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S THE START of a brand-new year approaches, it is a fitting time to reflect on the accomplishments of the recent past and look ahead to new opportunities. Thankfully, at SFA, we don’t have to look far to find either. For the past several years, SFA has been flirting with an enrollment figure of 13,000. This fall, we finally reached it – almost. Our official enrollment recorded on the 12th class day was 12,999, the highest in the university’s 89-year-history. The record enrollment is the result of diligent work by our faculty and staff members who contribute to ongoing recruitment efforts in big and small ways each and every day. I also want to thank our SFA alumni who support and encourage our students through scholarships and other special events throughout the year. This most recent enrollment milestone was accomplished despite the implementation of higher admission standards that required first-year students entering SFA this fall to meet a higher academic threshold than any previously admitted students. The average standardized test scores of SFA freshmen also are on the rise, surpassing the state average on the SAT and exceeding both the state and national averages on the ACT. Raising academic standards remains a priority for our faculty, staff, administration and alumni, and in the coming months, we will be discussing plans for another increase to be implemented in 2015. The university is committed to enrolling students who are well prepared for the challenges of higher education and committed to long-term academic success. In addition, SFA is seeing significant gains in the graduation rate of Hispanic students. Our university is one of the “top 25 gainers” among the studied American public institutions of higher learning in the area of Hispanic graduation rates, according to a September report by The Education Trust. This increase reflects the university’s efforts to meet the goals of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Closing the Gaps initiatives. The SFA campus itself also continues to evolve. We will soon break ground on a new conservation education facility located in the beautiful setting of the Pineywoods Native Plant Center. An extensive renovation of the recital hall inside the Wright Music Building also is under way. Both of these projects are being funded in large part by private donations and serve as excellent examples of what the university can accomplish with help from loyal alumni and friends. I hope you will make plans to visit SFA in the coming year and see for yourself the progress that is being made at your alma mater. Thank you for your continued support of the university and its students. Axe ’em, Jacks!

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

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION Dr. Baker Pattillo president Dr. Richard Berry provost/vice president for academic affairs Dr. Steve Westbrook vice president for university affairs Danny Gallant vice president for finance and administration Jill Still vice president for university advancement

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS Shirley Luna executive director of marketing and public affairs Hardy Meredith university photographer

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

Winter 2012

Amy Roquemore editorial coordinator


Sawdust Winter 2012  

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