SFA University


A group of Stephen F. Austin State University students spent the semester creating “Qué Tiene la Música: Canciones, Poemas y Dibujos de Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy,” a book of poetry, song lyrics and art pieces for their History of Latin American Culture course.

December 10, 2018 Nacogdoches — A group of Stephen F. Austin State University students spent the semester creating “Qué Tiene la Música: Canciones, Poemas y Dibujos de Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy,” a book of poetry, song lyrics and art pieces for their History of Latin American Culture course.

Dr. Juan Carlos Ureña, professor of Spanish, instructed his students to select song lyrics and poems to accompany art produced by Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy, a prominent Nicaraguan musician and artist. Godoy’s work covers topics on Nicaraguan popular culture, including love, nature and life’s struggles. His art honors historic Latin American heroes and fighters.

Ureña, who is a musician himself, said he tries to incorporate genuine Latin American art and music into his teaching. “I have always combined art with literature and culture.”

Godoy’s art is heavily influenced by the pre-Colombian era and contains many faces and symbols that pay homage to indigenous cultures and folklore, according to Ureña.

Throughout the semester, students in Ureña’s course studied the cultural, poetic and historical aspects of various songs. They then paired many of the songs with the different art pieces they complemented.

“Students had to study the lyrics of songs and the meaning of the art,” Ureña said, “and I think it helped them better understand how the arts influence culture.”

The class members collaborated for five weeks with the LaNana Creek Press to produce 50 artistic copies of the book containing the songs and artwork. A commercial version of the book also will be available for purchase in the spring.

A majority of the proceeds from book sales will go to families and individuals in Nicaragua who have been affected by the political unrest the nation is facing. “This book was created in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people, and it was created to promote their culture,” Ureña said.

“It was really nice to bond with my classmates and also work together to see the final product. Just looking at the book reminds me of the time I spent with my classmates, so it's been a very beneficial project,” said Cynthia Villarreal, a psychology major with a minor in Spanish.

Students played a key role in the creation of the book, as they decided on its look and style, including the type of paper used. Charles Jones, director of the LaNana Creek Press, taught students how books are made with a printing press. During the semester, students visited the press and gained experience. Many helped print pages, glue bookbindings and create the book covers.

Overall, the project accomplished one of Ureña’s main objectives: Students finished the class with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the role art plays in culture.

For more information on SFA’s Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication, visit sfasu.edu/langcomm.

By Emily Brown, marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University.

December 6, 2018 Nacogdoches — As a final countdown commenced, attendees at Houston’s 99th annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree-Lighting Ceremony at City Hall turned their attention to the event’s centerpiece — a 65-foot-tall white fir tree located in Hermann Square. Although not cloaked in purple lights and Lumberjack regalia, the Christmas tree standing in the heart of Texas’ largest city holds a distinct connection to Stephen F. Austin State University.

Earlier this year, Nacogdoches native and SFA forestry alumnus David Robinson traveled to Southwest Oregon to hand select the towering tree destined to become the cornerstone of Houston’s holiday celebrations. 

Stephen F. Austin State University forestry alumnus David Robinson had the honor of selecting the official Christmas tree for the City of Houston. The tree, a 65-foot white fir harvested from private timberland near Medford, Oregon, was lit during Houston’s 99th annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree-Lighting Ceremony at City Hall on Dec. 3. Pictured, Robinson, field supervisor of urban forestry for the City of Houston, stands with the tree prior to felling.“It was an honor, and I hope I get to do it again,” said Robinson, field supervisor of urban forestry for the City of Houston. “I got to see a part of the country I’ve never seen before, and it’s just amazing.”

The tree, harvested from private timberland near Medford, Oregon, is one of many large conifers from the region that will be transported across the country and displayed in large city centers.

Robinson said the City of Houston has a relationship with an individual based in the Pacific Northwest who collaborates with industrial timber companies and private landowners to locate potential large-scale Christmas trees. 

“The trees are marked with GPS coordinates, and he returns during the next five to six years to fertilize and shape the tree,” Robinson said. “Once ready, the trees are marketed to cities like Houston, shopping malls or anyone in the market for a big Christmas tree.”

While much of the initial correspondence regarding desired tree specifications, such as height, is conducted through phone or email, Robinson said it is necessary to see the tree in person to make the final decision.  

“We check things that don’t translate well through email and pictures, such as tree quality and different kinds of potential hazards,” Robinson said.

Following final selection, the tree is felled and transported via helicopter from the forest to a landing site, where it is placed on a flatbed truck for transport.

Robinson explained that after it arrived in Houston, the tree was trimmed and placed in a 5-foot-deep culvert buried in the ground. Due to the sheer size of the tree, guide wires are used, and the culvert is filled with gravel to stabilize it.

“Despite the size, aftercare is not too dissimilar from the way in which families care for their own live Christmas trees at home,” Robinson said.

While aftercare may be similar, decorating a tree that size reaches a whole new level of Christmas spirit.

According to Stella Pereira, office manager for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, more than 3,000 individual LED lights adorn the tree.

Although the final honor of lighting the tree went to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Robinson said his own family has a tradition of selecting and decorating a tree to look forward to. He added his family’s Christmas tree will, of course, be a live tree.


Stephen F. Austin State University education students collaborated with staff members from the Center for Regional Heritage Research and Steen Library to print historical artifacts in 3D. Students utilized these artifacts to build lesson plans and teach at Woden High School.

December 5, 2018 Nacogdoches — History can seem like a difficult subject to learn, but Stephen F. Austin State University secondary education students and staff members in the Center for Regional Heritage Research and Steen Library are using 3D printing to help bring history to life.

During the fall semester, students in a sociocultural and historic perspectives in American education course taught by Dr. Amber Wagnon, SFA assistant professor of secondary education and educational leadership, collaborated with staff members from the CRHR and Steen Library to print in 3D bowls from the Caddo Native American tribe and handles from a cannon recovered from wreckage of the La Belle ship of French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, the Sieur de La Salle.

Drs. Robert Selden, research associate, and Mark Barringer, director of college research and associate professor in history, helped with the project. Selden discussed the 3D-printing process with the students who then printed other items.

“At SFA, 3D printing is a relatively new tool and is an asset we have on our campus,” Wagnon said. “It’s important for our teacher candidates to think about meaningful ways to utilize technology in the classroom. Teaching is a field in which collaboration is important, and I was excited the students were able to work collaboratively with other groups.”

After learning the 3D-printing process, education students created lesson plans, which they taught at Woden High School. SFA interdisciplinary studies sophomore Julisa Valdez of Houston said this project taught her patience and how to be flexible in the classroom.

“We had a lot of technology problems at first, which was frustrating, but it happens to teachers every day, so the best you can do is be flexible and patient,” Valdez said. “Prior to this collaboration, I had only worked with kids in elementary or early middle school, but working with high school students had a different atmosphere. Students were ready to learn and asked a lot of great questions. This experience has made me realize what I could do to become a better teacher.”

Not only did this project introduce students to new technology, but it also brought them into the field where they gained experience with classroom management, learning theories, diversity, planning and teaching.

“I believe we learn through doing. My students want to be educators, and I want to give them the opportunity to start that journey as early as possible,” Wagnon said. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to utilize and practice the theoretical tools we spent the semester examining.”

For more information about SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education, visit coe.sfasu.edu.

Dr. Treba Marsh, Stephen F. Austin State University professor emeritus of accounting, will offer the commencement address during the university’s two fall graduation ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 15.December 5, 2018 Nacogdoches — Dr. Treba Marsh, Stephen F. Austin State University professor emeritus of accounting, will offer the commencement address during the university’s two fall graduation ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 15.

Marsh served SFA from 1991 through 2018 in various roles, including as the interim director and director of the Schlief School of Accountancy and as the Temple Inland Endowed Professor. Her close relationship with SFA accounting alumni and accounting firm partners has resulted in the contribution of thousands of scholarship dollars for accounting students, as well as a growing number of internship placements and job offers.

Dr. Kelly Noe, associate professor and director of SFA’s Schlief School of Accountancy, said Marsh has been a major influence within the Rusche College of Business and the Schlief School of Accountancy.

“Dr. Marsh not only changed my life, but also changed the lives of many students. She was like my work mom,” Noe said. “She was and still is an amazing mentor, and her work in the Schlief School of Accountancy has helped make our program what it is today.”

Marsh is a two-time SFA alumna, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and a Master of Business Administration in management. She received her doctoral degree from Louisiana Tech University.

She has served as president of the Southwest Region of the American Accounting Association, Chapter Advocate for the Southwest Region of Beta Alpha Psi, chair of the Texas Society of Public Accountants Educators’ Conference, Historian of the Federation of Business Disciplines, and in other positions with national and regional organizations. 

“Dr. Marsh has had a profound impact on students. There are many certified public accountants out there today because Dr. Marsh identified their potential and gave them guidance to change their career path for the better,” Noe said. “She was the most student-friendly professor I know. She always did what was the best for students. Nobody will be able to fill her shoes.”

Marsh was named an outstanding accounting educator by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Southwestern American Accounting Association, and she was awarded outstanding faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi numerous times. She received the 2013 National Author Award from the Association of Government Accountants.

Marsh has published more than 70 research papers and presented at professional meetings, including the American Accounting Association, Decision Science Institute, Clute Institute, and other regional and national conferences. 

SFA’s fall commencement ceremonies will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Johnson Coliseum with candidates from the James I. Perkins College of Education and the College of Fine Arts. Candidates from the colleges of business, liberal and applied arts, forestry and agriculture, and sciences and mathematics will participate in a 2 p.m. ceremony.

Approximately 1,070 degrees are expected to be awarded, including 864 bachelor’s, 200 master’s and six doctoral degrees. Almost 270 students are expected to graduate with honors, including 87 cum laude, 74 magna cum laude, 103 summa cum laude and 60 university scholars.

The sale of jewelry in the collection of the late Nancy Delaney will benefit two scholarships at SFA.

Nancy Delaney

November 30, 2018 Nacogdoches – The estate of the late Nancy Delaney will fund two endowed scholarships for deserving students within Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Art and College of Fine Arts.

The scholarships will be funded in part through proceeds from a jewelry sale planned for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 8, at The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

An artist and musician, Delaney, whose husband, Creighton, was chairman of SFA’s art department in the 1960s, amassed an extensive jewelry collection during a lifetime of worldwide travel. It was her desire, as stipulated in her will, that her estate establish the Creighton H. Delaney Endowed Scholarship for a financially needy student in the Department of Art and the John N. Staley and Margaret Anderson Staley Endowed Scholarship for a financially needy female student in the College of Fine Arts. Her estate, along with proceeds from the sale of her jewelry, will fund the scholarships. The Staleys were Nancy Delaney’s parents.

The sale will accept only cash or check.

SFA’s historic art gallery, Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. Exhibitions showing through the end of this year include SFA’s Biennial Juried Art Metals and Jewelry exhibition, “Kymia Nawabi: Not For Long, My Forlorn” and a vintage Christmas decoration, ornament and toy display.

For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

November 27, 2018 Nacogdoches – The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House will host a holiday exhibition that provides a glimpse into the celebrations of Christmas from bygone eras.

The Christmas display, which shows December 1 through December 30, includes vintage and antique ornaments, decorations, dolls and toys from days gone by. The vignette will offer a glimpse into how this favorite holiday was celebrated 100 years ago, according to John Handley, director of art galleries for Stephen F. Austin State University.

“This will be the third year we have featured a vignette in the center of the Ledbetter Gallery at the Cole Art Center,” Handley said. “Several museums around the United States put up holiday displays as a family-friendly feature. The Taft Museum in Cincinnati does a series of elaborate displays each December, highlighting the artistry and history of Christmas celebrations from a century ago.”

Mike Moore with the Nacogdoches Public Library will present family-friendly Christmas stories at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 9, with some simple craft projects to follow.

Sponsors for the display are The Flower Shop, SFA Friends of the Visual Arts, William Arscott and Nacogdoches Junior Forum. Admission to exhibitions is free.

SFA School of Art’s historic downtown gallery, The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

Cutline: Antique ornaments, decorations, dolls and toys from days gone by will be featured in a vintage Christmas display showing at Cole Art Center December 1 through December 30.

November 15, 2018 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Beef Research Center barn was destroyed in a fire that occurred early on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 14.

“The fire caused significant damage to the structure and contents of the building,” said Dr. Hans Williams, dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. “We are very thankful that no people or animals were injured.”

The Beef Farm is a part of SFA’s 726-acre Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center, and it is an integral part of the learning experience for SFA’s agriculture students.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Friends and alumni who wish to donate funds to aid in the recovery of the facility and its contents may contribute in a variety of ways.

To donate online, visit www.sfasu.edu/give. Select “other,” specify “Beef Farm” and follow the designated steps to complete the donation.

Checks made payable to the SFA Office of Development also may be sent to P.O. Box 6092-SFA Station, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75962. Please include a note stating the contribution is for the SFA Beef Farm.

Donors also may call the SFA Office of Development at (936) 468-5406 to make a gift by phone. Once again, please designate the donation is intended for the SFA Beef Farm.

For any inquiries regarding other ways to help, contact Dr. Joey Bray, chair of the SFA Department of Agriculture, at (936) 468-3705 or Dr. Erin Brown, professor of animal science, at (936) 468-3705.

November 14, 2018 Nacogdoches — The SFA Gardens will host a garden seminar, “Deck the Halls — Using Evergreens to Decorate for the Holidays,” from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Stephen F. Austin State University Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.

Evergreen branches and garlands once served as symbols of enduring life and a fruitful year to come. Join Dawn Stover, research associate at SFA Gardens, to learn how to create elegant wreaths and garlands using materials from the garden.

Participants will learn principles of wreath, garland and centerpiece construction and make a wreath to enjoy and take home for the holidays.

In addition to the traditional wreaths and garlands, Stover will introduce new crafts using natural items from the garden and forest. All materials will be provided.

Class size is limited, so please register in advance by calling (936) 468-1832 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu. The cost is $30 for SFA Garden members and $35 for nonmembers.

Two performances of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” will be presented on Tuesday, Nov. 27, as part of the 2018-19 Children’s Performing Arts Series at SFA.

November 13, 2018 - The Children’s Performing Arts Series at Stephen F. Austin State University will present two performances of the holiday classic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Tuesday, Nov. 27, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

Inspired by the timeless poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and the real life of its author, Clement Moore, this funny musical introduces Santa Claus in a particularly beneficent light, according to Diane Peterson, SFA Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

“This classic tale has been charming audiences nationwide for many years,” Peterson said.

Presented by Virginia Repertory Theatre with book, music and lyrics by Bruce Craig Miller, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” targets children in kindergarten through fifth 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 “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” may be accessed at cpas.sfasu.edu.

Other upcoming CPAS performances include “I Have a Dream” on Friday, Feb. 1; “Madeline and the Bad Hat” 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.

Members of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Jack’s Council on Family Relations collected and donated food to 137 families through its annual food drive, Thanksgiving Homebound. Representatives from the Greater East Texas Community Action Program Head Start (pictured), East Texas Family Crisis Center and Solid Foundation visited the SFA campus Monday to collect the donations. Members of SFA’s Interfraternity Council also assisted with loading the boxes of food.

November 13, 2018 Nacogdoches — As part of their annual Thanksgiving Homebound food drive, members of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Jack’s Council on Family Relations collected and donated food to 137 families, which is the most families this drive has served since it began in 2011.

JCFR is a student organization focused on building networks and helping families within the community. It is part of SFA’s School of Human Sciences.

"Our goal is to give back to the Nacogdoches community," said Lindsey Lightfoot, JCFR president and human development and family studies major. "Sometimes Thanksgiving can be overlooked, and I think this project is a great reminder to help families, be thankful and remember the real reason for the holiday."

Representatives from the Greater East Texas Community Action Program Head Start, East Texas Family Crisis Center and Solid Foundation visited the SFA campus Monday to collect the donations. Each organization will distribute the food to the selected families. Members of SFA’s Interfraternity Council also assisted with loading the boxes of food.

Food items were collected from university departments, clubs and organizations, and local businesses. Through this project, JCFR matches participants with families and sends participants a description of a family and a checklist of items to purchase. The checklist includes grocery items, such as potatoes, cornbread mix, vegetables and dressing. Participants also are asked to purchase a $25 gift card to help their family buy perishable items, such as meat, butter, milk and eggs.

“This has given me a great outlook on the community of Nacogdoches. I’ve seen so many local organizations come together to provide meals for these families,” Lightfoot said. 

To learn more, visit sfasu.edu/hms/125.asp.

By Kasi Dickerson, senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University. 

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