SFA's Archie McDonald Speaker Series to Feature Fashion Designer Kendra Scott

January 22, 2020 Nacogdoches — Fashion designer, CEO and philanthropist Kendra Scott will headline the 2020 installment of the Archie McDonald Speaker Series in April at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Scott, who started her Austin-based jewelry company in 2002 with only $500, leads her business on the foundation of three core values — family, fashion and philanthropy. Her company now employs more than 2,000 and boasts a thriving web business and more than 100 Kendra Scott standalone stores. Scott’s merchandise also is sold at retailers that include Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales. In addition to fashion and fine jewelry, her brand also encompasses home accessories and nail lacquer.

A loving mother, driven entrepreneur and passionate designer, Scott’s vibrant personality and commitment to innovation, quality and detail brought her from a small startup to a billion-dollar business and brand with millions of loyal fans, including celebrities. Known for her use of dynamic color and genuine materials, Scott believes the truest form of success is giving back in a meaningful way.

She has created a brand and culture that authentically values giving back and making a positive difference in the community. The Kendra Scott company maintains a focus on its customers and the causes close to their hearts.

In 2015, Scott launched the Kendra Cares Program, which allows community members to host in-store events for causes and organizations that work to improve health and wellness, education, entrepreneurship and empowerment. In 2018 alone, the company gave more than $5 million in monetary donations, almost $10 million in in-kind donations and more than 2,000 volunteer hours to philanthropic organizations, and partnered with more than 8,000 philanthropic organizations nationwide.

The speaker series event is free and scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom on the SFA campus. A private reception for 100 guests will be held prior to the main event. Private reception tickets can be purchased by contacting Sarah Sargent, SFA development assistant, at (936) 468-5406.

“Kendra Scott sets an example for our students on how someone can be super successful in business and also super passionate about making a difference in the world,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, SFA vice president for university affairs. “The recently announced Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute is a prime example of how she is sharing her passion for business leadership with others, especially aspiring female leaders. We are thrilled she will be on our campus soon so our students can hear about her work firsthand.”​

In 2017, Scott was presented with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She also has received the Breakthrough Award from the Accessories Council Excellence Awards, was named Outstanding Mother of the Year by the Mother’s Day Council, awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, listed by Forbes as one of America’s richest self-made women, named among the Top 100 Entrepreneurs of the Year by Upstart Business Journal and recognized as Best CEO by Austin Business Journal. She is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and maintains her position as chairman of the board of Kendra Scott.

The Archie McDonald Speaker Series was created in 2010 by SFA's College of Liberal and Applied Arts. Dr. Brian Murphy, dean of the college, designed the event to honor and preserve the legacy of Dr. Archie McDonald as a distinguished scholar, educator and community commentator. In the tradition of McDonald's writings and oral presentations, a prominent national figure is hosted annually at SFA to discuss contemporary cultural issues.

McDonald taught history at SFA for 48 years and served as director of the East Texas Historical Association and editor of the association's journal for 37 years. He was a past president of the Texas State Historical Association, past vice chair of the Texas Historical Commission and author/editor of more than 20 books on historical topics. Along with teaching, he was a commentator on Red River Radio in Shreveport and wrote a weekly column for area newspapers. He passed away Aug. 16, 2012.

McDonald participated in the first three events in the speaker series, interviewing former heavyweight champion boxer and iconic businessman George Foreman, Apollo 12 astronaut and professional artist Alan Bean, and the 61st U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III. Additional guests have included former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Grammy award-winning singer, composer and actor Lyle Lovett, Olympic All-Around Gold Medal winner in gymnastics Mary Lou Retton, legendary head football coach Gene Stallings, noted presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and physician and TV personality Dr. Jennifer Arnold. 

SFA's Student Government Association sponsors the speaker series, which is open to the public. Starting March 2020, passes may be obtained at the Involvement Center on the first floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center on the SFA campus or at the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 200 East Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-5406.