February 15, 2019 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture will host a public ceremony on the SFA campus to officially crown the latest addition to the Texas Big Tree Registry.
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, March 1, at the SFA Arboretum gazebo, located at 2031 Wilson Drive.
The tree, a chalk maple, was submitted to the Texas A&M Forest Service for consideration by Greg Grant, Smith County extension agent and former horticulturalist for SFA Gardens. The agency manages the statewide Texas Big Tree Registry and is responsible for confirming trees worthy of inclusion.
“Being home to a state-champion tree is a unique honor, yet it seems fitting for a university with trees in its DNA,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, interim university president. “I think all Lumberjacks would agree that SFA wouldn’t be the same in any setting other than our beautiful, wooded campus.”
The Texas Big Tree Registry recognizes the largest known tree of each species growing in the state. Currently, there are 274 state champion trees — 75 of which hold the title of national champion for their species.
According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database, chalk maples, although rare, are native to Texas and are a southern variation of the sugar maple.
“The tree itself is not very big, but for the species, it’s impressive,” said John Boyette, district forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service.
SFA’s champion chalk maple measures 28 feet tall with a circumference of 34 inches and a crown spread of 30 feet.
For more information regarding this event, contact Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, at (936) 468-1185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 7, 2019 - The School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University has established a scholarship to honor Dr. Tim King, the former director of choral activities at SFA who retired in 2017.
The Tim King Choral Scholarship is being unveiled this week to coincide with the annual convention of the Texas Music Educators Association Feb. 13 through 16 in San Antonio.
“Creating a choral scholarship bearing Dr. Tim King's name honors the many years of service Tim gave to our great university – music which enriched our Nacogdoches community and the devotion he gave to his students,” said Dr. Michael Murphy, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at SFA.
King joined the SFA music faculty in 1983 and enjoyed a 30-plus year tenure with the university, positively influencing the careers of countless students. He directed the A Cappella Choir through numerous tours of Europe and conducted the student ensemble in performances in such prestigious venues as St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, San Marco (St. Mark’s) Basilica and the Vatican.
In the 2014-15 academic year, King was named Regents Professor, the highest honor SFA bestows upon members of the faculty and reserved for exemplary university role models.
“SFA choral graduates are now conductors and music education leaders throughout Texas and the United States,” King said. “What an honor to represent my former students through this endowed scholarship.
“It goes without saying that this scholarship will inspire the next generation of SFA choral excellence,” he added. “I sincerely want to thank Dr. Murphy for his leadership and to all contributors for their sponsorship.”
Helping to build the King scholarship fund to benefit future choral students is a great way of saying “thank you” to an educator who gave the Nacogdoches community countless performances of beautiful choral music, according to Murphy.
“No doubt this scholarship, when fully funded, will help ensure future students realize a career in choral music,” Murphy added.
Contributions to the Tim King Choral Scholarship can be made by visiting www.sfasu.edu/timking
January 30, 2019 Nacogdoches — The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved appointment of two new leaders for the University Police Department during its Tuesday meeting.
John Fields will serve as chief of the SFA department. Fields served as director of public safety and chief of police at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, since 2011, after serving as assistant chief of police and chief investigator from 2007-11. He brings a background in municipal law enforcement, having served in a variety of roles for the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, before rising to the rank of operations captain in 2001.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science, a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Science in criminal justice, all from Albany State University. Fields is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in Operation Desert Storm.
“The chief of police position impacts our entire campus, and we are pleased to have found such an exceptionally qualified candidate,” said Dr. Adam Peck, interim vice president for university affairs.
Fields replaces Marc Cossich, who is currently serving as chief of police at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
Craig Goodman was approved as assistant chief of the SFA department. Since 2015, Goodman has served as chief of police in Brenham after working in a variety of roles at the Pasadena Police Department. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from SFA and a Master of Science in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown. In 2008, he was selected to participate in the FBI National Academy.
Peck’s service as interim vice president also was among the appointments approved by regents. Peck is the SFA dean and assistant vice president for student affairs. Dr. Hollie Gammel Smith, assistant dean, was approved to serve as interim dean of student affairs. Lacey Folsom, director of the Office of Student Engagement, was approved as interim assistant dean of student affairs.
Faculty appointments approved during the regents meeting include Yuan He, assistant professor of elementary education; Jessica Glasscock, instructor of forestry; Timothy Nix, associate professor of computer science; Collin Timmons, lecturer of physics, engineering and astronomy; and Shannon Bowman, librarian II.
In the Department of Athletics, staff appointments approved were Freddie Banks, Kevin Bleil, Wendel Davis, Kincaid Faske, Nathaniel Johnson, Malcolm Kelly, Jared May, Brian Natkin, Scott Power and Matthew Storm, assistant football coaches; Chance Chapman, assistant soccer coach; and Alex Luna, assistant volleyball coach.
Regents also approved the appointments of Alisha Windham, budget analyst; Rayburn Mitchum, development officer II; Jacqueline Conde, hall director; and Benjamin Tucker, student engagement coordinator.
Three staff members within Information Technology Services were approved as programmer/analyst I, including Taylor Day, Michael Deruiter and Justin Mlinar. Regents also approved changes of status within information technology:
- Tristan Adams, from programmer/analyst III to manager of ITS development;
- Michael Carmical and Charles Fox, from programmer/analyst I to programmer/analyst II;
- William Croft, from system programmer II to systems programmer III;
- Daniel Davis and Stacy Little, from programmer/analyst II to programmer/ analyst III;
- Tracey Foster, from programmer/analyst IV to manager of IT applications;
- Joseph Jacobs, from network support specialist I to network support specialist II;
- Travis Killen, from systems programmer II to manager of ITS systems;
- Kreg Mosier, from manager of library web services to programmer II systems;
- Cathy Rhodes, from senior specialist security access to analyst identity management III;
- Karrie Roberson, from administrator of library database to systems programmer I;
- Scott Speichert, from database administrator III to manager of database administration;
- Brandon Stringfield from specialist II to interim chief information security officer;
- Henry Wiederhold, from systems programmer I to systems programmer II;
- and Tracy Wilbanks, from specialist security access to analyst identity management II.
Additional changes of status approved include:
- Sahitya Neeli, from research analyst to senior research analyst; and Katelyn Childress, from graduate assistant to coordinator of student success in academic affairs;
- Katie McLain, from analyst in Human Resources to lecturer of government in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts;
- Dedra Michalowski, from clerk II to accountant II in the controller’s office;
- Jessica Barrett, from budget analyst to budget director in the Office of Finance and Administration;
- Jeffery Ghiringhelli, from assistant director to associate director, and John Branch, from senior associate athletic director of external affairs to assistant director, physical plant;
- and Melissa Turner, from career coordinator to compliance specialist for Title IX compliance.
The board approved the retirements of four individuals who have a combined 92 years of service to the university. Retirements include Chris Barker, associate professor of geology; Jack Ethridge, professor of accounting; David Justus, ITS compliance coordinator; and Donna Mettier, ITS programmer/analyst III.
January 29, 2019 Nacogdoches — The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents voted unanimously to hire a Dallas-based executive search firm with a history in higher education to lead the search for a new president for SFA.
R. William Funk & Associates has placed presidents for universities including Rutgers, Purdue, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist and Clemson.
“The firm has a proven track record of providing personalized service with a commitment to meeting the needs of all university constituents,” said Brigettee Henderson, chair of the board. “We look forward to working with Funk & Associates to find SFA’s next great leader.”
The firm will assist in identifying candidates and will collaborate with a university search committee to identify finalists for the presidency.
SFA President Baker Pattillo passed away on Dec. 29. An SFA employee for more than 50 years, Pattillo began serving as president in 2006.
The Board of Regents voted on Tuesday to reaffirm its focus on supporting faculty and staff by approving a $12 per semester credit hour increase in designated tuition. This new rate will help fund a faculty and staff salary pool as well as strategic institutional initiatives.
Regents were provided data regarding the funding SFA has received from the state since tuition deregulation in 2003, when SFA received slightly more than $36 million in net general operating revenue funding from the state. Rather than keeping up with rising costs and inflation rates, contributions from the state have decreased. In the most recent fiscal year, SFA received less than $33 million in operating revenue, according to SFA administrators.
Approximately 4,000 students participate in fixed-rate tuition plans, which set the tuition price for 12 consecutive semesters. The university approved a $233 per semester credit hour fixed-rate tuition plan for eligible undergraduate students entering in the fall 2019 semester.
A board rate increase of 2.1 percent also was approved for meal plans for resident and commuting students.
Along with approving policy revisions and changes in course fees, the board waived Student Recreation Center and student center fees for summer study-abroad students whose programs will occur outside the country.
“We want to make study-abroad programs more affordable and encourage participation,” said Dr. Steve Bullard, provost. “We removed similar fees for online-only students in the past. We want to ensure students who are paying these fees are enjoying the associated facilities and benefits.”
A lab located on the first floor of the Cole STEM Building was named the Rex Engelhardt Laboratory. Engelhardt graduated SFA in 1986 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and was a member of the Lumberjack football team. He was a part owner of Documation, a company specializing in copiers and document management, which was changed in 2017 to UBEO and later sold to a private entity.
“Gifts like Mr. Engelhardt’s will elevate our STEM programs here at SFA,” said Jill Still, vice president for university advancement. “His generous spirit is setting a distinguished example for others.”
Regents approved selecting an architectural firm to rebuild the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center Livestock Facility, which burned down in November 2018. An architectural firm will be selected from a regents’ approved indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architectural services pool.
In May 2018, SFA graduated its largest class in university history with more than 1,500 candidates. As the graduation numbers have increased over the years, SFA has offered two graduation ceremonies in the fall and spring semesters to accommodate for this growth. Regents signed off on purchasing new commencement chairs and equipment at an additional $29,670 to a previously approved budget of $105,330.
Regents approved almost $5 million in grant awards for fiscal year 2019, which is an increase of about $1.45 million; the 2017-18 annual financial report; and minutes from the October, December and January meetings.
Additionally, the board acknowledged the receipt of audit services report, review of investment policy and strategy, and a resolution to approve qualified financial institutions and investment brokers. Due to administration changes, the board approved a resolution with Texpool, an investment entity for public fund investments, to authorize university representatives as signatories.
The board heard reports on current construction, planned maintenance and investments. Interim President Steve Westbrook, the Student Government Association, and the Faculty Senate also delivered reports to the board.
January 28, 2019 Nacogdoches — A blue Fiberglass Bahne skateboard started it all for professional skateboarder and successful business owner Tony Hawk, who at 16 years old was widely considered the world’s best skateboarder.
The world skateboarding champion for 12 consecutive years, Hawk continues to skate in demonstrations and exhibitions, making him among the most-recognized athletes in the U.S.
Hawk has transformed his love of skateboarding into a successful billion-dollar business and continues to pave the way for upcoming athletes. He also is passionate about giving back to the community through his Tony Hawk Foundation.
A fervent entrepreneur, Hawk will serve as the guest speaker in the second installment of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 29 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom on the university’s campus.
The lecture series was created in 2016 to honor A. Nelson Rusche, who endowed the college with a $5 million gift to provide scholarships to students majoring in business and to support other programs.
Through a question-and-answer format, Hawk will discuss his passion, entrepreneurship and the importance of giving back.
“The opportunity to have Tony Hawk as our speaker at the Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series will provide an especially engaging and informative opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Rusche College of Business.
“One of the many benefits of the freedoms we enjoy is that we have the ability to both pursue our passions and utilize our successes as we choose. In many ways, Mr. Hawk has chosen to use his success to help others,” Bisping said. “Many of our students will soon graduate and enjoy great successes of their own, and I hope this example set by Mr. Hawk is one the students will always remember.”
In 1999, Hawk teamed with Activision, an American video game publisher, to create Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. During the X Games that same year, he became the first skateboarder to successfully complete a 900, the pinnacle of “vert skateboarding,” which is the art of skateboarding vertical walls.
Today, Hawk’s business skills have helped create a Tony Hawk brand that boasts a billion-dollar video game franchise and many successful businesses, including Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Signature Series sporting goods and toys. His video game series has surpassed $1.4 billion in sales with the most-recent version, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, released in fall 2015.
A savvy social networking marketer, Hawk’s fan base numbers in the millions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He regularly appears on television and in films, and he hosts a show on Sirius XM radio’s Faction channel. His autobiography, “HAWK—Occupation: Skateboarder,” was a New York Times bestseller, and in 2010 Wiley Publishing released “How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO.” In 2012, in partnership with Google, Hawk’s film production company, 900 Films, launched the RIDE Channel and has grown into the most-popular skateboard destination on YouTube.
Additionally, the Tony Hawk Foundation has donated more than $5.5 million to 572 skate park projects throughout the U.S. The foundation helps finance public skate parks in low-income areas in all 50 states and other parts of the world through its partnership with Skateistan. Skate parks that received financial assistance from the Tony Hawk Foundation currently serve more than five million children annually.
The Nelson Rusche Distinguished Lecture Series is free and open to the public. A private reception will be held prior to the lecture at 6 p.m. To purchase reception tickets, contact SFA’s Office of Development at (936) 468-5406, or email April Smith, associate director of development, at email@example.com. Reception tickets cost $150.
For more information about the lecture series, visit sfasu.edu/rusche.
Two performances of "I Have a Dream" will be presented on Friday, Feb. 1, as part of the 2018-19 Children's Performing Arts Series at SFA.
January 18, 2019 Nacogdoches - The Children's Performing Arts Series at Stephen F. Austin State University will present two performances of the uplifting "I Have a Dream" on Friday, February 1, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.
Coming to SFA just in time to observe February as Black History Month, this compelling dramatization of the life and times of one of the most influential and charismatic leaders of the "American Century" and the Civil Rights movement will inspire students as they experience Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle and his dream of lifting "our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood."
"The play traces Dr. King's life from his humble beginnings in Atlanta, Georgia, through his extraordinary evolution into one of the 20th century's foremost figures," according to Diane Peterson, SFA Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children's series. "Students will learn about Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence and the methods he used to bring about social change."
Presented by Virginia Repertory Theatre and written by Bruce Craig Miller, "I Have a Dream" targets children in second through eighth grade.
Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Turner Auditorium, which is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.
Presented by the SFA College of Fine Arts, the Children's Performing Arts Series annually features five shows designed to entertain, educate and engage young audiences of all ages, according to Peterson. Study guides provide suggestions for pre- and post performance activities and discussions for teachers to use in the classroom. A comprehensive study guide for "I Have a Dream" may be accessed at cpas.sfasu.edu.
Other upcoming CPAS performances include "Madeline and the Bad Hat" on Wednesday, March 6; and "The Jungle Book" on Thursday, May 16.
To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.
January 9, 2018 Nacogdoches — Stephen F. Austin State University will launch a bachelor’s degree in data analytics in the spring of 2019, preparing students to fill jobs that meet the expanding data management needs of business and industry.
According to SFA faculty members, the program is one of only a few that exist throughout the state.
“The world runs on data,” said Dr. Puntitra Glendowne, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. “There is no shortage of data, but there is a shortage of people equipped with the necessary skills to properly handle, transform and, ultimately, extract meaningful information from it.”
Students in the program study data acquisition and visualization, statistical modeling, database management and distributed computing, skills used in the analysis of business and economic data, said Dr. Kimberly Childs, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
“Data analytics is a high-profile program designed to drive innovation through data-informed decision-making,” Childs said.
The bachelor’s degree includes computer science, economics and mathematics courses, combining lecture with practical experience in the computing lab.
“Students who may have walked away from a pure computer science, math or business degree are finding their way to data analytics as a way to pursue a variety of interests while broadening and strengthening their worth in the job market,” said Dr. Deborah Dunn, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science.
For more information about the program, visit sfasu.edu/academics/colleges/sciences-math/computer-science/academics/data-analytics, or call (936) 468-2508.
January 3, 2019 Nacogdoches – Registration is underway for private lessons and group classes offered for the 2019 spring semester by the Music Preparatory Division of the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University.
In addition to the usual 16-week private lessons for young students in piano, harp, violin and Suzuki violin, viola, voice, bass, clarinet, classical guitar, saxophone, composition, flute, trumpet, jazz piano, cello and music theory, Music Prep again offers adult piano classes in the coming spring, according to Pat Barnett, director of the Music Preparatory Division.
Music Prep offers 12 weeks of musical study with SFA music major students. Lessons in violin, cello, clarinet, classical guitar, piano and jazz piano, trumpet, voice, percussion and other instruments upon request are offered. The student instructors are referred by their major professors and have a high level of mastery of their instrument, Barnett explained.
Group classes offered are Music Theory Adventures, taught by Laura Treadaway; Adult Beginner Piano Class taught by Matthew Malaga; Adult Intermediate Piano Class, taught by Dr. Ping-Ting Lan; Pineywoods Youth Orchestra, directed by Dr. Evgeni Raychev; and The Raguet Strings, directed by Brenda Josephsen. The Raguet Strings is recruiting interested members to join the adult ensemble.
Registration forms for the 2019 spring semester are available on the Music Prep website at www.music.sfasu.edu/prep and are being accepted now. The forms may be downloaded and turned in to the Music Prep office. Sixteen-week private lessons begin the week of January 14, and 12-week private lessons begin the week of February 4. Contact the Music Prep office at (936) 468-1291 for more information.
Shirley Watterston and Dr. Robert Blocker, a former chairman of the SFA Department of Music, founded the SFA Music Preparatory Division in 1980.
Since 1982, Stephen F. Austin State University’s East Texas Pine Plantation Research Project, initiated by Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, has worked to improve the management of East Texas forestlands and the Western Gulf Coast region through collaboration with private landowners and extensive data collection. Examples of ongoing projects include the development of growth and yield models for intensively managed pine plantations and the incorporation of environmental factors. As the project looks into the future, Dr. Yuhui Weng, assistant professor of forest biometrics and ETPPRP director, seeks to expand partnerships and research projects beyond Texas’ pineywoods.
January 2, 2019 Nacogdoches — After more than three decades, the East Texas Pine Plantation Research Project, initiated by Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, continues to make breakthroughs in the management of East Texas forestlands and the Western Gulf Coast region.
The long-term research program partners with private forest landowners to gather precise scientific data to develop modern tools to optimize the growth, health and management of the region’s forests.
While industry partners benefit from scientific insight, SFA forestry students profit from the ability to conduct hands-on research in the field.
After joining the college in 2016, Dr. Yuhui Weng, assistant professor of forest biometrics and ETPPRP director, set a goal to expand partnerships and research projects beyond Texas’ pineywoods to serve timber producers across the Western Gulf Coastal Plain.
“Our research is highly focused on the needs of timber producers in the Western Gulf Coast region,” Weng said. “Because of our expertise in factors influencing forest productivity in the region, we are able to provide more region-specific, data-driven guidance than other universities who may be located on the southeastern U.S. coast.”
Examples of ongoing projects include the development of growth and yield models for intensively managed pine plantations and the incorporation of environmental factors, such as climatic change into the management of pine plantations in the Western Gulf Coastal Plain.
Weng explained that productivity of forest plantations is primarily determined by site quality, stand age and stand density. The ETPPRP established numerous permanent experimental plots in pine plantations across the region that are measured for growth and health every three years.
This data provides an accurate evaluation of the dynamic, temporal changes in site quality, stand density and presence of disease and has been used to develop mathematical tools to predict future plantation productivity and health.
Since the program’s launch, more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and technical reports have contributed to the body of knowledge of factors affecting the region’s timberlands.
This year, the ETPPRP will partner with the Western Gulf Tree Improvement Program to develop growth and yield models for a variety of genetically unique loblolly pine varieties, which are known for their rapid growth.
In December, representatives from four participating timber companies, as well as prospective partners, visited the SFA campus for an annual meeting to review program accomplishments in 2018.
Among the developments are two peer-reviewed publications that provide participants with insight into the early response of loblolly pines to tree thinning operations in the Western Gulf Coastal Plain, as well as trends in fusiform rust infections and their relationship to tree and stand characteristics in East Texas pine plantations. According to the U.S. Forest Service, fusiform rust is a widespread and highly damaging disease that affects loblolly and slash pine species.
Moving forward, Weng said he hopes to gain more forest industry partners to continue to expand the scientific knowledge and productivity of the region’s forestlands.
For more information on the ETPPRP, contact Weng at (936) 468-1354 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
December 21, 2018 Nacogdoches – The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House, Stephen F. Austin State University’s historic downtown gallery, will be open during regular gallery hours for most of the holiday season.
Regular hours are from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Additionally, the art center will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and Dec. 26. The gallery will be open regular hours Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 27 through 30, which is the last day for both current art shows. The gallery will be closed after Dec. 30 through Jan. 23 while new exhibitions, including “Caddo Contemporary: Present and Relevant,” are installed. The shows open on Jan. 24. Also opening that day is an exhibition of photographs by Frank Dituri.
Exhibitions currently showing feature artwork by Kymia Nawabi and the SFA School of Art’s biennial exhibition of jewelry and metalwork.
“Kymia Nawabi: Not for Long, My Forlorn” features a series of large-scale drawings that “acted as meditations on life and death channeled through ravenous, otherworldly beings and animals that inhabit a purgatory-like space,” according to the artist.
Works selected for inclusion in the 10th annual Art Metals/Jewelry Competition and Exhibition can be seen in the upstairs Reavley Gallery.
A vintage Christmas display, which features antique ornaments, decorations, dolls and toys of bygone eras. shows through Dec. 30.
The exhibitions are free and open to the public and are sponsored in part by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts, William Arscott, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and The Flower Shop. The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For additional information, call (936) 468-1131.