SFA University

November 18, 2022 — The charter for the Stephen F. Austin State University Charter School was recently renewed for another 10 years by the Texas Education Agency. The renewal term — the result of a painstaking process by the school’s staff members and meticulous review by the SFA Charter School board and Office of the General Counsel — begins July 31 and runs through July 31, 2033.

This is the school’s second charter renewal.

“We have such a deep passion for SFA, our charter school, and the thousands of children we have been honored to educate and love over the past 15 years,” said Lysa Hagan, CEO and principal of the school. “We are delighted that it can continue to support families and that we can maintain our teacher candidate training site for another 10 years.”

The SFA Charter School was approved in January 2008 and opened in August of that same year. Located in the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center, the school is focused on improving public education and enhancing the preparation of future educators and school psychologists.

The school serves as a learning center for the James I. Perkins College of Education, providing hands-on and observational experiences for education students in various areas of study, including educational studies, kinesiology, music and school psychology. The school serves around 250 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.

“The SFA Charter School is an important aspect of the commitment to public education made by this university,” said Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of the Perkins College of Education. “Contributing to the educator preparation program and to educating children across the Nacogdoches community, the charter school models the excellence that can occur when teachers and administrators hold a common educational philosophy and a coordinated instructional approach through all the grade levels of this school. The renewal provides for another 10 years of investment in the future of teacher preparation and of Texas public schools.”

To learn more about the SFA Charter School, visit sfasu.edu/charterschool.

November 17, 2022 — The Texas Rural Travel and Small Business Social Media Summit, co-sponsored by Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Human Sciences, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 30 virtually via Zoom.

This free event will feature a session by Spencer Zamora, a graduate of SFA’s hospitality administration program, who is now with the state’s Travel Texas office. Zamora will focus on the importance of travel and tourism in the rural communities of Texas. Additional sessions will be led by tourism officials who will speak to the importance of tourism in the central and deep east parts of the state.

Event organizer Dr. Gina Fe Causin, SFA associate professor of human sciences, said the benefits of the summit could be transformative for rural communities looking to boost their tourism profiles.

“At a social media conference, participants can get dozens of key insights that can have a massive impact in building relationships for attracting travelers to rural areas,” Causin said.

Summit co-organizers include Tarleton State University’s Rural Communication Institute, the Deep East Texas Travel and Tourism Collaborative, and the Texas Social Media Research Institute.

During an interactive session titled “Generating Travel and Tourism Ideas for the 4th Quarter,” attendees will be encouraged to develop ideas focused on their own county, city or small business. This session will feature innovative ideas for marketing and advertising during the holiday season for rural restaurants and bars, lodging establishments, stores, events, and festivals.

The summit is the outcome of the tourism collaborative’s project grant funded by SFA’s Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation.

For more information, contact Causin at causingf@sfasu.edu or Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards at jtedwards@tarleton.edu. To register for the event, visit gosfa.com/3V43qBB.

November 17, 2022 — Emily Parker, a prominent tax attorney and Stephen F. Austin State University alumna, will deliver the commencement address during all three of the university’s graduation ceremonies Dec. 9 and 10.

With the exception of a short stint as acting chief counsel and deputy chief counsel for the IRS from 2002 to 2004, Parker spent her entire career at super firm Thompson & Knight LLP, now Holland & Knight. She was the first female lawyer hired by the firm and later became the firm’s first female partner. She served as managing partner at the firm from 2012 to 2016 and retired in 2019.

A native of Henderson, Parker graduated from SFA with a bachelor's degree in economics and finance in 1970. She then attended Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor from that institution in 1973.

Throughout her career, Parker was part of the Who’s Who of Texas attorneys, with the superlatives of best, outstanding, top-notch and distinguished oftentimes attached to her name. Currently a member of SMU law school’s executive committee, Parker’s past legal admissions when she was a star tax litigator in the oil and gas industry went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Parker created the Emily A. Parker Scholarship to benefit academically high-achieving students pursuing any major at SFA. She also supports Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Child Abuse Prevention Center, Easterseals North Texas and Texas Women’s Foundation.

All of SFA’s December commencements will be held in Johnson Coliseum. Candidates from the James I. Perkins College of Education will participate at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, candidates from the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, and College of Liberal and Applied Arts will participate in commencement.

Also, at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 10, candidates from the Rusche College of Business and College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate.

Degrees to be awarded include 873 bachelor’s, 160 master’s and one doctoral degree. Approximately 398 students will graduate with honors, including 111 cum laude, 121 magna cum laude and 165 summa cum laude. Thirty-four students will graduate with the university scholar designation.

Each graduate receives 10 guest tickets with the option to request more. Community tickets will also be available the day of the ceremony. Doors will open one hour before the ceremony begins.

For more information, visit sfasu.edu/commencement.

To mark National Women’s Small Business Month in October, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship in the Rusche College of Business recently sponsored “Women in Entrepreneurship,” a panel discussion featuring three local female business owners. From left, Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the College of Business; Jamie Derrick, panel moderator and lecturer of management and marketing at SFA; Wendy Buchanan, SFA alumna and owner of Buchanan Wealth Management in Nacogdoches; Sarah Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Candy Company in Lufkin; Dr. Amy Mehaffey, owner of Small Town Socials boutique social media agency in Nacogdoches and lecturer of management and marketing at SFA; and Dr. Raymond Jones, assistant professor and director of the entrepreneurship program at SFA.

November 11, 2022 — To mark National Women’s Small Business Month in October, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship in the Rusche College of Business recently sponsored “Women in Entrepreneurship,” a panel discussion for students, faculty and staff featuring three local female business owners.

Aubrie Smith, senior entrepreneurship major from Colleyville and president of SFA’s student-led Society for Entrepreneurial Advancement, was one of the students who attended the discussion.

“I've been focusing a lot lately on my why and channeling my decisions based upon what motivates me,” Smith said. “Hearing that the three speakers had such different journeys to find their whys was extremely encouraging for me.”

The panelists for the discussion were Wendy Buchanan, SFA alumna and owner of Buchanan Wealth Management in Nacogdoches; Sarah Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Candy Company in Lufkin; and Dr. Amy Mehaffey, owner of Small Town Socials boutique social media agency in Nacogdoches and lecturer of management and marketing at SFA. Jamie Derrick, lecturer of management and marketing at SFA, moderated the panel.

After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration in finance in 1985 from SFA, Buchanan entered the male-dominated financial planning world as an assistant to two male brokers at Edward Jones. In her five years there, she learned everything she could. Then she took the General Securities Representative Qualification Examination, or Series 7 exam, and opened her own office.

“I wanted to prove to them that I could be as successful as they were,” Buchanan said.

Edward Jones required her to train with another broker, “but nobody in East Texas would train me because I was a woman, so I found a lady in Cleburne who would train me,” she said. “I paid my own way to stay in a hotel for six weeks and learned all I could from her.”

Her business averaged one new account every day for a year. Her male peers all referred to her as “their little broker girl,” Buchanan said. But after four years building her business, she was ranked in the top 3% in the nation for the firm.

Buchanan advised students looking to start their own businesses to treat people fairly, and also to develop a plan and stick to it.

“There’s nothing that you can’t do,” she said.

Atkinson was pursuing a dancing career on Broadway and working for a New York City public relations firm when she first discovered her entrepreneurial spirit.

As the fourth generation of the family who started Atkinson Candy Company, she initially said, “I’ll never work in the family business.” But she found herself calling her father with ideas to market the company. Eventually, her dad invited her to market the company herself.

Atkinson returned to Lufkin with the production knowledge she learned from both her dancing and public relations stints in New York City and put them into practice for Atkinson Candy Company. Now, she manages its day-to-day business.

“Don’t throw away any experiences, hobbies or passions,” Atkinson said. “You never know what will be useful.”

Atkinson told attendees that the work-life balance doesn’t exist and encouraged them to instead focus on one priority at a time. And to those planning to start their own businesses, she said, “Communicate expectations clearly.”

Atkinson added, “The hardest part is you’re the leader of the business. You have to come up with the answers and make the decisions. But seeing those decisions work out well or not work out well and learning from them is very rewarding.”

Mehaffey’s great-grandfather believed that by helping others achieve their dreams, he could achieve his, as well. Mehaffey’s dad passed this advice on to her.

She’s followed his guidance in her career, from working as a state 4-H specialist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to serving as interim city planner and communications director for the City of Nacogdoches to teaching future managers and marketers at SFA.

Along the way, she developed relationships with community members who needed her help with social media, design, photography and website development.

“Businesses look to me to try new things,” Mehaffey said.

After establishing two companies to encompass this work, she gained 20 clients in two years.

“Relationships are a big deal,” Mehaffey advised students in the audience. “The way that we communicate with people is key.”

In addition to clients, Mehaffey tries to help her employees, who all began working remotely before it was a common practice. In many cases, they had to leave in-person jobs because they had children. Mehaffey’s remote, hands-off approach allows them to work and take care of their children.

“My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the human aspect of it,” Mehaffey said. “I get to help people — both clients and employees.”

To learn more about SFA’s entrepreneurship program, visit sfasu.edu/mgtmkt.

November 3, 2022 - Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre and Dance will open “Lord of the Flies” Thursday, Nov. 3, for its four-day run in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus. The 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning British author William Golding, “Lord of the Flies” is the story about a group of young boys, trapped on a desert island, who discover the darkness of human nature.

Rehearsing a scene from the play are, from left, Austin Raymond, playing Henry, Liberty City junior; Kaleb Calton, playing Bill, Katy sophomore; Anthony Krosecz, playing Jack, Sugar Land freshman; David Smith, playing Maurice, Houston sophomore; and Alex Karnell, playing Roger, Austin sophomore. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 3 through 5, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6. General ticket prices are: adult, $15; senior (62+), $10; youth (high school and younger), $8; SFA faculty/staff, $8; non-SFA student, $8; and SFA student, $5.

For ticketing information or to purchase tickets, call the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS, or visit boxoffice.sfasu.edu.

The Children’s Performing Arts Series will present three performances of “The New Little Red Riding Hood” on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus.

October 26, 2022 – The Children’s Performing Arts Series at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “The New Little Red Riding Hood” in three performances on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus.

Presented by Storybook Theatre, this adaptation of the timeless children’s story takes on a new environmental twist. Big Bad Wolf has retired as the forest's caretaker. His daughter, Wanda Wolf, is finding out she has big shoes to fill, especially when her BFF, Little Red, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the first Little Red Riding Hood, is trashing out the forest. Using Storybook Theatre's signature “edutainment” format, the forest comes to life as the audience interacts with Granny Red, Wanda and the forest animals to help Little Red understand what she's doing is wrong.

“The New Little Red Riding Hood” targets children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Performances are at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.

The Children’s Performing Arts Series features shows designed to entertain, educate and engage young audiences of all ages, according to Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

Other upcoming CPAS performances, presented by the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts, include “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical” Wednesday, March 1; and “Reading and Rhyming with Mother Goose” Wednesday, April 26.

To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.


Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its annual Deck the Halls: Using Evergreens to Decorate for the Holidays seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building in the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.

October 24, 2022 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its annual Deck the Halls: Using Evergreens to Decorate for the Holidays seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building in the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.

Guests will join Dawn Stover, study leader with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s East Texas Plant Materials Center, to create elegant wreaths, garlands and centerpieces using materials from nature. Participants will take home several creations. In addition to the traditional wreaths and garlands, Stover will introduce crafts using natural items from the garden. All materials will be provided.

"Guests will have a chance to express their own creativity using natural materials that are perfect for the season," said Jordan Cunningham, SFA Gardens greenhouse technician.

Class size is limited, and advance registration and payment is required. Registration opens Nov. 15. Tickets are $25 for SFA Gardens members and $30 for nonmembers. To register, call (936) 468-4129.

October 21, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University has a full slate of events scheduled for Homecoming 2022, including a concert, a parade and an alumni auction, in addition to the football game against Utah Tech University at 2 p.m. October 29 at Homer Bryce Stadium.

The fun is already underway with the SFA Alumni Association’s online Homecoming Auction 2022. Through October 30, participants can bid on items ranging from donated homemade SFA keepsakes to exotic vacation getaways. All proceeds go toward SFA Alumni Association student and alumni programming.

The celebration continues with the Homecoming 5K Run/Walk at 5:45 p.m. October 25 beginning at the Baker Pattillo Student Center. The race raises funds for SFA scholarships.

The SFA Alumni Association will host the Bob Sitton Classic golf tournament at 10:30 a.m. October 28 at Woodland Hills Golf Club. It will feature food trucks, a bourbon tasting and a mobile cigar lounge.

The annual SFA Homecoming pep rally and concert will begin at 9 p.m. October 28 on the Intramural Fields, located at the corner of Starr Avenue and Wilson Drive. In addition to performances by the Lumberjack Cheer and Dance Teams, Lumberjack Marching Band and Twirl-O-Jacks, this year’s concert features TikTok star @CharlieonnaFriday and headliner B.o.B. “Gates” open at 8 p.m. with performances by DJ Berio.

In place of its annual Homecoming bonfire and fireworks, which were canceled as a result of ongoing local burn bans, the university will host a 100-piece drone show made possible by Sky Elements at the pep rally.

The annual Homecoming parade will start at 10 a.m. October 29, make its way west on Hospital Street and then head east on Main Street. Pregame tailgating follows at Alumni Corner and Axe ’Em Acres.

To see full details on SFA Homecoming events, visit sfasu.edu/homecoming and sfaalumni.com/homecoming.

October 11, 2022 – Stephen F. Austin State University’s Campus Recreation and Alumni Association will host the 13th annual Homecoming 5K beginning at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 25 on the SFA campus near the Cole STEM Building located on Clark Boulevard.

The event brings together students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members to raise money for SFA scholarships and to celebrate this year’s Homecoming 5K theme, Mario Kart Rainbow Road. The 3.1-mile course winds through the beautiful SFA campus and along the paved trails of the SFA Gardens’ Tucker Woods and Mast Arboretum, as well as the Lanana Creek Trail.

“The annual Homecoming 5K is a great opportunity to spend time with your friends, family and coworkers,” said Jessica Waguespack, assistant director of wellness for SFA’s Campus Recreation. “Take a break from the stressors of work and school and have some fun and focus on your overall well-being in a positive way. This event is also the main source of fundraising for SFA’s Dr. Raymond Lee Worsham Scholarship, an academic scholarship that provides financial assistance to student employees of SFA’s Campus Recreation.”

The student registration rate is $15; the faculty, staff and alumni rate is $25; the virtual runner rate is $30; and the community member rate is $35. A 1-mile option is available for $5 but does not include a T-shirt; however, T-shirts may be purchased for an additional $10. Registration is also available on race day beginning at 4 p.m.

The Homecoming 5K is a family- and dog-friendly event. Winners in each category will be recognized during an awards ceremony after the race.

For learn more, register or become a sponsor, visit sfaalumni.com/hoco5k.

October 7, 2022 — The student-led Economics Reading Group in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business is hosting a virtual discussion with Dr. John A. List, author of “The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale,” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the McGee Business Building, Room 133, and via Zoom.

List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, also co-authored the 2013 international bestseller “The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life.” He is known for his extensive use of field experiments in his microeconomic research.

“It is an honor to get to hear from John,” said Dr. Ryan Phelps, associate professor of economics and finance at SFA as well as faculty advisor for the Economics Reading Group. “His consulting experience, including clients like Uber, Lyft and Walmart, is impressive.”

“The Voltage Effect” explores how scaling good ideas can drive change in a variety of arenas, including schools, workplaces, communities and society at large.

To prepare for the discussion with List, Phelps is hosting virtual Read Lunch Learn sessions on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. every Wednesday from Oct. 19 through Nov. 9. The first session covers the introduction through Chapter 2 of the book.

“I am hoping that anyone working on great ideas will consider joining our Read Lunch Learn sessions on Zoom as well as the main discussion with the author,” Phelps said. “We will cover scheduled readings and discuss our own efforts to scale great ideas toward changing lives.”

For decades, List’s field experimental research has focused on issues related to the inner workings of markets, the effects of various incentives schemes on market equilibria and allocations, how behavioral economics can augment the standard economic model, early childhood education and interventions, and, most recently, the gender earnings gap in the gig economy (using evidence from rideshare drivers). His research includes over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles.

The Read Lunch Learn sessions and the Nov. 15 virtual discussion with List are free and open to the public. The Zoom link for both is gosfa.com/econ-reading-group.

For more information, email Phelps at phelpsrt@sfasu.edu.