T H E M A G A Z I N E O F T H E S FA A L U M N I A S S O C I AT I O N & S T E P H E N F. A U S T I N S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y
SFA Athletic Director Robert Hill talks with Lumberjack football players Aaron Rhea (right) and Duane Brooks after their playoff loss to the University of Montana Dec. 5.
“I wanted to capture the feeling of dejection, and I saw Robert talking with two seniors. It was a good shot, but it didn’t say much because the players’ backs were to me. Then Rhea turned and stared back down the field, and the look on his face said it all. I heard Robert say, ‘Great season. . .great memories,’ and they headed off the field.” -- University Photographer Hardy Meredith.
Spring 2010 • Volume 37, No. 1 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jeff Davis ’02, Executive Director of Alumni Affairs
EDITOR Amy Roquemore ’93, Editorial Coordinator, SFA Public Affairs ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Rhonda Crim-Tumelson, Communication Coordinator, SFA Alumni Association ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Rhonda Minton ’90 & ’99, Director of Marketing and Membership, SFA Alumni Association STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY is a comprehensive institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative work and service. Through the personal attention of our faculty and staff, we engage our students in a learner-centered environment and offer opportunities to prepare for the challenges of living in the global community. The SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the alumni, friends and current students of Stephen F. Austin State University through programs, scholarships and activities that create an attitude of continued loyalty and support. SAWDUST is a joint publication of the Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association and Stephen F. Austin State University. It is published four times a year in the winter, spring, summer and fall. Subscriptions are included in SFA Alumni Association memberships.
14 Artful Exchange
Universities mold friendship through ceramics programs
Champs SFA football championships leave lasting impressions
20 Silver Screen Dreams
Creative partnership leads to critical acclaim for film
Gossip Girl SFA graduate on top of her game with bingo newspaper
30 Accounting for Justice Business school alumnus travels the globe in government career
16 CAMPUS NEWS 2 3 4 5 9 10 12 13 18 19
Service Learning New Doctoral Program President’s Message New Nursing School Chemistry Research Online Classes Literary Archive SFA Energy Audit Women’s Bowling Vista Viewpoint
ALUMNI NEWS 3 2 24 28 29 32 35 40
Upcoming Events From the Association Scholarships Chapters Class Notes In Memoriam All Hail to SFA
ON THE COVER film writer and director Phillip Guzman ’05. CENTER SPREAD cinematographer Philip Roy ’06. Photography courtesy of Zach Humphreys ’07.
At Your Service
By Kayli Steger
SFA students give back to community
EARNING AT STEPHEN F. Austin State University doesn’t always happen inside a classroom. Service learning and volunteerism are becoming an increasingly integral part of the college experience, and outlets to give back to the community are in high demand. Service learning is designed to enhance the curriculum and allow students to reflect on the impact of their work in the community. The Office of Student Affairs is steadfastly working to provide opportunities for volunteerism and service learning to benefit students academically, increase involvement and improve the surrounding community. While researching new ways to increase campus involvement and exploring areas for growth, director Michael Preston and then-graduate student Jennifer Roberts were inspired by the interests and trends of
teens and 20-somethings outlined in the book Millennials Rising by Strauss and Howe. They learned that the millennial generation is one of the most heavily involved volunteer generations for which helping others is second nature. This realization became a catalyst for increasing volunteer involvement at SFA, and the trend caught on quickly with students.The desire to give back seems to be ingrained in the nature of new college students, Preston said. “Students are coming into college looking for ways to get involved and are asking us for these opportunities.” An increased awareness of opportunities and resources has made volunteering and service learning initiatives much more accessible, said Jamie Bouldin, assistant director of Student Life and SFA Volun-
teer Programs coordinator. A newly created Involvement Center in the Baker Pattillo Student Center makes disseminating information and volunteer outreach more convenient. “When students inquire about volunteering opportunities, they take a volunteer interest survey, which matches up their interests and skill sets with the needs of organizations,” Bouldin said. “When students enjoy the work they are doing, it becomes a habit.” Through a competitive application process each semester, the Office of Student Affairs awards grants to faculty or staff members to fund classroom-based service learning projects. Faculty members are encouraged to seek out projects that benefit the organizations involved and provide a hands-on learning experience to supplement classroom lessons.
“Students are coming into college looking for ways to get involved . . .” 2
Making a Difference By Nicole Hall
A group of volunteers from SFA painted inspirational artwork and quotations for the hallways of Brooks Quinn Jones Elementary School in Nacogdoches as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service organized by Student Affairs.
“Our students have had so many great ideas on how to help, but they couldn’t afford to fund the projects on their own,” Preston said. “Because of these grants, students and faculty get to see the projects through fruition and witness the impact they have on their community.” Getting students outside of their comfort zones and challenging their perceptions of national problems can motivate students to find the solutions to solve these issues, Preston said. “Our major goal is for students to be fundamentally changed when they leave SFA and to become active and responsible citizens in their community.” Dr. Steven Galatas, assistant professor of political science at SFA, said this concept is a perfect example of how co-curricular activities and academic life go together. “Civic engagement and service learning reinforce the knowledge learned in the classroom and its relevance in the real world.” Spring 2010
Student Affairs also hosts largescale events like Service Saturdays and The BIG Event to engage students in all-day projects, such as completing yard work for the elderly or assisting local non-profit organizations. The recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service involved nearly 200 SFA students, faculty and staff in projects to assist the Nacogdoches school district in beautifying its campuses. The increase in service events has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship for SFA and the surrounding community. Many community organizations contact the SFA Volunteer Program with their needs and are immediately connected with a pool of students eager to help their causes. “Our students have a sense of responsibility as part of the community they live in to help it and make it stronger,” Preston said. “It’s just their way of paying it forward.” ✯
OR ONE STUDENT in SFA’s new graduate program in school and behavioral psychology, earning a doctorate is about more than having initials to place behind her name; it’s about saving lives. “My brother had a horrible experience in the public school system,” said Andrea Goodwin, a White Oak graduate student in the Ph.D. program. “He had learning disabilities that were not fully addressed by the school system and ended up committing suicide in one of his high school classrooms in 2001.” Motivated by her brother’s tragedy, Goodwin is studying to become a licensed specialist in school psychology. “I hope that everything I learn I can apply in my career and help make a difference,” she said. The fully accredited program prepares students to become educators, researchers and practitioners in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals and mental health facilities. Students are trained to work with a diverse special needs population, with a primary focus on children and families. “I really want to be able to make a difference in students’ lives and get them the help they deserve before it’s too late,” Goodwin said. ✯
Baker Pattillo ’65 & ’66 President, Stephen F. Austin State University
HE BEGINNING OF a new semester at Stephen F. Austin State University is always exciting, but this spring has proved to be especially so. SFA nursing students began the semester in their new Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing facility, and many of them were on hand for our ribbon-cutting ceremony in January. It was easy to see from watching these students demonstrate their new equipment and technology how the School of Nursing earned the prestigious “Center of Educational Excellence” designation from the Laerdal Medical Corporation, which is awarded to educational centers that consistently demonstrate excellence in educational philosophy and programs. Another cause for celebration: enrollment rose for the eighth consecutive reporting period at SFA, climbing 7.2 percent from 11,226 students in spring 2009 to 12,029 this spring, the largest spring semester enrollment in the university’s history. The highest previous SFA spring enrollment was recorded in 1984 with a headcount of 11,886. Faculty, staff and administrators across campus are continuing in their efforts to recruit and retain top-quality students, and the result of their hard work is clearly visible. The recent demolition of Garner tower drew crowds of spectators and provided some bittersweet entertainment for area residents. I have heard from many former Garner residents, and they all shared fond memories they have of living on campus and attending SFA. It reminded me, once again, that SFA provides more to its graduates than just a valuable education – the memo-
Faculty, staff and administrators across campus are continuing in their efforts to recruit and retain top-quality students, and the result of their hard work is clearly visible. ries of SFA linger in the hearts of Lumberjacks of all ages. When changes to the campus landscape are mandated by time or technology, those memories strengthen the bonds that we share. Freshman Lumberjacks who will move into our new residence hall in fall 2011 will enjoy building similar SFA memories. If you have not been on campus lately, I hope you will plan a visit to see the exciting changes that are taking place at SFA.
BOARD OF REGENTS James A. Thompson, chair, Sugar Land Melvin R. White, vice chair, Pflugerville John R. “Bob” Garrett, secretary, Tyler Carlos Z. Amaral, Plano Richard B. Boyer, The Colony Scott H. Coleman, Houston James H. Dickerson, New Braunfels Valerie E. Ertz, Dallas Steve D. McCarty, Alto Morgan A. Tomberlain, student regent, Longview
Axe ’em ’Jacks!
UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION Dr. Baker Pattillo, president Dr. Richard Berry, provost/vice president for academic affairs Steve Westbrook, vice president for university affairs Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration Sid Walker, vice president for development OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS Bob Wright, executive director of marketing and public affairs Shirley Luna, associate director of public affairs/media relations Hardy Meredith, university photographer Amy Roquemore, editorial coordinator Sawdust
A Facility of the Heart SFA donors help make state-of-the-art nursing education building a reality By Amy Roquemore
“The most important practical lesson that can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe.” Florence Nightingale
HE GROUP OF SFA nursing students stared wide-eyed at the abundance of cuttingedge technology housed in the new simulation laboratory. The $13 million DeWitt School of Nursing was finally a reality, and they were among the first to tour the state-ofthe-art facility. “It’s even better than I was expecting, and I was expecting it to be great,” said Kandice Prescott of Orange, a junior nursing major. “The setting here is so realistic. I feel like I’m going to be able to learn so much more and gain a lot of confidence training in this lab.” With the January opening of the new building in north Nacogdoches, SFA’s award-winning nursing program has almost quadrupled its space to 41,000 square feet, including a 9,000-squarefoot simulation laboratory that director Glenda Walker describes as “the heart and soul” of the new facility. The laboratory is designed like a hospital and includes an emergency room with ambulance bay, an intensive-care unit, a pediatric area and a neonatal intensive care unit. “All of these areas are outfitted with the same modern equipment and technology you would expect to find in any hospital,” Walker said. The simulation laboratory was named in honor of longtime SFA supporters Ed and Gwen Cole of Nacogdoches for their interest in
and passion for nursing education. A private foundation provided the School of Nursing with a grant to equip a 100-student computer classroom within the facility. “It is truly a state-of-the-art facility,” Walker said. “But I also like to think of it as a facility of the heart because it would not have been possible without the support of some very generous friends of the School of Nursing.” The 17-acre site for the new building was donated to SFA in 2006 by Lucille DeWitt of Nacogdoches and her late husband, Richard DeWitt. The site had formerly served as a distribution center for the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants owned by the couple. The following year, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1775 authorizing the construction of the nursing facility on the donated property. “This wonderful facility is going to benefit not only our SFA nursing students, but the rest of us, as well,” said Lucille DeWitt, a longtime hospital and community volunteer and advocate for the nursing profession. “Nurses are important to all of us at some point in our lives, and we all want ourselves and our loved ones to be cared for by nurses with the very best training available.” The simulation laboratory features five of the most advanced patient mannequins available for nursing education. The computerized Sim Man 3G mannequins can simu-
late almost all patient conditions, which are manipulated remotely by instructors in a high-tech control room. A video-monitoring system allows students to be filmed as they treat the “patients,” and the video can be streamed live into classrooms or recorded for later review. “The biggest advantage this lab poses for our students is that they will have practiced all of these critical skills in a safe environment before they ever have to perform them on a living patient,” said SFA clinical nursing instructor Amy Owen. “They are just going to be more prepared to make decisions and take actions once they are in a clinical setting because they will have processed it all here first.” By opening the new building, SFA is helping to address the growing need for new nurses throughout the state, Walker said. Not only can the university now accommodate many more nursing students each semester, but the simulation laboratory also will be available to students from other area nursing programs, as well as to experienced
nurses required to demonstrate competencies to supervisors before starting new jobs. Francesca Tierno, a post-baccalaureate nursing student from Kingwood, said the new simulation lab will engage her critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while helping to build her confidence. “This facility is absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “As a nursing student, I could never ask for anything more.” ✯
Enrollment in SFA’s nursing program is on the rise. Currently, there are more than 850 SFA students in the nursing program, the second-largest major offered at the university.
Take a Hike
By Nicole Hall
SFA to open nature trails this spring SFA’S ARTHUR TEMPLE College of Forestry and Agriculture is sponsoring the development of a new set of hiking and biking trails on 67 wooded acres at the northeast corner of University Drive and Starr Avenue. The trails are expected to be completed by the end of the spring semester. Michael Maningas, assistant director of Campus Recreation—outdoor pursuits and safety, and Dr. Michael Legg, professor emeritus of forestry, developed the idea of nature trails near the campus. “We had land adjacent to the university available, so we looked to see if it was suitable for the project,” Maningas said. Along with 1.25 miles of paved hiking trails, there will be approximately four miles of mountain bike
trails with some features for advanced riders based on guidelines from the International Mountain Bike Association. “Currently, we have three features (for advanced bikers), including skinnies, a 30-foot wall ride and a 30-foot drop-in filter at the beginning of the track,” Maningas said. A $105,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is funding a majority of the project. SFA student and faculty volunteers, local civic organizations and Boy Scout Troop 100 are helping construct the trails. “This is a project that is ongoing,” Maningas said. There are plans to build a picnic area that was not included in the grant. “Hopefully we will eventually have pavilions, but that won’t be this time around.” ✯
A Fresh Look at Housing
By Amy Roquemore
IN THE WAKE of the Garner tower demolition, plans are coming together for a new residence hall at SFA that is designed to meet the unique living and learning needs of freshman Lumberjacks. The four-story building will feature a 5,000-square-foot Freshman Success Center, where first-year students will have access to computers, tutoring and other academic support services. Group study rooms and other community spaces have been incorporated into the design to encourage student interaction and campus involvement. Prospective students who tour SFA are always impressed with new facilities, and the new residence hall is expected to have an immediate impact on recruitment, said Monique Cossich, executive director of enrollment management. “Students today are looking at all aspects of a university environment – academics, student life, where they will live and where they will study,” she said. “This new residence hall will be especially attractive to them because of the unique living/learning environment it offers.” Sam Smith, director of student services, said the new hall is the most visible part of a larger effort to enhance the first-year experience of all SFA students in hopes of retaining more of them beyond the critical first year. The new building’s exterior will resemble the two newest SFA residence halls, Lumberjack Lodge and Lumberjack Village. The rooms will be larger than typical SFA dorm rooms and feature movable furniture, wireless Internet access, suite-style bathrooms and secure card-swipe entry. “In designing this hall, we have focused our efforts primarily on supporting the university’s academic mission, while at the same time offering many of the amenities that our incoming students desire,” Smith said. The yet-to-be-named hall will be erected in the northeast quadrant of campus between East College Cafeteria and Steen Library and is scheduled for completion in summer 2011. Total cost of construction, including an adjacent 1,000car parking garage, is estimated at $35 million. ✯ Architectural rendering of planned freshman residence hall
By Robin Johnson
Students research damaging toxins
WO SFA CHEMISTRY students recently spent months working alongside their professor to research the dangerous effects of common compounds on human DNA. They also had their work published in a major science journal and received an award for presenting their findings at a regional conference. Amanda Nolan and Matthew Parks researched compounds that come from a group called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. They are found in diesel exhaust, road tar, charcoal-grilled meats, cigarette smoke and power plant emissions.
recently been discovered,” Nolan said. “I synthesized and helped purify 1-NTRP and 2-NTRP from the parent compound TRP.” However, the researchers were unable to separate the NTRPs from each other, so the study included using density functional theory to determine the compounds’ structures. “I have always had a love for
“I have always had a love for organic chemistry, so I enjoyed synthesizing the compounds.” “The two compounds we researched are found everywhere and are very toxic to the human body,” said Nolan, a junior chemistry major and SFA Alumni Association scholarship recipient. “PAHs cause damage to the DNA, which leads to certain cancers and damage to our internal systems, especially the reproductive system. Compounds that have a nitro group attached to them are even more mutagenic than the regular compounds.” Dr. Kefa Onchoke, assistant professor of chemistry, was in the beginning stages of his research of the compounds 1-nitrotriphenylene and 2-nitrotriphenylene when he asked Nolan and Parks, a 2009 SFA graduate, to assist with his chemical study. “While I’m teaching a class, I’m able to spot a student who does well in a certain subject area that I’m currently researching,” Onchoke said. “So I’ll approach the student and ask if he or she would consider assisting me with my research.” That’s how Nolan and Parks were enlisted to gather data for this most recent study. “We determined the structures of both nitrotriphenylenes that were previously unknown and have only Spring 2010
organic chemistry, so I enjoyed synthesizing the compounds,” Nolan said. “However, I think what I enjoyed most was presenting our research to the world.” Onchoke, Nolan and Parks presented their research findings at the 2009 Regional Undergraduate Chemistry Symposium held at Rice University in Houston. “I had never been to a scientific symposium quite like that before, and I was surprised to be given ‘Honorary Mention’ for the work that I presented,” Nolan said. They also co-authored three manuscripts, one of which was published in a major scientific journal. A second is scheduled to be published this spring. “While conducting the research, our undergraduate students gain critical thinking skills and are able to add to their résumés that they wrote papers and presented the research data and findings,” Onchoke said. “Because we encourage and train our students to write their research papers according to the American Chemical Society standards, the papers are worthy of being published in national publications.” Nolan said that, although the days are long and tiring, there is “nothing quite like making a discovery and knowing that you did your job well.” ✯
Busy Lifestyles and College Coursework Meet Online By Kayli Steger
OMEWHERE BETWEEN TEE-BALL practice and taekwondo lessons, mother of six Rhae Lamb of Colorado City, Texas, finally did something for herself. She recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree via online courses at SFA and can now fulfill her dream of becoming a certified classroom teacher. Lamb is one of a growing number of SFA students taking advantage of fully online program offerings that are changing the way that students experience higher education. The flexibility and accessibility of the programs allow students to continue their full-time jobs, raise a family or meet any number of other responsibilities that may make attending traditional classes impossible. “Online learning allows students an opportunity to attain their educational goals rather than postpone or cancel them,” said Dr. Gail Weatherly, distance education coordinator in SFA’s Office of Instructional Technology. From the
transition track R.N. to the B.S.N. nursing program to an innovative master’s program in music education, students are achieving their educational goals while continuing their everyday lives. Nearly 1,000 of SFA’s 12,029 students are enrolled in online-only programs. About 30 faculty members per year complete a thorough professional development program to prepare themselves to develop and teach online courses, joining the more than 200 professors currently meeting the demand. “There has been a very positive reaction from the faculty, and they are eager to engage in new forms of instruction that allow them to move beyond the traditional classroom,” Weatherly said. A new program that is expected to grow quickly is the national Head Start Degree Completer program, which allows Head Start teachers to obtain their newly mandated bachelor’s degrees fully online. “This program has tremendous national potential for Head Start teachers and is an attractive option because they are able to continue working,” Weatherly said. The forestry department’s master’s program in resource interpretation is the only program of its kind in the nation and came about through an exclusive arrangement with the National Park Service. The program attracts students from across the country, from Yosemite National Park rangers
to resource interpreters at historic U.S. landmarks. Online course offerings that are not program specific also are growing quickly, with more than 30 courses being developed per year. About 25 percent of SFA students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2009. That number is expected to rise in the coming years as more core curriculum courses are being offered online. “SFA ONLINE provides students access to education in a way that fits their lifestyle,” said Dr. Randy McDonald, director of the Office of Instructional Technology. “There has been a pent-up demand to access education in this way, and students are flocking to this learner-centered environment.” For more information about SFA’s online courses and programs, visit sfaonline.sfasu.edu. ✯
. . . students are achieving their educational goals while continuing their everyday lives. Sawdust
New Grants Fund Education Research By Amy Roquemore
Research associate grant recipients, standing from left, are: Kimberly Welsh, Carolyn Davis, Alan Sowards and Sandra McCune. Seated from left are: Jeanie Gresham, Claudia Whitley, Michelle Williams and Vi Alexander.
SEVERAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE grants named in honor of Texas educators have recently been created within the SFA Department of Elementary Education. A fund established by the James I. Perkins Family Foundation will distribute grants each year in memory of three Perkins family members, all former educators. James I. Perkins’ sister, Marylyn Perkins Buie, served as assistant dean of women at the University of Houston and taught in the Houston Independent School District. His cousin, Wilma Perkins Jorgensen, was a principal and teacher in the Houston ISD. And his mother, Morinne T. Perkins, was a high school English, speech and drama teacher in Tyler, Waco and Seymour. The first three Perkins Family Foundation grants were distributed last spring to a total of five faculty members who were selected based on an application and description of their planned research. Receiving the Marylyn Perkins Buie grant is elementary education instructor Claudia Whitley. She is studying how the dispositions of teacher candidates are identified and assessed by colleges and universities and how they are impacted in teacher education programs. Instructor Dawn Michelle Williams received the first Wilma Perkins Jorgensen grant. Her research focuses on teacher empathy, including how it affects students’ perceived level of care, the factors that contribute to the development of empathy and what specific actions occur in classrooms of teachers with high levels of empathy. The Morrine T. Perkins grant was awarded to Drs. Jeanie Gresham, Carolyn Davis and Kimberly Welsh, all Spring 2010
assistant professors of elementary education. Their study examines the distinguishing practices leading to exemplary student performance at the SFA University Charter School and a review of lab settings in the College of Education serving early childhood students. Two additional research grants for elementary education faculty members were established last fall in the names of Cheryl Patterson Athey and Jerry Bryce Blackwell. Athey taught children and college labs in the SFA University Kindergarten and the SFA Early Childhood Lab for a total of 36 years. She shared her passion for teaching young children through professional development workshops for early childhood teachers and caregivers. Blackwell, an SFA alumna, helped develop the Henderson Independent School District’s kindergarten program and served as a teacher and principal for 14 years. She was an expert in the field of special education for young children and was instrumental in developing Henderson’s special-needs program for prekindergarten and kindergarten children. The Cheryl Patterson Athey grant was awarded to Dr. Alan Sowards, professor of elementary education, to research wetland adventures. Drs. Sandra McCune and Vi Alexander, also professors of elementary education, were the recipients of the Jerry Bryce Blackwell grant. They are researching the elementary education admissions test and its impact on elementary education majors. Anyone interested in funding other research grants within the Early Childhood Research Center is encouraged to contact the SFA Office of Development. ✯
Poetic Gesture By Amy Roquemore
Award-winning poet’s archives now available for student research
Photo by Leo Waltz
Library student assistant Natalie Abel of Alvin displays some of Larry Thomas’ papers before archiving them in the East Texas Research Center.
ORMER TEXAS POET Laureate Larry D. Thomas has donated his archives to Steen Library, providing SFA creative writing students and other researchers a unique opportunity to study the development of a working professional writer. The collection includes all of Thomas’ poems to date – 2,753 to be exact – along with notes and drafts, correspondence with editors, videos of his poetry readings, and hundreds of literary journals in which his work has been published. The materials will be stored in the East Texas Research Center on the second floor of the library. “This will be a real treasure trove for our students, graduate students in particular,” said Dr. John McDermott, assistant professor of creative writing at SFA. “We really appreciate Larry’s generosity, and since he still has much of his career ahead of him, the value of this collection will only increase over time.” In April 2007, Thomas was named the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate by the state legislature. He was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in April 2009. “Like all writers, I have had my creative highs and lows,” the awardwinning poet said recently. “I have been a pretty prolific poet, but many of my poems are just writing exercises at best – very rudimentary. But
I thought even those may help the students of literature and creative writing trace my career over time and perhaps help their own development in the process.” McDermott agreed, saying part of the value of the collection lies in the evidence of hard work that doesn’t always pay off right away. “A lot of students think successful writers are just inspired by a muse or a lightning bolt strikes, and – boom – this wonderful work appears,” he said. “From Larry’s collection, they will see that some of his poems literally took years to write.” Thomas said he had been considering where to place his papers for some time, but ultimately decided to make the gift to SFA, in part because of his appreciation for its awardwinning literary magazine, REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters, to which he has been a longtime contributor. “I’ve long admired SFA and what it has done in the areas of fine arts and with literature,” Thomas said. “My papers have just been collecting dust here in the safe and in the attic, so I thought why not put them to some better use? “Hopefully SFA students will now be able to learn a lot from poring over this stuff. And if my work serves to inspire more students to write, well, that’s what it’s all about for me.” ✯
A reception marking the official opening of the Larry Thomas collection is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 15, at the ETRC on the second floor of Steen Library. A reading and book signing will follow at 7 p.m. at the Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.
By Bob Wright
SFA takes big step toward higher energy efficiency ECENTLY, AN UNFAMILIAR visitor entered Steen Library, but he wasn’t there to study or check out a book. Instead, he went from floor to floor, staring at the overhead fixtures, jotting notes on a clipboard and taking light readings on a hand-held meter. Across campus, another curious guest was spotted in a restroom, flushing all the toilets and turning on all the sinks. The visitors were engineers from Siemens, a leading company in environmental services and technology, who were on campus to conduct a detailed energy audit of SFA. The Board of Regents hired the company to identify opportunities for greater environmental sustainability, energy conservation and savings, and to help establish SFA as one of the leading Texas universities in creating a “greener” campus. “It’s more than saving money on energy; it’s a new mindset on operating an institution,” said Bob Garrett of Tyler, chairman of the building and grounds committee of the Board of Regents. “According to The Princeton Review, 60 percent of students consider campuses’ environmental initiatives when selecting which college to attend. The whole country is moving in this direction, and it’s the right thing to do.” The energy audit by Siemens involved a team of engineers, all specialists in their fields, working on campus for several weeks. Engineers who specialize in lighting walked through every building, making note of each light fixture and measuring its output and efficiency on a light meter. Other engineers examined the air conditioning, while water engineers evaluated the sinks, toilets and sprinkler systems. Each group designed replacements and rec-
ommended upgrades that would make the university more energy efficient. “The university’s staff helped us understand how the buildings needed to operate and where problems were, and they came up with some great suggestions,” said Chad Nobles, an energy and environmental solutions account executive for Siemens. One of the best ideas came from SFA employees, who suggested adding a small second boiler to operate when one of the larger boilers isn’t needed. “We found SFA to be about average for an institution of its size and age,” Nobles said. The next step will be to implement the changes, which are as simple as converting to more energy efficient light bulbs and as complicated as upgrading the university’s heating and cooling equipment. The university has applied for low-interest loans through the Texas State Comptroller’s Office to fund the project. “The university will utilize the energy savings, reallocate the funds paid to a utility company, and use them to pay off the loans used for the study and for all the infrastructure upgrades,” he said. Once the university has the loans, it will take about a year for the entire project to be completed. Siemens will continue to monitor the energy efficiency of SFA and report its findings to the university and to the state’s energy office. “We want to make sure all this is working, that SFA is saving energy and money, and that the university remains a leader in sustainability,” Nobles said. ✯
SFA’s Center for a Livable World will sponsor an executive workshop on sustainability, titled “Toward a Livable World,” June 1-3 in the state capitol building in Austin. Cosponsors for the event include the global information company IHS Inc. and Frost Bank. High-profile participants from around the world will create a set of recommendations about the roadmap to a livable future. A dinner will be held the evening of June 2, and the preliminary recommendations will be revealed. The Center for a Livable World is part of SFA’s College of Liberal & Applied Arts, and the college’s faculty will guide discussions at the workshop. To reserve a seat or corporate table, contact Dixie Groll at (936) 468-2803. More information about the executive workshop can be found on the event’s Web site: laa.sfasu.edu/livableworld/workshop.html.
& Universities mold friendship through ceramics programs
Artful EXCHANGE By Amy Roquemore
VISIT SIX YEARS ago to the state university in Chihuahua City, Mexico, by SFA ceramics professor Piero Fenci has led to a robust artistic and cultural exchange between the two institutions and fostered a burgeoning contemporary artist scene now spreading throughout northern Mexico. Fenci originally traveled to la Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua in 2004 to serve for a month as a guest lecturer. Once he arrived, he found there was no ceramics program at the university, so he rolled up his sleeves and went to work building one from scratch. It was to be the first program of its kind in the state of Chihuahua. “I have had the amazing privilege of building a ceramics program here at SFA since 1975, and to get the opportunity to do the same thing in a developing country has truly been one of the highlights of my professional life,” the professor said. Two Mexican art students were so inspired by Fenci and his work that they followed the professor back to SFA. Adan Saenz graduated in spring 2008 with a Master of Fine Arts and has since returned to the university in Chihuahua as the head of the ceramics program Fenci started. Last year, Saenz received the Chihuahua Prize, an award given every three years to the most promising young sculptor in the state. Another student, Kira Enriquez, earned her M.F.A. at SFA last year and is now completing a post-graduate fellowship at SFA, teaching ceramics full time. Fenci has returned to work and teach in Mexico several times, most recently in November to oversee the construction of a new kiln he designed for the ceramics program there. It is the only high-fire, down-draft kiln located in northern Mexico and will be “revolutionary” to the program, he said. “Before Piero came here, we had no ceramics program whatsoever,” Saenz said. “But with his help and some very good grants we have been able to earn the last couple of years, the program is now flourishing, and our students are very excited about the changes that are taking place.” According to Enriquez, the artistic landscape of northern Mexico is also undergoing a significant change due to the influence of Fenci and his students. Until recently, ceramic art in the area has been mostly limited to the reiteration of traditional, indigenous pottery. Spring 2010
“The idea of contemporary ceramic art is something new in the area, and it is very exciting to be a part of this cultural change,” she said. In recognition of his influence in the region, Fenci will have a solo exhibition this summer at Museo Casa Chihuahua, the state museum located in Chihuahua City. The museum is charged by the Mexican constitution with the conservation and promulgation of the cultural patrimony of northern Mexico. “Since the beginning of my program, students there have begun showing work that can be categorized as contemporary, addressing issues dealing with life in the present, not in the past,” Fenci said. “According to the director of the museum in Chihuahua, my exhibition will symbolize this new vision of ceramic art that is coming to fruition.” Fenci was granted a faculty leave in fall 2009 so that he could create a body of work to display in the museum. About 20 of his ceramic pieces will be exhibited, along with some of his drawings based on the three-dimensional works. Both Fenci and Saenz, his counterpart at la UACH, say they are looking forward to expanding the student exchange between the two universities. There are plans for SFA to send students to study ceramics in Mexico, as well as to host additional art students from Mexico. “The most exciting part of this whole story is the fact that students from our two countries are now learning from each other and spreading that knowledge among their peers, which can only enrich them all both as artists and as human beings,” Fenci said. “For me to have played a part in that is rewarding beyond any measure.” ✯
left Fenci at home in Appleby right Art brushes and an owl sculpture adorn Fenci’s studio. opposite page Fenci creates a sculpture for exhibition.
By Brian Ross
sfa football championships leave lasting impressions IN 23 YEARS as a Southland Conference member, the Lumberjack football team has won three championships in three different decades: 1989, 1999 and 2009. With such a long wait between titles, those who witnessed all three were left with unique impressions of the seasons and their impact on the university and community. By all accounts, the 1989 campaign, despite marking SFA’s firstever Southland Conference title, was the least surprising championship season. The Lumberjacks were coming off a record-setting 1988 season that saw them reach the
quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. “There was some incredible talent on that football team,” SFA Athletic Director Robert Hill said. Hill was the sports information director during the first championship season. The 1989 season was the first under head coach Lynn Graves, and SFA had completely changed its offense during the off-season. “That team was way ahead of the curve,” Hill said. “We spread it out and threw the ball like crazy.” The result was a high-scoring unit that set multiple school records on the way to a Southland champi-
onship and a playoff run that went all the way to the national title game. As the yards and wins piled up, the ’Jacks and their wide-open offense began getting attention, both locally and in the state and national media. The demand for access was so high, Hill had to expand the media seating area in the press box that season. Among the writers jockeying for position was the young sports editor of the The Daily Sentinel, Kevin Gore. “The backing of the team was unbelievable,” he said. “The atmosphere in the community was great.” Vice President for University
The ’Jacks turned plenty of doubters into believers in 2009. Affairs Steve Westbrook was director of student activities at the time and had a hand in building student support for the ’89 team. To help students root on the ’Jacks without breaking the bank, a bus trip to the national title game against Georgia Southern was organized. The bus went straight to Statesboro, Ga., and straight back after the game, stopping only for fuel and food. “We called it the ‘48-Hour, NoShower Special,’” Westbrook said. “The bus was full, and we had a waiting list of people hoping others wouldn’t show up.” The ’Jacks lost the title game but were welcomed back like heroes with a crowd turning out to greet the team buses with a rally. “At the time, we were rolling, and everybody around here felt like there was no reason we couldn’t do this every year,” Hill said. The following season SFA went 1-10. The team didn’t post a winning record again until 1993 and didn’t return to the playoffs until earning an at-large bid in 1995. While the Lumberjacks were competitive in the Southland Conference in the late ’90s, that second league title remained elusive until the 1999 season. That year, SFA was coming off a 3-8 record and had just hired head coach Mike Santiago. The ’Jacks shocked everyone with an improbable turnaround, going 8-3 and tying for the Southland title. The celebration
was muted since, due to league tiebreaker policy, SFA was not given the conference’s automatic playoff bid and failed to earn an at-large berth. “That was a team that was under the radar,” Gore said. “Nobody expected them to win it just because they were a team with a new coach going in a new direction.” Hill remembers the ’99 squad as “more of a blue-collar team.” “We lost some games up front, but we came together late. We had some talented kids, but nothing like that ’89 team,” he said. The buzz generated by the ’99 team was likewise toned down from that of the squad of a decade earlier. “Toward the end of the year, it became obvious that [winning the conference] was a possibility,” Westbrook said. “We kind of snuck up on a championship, and it was a little anti-climactic because nothing happened afterward with us getting left out of the playoffs.” SFA would be left out for the next 10 years. Despite several strong starts, the ’Jacks were unable to finish off a conference title run or earn a playoff berth. After the second coaching change in two years, the ’Jacks hit rock bottom in 2007 with a winless 0-11 campaign in J.C. Harper’s first season as head coach. The team rebounded slightly with a 4-8 record the following year, but that performance didn’t prepare anyone for what was to come
in 2009. The Southland preseason polls projected a fifth-place finish for the ’Jacks. “I know the team had high expectations for this year, but my optimism was kind of tempered,” Gore said. “I guess I had to see it to believe it.” The ’Jacks turned plenty of doubters into believers in 2009. They went 10-3 and earned a share of the league title with a 6-1 conference record. The Lumberjacks took the Southland’s automatic playoff bid and won their first playoff game in 14 years. “This year was the most surprising run of the three,” Hill said. “We came in with four wins in two years, but we had a coach with a vision who believed in the system and stuck with it.” The ’Jacks finished the season ranked among the top 10 in all four major national FCS polls, led the nation in passing yardage and touchdown passes, and boasted 12 All-America selections. With that kind of a record, it’s a safe bet that SFA fans won’t have to wait another 10 years for a football title. Some SFA traditions are made to be broken. ✯ opposite page The 2009 Lumberjack football team celebrates the Southland Conference championship with the Chief Caddo trophy. above 1999 players relish their conference victory. left The 1989 Lumberjack football team
HEN LAURA CRAMER hired as SFA’s first women’s bowling coach and asked to build the program from the ground up, instant success was an afterthought rather than an assumed reality. Today you will find the La-
picked up some wins over some big names, which has given us a lot of confidence to not be intimidated whenever we see the ‘Nebraska’ or ‘Vanderbilt’ or someone like that on an opponent’s shirt.” So far, the Ladyjacks have managed to pick up a pair of wins
that they are just freshmen, and that there will be times when they look like they cannot be beaten and then times when the concentration and intensity is lacking,” Cramer said. “But the consistency of bringing out those characteristics will come with time and maturity.”
dyjacks knocking on the door of the National Tenpins Coaches Association national ranking after knocking off a number of nationally ranked teams in their first three months of existence. “It’s been fun so far,” Cramer said. “We are obviously still a long way from where we want to be, but we have made some serious strides in a short time. We have
over reigning national-champion Nebraska, while racking up nearly a dozen victories over teams ranked in the top 10 in the national poll. Even more impressive is that SFA has picked up those wins with a roster of seven true freshmen who were bowling while taking high school classes just a year ago. “The girls are growing up, but I have to remind myself every day
Cramer learned those winning characteristics during her days as an SFA Ladyjack volleyball player from 2003 to 2006. She was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year in 2005 and helped the Ladyjacks to three consecutive league titles and the program’s first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament in 2006. “Coach (Debbie) Humphreys taught me everything,” Cramer said. “She is one of the most successful coaches in the Southland Conference, and it is a plus to be able to learn from someone like that and use her as a reference when needed.” ✯
Vista Viewpoint By Dr. Adam Peck
The Changing Nature of Higher Education
HE AUTHOR ROBERT C. Gallagher wrote, “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” Nowhere is this statement more true (sadly, on both accounts) than on a college campus. Colleges and universities have always had a paradoxical relationship with change. We owe much of our lore and storied traditions to the past, and yet institutions of higher education are often on the forefront of dramatic technological and social change. Perhaps our romance for the past is driven by how often we are living in the future. Colleges are in the business of change. Students enroll at a university because they desire to be changed, although many will not recognize this until later. The difference between the uncertainty and timidity of a freshman at summer orientation versus the confident senior who strides across the dais with an SFA diploma in hand is monumental. When alumni come back to visit campus for homecoming or other events, the change in the university is usually apparent. New buildings stand where others used to be, busy streets become attractive plazas and the signs of changes yet to come are present everywhere. But how often do we stop to think about how much we have changed since we roamed the hallways of SFA as a learner? We are changing in the same way the university is. Yesterday’s curiosities become tomorrow’s masteries. Our dreams and goals become our practical ambitions. We grow in ways that our former selves could not even have imagined. Helping today’s SFA students recognize the enormousness of the change that is occurring within them is an essential element in their learning and an important
part of our educational mission. Each year in April, my department hosts a “Week of Reflection,” which encourages students to think about all they have learned in the previous year and how it has changed them. We ask students questions like, “How did you make a difference with what you learned this year?” and, “Can you think of a time when something you learned explained or clarified something you did not previously understand?” These are big questions, but our students are up to the challenge. As they tackle these and other questions like them, they often find that the purpose of their education goes beyond the diploma they earn at the end, and that it is the process of education that is most beneficial. George Bernard Shaw once wrote that the only wise man he knew was his tailor because “…he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” Like the opening quote in this article, this may resonate with the reader in more than one way. Growth around the waistline will tend to accumulate with age at a rate sometimes faster than wisdom. But no matter how long ago those days were, when we look back to pictures of ourselves in our younger days when all the world seemed new, we can consider how much those days have contributed to the measure of the person we Dr. Adam Peck have become. ✯ dean of student affairs
IT WAS THE fall of 2002 when, in a stroke of fate, or luck, or genius, SFA cinematography professor Bill Arscott paired Phillip Guzman ’05 and Philip Roy ’06 together for the first assignment – shooting a short black-and-white film with no sound. Looking back on that initial endeavor, Roy said he and Guzman didn’t immediately click. “However, despite all of our opposites and through our really, really, raw talents, we ended up working well together.” 20
“Silver Screen Dreams” photography courtesy of Jason Riley Hoss, Zach Humphreys ’07, James LaMarr and Philip Roy ’06.
he men continued the partnership through their college careers, developing their individual strengths in filmmaking – Guzman as writer/director and Roy as cinematographer. Their efforts were rewarded with Guzman’s senior thesis film, The Gulf, being named a finalist in the 2005 International Student Film Festival in Hollywood. In 2009, their independent film Desdémona: A Love Story received three major awards at the Boston Film Festival – Best Actor (Jorge A. Jimenez), Best Cinematography and Best Feature Film. It was also named Best Feature Film at the Naples International Film Festival. The captivating and tragic story follows a Mexican immigrant (played by Jimenez) as he reflects on his kidnapping of a past love for money to bury his American father figure. Guzman and Roy are currently negotiating with several companies about a limited theatrical run for Desdémona and for distribution through DVDs. In addition, they’re working to get a different film into distribution while another is being edited, and two or three more are in preproduction.
“It’s nice to know where we came from and to see where we are right now,” Guzman said. “We’re getting offers for multi-million dollar projects now.” Both men applaud the training they received at SFA, particularly the number of assignments they were required to complete. “Unlike at UT, where it’s two years before you even pick up a camera, at SFA the first thing we did was start shooting a short film,” Roy said. Guzman added that Arscott, director of SFA’s cinematography program, does a great job of preparing his students to endure the toughness of the film industry. “Like an NCAA football coach who readies his players for the NFL, Arscott prepared us to be in Hollywood, to be with the sharks out there. I understand now why he was so hard on us, why he’d tell us, ‘Not good enough. . . . If this is all you’ve got, you’re not going to make it. . . . Do it again . . . Do it again.’” In turn, Arscott said Guzman and Roy’s willingness to promote their work, to make connections and to take risks is an integral part of their success. Even before they left SFA, the men knew they’d be taking the risky route to begin their career. As Roy said, “Instead of playing it safe and trying to work our way up the ladder in Hollywood (which could take years), we’d run and gun and make our own movie.” Sure enough, after graduating, they made Lawless, financing it completely on their own with a budget of just under $7,000. It was accepted into a Hollywood film festival and seen by producer James LaMarr. He liked what he saw so much that he produced Desdémona. At the same festival, the filmmakers met Mick Rossi, who later starred in and co-wrote with Guzman both 2:22 and A Kiss and a Promise.
Guzman and Roy’s story is full of similar domino effects. Contacts they make while shooting or promoting one film lead to an opportunity for another film, another contact, and so on. That doesn’t mean that success has come easily for the two men. As owners of their own small film company, they each perform a multitude of jobs, and their limited budgets and equipment packages require them to be creative problem solvers. Guzman and Roy share the lessons they’ve learned with SFA film students whenever they find themselves back in Nacogdoches. They answer questions, share helpful production hints and techniques, and
“toItbe’s jaustpretnotty goiridne;g it never is.”
stress the rough road ahead to the aspiring filmmakers. “We let them know that it will be rough, but you can make it,” Roy said. “It’s just not going to be a pretty ride; it never is.” While Guzman and Roy haven’t completely “made it” themselves yet, they’re thriving on the challenge of doing so. They acknowledge that with each film, they are becoming better filmmakers and feel that they’re definitely on track toward having their work on the silver screen. ✯
APRIL 23 Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting, Pearman Alumni Center 24 SFA Football Spring Scrimmage 24 Student Foundation Mud Bugs & Mud Balls MAY 3 Senior Send-Off, Sports Shack, Nacogdoches 7 Big Dip Mentor Ring Ceremony, Grand Ballroom 15 SFA Graduation, Johnson Coliseum JUNE 1 Alumni Awards deadline for Distinguished Professor, Outstanding Young Alumnus and Distinguished Alumnus JULY 30 SFA Alumni Coaches Luncheon, Nacogdoches AUGUST 31 Welcome Week Cookout, Pearman Alumni Center
APRIL 30 African American Chapter Reunion, Nacogdoches MAY 1 African American Chapter Reunion, Nacogdoches JUNE 5 San Antonio Chapter at Missions baseball game, San Antonio AUGUST 7 San Antonio Chapter Freshman Send-Off Party, University Bowl, San Antonio
APRIL 10 TKE Alumni Scholarship Tournament, Woodland Hills Golf Club, Nacogdoches MAY 7 Coach Maco Stewart Reunion and Golf Tournament, Alpine Golf Course, Longview 21 Houston Alumni Golf Tournament, Wildcat Golf Club, Houston 27 SFA Band Scholarship Golf Tournament, Eagles Bluff Golf Course, Bullard
10 Longview Chapter Freshman Send-Off Party, Papacita’s, Longview
JUNE 4 Lettermen’s Association Golf Tournament, location TBA
15 Dallas Alumni Chapter Freshman Send-off Party, Dallas
7 Tyler Alumni Golf Tournament, Holly Tree Golf Club, Tyler
15 Houston Chapter Freshman Send-Off Party, Home of Sean and Katy Guerre, Houston
26 Cally Belcher Memorial Golf Tournament, Blake Tree Golf Course, Montgomery
AUGUST 6 Longview Chapter/East Texas Exes Golf Tournament, Wood Hollow Golf Club, Longview
SAVE THE DATES
Saturday September 4, 2010 @Texas A&M
Saturday October 23, 2010 @Reliant Stadium
*Times and dates are subject to change. Visit www. sfaalumni.com for the most recent information.
From the Association
Chuck Tomberlain ’84 President, SFA Alumni Association
ELLOW LUMBERJACKS, I hope you and your family are having a great spring and that 2010 has already brought you many blessings from above. You are sure to enjoy the new style of Sawdust magazine as we partner with the university to keep you up to date with all the activities and accomplishments taking place at SFA. With all the new building projects such as our state-of-the-art Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing, which opened in January, our university continues to be at the forefront of higher education. We enjoyed another record enrollment with 12,029 students this spring – the highest spring enrollment in the school’s history. The value of an SFA degree is at an all-time high! Your SFA Alumni Association is here to serve you and to encourage you to promote SFA in your community. We want you to come back to campus and see for yourself what is going on so you can be an informed ambassador for your alma mater. A great time
Your SFA Alumni Association is here to serve you and to encourage you to promote SFA in your community. to visit campus and see why we are all so proud to be Lumberjacks would be Homecoming, Oct. 29-30. At the association, we talk about “the power of one” because we believe one person can make a difference. Are you that one? Get involved with your local SFA alumni chapter, promote an SFA event, play in an SFA golf tournament, help start a scholarship, talk to a student about YOUR alma mater or just wear purple! The alumni staff is always available to discuss the best way for you to be reunited with your university as a valuable member of our association. In addition to Homecoming on the 30th, please mark your calendar for Saturday, Sept. 4, when your Lumberjacks take on Texas A&M in College Station. On Saturday, Oct. 23, we will conquer the Bearkats at Reliant Stadium in the Battle of the Piney Woods! I will be happy to help you and your family any way I can, so do not hesitate to contact me.
Here to serve my fellow Lumberjacks, Chuck Tomberlain ’84 903.445.2943
SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Chuck Tomberlain ’84 - president Curtis Sparks ’85 - president-elect Mike Harbordt ’63 - past president ASSOCIATION BOARD Wendy Buchanan ’85 Don Cox ’71 & ’76 Robin Dawley ’77 Ryan Emmons ’03 Karen Gantt ’95 Doris Havard Ron Hunt ’91 & ’94 Kent Hutchison ’92 Don Keasler ’61 Katie Nelms ’05 Susan Roberds ’75 Roger Robinson ’92 Phillip Scherrer ’99 Steve Whitbeck ’75 Chris Woelfel ’95 Student Government Association Courtney Harvey ’10 Student Foundation Association Cole Tomberlain ’11 SFA ALUMNI FOUNDATION GOVERNORS Mike Harbordt ’63 - Chairman Brad Bays ’91 Lewie Byers ’68 Ford Cartwright ’69 Shirley Crawford ’58 & ’70 James Hamilton ’77 Andy Mills ’91 Bill Roberds ’75 Chuck Tomberlain ’84 SFA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION STAFF Jeff Davis ’02 executive director of alumni affairs (Fundraising) Rhonda Minton ’90 & ’99 director of marketing & membership (Legislative Affairs & Public Relations) Mitzi Blackburn director of alumni activities (Activities & Events) Katy Crawford assistant to the executive director of alumni affairs (Operations) Rhonda Crim-Tumelson communication coordinator Emily Payne ’99 & ’01 chapter coordinator Beverly Smith ’96 accountant (Finance) Alicia Roland Chatman gifts & records specialist Mo Davis ’09 scholarship coordinator
SFA graduate on top of her game with bingo newspaper By Amy Roquemore
layers start to trickle in as the sun sets behind
the retro arch and lighted sign at Town East Bingo in Mesquite, and 28-year-old SFA alumna Missy Mouser Kemp is already inside working the room. “HOW ARE YOU doing tonight? Would you like a paper?” Kemp asks as she passes out the latest issue of Bingo Gossip to players settling in at the tables to wait for the games to start. “Good luck to y’all.” The spiky-haired 2005 graduate is the publisher, editor, reporter, ad sales representative and circulation manager of the monthly tabloid newspaper for bingo enthusiasts she founded shortly after earning her communication degree. The free publication, which Kemp dubbed “The Voice of Texas Bingo,” includes player features, horoscopes, jokes, guest columns, recipes, word puzzles and ads for bingo halls across the state. “It’s designed to be lighthearted, uplifting – and, yes, a little bit nosey – offering a peek into the
lives of some of the wonderful and unique people who play bingo in Texas,” the Mesquite native said of her newspaper. “A lot of people my age aren’t reading anymore, which is sad. But my target market does not use the Internet as much and is still interested in jokes and gossip columns and stuff like that. They also spend a lot of time in bingo halls, so they have time to do a crossword puzzle or read a horoscope. They just eat this stuff up, especially the jokes.” Kemp said she had dreamed of starting her own newspaper since she was a little girl. As she approached SFA graduation, a friend who had once been a bingo caller suggested creating a publication that catered to the bingo crowd. While she was skeptical at first, the mar-
keting research Kemp conducted in East Texas bingo halls soon convinced her that the idea had merit. “I really just played a lot of bingo to get the feel for the environment and the kind of people who play the game and what things they are interested in reading about,” she recalled. “I talked to the operators and learned how the games work. Everyone I met was very friendly and welcoming, and I decided to give it a go.” Three thousand copies of the first issue of Bingo Gossip were printed in December 2005. Kemp personally delivered them and subsequent editions to bingo halls and other businesses throughout East Texas, racking up thousands of miles in her Ford Focus. That first issue contained 12 pages and just one ad, which Kemp sweet-talked out of the benevolent owner of a Longview bingo hall for a discounted rate. The next month’s issue contained three ads, and Bingo Gossip was off and running. “It generated a buzz, and people were talking about it to their friends and sending them to their relatives. Pretty soon, people were sending me their jokes, and the advertisers were returning my calls.” Bingo Gossip’s circulation has since grown to more than 20,000, with separate editions serving Central and South Texas and the DallasFort Worth area. “Bingo haulin’,” which is how Kemp refers to the long-distance deliveries, is now done in a second-hand van that can handle the growing payload. While on the road, Kemp makes time to call on potential advertisers and vis-
it with readers like 86-year-old Eve Brice, a regular at Town East Bingo. “I love reading Bingo Gossip because it’s a happy paper,” said Brice, still all smiles at having won the jackpot the previous night. “There are no accidents or murders in there like you see on TV, just a lot of things to make you smile.” Kemp says her SFA classes and her experience working on the staff of the student newspaper, The Pine Log, gave her both the skills and the confidence to embark on the venture fresh out of college. “Missy really dug in and learned the publishing business while she worked as an advertising representative, and eventually advertising manager, for The Pine Log,” said Pat Spence, director of student publications at SFA. “After graduation, she made her own breaks and found a niche where she could put her skills and talents to use doing something she loved. That’s exactly what we hope all our students will do – use their education at SFA to do something they truly enjoy.” While Kemp is thrilled with the early success of Bingo Gossip, she is already thinking of the next challenge. “Eventually, I want to franchise Bingo Gossip – maybe have a Georgia Bingo Gossip or a Florida Bingo Gossip or a Casino Gossip or a Golf Gossip or a Women’s Gossip – I have plenty of ideas. I would love for it to become The game of Bingo can be traced back a household name, and I to 1530, to an Italian lottery called “Lo hope I’m still doing this 40 years from now.” ✯ Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia,” which is still
played every Saturday in Italy.
The Donald Wayne Barnett Memorial Scholarship The Donald Wayne Barnett Memorial Scholarship benefits a resident or native of select Texas cities and counties or a student with financial need. The scholarship honors a man who felt deep gratitude for his SFA education and wanted others to have the chances he did. His family and friends established the scholarship to benefit people like him. Don Barnett ’62 & ’64 was born on a farm on the blackland prairie of North Central Texas in 1935 and graduated from Kerens High School, where he excelled in football. He began dating Patricia Anderson in 1956. The Barnetts marked their 52nd wedding anniversary in 2009. Don worked as a roughneck before taking more regular work in Nacogdoches to support his growing family. He earned a B.A and M.A. from SFA while working full time. He managed cafeterias at SFA until retiring in 1997. Don enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, visiting old friends in Kerens and Corsicana, and finding lost treasures.
The Bill Davis and Shirley Crawford Nursing Scholarship The Bill Davis and Shirley Crawford Nursing Scholarship benefits a junior or senior nursing major. It was created in honor of Crawford ’58 & ’70, Davis’ constant companion, for her dedication and many years of service to SFA. Crawford is past-president of the SFA Alumni Association and the SFA Alumni Foundation. She has served on the boards since 1992 and still serves as a member of the Foundation Board. Bill Davis of Henderson was born in Grand Saline in 1925. He faithfully served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. For more than 50 years, he served the Henderson area as a funeral director for Crawford-Crim Funeral Home. Davis’ service to his community and his church were well known. He was a member of First Christian Church of Henderson where he served as deacon, worked to keep the garden area beautiful and delivered Meals on Wheels. Davis was active in the Henderson Lions Club, the Masonic Lodge and the Shrine. He was known for his dependability, humble spirit and abiding presence.
The Colvert Family Music Scholarship The Colvert Family Music Scholarship benefits a music major or minor and is named for the family of Carroll Colvert ’51 of Dallas, who was a student conductor of the SFA band. He attended SFA on a music scholarship. While completing his master’s degree at SFA, Colvert became the school band director at Center ISD, where he remained for four years. He then worked at Pine Tree ISD until 1963. In his teaching career, his bands won 38 first-division competitions in marching and concert contests. In 1963, Colvert and his wife, Juanita “Tommie” Thomas ’45, moved the family to Dallas and opened Colvert Music Company, a music store. After retiring in 1981, the couple joined the Brook Mays Music Company and worked there until their final retirement years. For the remainder of their lives, music education remained in their hearts. In 1993, Colvert was given the Founders Award from the Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Mu for outstanding contributions to bands. Many members of the family also called SFA home, including their daughter, Jan ’71, and Merideth ’01, daughter of son Chris. Make the decision to help secure educational opportunities for generations of future SFA students. Contact us to find out how to start creating your legacy today. Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association P.O. Box 6096, SFA Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6096 Phone: 936.468.3407 Toll Free: 800.765.1534 Fax: 936.468.1007 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.sfaalumni.com
Many of your fellow alumni are already connecting with SFA and supporting the SFA Alumni Association by joining local alumni chapters. Alumni and friends have come together through these chapters across the state and beyond in the spirit of SFA. Exciting social, fundraising and networking opportunities are available to chapter members. Simply put, local chapters provide SFA alumni, friends and parents the opportunity to play a positive role in the future of SFA and the SFA Alumni Association.
Stay connected. Get involved. Have fun. Join a chapter! Happy Hours Networking Tailgating Freshman Send-Offs Service Projects Luncheons Family Picnics Golf Tournaments Visit our Web site to find chapter events. www.sfaalumni.com REGIONAL CHAPTERS Austin Oklahoma Coastal Bend Oregon Dallas San Antonio Denver SE Texas Houston Tarrant County Longview Tyler Nacogdoches Victoria Ohio SPECIAL INTEREST CHAPTERS African American Nursing Agriculture ROTC Interior Design Rugby Tau Kappa Epsilon To find your local SFA chapter, visit www.sfaalumni.com and click on chapters, or contact Emily Payne, chapter coordinator, at email@example.com or call (800) 765-1534.
JUSTICE by Shirley Luna
HEN JOHN PROVAN graduated from SFA in 1996, he thought he knew where his accounting degree would lead him. And for several years after graduation he was happy working as an accountant for a small corporation. However, in 2004 he joined the U.S. Department of Justice and embarked on a career that would take him around the world, delving into the records of government agencies such as the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. â€œAs a kid from Nacogdoches, I would never have thought an accounting degree would send me to Afghanistan during a war to evaluate U.S. counternarcotics aid, to Colombia to evaluate DEA operations, or to a variety of interesting U.S. locations doing federal audits,â€? Provan said. Sawdust
As a Certified Public Accountant in the Chicago Office of the Inspector General, Provan conducts inspections and audits of DOJ programs to promote efficiency and effectiveness in areas ranging from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the inhouse pharmacies that deliver medicines to prison inmates.
Provan, John’s elder brother by 23 years, became his legal guardian. “Bob was serving as SFA’s general counsel, so I grew up attending events with SFA administrators and regents,” Provan recalled. “SFA was a great place to be and a great part of my childhood. Even though I lost my parents at a young age, I had an environment rich with role models,
“I was undisciplined and lazy,” he said. “The Ranger motto is ‘Rangers Lead the Way,’ which means in every way: dress, drilling, education, battle, etc. My first sergeant in the Rangers drilled their motto in my head, and when I returned to SFA, I easily excelled because I was dedicated, focused and determined to finish what I had started. ”
A strong work ethic was born of necessity and instilled in Provan at a young age. “The work we do ensures that American taxpayers are receiving value for their investment,” he said. In 2007, Provan was a member of the team that received an award of excellence from the President’s Council on Integrity & Efficiency for work conducted on the DEA International Operations Audit. He was given the 2008 Inspector General’s Award of Merit for work he did with Afghan law enforcement officials regarding their handling of U.S. funds in the war on terror and efforts to establish democracy in that country. Provan received an Inspector General’s Honor Award in March for work on the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List Nomination Practices. The audit included operation practices of the Terrorist Screening Center and its procedures to maintain terrorist watch lists. “If these watch lists contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate or obsolete, it can have enormous consequences,” Provan said. “There are always new ways that the United States can be attacked by terrorists, but I feel our audits have improved security for all Americans. It definitely makes me feel that my work is worthwhile.” A strong work ethic was born of necessity and instilled in Provan at a young age. His father passed away when Provan was in elementary school, and the following year, his mother died in a car accident. Bob
including the late Howard Page and Dr. Jasper Adams, current SFA Vice President Danny Gallant, and history department faculty members Dr. Bobby Johnson and Dr. Archie McDonald. I am grateful to all of these men for the example they gave me, which was basically, ‘Watch; this is how to live your life.’” Provan’s ties to SFA proved particularly valuable when he was injured playing baseball in fourth grade. “I was hit in the head and had to have brain surgery and missed more than half of that year in school. Bob Sitton, who at that time was director of the Alumni Association, raised the money to pay for my surgery.” Provan bounced back from his injury and enrolled at SFA in 1986. In 1989, he joined the U.S. Army and served with the Airborne Rangers and 9th Infantry Division. “Service to country runs strong in my family. My brother Phil fought in the Vietnam War, and my brother David was career Navy during both the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm. My dad fought in World War II as a navigator for a B-24 bomber, and my granddad fought in World War I,” Provan explained. “When I ran out of money for school, I wanted to follow in their footsteps, so I joined the Army.” Despite the positive role models Provan had at SFA, he claims his first years as an SFA student were not stellar.
Provan returned to SFA in 1994 and completed his degree. He later received an M.B.A. from Benedictine University in Illinois and earned accreditation as both a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Government Auditing Professional. While his work takes him around the world, Provan still has
ties that bring him back to Nacogdoches. He is engaged to Adrienne Spurlin, another Nacogdoches High School graduate and SFA College of Business alumna. Provan said he is happy to have a reason to return to the SFA campus. “The professors I had at SFA provided me with a quality education, and with that solid accounting background, I have been able to grow in the profession,” he said. “I hope they take heart in my achievements, because I know I couldn’t have done it without the dedication each of them put into their work at SFA.” ✯
Class Notes 1940
Theo C. “Cotton” Miles ’48 of Wills Point will be inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame on May 8 in Waco.
Larry Bailey ’63 has retired to Chocowinity, N. C., after a 27-year career as a Navy SEAL. He has worked in various civilian positions in the Washington, D.C., area. He is currently chairman of Gathering of Eagles, a Boy Scout troop-support organization. Jim ’68 and Kitty Kyle ’69 are the owners of Express KYLE Employment Professionals with offices in Houston and Bellaire.
Dr. Rick Krustchinsky ‘74 of Houston is a professor of education at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He received the 2009 St. Thomas Aquinas Award for Excellence in Teaching and is chair of the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program. He also coauthored a science education book, Incredible Edible Science, published in January 2010.
Melba Pahal ’76 of San Augustine, is a teacher at San Augustine Elementary School. C i n d y Ta y e m ’78 of Terrell is on the board of direcTAYEM tors of the Terrell Chamber of Commerce and will serve this year as vice chairman of economic development.
Don Fallin ’80 of Center has been named 2009 Tenaha Citizen of the Year by the Tenaha Business Men’s Club.
Allen Miller ’72 & ’75 of Longview has been
DR. RICK KRUSTCHINSKY ’74
named the 2009 Administration/Supervision Educator of the Year by the Longview ISD.
Steven P. Lindamood ’80 of Houston is board certified in family
law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been named a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly from 2003 through 2009. Sally Warren ’80 of Lindale is the dietitian leader for East Texas Medical Center. Steve Murray ’81 of Bastrop is superintendent of Little Elm ISD.
Jana K. Broussard ’82 of Longview is an officer and shareholder of Henry & Peters PC.
Laura Corbett ’82 of Tyler is a real estate agent.
Kim D. Garrett ’84 of Dallas is the CRM marketing manager at Infor, a software company.
Thomas C. Alex ’78 Thomas “Tom” C. Alex ‘78 of Terlingua is the archeologist for Big Bend National Park. His book, Big Bend National Park and Vicinity, is a collection of stories and photos of the area he has lived and worked in for almost 30 years. Images found in this volume were provided by families who settled the area, the National Park Service and visitors who found the enchantment of the Big Bend irresistible. Alex and wife Betty, the park botanist, live in a straw-bale house – and off the grid with the help of a solar array, a windmill and a composting operation.
Gary Lamar ’84 coached his Point Hope, Alaska, football team to the state championship. Barry Bowman ’89 of Daingerfield led the Daingerfield High School Tigers to their second Division II, 2-A state championship. Bowman was assisted by Thomas Hightower ’03 and Jimmy Irvin ’87, both of Daingerfield. Chester Jourdan ’89 of Columbus, Ohio, is the executive JOURDAN director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Rebecca Welch ’89 of Nacogdoches is the owner of Macy May, a boutique.
Craig McAndrews ’90 of Houston is the vice president of merchandising for Mattress Firm. Jeff Traylor ’90 & ’02 of Gilmer led the Gilmer High School Buckeyes to an undefeated season and a Division I, 3-A state championship. He was assisted by Keith Tate ’99 of Gilmer. Jerry Mullins ’92 & ’08 of Crockett was advanced to Petty Officer First Class (E-6) in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Mullins is an educational diagnostician with Houston-Trinity County Special Education Shared Services. Spring 2010
Kerrie Forrester ’91 of Henderson is the communications officer and executive director of the Henderson ISD Education Foundation.
LEE REYNOLDS ’79 & ’83
Trevor White ’97 of Rosenberg is to be the first campus athletic director/head football coach for George Ranch High School. Brandon T. Winn ’97 of Gilmer passed the Texas Bar Examination. Tony Both ’98 of Houston has been named director of financial reporting for Integrated Electrical Services, Inc. Dr. Tara Newman ’98 & ’07 of Nacogdoches has received NEWMAN honor recognition as an academic professional in family science from the National Council on Family Relations. Greg Branch ’99 of Palestine is teaching and coaching at Cayuga Independent School District. Chris Cromwell ’99 of Houston is a senior account executive for Aerotek Scientific.
Noel and Kathryn Durham Siegling ’00 of Houston announce the Nov. 5 birth of son William Seth.
Lee Reynolds ‘79 & ‘83 of Longview received the 2009 Trainer of the Year Award from the Texas High School Coaches Association. Reynolds, head trainer for Longview High School, showed his skill and heroics during a spring practice when a player suffered a spinal-cord injury after taking a helmetto-helmet hit. When the player quit breathing, Reynolds administered CPR, handling the chest compressions and breathing parts of the procedure himself. After being hospitalized for a month, the player has recovered and walks normally. Reynolds has worked at Longview High School since 2000 and has been an athletic trainer for 30 years. He worked at Pine Tree High School from 1980 to 1989. He then worked with two therapy and sports medicine centers from 1989 to 2000, in which he worked with other area schools. Reynolds also had an internship with the United States Olympic Committee training facility in San Diego in 1996. Reflecting on the day he came to the aid of an injured player, Reynolds said he didn’t do anything any other trainer would not have done. “I just happened to be in a bad situation that day, and God helped me through it. In hindsight, one can always see their mistakes and what might have been a better way of doing something. Tell them nothing ever goes exactly as planned, so keep your cool, let your training and God lead you and, hopefully, everything will turn out well in the end,” he said.
Rebecca Field ’05 of Tuscon, Ariz., is a project manager FIELD and an environmental planner for SAGE Landscape Architecture & Environmental Inc. Jana Patton ’01 of Center has received the Jack Harvey Fellowship Award for Exemplary Teachers. Bryan ’01 & ’03 and Jaime Stephens ’04 of Killeen announce the July 15 birth of son Jamison Alexander.
Karrie and Craig Yager ’01 of Houston announce the Nov. 5 birth of daughter Raegan McKenzie.
HARDY MEREDITH ’04
Brandi Gehrels ’03 of Nacogdoches is the director of Pinecrest Children’s Academy. Sherri Bostik ’06 of Tyler is a teacher at San Augustine Intermediate School. Kimberly Frangesh ’07 of Castroville is marketing coordinator for the Castroville Chamber of Commerce.
HEATHER ROSS ’96 Heather Ross ‘96 of Beaumont is the regional director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Region 10 monitors air and water regulations for 15 counties.
Former Mr. SFA Hardy Meredith ’04 of Austin recently was named an MVP of Time Warner Cable’s Local News Division. Meredith, a producer for News 8 in Austin, is one of only five of the company’s local news employees nationwide to receive the award. The MVP award stands for Mission & Values Performance and is the highest honor a Time Warner Cable employee can receive. As part of his prize, Meredith and his wife, Carley ’08, will take a trip to Puerto Rico this spring.
Share your good news in Sawdust Class Notes! Information and photos may be submitted online at www.sfaalumni.com or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIFE MEMBERS The SFA Alumni Association would like to thank the following alumni who recently became life members. We appreciate your support. 7582 – Steven B. Morgan ’05, BS PSCI, Bridge City 7583 – William Clay Keith ’08, BSN NURS, Henderson 7584 – Paul B. Beran ’78, BA ENG / ’80 MA ENG, Ft. Smith, Ark. 7585 – Tammy S. Lee ’06, BSIS INST, Nacogdoches 7586 – Gregory Allen Talley ’09, BBA BUS ADMIN, Houston
In Memoriam Abraham I. Aleman ’67 of Sherman, Jan 9. William Dwight Biggar ’85 of Lusby, Md., Dec. 26. Bruce E. Braden ’77 of Wasilla, Alaska, Dec. 21. Bruce Bradshaw ’58 & ’68 of New London, Jan. 17. Michael W. Brassell ’69 of Hurst, Jan. 13. Delton Ray Carrell Sr. ’69 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 31. Cecile Cone ’55 & ’58 of Jacksonville, Jan 9. Charles E. English ’54 & ’56 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 28.
Otis Bigham Floyd ’29 of Nacogdoches died Feb. 4. Floyd was a member of the first class of SFA in 1923. During those years he was teaching and also helping brick masons lay the original brick on the main streets of Nacogdoches. He taught school for 50 years and retired at 70 from the Dallas Independent School District. Math was his first love, but he also taught vocational agriculture for 20 years. Floyd was a Master Mason and received his 75-year pin in 2007. He found great pleasure in this activity and served in almost all capacities of several lodges. First and foremost, Floyd was a teacher, both in the classroom and out. He loved God, his family and life abundantly.
Mildred J. Grogan ’67 of Nacogdoches, Dec. 11. Terri L. Hinson ’94 of Broaddus, Jan. 21. Donna-Jean Hunt of Nacogdoches, Jan. 20. Bob Huffman ’65 of Tyler, Dec. 8. John H. McGilvra ’59 & ’72 of Diboll, Dec. 1. Glennadene B. McKibben of Lufkin, Jan. 31. Bessie Lou Price Mason ’40 of Tyler, Dec. 2. Deborah Sue Griffin Milham ’73 & ’80 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 25. Bobby N. Morrow ’59 & ’62 of Freeport, Dec. 22. Charles Truett Parrish Jr. ’83 of Livingston, Jan. 7.
Dr. Neal Bryan Houston, retired professor of English and former regents professor, died Dec. 31. Houston was born on Aug. 7, 1928, in Dallas. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Houston studied at the University of California Los Angeles, Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas where he earned two master’s degrees. He received his doctorate in English from Texas Tech University and taught at SFA from 1966 until he retired in 1992.
Jerry O. Pitts of Nacogdoches, Jan. 11. Sandra H. Raney of Nacogdoches, Nov. 2. Alonzo A. Salinas ’68 of Edinburg, Nov. 4. Mary Mohea Jarry Savage ’49 of Nacogdoches, Jan. 17. Betty B. Smith ’69 of Tyler, Nov. 30. John Streetman ’71 of Victoria, Nov. 29. Marcus D. Strickland ’66 of Fort Worth, Dec. 19. Inez Ward Roe ’67 of Marshall, Jan 1. Deborah S. Milham ’73 & ’80 of Nacogdoches, Jan 25. Lucille Spurgeon ’43 of Baytown, Jan. 11. Dr. Norman Lee Stewart of Jacksonville, Nov. 21. Irene Welch ’49 of Crockett, Jan. 9. Ruth Williamson ’41 of Nacogdoches, Sept. 29.
Frank Hood Goldsberry Jr. ’58 of Shreveport, La., died Jan. 29. A graduate of Nacogdoches High School, he received a degree in accounting from SFA and was later chosen as the Distinguished Alumnus in 1998. While at SFA, he was a member of the Sawyers, served as vice president of the Student Congress and was voted class favorite. He served for two years in the U.S. Air Force. Goldsberry endowed a scholarship through the SFA Alumni Association, the Frank and Eva Hood Goldsberry Memorial Geology Scholarship, in honor of his grandparents. An independent oil and gas producer since the late 1950s, he owned several drilling and production companies. Goldsberry discovered many significant oil and gas fields, notably St. Mary’s field in Arkansas and East Oldenberg field in Mississippi. He was a past president of the Shreveport Petroleum Club and a member of the Wildcatters Association, Eastridge Country Club, Southern Trace Country Club, Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club and the University Club of Shreveport.
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We Back the ’Jacks! As alumni, we are committed to supporting SFA and its students. So much so that a portion of all sales are re-invested into university programs and scholarships. We are particularly proud of the scholarship part.
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Shop online 24/7 at www.jackbackers.com and support the next generation of SFA alumni.
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Join the SFA Alumni Association today and make a difference in the life of an SFA student! Are you the one?
Association Membership • $25 Current Student Annual • $25 First-Year Grad Annual • $50 Annual Member • $75 Joint Annual (Husband/Wife)
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ONE Proud Family of Lumberjacks The Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association understands how the power of one can make a difference at SFA.
(for students & first-year grads) • $1,000 Joint Life (Husband/Wife) • $750 Joint Senior Life Membership Visit www.sfaalumni.com for the list membership advantages SFA Alumni Association PO Box 6096, SFA Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962 1-800-765-1534 • (936) 468-3407 Fax (936) 468-1007 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Sarah Cutler
SFA GARDENS CULTIVATE LEARNING WHAT STARTED IN 1985 as a small garden project for SFA agriculture students has blossomed into a living laboratory and recreational resource encompassing more than 60 acres. The Mast Arboretum, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden and Pineywoods Native Plant Center, collectively known as the SFA Gardens, attract thousands of visitors each year. “This particular garden has succeeded because people have such enthusiasm for the garden, and that has sustained our growth,” said Dr. David Creech, professor emeritus of agriculture and associate director of the SFA Gardens. “Endowments, which are part of that enthusiasm, also have helped us get to where we are.” The educational programs offered through the Gardens emphasize the importance of conservation while also highlighting rare and endangered plants that are native to East Texas. The hands-on, fieldbased experience provided by these programs gives visitors a unique perspective that cannot be achieved Spring 2010
in a classroom setting. “I suspect the most important part of SFA Gardens is the environmental education program, especially the part directed at about 12,000 children each year,” Creech said. “Connecting kids to the natural world and the joys of gardening is no easy chore these days, but when it’s done in the right setting, with the right people and good programming, it works.” Ironically, Mother Nature sometimes puts a damper on the Gardens’ efforts to connect people with the environment. Programs are not available during the coldest winter months and the hottest summer months, and rainy days mean that visiting groups have to reschedule in hopes of fairer weather. In an effort to provide yearlong environmental education programming, a campaign is under way to build a $1.5 million Conservation Education Center next to the Pineywoods Native Plant Center that could accommodate visitors year-
round, rain or shine. “We want the building to be an education in itself, and we want it to be a destination point so people will come to Nacogdoches just to see it,” said Elyce Rodewald, education coordinator for the SFA Gardens. Featuring a green roof pavilion with a plaza, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified facility would embody the environmental and conservation lessons taught through the Gardens’ educational programs. Its design would serve to not only educate, but also inspire. Creech said that funding for the project will come from outside of the university, and he suspects it will be a few more years before the $1.5 million goal is met. In the meantime, the Gardens will continue to educate, entertain and enlighten. “There’s not a lot of difference between planting a seed in a pot and planting an idea in a student’s head,” said Creech. “Both involve encouraging and training. It’s all about nurturing.” ✯
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Mark your calendar for the first event in the new Archie McDonald Speaker Series, â€œA Conversation with Mr. George Foreman,â€? Thursday, April 29, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center.
GEORGE FOREMAN Dr. Archie McDonald, longtime SFA professor of history, will sit down for a chat with the legendary boxer and businessman beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Limited premier reservations are available for $50, which includes dinner with Foreman at 6 p.m. Reserved seats are $15, and general admission is $10. SFA students will be admitted free of charge. To reserve your seat or get more information about the speaker series, visit www.sfasu.edu/archie or call (936) 468-2605.