SFA University

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.

October 4, 2022 - Students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s DeWitt School of Nursing are inviting community members to “Say Boo to the Flu” with a free drive-through flu vaccination event Oct. 7-8 at the DeWitt School of Nursing located at 5707 North St.

In partnership with East Texas Community Health Services, fourth-semester nursing students in the community health course will administer the flu shots from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 8. The event is open to the public, and health insurance is not required. Children 4 years of age and older are eligible for a vaccine.

“Please consider getting a flu shot to help reduce your risk of illness and minimize the agony of flu symptoms if you do become ill,” said Michelle Klein, clinical instructor for the School of Nursing.

For more information about the School of Nursing, visit sfasu.edu/nursing.

October 4, 2022 — Stephen F. Austin State University's SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. October 13 in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

Dr. Kathryn "Kiki" Fontenot, an associate professor and vegetable extension specialist at the Louisiana State University AgCenter, will present "Containing Edibles to Maximize Your Garden's Beauty and Yields."

Fontenot works closely with vegetable farmers, hobby producers and home gardeners across Louisiana. Her research focuses on vegetable variety selection, fertilizer and herbicide trials, and hemp and blueberry cultivar trials.

She is the past president of the Louisiana State Horticulture Society, secretary of the Louisiana Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, and an executive board member of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium. Fontenot recently authored the book “The Louisiana Urban Gardener: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs.”

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month and includes a rare plant raffle after the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the lecture series fund are always appreciated. Parking is available at the PNPC and Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St.

For more information, call (936) 468-4129 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

September 27, 2022 — College-bound students and their families are invited to Stephen F. Austin State University’s Showcase Preview, a weekday open-house event to be held October 10.

“We’ve designed our Showcase SFA events to give attendees an up-close and personal look at everything our campus has to offer,” said Emily Jefferson, SFA director of undergraduate recruitment. “The college search process can be intense, and SFA provides events like Showcase Preview for prospective students and their families to experience our campus in really unique ways.”

The preview was added to the Showcase SFA event series in 2021 with the intent of offering a shorter version of the university’s long-standing Showcase Saturday, which invites future college students to experience a taste of campus life through an action-packed, open-house event.

As a weekday event, Showcase Preview also gives attendees the opportunity to see the campus in action. They will experience the energy of campus as they move between buildings to participate in informational sessions and may even sit in on a mock classroom setting. Smaller than a Showcase Saturday but larger than a campus tour experience, Showcase Preview is the right fit for families looking to make a quick trip to the piney woods.

Showcase Preview will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 10 on the SFA campus and will feature info fairs and sessions. Jack Walkers, SFA’s team of current students who serve as tour guides, also will be present at the preview to offer tours.

“Showcase is an amazing opportunity to experience life as a Lumberjack! Students can meet faculty and staff from their intended major, get tons of SFA swag, walk through our beautiful campus in the piney woods, and meet so many amazing Lumberjacks,” said Ali St. Germaine, an English graduate student from Pflugerville. “I love being able to share the student perspective on what it means to be a Lumberjack. This is an experience every prospective student should have!”

A welcome session will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by sessions covering a wide range of topics, including first-year and transfer admission, financial aid, and more. Attendees may then participate in campus and residence hall tours, academic and student services fairs, as well as a mock classroom experience.

“Showcase encapsulates every reason why SFA should be anyone’s new home. Throughout the day, students have the opportunity to experience firsthand what life as a Lumberjack will be like by going on campus tours, sitting in on mock lectures and so much more,” said Julia Hobson, a junior agriculture and pre-veterinarian student from Richmond.

To learn more and register to attend Showcase Preview, visit sfasu.edu/showcase.

September 22, 2022 — More students are graduating sooner, and more first-year students are persisting in their studies, according to Stephen F. Austin State University’s fall 2022 enrollment numbers and success reports.

Even with a decrease in overall enrollment, the university saw growth among several populations and achieved its highest six-year graduation rate in the university’s history.

At a rate of 53.5%, SFA’s fall 2022 six-year graduation rate has consistently risen over several years and in the past five years alone has increased by approximately 5%. Additionally, the university’s first-time undergraduate retention rate is nearly 3% higher compared to five years ago.

“It is very hard to move the needle on retention and graduation rates,” said Dr. Marc Guidry, SFA associate provost, “but we have been doing it with steady progress for several years now through intentional and proactive advising, a revamped early alert system that reaches out to students early in the semester if they are not attending classes or doing assignments, and high-impact programs that direct resources to at-promise students like Generation Jacks and Aspire.”

SFA’s enrollment for fall 2022 was 11,327, marking a 5% drop from last year’s total. The decrease correlates with a national downward trend in higher education enrollment as universities continue to struggle from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a spring 2022 study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, postsecondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students since spring 2020 — the brunt of that loss suffered by public institutions.

Despite these figures, administrators say positive progress is being made at SFA in many areas.

“We know the overall enrollment trend nationally is on the decline; however, SFA did have some positive movement forward,” said Rachele’ Garrett, SFA’s interim executive director for enrollment management and Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships director. “For the last two fall semesters, we have seen an increase in our first-year student population. We are also experiencing growth with our admissions and financial aid applications.”

SFA also experienced a spike in dual credit enrollment, which grew by 11% from fall 2020.

“SFA has partnerships with East Texas schools that provide access to core curriculum coursework. Not only are students earning credit toward their high school diploma, but they also are able to complete their bachelor’s degree with SFA much sooner,” Garrett added. “We are encouraged by the growing number of students taking advantage of this program.”

The Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts reported the most significant graduate student headcount increase, with graduate enrollment in the college growing by 18% from the last academic year. Its undergraduate enrollment also grew slightly.

“As of last year, the SFA School of Music offered the only all-online master’s degree in music composition in the country, headed by Dr. Stephen Lias,” said Dr. Gary Wurtz, dean of the college. “With data provided by him, we secured support from SFA Provost Dr. Lorenzo Smith to hire a new faculty composer, allowing us to accept a significant number of new graduate students in an area where we previously had to turn students away.”

Wurtz also attributed the college’s ability to stave off enrollment decline to the “substantial gift to the college by local businessman Bill Elliott last fall. We used earnings from that endowment to offer scholarships to prospective art, theatre, dance and music students, who ultimately chose SFA as their college home.”

In addition to enrollment growth, the Elliott College of Fine Arts also experienced a 14% increase in graduate semester credit hours.

“Ultimately, faculty and staff in the ECFA are dedicated to recruiting,” Wurtz said. “They dedicate numerous hours to visiting high schools, hosting workshops and summer programs, corresponding with prospective students, and more, to promote our programs. There is no shortage of students who want to study the fine arts at SFA, so investing proper resources into scholarships, programs and faculty for this college is a great investment in growth.”

Additionally, SFA’s Hispanic student headcount proportion increased by a percentage point, and international student enrollment rose by more than 12%.

For more information on SFA’s fall enrollment, visit the Office of Institutional Research’s website at sfasu.edu/ir.

By Christine Broussard, assistant director for strategic communications at Stephen F. Austin State University