as the reason she transferred to SFA and with being a major influence in her personal and professional life. “I learned so much under Pat’s direction,” Dickerson said. “She reminds me of my mom because she always supported her reporters and students, no matter what. She genuinely cares about each of us, and she was always willing to stop what she was doing to listen to our problems and offer help.” SFA alumnus Justin Elbert has extended Spence’s influence by leading the student newspaper and yearbook at Klein Collins High School in Klein, Texas, to numerous state and national awards. “Pat Spence opened so many doors for me,” Elbert said. “I owe my career and future to her. She taught me how to be a journalist with integrity. She let me fail when she knew I needed to learn the hard way, and she protected me from failure when she knew it wouldn’t help.” Echoing the sentiments of many of her former students, Elbert said Spence holds a special place in his life. “She wasn’t just my college journalism adviser,” Elbert said. “She is a friend whom I will cherish the rest of my life.”


Mass media graduates with current technology experience are more highly sought after by employers, and Spence said she relished the challenge of giving her students access to industrystandard equipment. During Spence’s tenure, the student publications department moved from basements of older buildings on the edge of campus with TRS-80 computers to prime real estate on the second floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center overlooking Vista Drive and using the newest computer technology. As the location and technology improved, Spence said her students shared common characteristics. “Student journalists are a unique breed of cat,” Spence said. “They’re usually smart, competent, self-directed, and they know what they want to do.” Spence said she’s proud of her former students, many of whom are spread across the country working for different publishers and organizations. She said their achievements have fueled her passion. “Working with students is what makes the job fun. When you see a student come into your program thinking he or she may know what they want to do – maybe become a writer or photographer – and then 20 years later, they’re an editor at the Washington Post, that’s an incredible rush,” she said. Keeping with current media trends, The Pine Log has shifted from a print-only operation to one that focuses on multiple platforms and multimedia story delivery. Spence said the industry will continue to experience growing pains as advertising revenue and subscriptions decline, but the demand for news will remain. “Journalism isn’t going away,” she said. “People want to know what’s happening around them. The delivery method is going to change. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything goes online in another five to 10 years. My generation might be the last to feel the need to hold that printed piece in their hand.” Although she is retired, Spence will continue to help young journalists through the Pat Spence Scholarship for The Pine Log, which former students and friends of the newspaper fully endowed in 2014. – RYAN PERRY



11 6




7 12



What you’ll find in . . . Dr. Donald Gooch’s office: 1. Gooch is a devoted bobblehead collector, many representing players from the St. Louis Cardinals major league baseball team. Dozens of these half-foottall toy athletes decorate his office. Prior to their wedding in 2013, Gooch’s wife presented him with this custom-made bobblehead in his likeness. 2. While attending the 2000 Cotton Bowl Classic, Gooch received this commemorative football imprinted with autographs of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Gooch received his master’s degree in political science from the University of Arkansas in 2001. 3. An avid karaoke singer, Gooch auditioned at Disney World for the theme park’s American Idol Experience. The winner received a golden ticket, which permitted the holder to be among the first in line for the popular singing competition’s live auditions. Although he didn’t win the golden ticket, he did receive this button as a keepsake. 4. During the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-up in 2004, Gooch made a donation to benefit local charities. In return, Woody Williams, former pitcher for the Cardinals, autographed this shoe.

5. A baseball signed by former Cardinal and three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols rests near the computer monitor on the desk. Gooch acquired Pujols’ autograph while he was still a minor league player. 6. Gooch’s aunt, who worked in China for Caterpillar, gifted him with this silk Chinese scroll depicting giant pandas and bamboo. 7. A huge Star Trek fan, Gooch collects memorabilia from the science fiction series, which debuted in 1966. Here rests a toy of the Starship Enterprise and two smaller Starfleet models. 8. A cardboard football cutout from Gooch’s high school days as a Searcy, Arkansas, Lion. In 1991-92 the Lions were undefeated Central Conference Champions. Gooch played offensive right guard, and he was the only junior starting player on the squad. 9. A grouping of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher bobbleheads. Gooch was born in Joliet, Illinois, and says these mementos take him back to his roots.

10. Gooch’s Pi Sigma Alpha medal, which signifies his membership in the National Political Honor Society. 11. This 1981 movie poster spoof hung in Gooch’s dissertation adviser’s office at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Gooch wanted a copy and shopped around for years. He finally acquired one, and it is now prominently displayed in his office. 12. A Mjolnir, or Thor’s hammer, is the favored weapon for the Marvel Comic’s superhero and God of Thunder. Mjolnir translates to “The Crusher” or “The Grinder.” Gooch, who enjoys reading comics, purchased this large toy version for himself and a smaller one, as well, for his 7-month-old son, William.

Dr. Donald M. Gooch SFA assistant professor of political science

SPRING 2015 11


Your Jack Walker, JAKE, was fabulous! We had the






SFA alumni whose work was recognized AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES LAST NIGHT, FOLKS.



SO AWESOME SEEING @SFA_MBB on @espn this morning.



Way to start off the semester. #WINNINGSTREAKONFLEEK




I’m so happy my granddaughter CHOSE SFA FOR HER EDUCATION.




DREAM BIGGER LUMBERJACK BASKETBALL FANS packed the William R. Johnson Coliseum Nov. 18, despite the early tip-off time of 8 a.m. The game against the University of Northern Iowa was part of ESPN’s 24-Hour College Hoops TipOff Marathon, which serves as the unofficial opening of the college hoops season. The Lumberjacks played hard but were not able to outlast Northern Iowa and lost in an overtime thriller, 79-77. “I love our team. I love those guys in the locker room and the fight they bring every day,” SFA head coach Brad Underwood said. “We demand a lot from them and never stop working on getting better.”


Brain Trust

SFA athletics and Nacogdoches Medical Center join forces to help keep athletes safe CONCUSSIONS AND THE LIFELONG problems they can cause are a growing concern. A new partnership between SFA’s athletic department and Nacogdoches Medical Center is tackling this issue with cutting-edge technology that aids in the detection of sports-related head injuries. X2 Biosystems, a Seattle-based company, created the user-friendly software now being used by SFA athletics. If a student-athlete is suspected of suffering a head injury during practice or competition, the technology provides the resources to assist in concussion evaluation, management and return-to-play protocols. Nacogdoches Medical Center is donating $7,500 during the next three years to help fund the program. According to Gary Stokes, the hospital’s CEO, the technology is an investment in the well-being of SFA’s studentathletes. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that U.S. emergency rooms treat about 173,285 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries each year,” Stokes said. “Athletes returning to play too soon can face significant risks to their health. This stateof-the-art technology helps keep them safe,” he added. During the past few months, SFA’s approximately 500 student-athletes began taking the test to determine their baseline scores. The test includes a question-and-answer component designed to assess players’ memory recall, as well as a physical module, which yields data points that aid health care providers in evaluating the presence of a head injury. Jeff Smith, SFA’s head athletic trainer, said memory recall questions might include asking the studentathlete to recite the months starting backward with December and giving the player a list of five words and then asking him/her to repeat them. The physical component includes directing the student-athlete to balance on one foot and time how long he/she can stand in the position without resetting. It also records the player’s responses regarding any existing medical issues. The test takes about 10 minutes to complete and provides a baseline symptom score. SFA’s certified athletic trainers administer the tests and record the information using an iPad. Because they are portable, the athletic trainers and team physicians can carry the devices to games and utilize them on the sidelines to provide instant access to each player’s past and present information. “If a student-athlete makes contact with another player or takes a hard fall and a concussion is suspected, the player is immediately taken aside and retested against his or her baseline test,” Smith said. “If the


post-injury symptom score differs from the baseline symptom score, the student-athlete is benched and authorized health care professionals are alerted.” According to Robert Hill, SFA athletics director, the university first heard about the potentially life-saving software from two SFA athletic trainer alumni, who are now serving as assistant athletic trainers in the National Football League. “The NFL, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer have all adopted the X2 Biosystems’ software program to help in the detection of concussions,” Hill said. “Although many pro teams have implemented the software, only a handful of colleges and universities are using it. SFA is the first program in the Southland Conference to implement it. We are thankful we have such great community partners, such as Nacogdoches Medical Center, that allow us to be on the forefront of concussion awareness,” Hill added. More than half of SFA’s student-athletes have been tested and had their baseline scores recorded. Smith said he hopes to have baseline scores logged for all SFA’s athletic rosters by the end of the spring semester. “This technology is important in today’s impact sports because it supports improved outcomes of brain health in our athletes,” Smith said. “The overall improved well-being of our student-athletes is our greatest concern.” – DONNA PARISH

SPRING 2015 13


SFA Teams with ESPN THE RECENT SUCCESSES of SFA’s athletic programs have helped push the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks ahead as top programs in the region. As fans continue to attend the home games and support the teams in person, fans residing outside of Nacogdoches now will have the opportunity to also catch the games live. SFA athletics recently reached an agreement with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, to join as a member of the company’s college initiative. The agreement will enable SFA to live stream all of its home football, soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball games on ESPN3 beginning in fall 2015. In addition, SFA also will be able to produce and televise other live events, including press conferences, National Signing Day and the annual spring football game. “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for the SFA athletic department,” said Robert Hill, SFA’s director of athletics. “It gives us the opportunity to showcase our highly successful Lumberjack and Ladyjack athletic programs on a worldwide level. When you’re browsing the listing of televised games and see schools represented from the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten, and SFA is among the lineup, it’s a big deal for our university,” Hill added. ESPN3 is ESPN’s live, multi-screen, online sports network that delivers thousands of global sporting events around the clock annually. It is available in more than 100 million homes and is offered at no additional cost to fans that receive their Internet or television subscription through an affiliated provider. In addition, fans will have the availability to watch SFA athletics on their mobile devices through the WatchESPN app, expanding the reach of the Lumberjack and Ladyjack athletic programs like never before. With the agreement, SFA becomes the only Southland Conference school to partner with ESPN3 and the fourth FCS program to enter into an agreement. It provides an incredible recruiting tool for the SFA

coaching staffs, giving student-athletes the opportunity to attend SFA and compete on the world’s number one sports platform while also permitting friends and family to follow their student-athlete from any device anywhere in the world. “ESPN is very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with SFA on an integrated school production relationship,” said Brent Colburne, ESPN’s director of college sports programming. “We sincerely appreciate the overall effort and investment from the university and remain committed to assisting SFA in building its production infrastructure and capabilities. We look forward to the first time SFA produces a live event for ESPN3.” Each ESPN3 broadcast will be produced in-house, utilizing the talents and skills of SFA staff members and students. The SFA Board of Regents recently approved funding to build a production studio at William R. Johnson Coliseum, as well as upgrade the technological capabilities to help ensure all broadcasts meet ESPN’s high-definition quality standards. “While being able to feature SFA’s home games live on ESPN3 is a wonderful opportunity for the SFA athletics department, it also provides a number of opportunities for departments across campus,” Hill said. “Students in the radio/television program will be utilized heavily, giving them hands-on opportunities to participate in every aspect of the production, from manning cameras to providing on-air talent.” Hill added that, although it is a significant undertaking to produce high-definition broadcasts for each Lumberjack and Ladyjack home event, it also brings some great opportunities for both the athletic department and the university. SFA’s imprint has been firmly solidified in Texas and the southern United States – now it’s time to take that impact worldwide. – RAND CHAMPION







THE UNIVERSITY’S MEN’S and women’s track and field programs returned to the top of the Southland Conference as both teams won team titles at the 2015 SLC Indoor Championships Feb. 17 in Birmingham, Alabama. The men scored 117 team points to claim the third team indoor title while the women’s squad earned 132.5 points to lift the conference indoor trophy for a league-leading eighth time. The Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks combined to win nine different events en route to the SFA sweep. On the men’s side, Cameron Meyer (pole vault), Charles Mathenge (5,000-meter run), Cass Brown Stewart (400-meter dash) and the 4x400-meter relay team of Brown Stewart, Johnathan Joe, Josh Taylor and My’Lik Kerley all won individual event titles. Demi Payne (pole vault), Shambrail Woods (pentathlon), Brarysheyia Simpson (60-meter dash), Chasity Clark (200-meter dash) and Melai Carter (high jump) all won individual titles for the women during the two-day conference meet.


ALL-AMERICAN RUNNING back Gus Johnson made quite an impression at the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Feb. 17-22. One of only 34 running backs invited to the highly prestigious event, Johnson was able to demonstrate his skills to head coaches, general managers and team representatives from all 32 NFL teams. Johnson participated in seven combine events, ranking second among all running backs with 26 bench-press repetitions at

225 pounds. He also finished in the top 10 among running backs in the vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle and 11th in both the broad jump and three-cone shuttle. The 2014 Southland Conference Player of the Year recorded a time of 4.70 in the 40-yard dash. Johnson is now preparing for the 2015 NFL Draft, which will be held April 30 through May 2 in Chicago.

SFA POLE VAULTER Demi Payne burst onto the national scene during the 2015 Indoor Track and Field season in her first year as a Ladyjack. The senior transfer from Kansas broke the NCAA women’s pole vault record in just her second meet of the year, clearing 4.63 meters at the Texas A&M Team Invitational Jan. 17. Payne then broke her own record not once but twice the following week at the New Mexico Collegiate Open, jumping 4.65 meters and 4.75 meters. She won six consecutive meets to start the season, culminating with a Southland Conference championship Feb. 17. Heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships, Payne owned five of the top six jumps in collegiate history. Her most recent accomplishment adds the title of U.S. champion to her résumé. At the 2015 USA Track and Field Indoor Championships, Payne cleared 4.55 meters to edge out her closest competitor by two inches and claim the gold medal. She has been featured in Sports Illustrated and Spikes Magazine. She also was on the March cover of Track and Field News magazine. Additionally, she made a guest appearance on ESPN radio, and she was honored with three National Athlete of the Week accolades by the USTFCCCA and USATF.

SPRING 2015 15

ROM THE OUTSIDE, the casual observer might not notice anything unusual about the small office tucked away among the regular business operations on the first floor of the Rusk Building on the SFA campus, but a glance inside reveals the roots of an organization stretching back more than a century. Amid countless books and artifacts ranging from antique toys and rusty pieces of history to vintage furniture and a cardboard cutout of John Wayne is the home of an organization with beginnings in the campfires and cowboys of Texas lore.

SPRING 2015 17

In 1909, when noted historian John Lomax went to Harvard University with a lifetime’s knowledge of cowboy tunes and customs learned from the people who lived the iconic Texas lifestyle, he was laying the foundation for what is now the longest-existing, state-based folklore organization – the Texas Folklore Society. And arguably no other organization has done as much to preserve the roots of traditions that people throughout Texas, the Southwest and world know, but don’t have a name for, said Dr. Kenneth Untiedt. “You know about folklore, but you maybe don’t know it by that term,” said Untiedt, a towering former lawman, professor of English and the society’s secretary-editor for the past decade. “People are already interested in folklore. They just don’t know it’s folklore.” The Texas Folklore Society’s mission is to preserve in books, papers and presentations the traditions and customs that make up cultural identity in Texas and the Southwest, all the while keeping it vibrant and alive. This year, the society will publish the 70th edition of its annual book series – this volume being a collection of stories and customs, as well as recipes deriving from foods from all across the state. The society has been responsible for more than a hundred books chronicling the cultural knowledge of Texas and the Southwest, including more than two-dozen single-author publications, Untiedt said. To Frances Vick, those books represent more than just something that put food on her family’s table for years, but a noble endeavor. The SFA alumna had more than a casual role in publishing many of those books. She was a founder and owner of the E-Heart Press, which operated in the late 1970s and took its name from some of her own family’s folklore – their cattle brand from the 1850s. “It’s the most important thing professionally that ever happened to me,” Vick says of her work with the Texas Folklore Society. “I cannot stress enough what the [society] meant to me.” In their own tradition, Vick’s family members are all part of the society, and her son is a member of the board. She is one of only 14 people in the society’s 105-year history to be awarded the position of fellow. “We desperately need to know where we come from – our culture, our values passed down to us from our families,” she said. For someone whose family has long-standing ties to SFA – her father graduated from the university in 1932 – Vick says there is pride in knowing she’s helped spread the university’s name around the world.


Each of the Texas Folklore Society’s publications carries the university’s name stamped somewhere on it, and those publications are resources for folklorists around the globe, Vick and Untiedt agree. The relationship isn’t one sided, though. Untiedt said the university has been a wonderful home for the society since legendary East Texas folklorist and society secretary-editor emeritus Dr. Francis Abernethy relocated it to SFA in 1971. “Once we got here, we were a perfect fit,” Untiedt said. Untiedt added that the overwhelming support of the university, its faculty and staff members, and other regional history and cultural organizations at SFA have allowed the Texas Folklore Society to continue to flourish in its mission. While Texas Folklore Society members like Vick and Untiedt take folklore and their jobs seriously, that doesn’t mean the tall tales, traditions and stories they work with get reduced to dry academic papers. In fact, Texas Folklore Society members will tell you that’s precisely what they avoid during their annual meetings. After all, a full third of the weekend-long conferences are what even the society’s official literature affectionately calls the Hootenanny. When he described what he thought the role of the society should be, Abernethy said it was “to preserve folklore without embalming it … I do not believe that our purpose is to proliferate esoterica and pedantry among a small, specially educated clique.” That’s the spirit of the meeting and Hootenanny, which is as much live music, storytelling and cowboy poetry as it is the presentation of formal papers. That friendly, informal atmosphere is what has attracted some big names to the society over the years, Untiedt said, names like storyteller and official Best Liar in Texas Donna Ingham, Western author Elmer Kelton, who has been voted the best western author of all time, and Texas’ poet laureate Jan Seale. “Everyone should come to a meeting,” Vick said with a laugh. “It’s like a family reunion.” Likewise, Untiedt encourages anyone with an interest to join the Texas Folklore Society and attend one of the meetings. Who knows, you might even walk away with a story for the ages yourself. PHOTOS BY HARDY MEREDITH AND RYAN PERRY

Dr. Kenneth Untiedt, professor of English and the Texas Folklore Society’s current secretary-editor, holds J. Frank Dobie’s hat. Dobie was elected the society’s first secretaryeditor in the 1920s. A photo of Dobie wearing the hat hangs behind Untiedt.

Plants and vegetables bring community together

| it takes a BY SARAH FULLER

N THE LAST Friday morning in January, a line of patrons stood behind SFA’s agriculture building, patiently waiting for their first pick from a variety of freshly harvested produce grown only a short walk away. When the doors of Sprout Garden Market opened, the customers were met with an enthusiastic welcome from Dr. Jared Barnes, SFA assistant professor of horticulture. “Every Friday, we have people come here from all areas of the campus and community,” said Barnes, who also serves as the market’s director. “They interact, and we build relationships with them.” It is the establishment of these connections that guides Barnes and Dawn Stover, SFA Gardens’ research associate, as they expand the SFA Sustainable Community Education Garden. Stover helped establish the garden located along the eastern border of the SFA Intramural Fields along Lanana Creek Trail in 2012. Now known as Sprout, the garden is living up to its name with plant trials and raised beds that are available for rent. The tagline of Sprout is “a garden for tangible growth.” The real growth, however, transcends the obvious reference to germinating seeds and thriving produce. According to Barnes, the garden facilitates personal development by providing SFA students and the surrounding community with an opportunity to engage with plants, work the soil and interact alongside others who share similar interests. In true professorial form, Barnes also takes time to foster intellectual growth among market patrons, sharing the history of certain cultivars available for purchase. Mâche, a mild winter green also known as corn salad, was once a staple forage of European peasants, he explained to a patron while sacking her purchase. Thanks to the abundance of produce generated from the garden and ongoing trials, the market is now open once a week, year-round and offers a unique variety of colorful produce. This fall, Barnes conducted a trial of 15 Swiss chard cultivars, ranging in hues from hunter green to vibrant pink, to determine which varieties are best suited for the region’s fall and winter gardens.


“What we want to do is take all of this trial data and use it to create user-friendly PDFs people can view on their iPad or download,” Barnes said. He added the data would then be made available to local farmers and growers, providing them with solid science upon which to base their future plantings. On campus, Sprout recently partnered with the SFA Hunger Jacks, a student-led organization dedicated to helping alleviate hunger on campus and in the community. As a result of this new partnership, Hunger Jacks now offers Fresh Food Fridays outside of the Baker Pattillo Student Center, providing the donated produce to students for free. Dr. Miranda Terry, assistant professor of kinesiology and health science and Hunger Jacks faculty adviser, said the collaboration provides students with fresh produce that is typically inaccessible on a college budget. Barnes also is incorporating Sprout into his class curriculum. This spring, his herbaceous plants class will help produce cut flowers for the garden market, and during the upcoming fall 2015 semester, his fruit and vegetable production class will focus on growing, marketing and distributing Sprout produce. “You can learn about plants all day long, but it just doesn’t compare to being out here and working,” said Jordan McGee, a senior horticulture major who works for Sprout. Community members also have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of horticulture through Sprout. Retired school superintendent and Nacogdoches resident Charles Bradberry worked steadily over a seed tray as patrons filtered in and out of the final January market. When Bradberry began volunteering with SFA Gardens three years ago, he was a novice. “I’ve gone from someone who didn’t know anything about plants to someone who has built his own greenhouse,” he said. Barnes and Stover plan to establish volunteer Saturdays, providing more opportunities for individuals unable to volunteer during the week. They also hope to create an outdoor classroom environment in the garden area, using informational signage to provide visitors with messages and facts about the produce. “The question is how do you really make the garden something that’s remarkable, memorable and also something people feel invested in?” Barnes asked. “Food and gardening is a way you can connect with others across the community.”

Photos by Robin Johnson

“You can learn about plants all day long, but it just doesn’t compare to being out here and working.” - Jordan McGee, SFA horticulture student

ALUMNI NEWS ’Jacks in Austin

84th Legislative Session

Sawdust is transitioning to a new schedule and will not produce a summer issue. Look for your next issue of Sawdust in fall 2015.


MAKE A GREAT LUMBERJACK? Encourage the student to access

sfasu.edu/go/more-info to complete and submit the online form requesting information about SFA or contact the SFA admissions office. Phone: (936) 468-2504 Email: admissions@sfasu.edu




reat things are happening at SFA! I say that a lot. Not just because it is absolutely true, but also to remind our alumni of the wonderful opportunities SFA provides and to encourage them to reflect on the reasons they chose to become a Lumberjack. As a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for several years, I have had the opportunity to meet SFA alumni all over the state. When I ask alums about their experiences at SFA, regardless of age, there is a common thread in the response: expressions change, wry smiles form, eyes twinkle, and I hear fantastic stories of their time on campus. The stories include rich tales that only happen in college, both academic and social. And then the stories so often take the same twist at the end with the alum saying, “I have not been back on campus since graduation.” Can you relate? If so, we need to change that! Gather your college friends and return to Nacogdoches. The Alumni Association can help plan your reunion, and our fabulous staff will give your group a tour. The campus is more beautiful than ever. Fear not, the Old Stone Fort, Surfin’ Steve and most of the buildings you have college memories of remain. But you also will see buildings from recent years such as the beautiful Baker Pattillo Student Center, the state-of-the-art Student Recreation Center, and new dorms like Lumberjack Landing, Lumberjack Lodge, and Lumberjack Village. The nostalgia-filled tours often end with the expression we so often hear: “Wow, I wish we had these facilities when I was in school.” But the great things happening at SFA are not limited to buildings. Great academic experiences are happening at SFA, right now, inside those buildings. Current SFA students have opportunities that students at other universities just don’t get. Let me give one example. Through the Nelson Rusche College of Business, the Mast Student Investment Roundtable offers SFA business majors hands-on experience in managing an equity portfolio of more than $500,000 of real money provided by the SFA Alumni Foundation and the SFASU Foundation. The students analyze and select stocks, make investment decisions, and present their results according to industry standards. One fund that began with a $100,000 initial investment now has a current market value of more than $198,000. That result is impressive by any standard! Only a few programs such as this are available to undergraduates in our country. What a tremendous opportunity for SFA students. Great things are happening at SFA! Come back and let us show you. And until then, keep up with SFA on social media. “Like” the SFA Alumni Association on Facebook. “Follow” SFA Alumni on Twitter. We want you to know what is happening at your great school, Stephen F. Austin State University.

Great things are happening at SFA! Come back and let us show you.

Axe ’em, Jacks!

SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Karen Gantt ’95, McKinney president David Madrid ’02, Bossier City, Louisiana president-elect Curtis Sparks ’85, Tyler past president ASSOCIATION BOARD Charlotte Ashcraft ’80, Nacogdoches Don Cox ’71 & ’76, Nacogdoches Jeremy Cleverly ’98, Mansfield Robin Dawley ’77, Nacogdoches Bob Francis ’78, Bullard Mike Harbordt ’63, Nacogdoches Doris Havard, Nacogdoches James Hawkins ’83, Silsbee Ron Hunt ’91 & ’94, McKinney Bruce Mayberry II ’08, Nacogdoches Justin McFaul ’04, Gilmer Phillip Scherrer ’99, Frisco Erika Tolar ’02, Spring Steve Whitbeck ’75, Nacogdoches Bob Williams ’70, Dallas Chris Woelfel ’95, Kingwood SFA ALUMNI FOUNDATION GOVERNORS Bill Roberds ’75, Dallas - Chairman Wendy Buchanan ’85, Nacogdoches Lewie Byers ’68, Rusk Ford “Sparky” Cartwright ’69, Lufkin Rick Couvillon ’85, Houston Shirley Crawford ’58 & ’70, Henderson Karen Gantt ’95, McKinney Stephen Greak ’92, Lufkin James Hamilton ’77, Porter ASSOCIATION STAFF Craig Turnage ’00 & ’05 executive director of alumni relations Jennifer Sowell assistant to the executive director Heather Hawkins ’00 assistant director of alumni relations Samantha Mora ’08 director of events and engagement

Karen Gregory Gantt ’95 – McKinney, Texas President, SFA Alumni Association

Alicia Roland Chatman gifts and records specialist Amie Morton ’09 & ’11 scholarship coordinator Derek Snyder ’01 communications and marketing coordinator Hannah Franks ’13 accountant

SPRING 2015 25

A Nobel



SPRING 2015 27

N THE MID-1980S, PEOPLE BEGAN TO NOTICE THE CHANGE IN CLIMATE. AS THE TEMPERATURES STARTED TO RISE, SO DID MANY SCIENTISTS’ CURIOSITY ABOUT HOW HUMANS AND NATURAL SYSTEMS MIGHT BE EXACERBATING THIS SHIFT. THAT’S WHEN DR. VIRGINIA BURKETT ’96 BEGAN READING AS MUCH AS SHE COULD ON THE SUBJECT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE CAUSE-AND-EFFECT RELATIONSHIP AND WHAT COULD BE DONE TO ALTER ITS CONSEQUENCES. Burkett said growing up in Biloxi, Mississippi, a high school marine biology teacher kindled her love of science. “I still remember the scientific names of all the fishes and invertebrates we’d catch in our seines during field trips to the marshes and barrier islands,” she said. “I simply could not get enough of the coast.” After completing her bachelor’s degree in zoology and master’s degree in botany, Burkett worked for the Louisiana Sea Grant Program studying the rapid rates of coastal erosion and forest loss. Her first publication documented the inland migration of oyster-growing areas in coastal Louisiana and the effects of the increasing salinity on these filter-feeding mollusks. Burkett later continued her education. She said at age 46, she didn’t think a doctoral degree would make a difference in her career. But with encouragement from co-workers, Burkett decided to pursue it and earned her Ph.D. in forestry from SFA in 1996. She said doing so opened doors for her to work internationally as a scientist.


In 2007, Burkett was among the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Nobel Peace Prizewinning fourth assessment report. Many scientists and policymakers credit this report with being the catalyst for environmental change worldwide. She also has received dozens of additional awards for her work, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award for Science and the President’s Public Service Award from The Nature Conservancy. Currently, Burkett is the acting associate director for climate change and land use for the U.S. Geological Survey, the nation’s largest water, Earth, and biological science and civilian-mapping agency. Its employees collect, monitor, analyze and promote scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues and problems. During the past two decades, Burkett has experienced a remarkable career, including stints as USGS chief scientist for climate and land use change; chief of the Forest Ecology Branch at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center; secretary/director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; acting director of the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program; and assistant director of the Louisiana Geological Survey. Her expertise in coastal wetlands and estuaries led to her first nomination in 1998 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to serve as a lead author of an international climate assessment. Since then, Burkett has served as lead author on the United Nations IPCC’s third, fourth and fifth assessment reports and the IPCC Technical Paper on Water, as well as all three U.S. National Climate Assessments. She also is a senior editor of the journal Regional Environmental Change and serves on the editorial board of another, Ethics in Science and Environmental Policy. Additionally, she has been appointed to more than 60 commissions, committees, science panels and boards. Her research and publications have focused on climate change, sea-level rise and impacts to coastal communities and ecosystems. Burkett said her job is to examine the known effects and relationships of climate change on U.S. coasts and clearly communicate those impacts to the public and private sectors. “Dr. Burkett’s expertise ranges from traditional biological themes earlier in her career to her present focus on climate science,” said Dr. Charles Groat, president and chief executive

officer of The Water Institute for the Gulf and former director of the USGS. “Virginia vigorously delves into research topics and effectively communicates what she has learned to stakeholders. I believe her success has been substantially underpinned by her communication and people skills, supported by her intelligence and hard work,” Groat added. According to Burkett, the coastal areas have long provided communities with a multitude of benefits, including food, transportation, beaches, harbors for commerce, and wetlands and estuaries that are critical for fisheries and water resources. She added that because 35 U.S. states, commonwealths and territories have coastlines that border the oceans or Great Lakes, impacts to our coastline systems reverberate throughout our economic, social and natural systems. Burkett oversees the work of several hundred scientists, technicians and support staff from USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia. She also occasionally works from an office in her hometown of Many, Louisiana, where she and her husband, Don, built a home on 80 acres of managed mixed pine and hardwood forests. “Don and I have been married 23 years,” she said. “He is the longest-serving district attorney in Louisiana—he just celebrated his 30th year. We met when I was serving as the secretary/director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. I felt more should be done to prosecute fishing and hunting violators. I went to see Don and pleaded my case. I guess I made an impression.” Further illustrating Burkett’s commitment to preserving the environment, she, Don and their two sons built their home utilizing a variety of recycled materials, including bricks, pine beams and flooring. Although their sons are now grown and have homes of their own, two grandchildren often visit the Burketts and have inherited their grandmother’s love of the outdoors. When she’s home, Burkett’s family likes to gather, put on their boots and take long hikes at the home place, exploring creek beds, ponds and observing wildlife.

“At school, my 8-year-old granddaughter was given a homework assignment to use two vocabulary words– conservation and erosion – in a sentence,” Burkett said. “Her mother was looking over the homework and called to read me what Elliana had written, ‘My grandma is a scientist. There is erosion on the coast, and she is trying to save it through conservation,’” Burkett said. “That statement tops the list of my achievements – even an association with the Nobel Prize.”

t school, my 8-year-old granddaughter was given a homework assignment to use two vocabulary words—conservation and erosion— in a sentence. Her mother was looking over the homework and called to read me what Elliana had written, ‘My grandma is a scientist. There is erosion on the coast, and she is trying to save it through conservation.’ “That statement tops the list of my achievements—even an association with the Nobel Prize.” – DR. VIRGINIA BURKETT ’96





Chad Huckaby of Nacogdoches and Sabrina Wallace of Deer Park have been chosen for the 2015 Mr. and Miss SFA Award. The pair were honored during halftime of the SFA men’s basketball game against Houston Baptist University Feb. 7. The Mr. SFA Award was established in honor of the late Stan McKewen, a 1934 SFA graduate. The Arnodean Covin Miss SFA Award honors the SFA alumna who was named Miss SFA in 1940, 1941 and 1942. Huckaby, recipient of the Stan McKewen Mr. SFA Award, is a senior mathematics major. A 2011 graduate of Martinsville High School, he is the son of Tim and Monaca Huckaby of Nacogdoches. Huckaby is president of the SFA Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, and serves on ODK’s national membership committee and the inaugural national Student Advisory Board. In addition to serving as a supplemental instructor in SFA’s Academic Assistance and Resource Center, Huckaby has participated in the SFA School of Honors and the SFA Litterbug program. Huckaby serves as pianist for the Martinsville Baptist Church and leads worship services at a local nursing home. He has received the Citizens 1st Bank NOBLE Scholarship since 2011. A recipient of the Who’s Who Among Students in America Universities and Colleges award, Huckaby plans to enroll in a master’s degree program at SFA after graduation. “Mr. SFA should be hardworking and intelligent,” said Dr. Lee W. Payne, associate professor of political science. “Chad fulfills both of these requirements very well. I know from many conversations with Chad that he is a diehard Lumberjack who bleeds purple.”

Wallace, a 2011 graduate of Deer Park High School, is a senior health science major and recipient of the Arnodean Covin Miss SFA Award. She is the daughter of Paulette Baker and Robert Wallace of Deer Park. Through her service as an involvement adviser and as executive director of the Involvement Center, Wallace has assisted students seeking to become involved in SFA organizations. She served as secretary and president of the Traditions Council, as a Jack Camp counselor to incoming first-year students, and as an orientation leader. She received the 2011 Traditions Council Female Member of the Year Award and the SFA Way Award in 2014 for exemplifying and living SFA’s honor code during every aspect of her daily life. “We encourage our student leaders to leave a legacy during their time at SFA, and Sabrina has truly strived to do so,” said Lacey Claver, assistant director of student engagement. The Mr. and Miss SFA titles are awarded each year by the SFA Alumni Association to exemplary students who well represent and promote the university. Recipients are selected based on their scholarship, participation and leadership in academic and co-curricular activities, citizenship, and service and loyalty to the university. Selections are made by a committee of faculty and staff members, community leaders, and alumni.

Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president, and Karen Gregory Gantt, president of the SFA Alumni Association, present the Mr. and Miss SFA Award to Chad Huckaby and Sabrina Wallace during halftime of the SFA men’s basketball game against Houston Baptist University Feb. 7.

Tell us what you think.

As part of our continuous effort to improve Sawdust, we are conducting an online survey to gain information about the magazine and its readers. Thank you for helping make Sawdust a better publication.

sfasu.edu/sawdust/survey 30 SAWDUST



Joel Wilson ’94 Founder, Clarity Fragrances


HEN JOEL WILSON began working on one of his organic chemistry exams, he had no clue that much more than his semester grade hung in the balance. His performance on this exam would change his future and set the course for his career. “The professor had unlabeled vials that contained different chemicals, and we each had to choose a vial, run tests and use abstracts in the library to find out what the chemical was. I had run the tests and was in the library when I opened the vial and noticed a familiar odor. I kept thinking to myself, ‘What is this smell?’ I probed my memories until I realized it was maraschino cherries!” Wilson said he went to the big, unabridged dictionary that, at that time, was right beside the elevators in the library. He looked up maraschino cherries, and it referenced bitter almond oil. So, he looked up bitter almond oil, and there it was: Benzaldehyde – the major aromatic chemical found in almond oil, which is used as a flavoring for maraschino cherries. After confirming all the data, the Pittsburg, Texas, native had the answer needed for his exam, but he also had something equally valuable. “I told that story to the first perfumer I interviewed with, and I always felt like that story helped me get the job.” Wilson didn’t intend to become a perfumer after earning his biology degree from SFA in 1994, but after accepting the position in the perfumer’s lab, he began to learn the craft and grew to love it. He later founded Clarity Fragrances in Houston with three partners, providing fragrances for household items like candles, potpourri and reed diffusers, as well as scents for personal care items like shampoo and wet wipes. The range of products even extends to fragrances that control pet orders and scents that negate the kerosene odor from Tiki torch lamp fuel. “A perfumer’s job is to compose a formula that will be aesthetically pleasing, as well as function properly in the product. We might be asked to create a scent that makes a candle smell exactly like a gardenia, but we also have to make sure the flame doesn’t go out, that it doesn’t create excessive smoke, and that the fragrance doesn’t change after the candle has been burned a few times.” A lab inside the Clarity company headquarters contains more than 300 ingredients from which the perfumers choose, and additional ingredients are continually added. Standing among the five-gallon buckets and 55-gallon drums found in the Clarity warehouse space, Wilson could be mistaken for someone about to appear in an episode of the television series Breaking Bad.

“Customers may order 25 pounds, which is a five-gallon bucket, to a drum or several drums. Every fragrance we make that doesn’t sell initially goes to our library. Then, when we have a project that doesn’t require that a new fragrance be composed, we can find a fragrance in the library that meets the requirements of the project – pricewise and in terms of aesthetics and functionality. We add about 1,000 fragrances a year to our library.” Wilson said his favorite materials to work with are natural ones, but some are harder to obtain than others. He has created a replication for East Indian sandalwood oil, which he says is almost impossible to get. Because the Clarity laboratory spaces already are so fragrant, one might wonder how the perfumers are able to distinguish a scent from one particular vial. “Your brain compensates for background odor; it’s an evolutionary response,” Wilson explained. Although the background “noise” of so many fragrances is not a problem for Wilson’s nose, the large number of choices can become overwhelming. “Every morning, we each pick five ingredients and smell and talk about them. You have to do that to keep your mind fresh. There are just so many that it’s easy to get locked into just your favorites, and they become the ones you always go to.” Wilson says ideas for fragrances can be inspired by music, movies or even a walk in the woods. “Of the five senses, the sense of smell is the one most related to your memory and emotions. When you smell a certain scent, it can take you back to a place instantly – not only from a memory standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint as well.” While perfumers who create the fine fragrances sold in department stores typically work in New York City with almost unlimited resources at their disposal, Wilson said he enjoys this work as well. “The fine fragrance work we do is primarily for smaller boutiques whose owners want to develop a specialty fragrance. It’s not a major part of our business, but it’s my favorite kind of project.” After 20 years in the industry, Wilson said he still is never bored by the work he does. “You can combine something you’ve smelled for years and add just one other ingredient to change it to something completely new. Perfume materials are funny things – the way they combine can produce unexpected results. That’s why every day is a discovery, and it will never end.” – DR. SHIRLEY LUNA

SPRING 2015 31

By Rachel Clark

MANUFACTURING MAVERICKS Three generations contribute to Priefert family’s business success




Kneeling left to right: Nate, Bill ’70 and Eddie Priefert Standing: Travis Priefert

SPRING 2015 33


T THE AGE of 12, William “Bill” Priefert ’70 remembers relocating with his family from Nebraska to McAllen, Texas, to grow oranges. The Prieferts bought a grove that was ultimately destroyed by a winter freeze just days after the purchase. Later, the family moved again. This time, they settled in the cattle-raising and farming community of Mount Pleasant. Priefert recalled that it was an “amazing picture” to watch neighbors work cattle with just a post and rope. However, being the innovator he was, Priefert’s father, Marvin, set out to invent a device that would help safely secure the cattle. The invention ultimately changed the cattle industry and secured the family’s future. “My father invented the first head gate in 1964,” Priefert said. “The price was $38, and we would deliver three at a time to some of the local veterinarian practices and feed stores. We could even ship a head gate to Oregon for about $15 or $20 more.” Already a somewhat-seasoned farmhand, Priefert recalled driving the family’s bulldozer and combine around the homestead at age 3 with his uncle’s supervision. As a sophomore in high school, Priefert continued working alongside his father, further developing his skills and learning the tricks of the trade. In the company’s early years, Priefert said his father would drink coffee each morning while mentally designing equipment before heading out to the workshop – a dirt-floored, one-room structure. “My dad would think about how to make a piece of equipment better and then do it,” Priefert said. Marvin’s inquisitive spirit, along with discipline and common sense, were passed down to his son and served as the driving force behind Bill broadening his knowledge and attending Stephen F. Austin State University. While at SFA, Bill attended classes Monday through Thursday before heading back to Mount Pleasant Friday mornings to help


with the family business. During his time on campus, he enlisted in the Navy Reserves and took part in weekly drills in Lufkin. He graduated from the university in 1970 with his Bachelor of Business Management and a minor in economics. Following graduation, he returned home and picked up where he left off – working together with his father. Priefert later took on the role of managing the purchasing, sales and equipment production. Overall, the early 1970s marked tough times for those working in the cattle industry. However, Bill and his father were undaunted. They looked at the cattle market crash as an opportunity to diversify and grow the business. The pair once again initiated change by working to improve products and equipment utilized by poultry, equine and caninerelated businesses and even expanded their offerings to include rodeo merchandise. Today, Bill’s three sons, Eddie, Nate and Travis, have maintained the pioneer, can-do spirit that started with Marvin and continued with Bill. “We’re serious about our products, and we know what it takes to get past all the weak spots,” Priefert said. Working to this advantage, the Prieferts test their equipment prototypes on the family’s ranch before taking them forward to production. The business attracts dealers from around the globe who attend national and regional shows to review and purchase equipment from Priefert’s product line. After Marvin died in 1988, Bill became the company’s president. During the 1990s, Priefert Manufacturing witnessed tremendous growth and even set an industry standard when it switched from the traditionally accepted painting of equipment to power coating it instead. In 2005, Bill stepped down as president, but he remains owner and CEO. His oldest son, Eddie, assumed the role of president. With the help of his brothers, Eddie continues to move the company forward. What began as one man’s vision in 1964 has today grown into an empire with more than 800 employees, a one million squarefoot production facility, a trucking and brokerage firm, a custom equipment design division, and a product inventory that includes about 1,000 items. “Our motto has now grown to include a diverse product line,” Eddie said. “And it all originated from my grandfather’s and father’s ingenuity, integrity, honesty and incredibly dedicated work ethic.”

“We’re serious about our products, and we know what it takes to get past all the weak spots.” – Bill Priefert ’70

Photos courtesy of Priefert Manufacturing

SPRING 2015 35

ALUMNI NEWS ETA TAU Sigma Chi 40th Anniversary Reunion Golf Tournament April 10-12

2015 TKE Nu-Xi Alumni Weekend Golf Tournament April 10-11

Sigma Tau Gamma Gamma Pi Alumni Golf Tournament April 18

21st Annual Robert D. Dickerson Memorial Golf Tournament April 25-26

To register and for more detailed information, visit

To register and for more detailed information, visit

To register and for more detailed information, visit

To register and for more detailed information, visit

www.sfaalumni.com/event/ SigmaChi40

www.sfaalumni.com/event/ TKE2015

www.sfaalumni.com/event/ SigTau2015

www.sfaalumni.com/event/ Dickerson2015

Save-the-Date THURSday

April 9, 2015 5:30 - 9 p.m.

4th annual

woodlands crawfish boil

Don’t miss the silent auction benefiting The Woodlands Area Scholarship!

wings N More 36 SAWDUST

16580 I-45 South Conroe, Texas 77384

Cost TBD






SFA ALUMNI LUNCHEON Speaker: Dr. Kim Childs Noon, Traditions Restaurant, Tyler






SFA ALUMNI NIGHT AT TEXAS RANGERS VS. HOUSTON ASTROS 7:05 p.m. Post-Game Fireworks Show Globe Life Park, Arlington


THE WOODLANDS AREA NETWORK 4TH ANNUAL CRAWFISH BOIL 5:30 – 9 p.m. $30 - $35 at door Includes all-you-can-eat crawfish and fixins’ and two beverage tickets, Wings-N-More, The Woodlands



TAG MEMBER COOKOUT WITH THE DEANS Noon Tracie D. Pearman Alumni Center, Nacogdoches













SFA MEMBER DAY AT THE SFA BASEBALL FIELD SFA vs. Abilene Christian 2 p.m. Jaycees Field, Nacogdoches


Friday BIG DIP SPRING CEREMONY 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nacogdoches




SENIOR SEND-OFF 5:30 - 7 p.m. Location TBD, Nacogdoches



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

SPRING 2015 37



supports students studying in the James I. Perkins College of Education. This scholarship was endowed in memory of the couple, who resided in Galena Park. W.B. “Bill” was a 1942 graduate of SFA and served in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II. At the end of the war, Bill returned to Cushing and taught school for two years before attending Bates School of Law at the University of Houston. The couple has three children: Michael, Whit and Penny (Irwin) Spencer. The W.B. and Erlean Irwin Scholarship will be awarded to students who major in elementary education. Recipients must maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average.


established to support graduate students studying in the James I. Perkins College of Education. Moses, a resident of Longview, died April 17, 2014. Moses attended North Texas State University where he received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education. He served as a teacher, coach and principal for the Judson School District and earned tenure as a high school principal at Garland High School. Moses served as a professor and department chair in the College of Education at SFA. Following his retirement from the university, he was named professor emeritus. Moses is survived by two sons: Dr. Mike Moses, a 1974 and 1975 SFA graduate, and his wife Debi of Dallas, and Monte Moses, a 1976 and 1977 SFA graduate, and wife Kathy of Englewood, Colorado. The Dr. Morgan Moses Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to graduate students pursing a degree in education administration. Recipients must maintain at least a 2.5 gradepoint average.


to deserving undergraduate students who are attending the university. The Smiths grew up in rural DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, and graduated from Oak Grove High School. Alma attended Louisiana State Normal College where she received her teaching certificate and taught in public school. Auren attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Oklahoma where he took courses relating to his profession in the energy field. The couple married in 1928 and started a family. All three of their children received degrees from SFA. Their daughter, Janyce Smith Brannon, a retired CPA and 1957 and 1959 SFA graduate, endowed this scholarship in loving memory of her parents.


to support students majoring in mass communication and/ or art. This scholarship was endowed in honor of the former SFA director of student publications by past students and friends of The Pine Log. Spence earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1968 and a Master of Arts in communication from SFA in 1987. During the time between her degrees, she worked in the newspaper and public relations industries. Serving almost 30 years as the director and adviser of The Pine Log, Spence retired from SFA in 2014. The Pat Spence Scholarship for The Pine Log will be awarded to students majoring in mass communication and/or art with an emphasis in photography and ad design. Recipients must maintain at least a 2.0 gradepoint average.

Your gift to support SFA students secures educational opportunities for generations of future Lumberjacks. Contact us to create your legacy today. SFA 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 Website: sfaalumni.com | Email: alumni@sfasu.edu


CLASS NOTES DR. JOHN P. ERWIN III ’88 of Hillsboro has been elected to serve on the Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology as the ACC Governor of Texas. He will concurrently serve as the president of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. In his position as a member of the Board of Governors, Erwin will join other elected governors from across the country to facilitate communication between college leaders and their members in the state they represent. Additionally, he will provide input from the Texas cardiology community to the college on issues related to legislative and regulatory concerns, practice needs and needs to help members improve patient care. As the Texas chapter president, he also will serve as the voice of the Texas cardiology community when advising local and state government officials, media and other professional organizations on issues related to cardiovascular disease. Erwin will work with the Texas chapter members to provide education, quality improvement activities and avenues to influence legislative and regulatory issues affecting the practice of cardiology and quality patient care. After attending SFA on a football scholarship, Erwin was a scholarship graduate and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society member at Texas A&M University College of Medicine. He performed his internal medicine residency and cardiovascular fellowship training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He has been in the clinical practice of cardiology at Baylor Scott & White Health/Texas A&M College of Medicine since 1998, serving as a leader in the Cardiology Fellowship Program, as well as multiple quality improvement initiatives on the local, state, national and international levels. In addition to his clinical practice, Erwin serves as associate professor and vice chair of the department of internal medicine and as the assistant dean for continuing medical education.



Dr. Todd Holzaepfel ’70 of Newark, vice president of Fort Worth Incorporated, retired after 30 years of service. David Stroud ’72 was the Kilgore College Veterans’ Appreciation Celebration guest speaker.

Cushing High School honored Coaches John A. “Archie” Denny ’52 and Robert Sides ’69, both of Cushing, with the naming of the Denny-Sides Coliseum. Overton ISD dedicated the Wall of Honor to Bill Davis ’54, former student, teacher and superintendent of OISD. Grady Kyle ’58 of Beckville was inducted into the Carthage Bulldog Band Alumni Ring of Honor.


Bob Sitton ’60 of Nacogdoches is a Salvation Army volunteer in the East Texas area.

Dr. Linda Henrie ’76 of Mesquite will retire as Mesquite ISD superintendent. Dr. Paul Patrick ’76 of Arlington is an anatomy and physiology instructor and head of CPR at Arlington Medical Institute. Cynthia Griffith ’77 of Peachtree City, Georgia, vice president for instruction for technical education at Blinn College, retired with 30 years of service.


Randy King ’80 of Spring is partner at Porter Hedges LLP. Scott Thompson ’80 of Tulsa, Oklahoma serves on the board of directors for the Ashbury Automotive Group. Mark and Judy Cook ’81 of The Woodlands gave a $150,000 gift to the Jacksonville Education Foundation. Dr. Sherilyn R. Emberton ’81 of Longview was inducted into the Carthage ISD Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

William Myers ’73 of Santa Monica, California, produced an award-winning film that received Best Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. Sherry Baker ’74 is principal of Wildwood Elementary in the Tomball ISD.

LUMBERJACKS MAKE GREAT FRIENDS Left to right: Margie West, Gordon Small ’68 & ’81, Lyle Red ’68 and Tommy Ledbetter. These SFA alumni and friends enjoy gathering daily in Fairfield to share their fond memories of Nacogdoches.

SPRING 2015 39


SFA Board of Regents member from Tyler, JOHN R. “BOB” GARRETT, received the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award presented by the East Texas Area Council Boy Scouts of America. The award is annually presented to an individual, couple or family who has made a significant impact toward enriching the way of life in East Texas. Garrett is president and CEO of Fair Oil Company. He also is a real estate developer who has served as president of both the Tyler Area Builders Association and the Texas Association of Builders. Long active in civic affairs, Garrett serves as vice president of the R.W. Fair Foundation, which awards grants to organizations engaged in culture and the arts, community improvement, health and human services, education, medical research and mental health, recreation, religion, youth activities, and other related causes. He also serves on the Salvation Army Development Board, the Tyler Economic Development Council and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. Additionally, Garrett is a member of the board of directors of both Southside Bank and the T.B. Butler Publishing Co. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from SFA in 1975 and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Tyler, where he was named a Distinguished Alumni. Garrett has been a member of SFA’s Board of Regents for eight years, having been appointed twice by the governor. He served as chair of the board from 2011-13. Rusty Brockman ’83 of New Braunfels is vice chair for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors. Karen L. Hawkins ’86 of Sachse is CEO for the Optex Organization. Rick McDaniel ’86 is superintendent for McKinney ISD.


Terri Cyphers ’87 of Katy, Spring Forest Middle School’s Student Council adviser, was named the Texas Association of Student Council’s Middle Level Adviser of the Year. David Lang ’87 of San Diego, California is vice chair of the Bastyr University Board of Trustees. Sherri McElyea ’87 is president of the United States Credit Union in Tyler and also serves as the vice president for the Tyler Chapter of Credit Unions. Mark Griffin ’88 of San Antonio is vice president of sales and marketing for Food Safety Net Services.

Aureka Sanders ’99 of DeSoto serves on the Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council. Steven Shugart ’99 of Keller is president of the government services business for GardaWorld.


Jason Hardin ’00 of Oakwood, upland game and bird specialist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, was the Second-Saturday presenter at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. Amber M. Dawson ’01 of Conroe is the district sales manager for Galderma Laboratories. Alesha Williams ’01 of Tyler was honored among this year’s “Women in Tyler.”

John England ’89 of Houston is a finance partner at Deloitte LLP.


Dr. Stephen Lias ’91, associate director and professor of composition in the SFA School of Music, was a jury coordinator for the 2014 ISCM Young Composer’s Award in Poland. Michael Greer ’93 of Friendswood is the airport manager for Aransas County. James L. Simmons ’95 of Crandall is vice president, general counsel and secretary of Kraton Performance Polymers. Jamie Wisneski ’96 of Frisco is principal of Pearson Middle School. Blake Ladd ’98 was inducted into Sulphur Springs High School’s Wildcat Hall of Honor.

Krystal Lucero ’05 of Austin is a candidate for the 2015 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign. Candidates who raise the most funds during the campaign will be awarded the title of the chapter’s Woman of the Year.


Jenna Armstrong ’02 of Humble is the chamber president for the Lake Houston Area.

Johnny Cook ’07 of Nacogdoches is territory sales manager for MODO Eyewear.

Laura McCall ’02 and Leland Lacy of San Angelo announce the birth of their son Luke McCall.

Devin Greer ’07 of Spring received the 2014 Northwestern Mutual Top Producer Emerald Award.

The Texas Council of Professors of Educational Leadership named Dr. Vance Vaughn ’02 of Athens Researcher of the Year.

Faye Austin ’09 of Fort Worth played the character May in Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanity Council’s Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. Bobby Messer ’09 of Longview is district sales manager for Kimray Inc.

Brooke Cooley ’03 of Lufkin is a teacher for the Teach for America Organization. Elaine Howard ’04 of Spring Branch is the district chief human resources officer for Hays Consolidated ISD. Jamie Bouldin ’05 of Nacogdoches is an academic adviser for the SFA Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Kara Sewell ’05 of Cincinatti, Ohio, is a news anchor for FOX19 NOW.

Quinten Boyd ’07 of Naples is managing editor for the Cherokeean Herald.

Andy Collins ’12 of Nacogdoches is the coordinator of athletic operations for SFA. Terra Walker ’13 of Jefferson, community educator for Healthcare Express, was inducted as a Rotarian for Marshall’s Rotary Club.

LIFE MEMBERS The SFA Alumni Association would like to thank the following alumni who recently became life members. We appreciate your support.

7980. Erik A. Steen ’96, Conroe 7981. Angela R. Steen ’10, Conroe

Brian Sullivan ’09 of Austin, former SFA student body president, is associate general counsel for the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association.


Sean Fields ’10 is the athletic trainer for the Hickory Crawdads minor league baseball team in North Carolina. Schyler Magdziak ’11 of Palestine works for Shelby Savings Bank.

7982. Preston L. Blevins ’08, Nacogdoches 7983. Kathryn L. Blevins ’04 & ’07, Nacogdoches 7984. Robert L. Key V ’14, Houston 7985. James T. Pennington ’94, Richardson 7986. David Rangel ’02 & ’04, Longview 7987. Tara M. Rangel ’02 & ’04, Longview 7988. Kirk Travis Turner ’05 & ’11, Nacogdoches 7990. Chad Huckaby ’15, Martinsville 7991. Sabrina L. Wallace ’15, Deer Park 7992. Gary R. Hegar ’81, Longview 7993. Jaclyn N. Partin ’08 & ’14, Nacogdoches 7994. Dustin L. Taliaferro ’14, Fort Worth 7995. Melissa J. France ’08, Bossier City, Louisiana 7996. Sara K. Saxon ’14, Seabrook

Elliott ’06 and Katie Soeder ’05 of Houston announce the birth of their son Knox Soeder on Dec. 11.

SPRING 2015 41

IN MEMORIAM Steve “Bird” Abrahams ’72 of Brookeland, Nov. 23, 2014

Reagan M. Walter ’92 of Houston, Dec. 14, 2014

Marilyn Barton ’53 of Nacogdoches, Nov. 22, 2014

Fred D. Webb II ’12 of Dallas, Dec. 1, 2014

Charles Eugene Boozer ’49 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 10

Cathy Ann Carter White ’00 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 7, 2014

Melissa Emily Koziolek Briscoe ’92 of Arlington, Jan. 8

M. Carroll Whitener ’52 of Lebanon, Tennessee, Dec. 9, 2014

Doris A. Buford ’58 & ’63 of Conroe, Jan. 1 Billy R. Callaway ’54 of Gladewater, Nov. 11, 2014 Brownie Colvin of Nacogdoches, Nov. 13, 2014 Cary Harrott Copeland ’63 & ’65 of Carthage, Nov. 30, 2014 Joe Charles Daniel ’59 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 27, 2014 Sarah Gretel Davis ’50 & ’55 of Whitehouse, Dec. 2, 2014 Traneka M. Davis ’02 of Houston, Dec. 31, 2014 Dr. James “Jim” Dixon of Houston, Jan. 10 George H. Fitch ’57 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 5 James Price Gray ’69 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 16, 2014 Laura Harriet Hall ’67 of White Oak, Nov. 14, 2014 Martha-Carol Thavenius Jacobson ’73 of Arlington, Dec. 22, 2014 Dr. Thomas M. Jacobson of Nacogdoches, friend of SFA, Dec. 23, 2014 Larry K. James ’52 of Longview, Dec. 1, 2014 Claire Laird ’48 of Kilgore, Nov. 2, 2014 John S. LaMarr ’81 of San Antonio, Dec. 15, 2014 Lula M. Lay of Nacogdoches, friend of SFA, Dec. 26, 2014 Yvonne Leediker ’43 of Hemphill, Jan. 19 Michael Ray McDaniel ’95 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 5, 2014 Lacey D. Mims III ’74 of Sachse, Jan. 3 Dr. Bennat Curtis Mullen of Nacogdoches, former professor, Nov. 8, 2014 Lois C. Newton ’42 & ’61 of Jacksonville, Jan. 2 Dr. Olin Newton of Nacogdoches, former professor, Dec. 15, 2014 Mary R. Overton ’73 of San Antonio, Nov. 10, 2014 Keith Pannell ’75 of Longview, Nov. 14, 2014 William Michael “Mike” Parham ’74 of Bulverde, Nov. 18, 2014

Thomas Gilbert Evans ’56 & ’59 died Jan. 26. Evans was born Sept. 13, 1934, in Longview, to Gurris Roscoe Evans and Alma Cozette Rodgers Evans. He attended Hawkins High School, where he lettered four years in four sports: football, basketball, track and baseball. Sports gave Evans the opportunity to pursue a college degree. He attended Tyler Junior College for two years on an athletic scholarship as a punter and tight end for the Apaches. In 1954, Evans came to SFA on another athletic scholarship as a tight end for the Lumberjacks. While attending SFA, he was a three-year letterman, named First Team All-Conference and drafted by the Baltimore Colts. However, Evans met the love of his life, Carolyn Jo White, and they married May 28, 1955. Evans remained at SFA and later earned his master’s degree in education. In 1960, Evans began T.G. Evans Construction Company. In his 35-year career, Evans built or remodeled many churches, schools, community centers, dormitories and office complexes throughout East Texas, including Nacogdoches High School’s Dragon Stadium and the Stephen F. Austin statue on SFA’s campus. One of Evans’ most notable SFA building restorations was Gibbs Hall, which was originally built by Evans’ father-in-law. Evans was an avid supporter of the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks. He was inducted into the SFA Athletic Hall of Fame, a member of the ’Jacks of Honor, a Life Member of the SFA Alumni Association and twotime president of the Letterman’s Association. He also was a member of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club, where he served as past president and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award. Evans was a member of the First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches.

Mark L. Ragusa ’85 of Houston, Dec. 4, 2014 Shari Horton Ratliff ’80 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 10 Mary Kyle Underwood Ritchey ’64 of Mason, Dec. 13, 2014 LaVerne Sharp ’85 of Jacksonville, Jan. 6 Geraldine K. Shelton ’67 of San Antonio, Nov. 27, 2014 Alan Hastings Shumate ’73 of Tyler, Nov. 1, 2014 James Leon Smith of Nacogdoches, Jan. 5 Norris Edward Smith ’78 of Lufkin, Dec. 11, 2014 Richard Paul “Dick” Stults ’69 of Azle, Nov. 19, 2014 Timothy Norrell Taylor ’74 of Nacogdoches, Nov. 3, 2014 Paul Tischhauser ’58 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 29, 2014 John E. Underwood ’71 of Henderson, Jan. 8


Dr. Mary “Molly” Hilton Appleberry of Nacogdoches died Nov. 30. She was a member of SFA’s elementary education faculty from 1970 until her retirement as professor emeritus in 1990. Appleberry was a member of the First United Methodist Church, where she volunteered in the library. She also was active in the Nacogdoches County Retired Teachers’ Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, Texas Education Extension Association and the Appleby Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. The SFA Alumni Association’s Bert and Mary Appleberry Scholarship honors her memory and that of her late husband.

Dr. Thomas Michael Houston, former SFA professor, passed away Dec. 23. Houston was born Feb. 22, 1941, in Parsons, Tennessee, to the late Earl Thomas Houston and Margaret Garvey Houston. His father was an amateur clarinetist, and, thus, Houston gained an interest in music at an early age. By the time he was in the sixth grade, Houston was a member of his high school marching band. He later received a music scholarship to Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1963. After teaching instrumental music in public schools for three years, Houston entered Florida State University and received his master’s degree in music in 1967. He then joined SFA as a member in the music department teaching woodwinds. For several years, he conducted the university symphony and started many programs, including children’s, pops, concerto aria and benefit concerts, and he established scholarships for the symphony. Houston directed the Flute Festival at SFA for five years. In addition, he was the principal clarinetist with the Longview Symphony Orchestra for three years and was principal flutist with the East Texas Symphony in Tyler for nine years. Houston was a recipient of the Martha Baird Rockefeller grant to the Brevard Music Center in 1968 for the orchestra repertory-training program. In 1971, Houston was the first student to receive a doctoral degree in clarinet performance from FSU. In 1989, he formed the Tom Houston Orchestra, a 16-piece group. The orchestra played throughout Texas, Louisiana and on numerous cruises. The group eventually shared the stage with the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Houston retired from SFA as an associate professor of music in 2008. He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches. Houston is survived by his wife of 45 years, Donna Abshier Houston.

Charles George Haas died Dec. 4. Hass was born in San Antonio Sept. 21, 1926. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1948. Hass worked for Texas A&M University as business manager of the Memorial Student Center. In 1959, he moved to Nacogdoches at the request of Dr. Ralph Steen, SFA president, to become the business manager for Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. At SFA, he held the positions of comptroller, vice president for fiscal affairs and secretary to the Board of Regents. In addition, he served his community as president of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Walter Langston Kerr ’56 & ’59 passed away Nov. 22. Kerr was born Feb. 3, 1935, in Appleby, to the late W.J. “Bill” Kerr and Ruby Owens. He lived in Garrison from 1935-55, in Lufkin from 1956-80, and he lived in Nacogdoches from 1980 until his death. Kerr received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SFA. He earned his doctoral degree from Texas A&M University in 1969. Kerr served as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Lufkin public school system from 195673. He joined SFA in 1973 as a professor and the dean of education until 1994. Kerr was a member of the First Baptist Church of Nacogdoches. He served as a deacon, a member of numerous committees and also taught Sunday school for 22 years. Aside from his church involvement, Kerr enjoyed fishing, family gatherings and traveling. His wife, Virginia Strong Kerr, whom he married May 28, 1955, survives him.

Waymon Bullock ’72 & ’73 of Etoile died Nov. 26. He was born on May 27, 1936, in Homer. Bullock graduated from Lufkin High School in 1954 and earned his master’s degree from SFA, where he also received his certificate in public administration. Bullock served the Lufkin ISD for 22 years, first as junior high band director and later as band director for Lufkin High School. Bullock also taught a course in brass methods at SFA and served as a consultant to the Nacogdoches band program. In 1994, Bullock was inducted into the SFA Band Directors Hall of Fame. In 2002, he was awarded the Lifetime Meritorious Achievement Award by the Texas Bandmasters Association. Kay, his wife of 45 years, survives him. Kathy Solomon Springfield ’98 passed away Dec. 31 in Nacogdoches. Springfield was born Jan. 21, 1958, in Liberty, to Jack Solomon and Shelby Dent Solomon. She grew up in the Pleasant Hill community. She was a 1976 graduate of Central Heights High School, where she was a member of the varsity basketball and track teams. Springfield began college as a nontraditional student at age 30. She enrolled in SFA while working full time at the university, and she later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general business administration. She continued her employment at SFA and retired in January 2014 after 25 years as an administrative assistant and academic adviser. She was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and attended North Street Church of Christ. Springfield and her husband, Ron, owned Diamond Trophy in Nacogdoches.

SPRING 2015 43

Continue to show your

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Liberty Mutual is a proud partner of the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association Celebrating Lumberjacks past and present! Responsibility. What’s your policy?

Š 2009 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.


SPRING 2015 45



College of Sciences and Mathematics offers degrees in:

Biology Chemistry and Biochemistry Computer Science Geology Mathematics and Statistics Nursing Physics and Astronomy Engineering Pre-Health Professions

For more information visit: cosm.sfasu.edu 46 SAWDUST


Start Your New Year and New Semester Right!

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SPRING 2015 47


The East Texas Research Center and Sawdust would like to know more about this SFA photo. If you have more information, please call (936) 468-4100. The ETRC at SFA collects, preserves and provides physical and virtual access to East Texas’ unique cultural history. It also is responsible for managing SFA’s Records Management Program and caring for the university’s archives. If you have SFA-related photographs, journals or memorabilia you would like to donate, please contact the ETRC.

Toni Bradbury Schorre, SFA ’63, provided the following information about the photograph in the winter issue of Sawdust: “The photo was taken in 1956 and is not of freshman girls, but, rather, high school girls attending Twirling Camp at SFA. I attended SFA Twirling Camp in 1955 and recognized the balcony composition of the group photo at the Stone Fort.”



SPRING 2015 49

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

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

Archie McDonald Speaker Series

MARY LOU RETTON Monday, April 13



7:30 p.m.

Baker Pattillo Student Center, Grand Ballroom 936.468.5406 ÂŤ sfasu.edu/archie

Profile for SFA Alumni Association

Sawdust Spring 2015  

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

Sawdust Spring 2015  

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


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