January 16, 2020 Nacogdoches — Stephen F. Austin State University’s May commencement will be held in four separate ceremonies as a result of the expansion of Johnson Coliseum, which began last summer.
Degree candidates will participate at either 4pm or 7:30pm Friday, May 8 or 9:30am or 2pm Saturday, May 9.
Seating at the coliseum, which typically has capacity for 7,200 guests, is temporarily reduced due to construction.
“While we are incredibly excited about the improvement and expansion of the coliseum, the construction has temporarily caused a significant number of guest seats to be inaccessible,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president. “Because of this, and in the interest of safety for our faculty, staff, graduates and their guests, we have decided to hold the ceremonies over a two-day period.”
On Friday, May 8, the 4 p.m. ceremony will recognize candidates from the College of Fine Arts and the James I. Perkins College of Education’s Department of Elementary Education and Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership.
The 7:30 p.m. ceremony also will recognize candidates from the Perkins College of Education. Candidates participating are students of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, and the School of Human Sciences.
At the 9:30 a.m. ceremony Saturday, May 9, candidates from both the Nelson Rusche College of Business and College of Sciences and Mathematics will be honored. Candidates from the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture and the College of Liberal and Applied Arts will participate in a 2 p.m. ceremony.
All ceremonies will be streamed on the SFA Facebook page, facebook.com/sfasu. For more information about the events, visit sfasu.edu/registrar/455.asp.
The Bobbie Hargis Todd Scholarship supports Stephen F. Austin State University students who are children or spouses of officers killed in the line of duty. Bobbie’s father, Nacogdoches Deputy Sheriff John Arlington Hargis, was killed while serving an arrest warrant in 1928, when Bobbie was only 18 months old. Bobbie’s children, Bobbie Ann Todd Anderson and Richard Todd, established the scholarship to honor their mother’s memory. Pictured are, from left, Texas Ranger Jim Hicks, Anderson, Todd and Sabine County Sheriff Thomas Maddox, president of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. Photo by Hardy Meredith
January 3, 2020 Nacogdoches — Beginning in fall 2020, Stephen F. Austin State University students who have suffered the loss of a law enforcement officer parent or spouse killed in the line of duty can apply for a scholarship designed to help them move forward.
The scholarship was prompted by the death of Bobbie Hargis Todd’s father, Nacogdoches Deputy Sheriff John Arlington Hargis, who was killed in 1928 while serving an arrest warrant when Bobbie was only 18 months old.
The Bobbie Hargis Todd Scholarship was established by her children, Bobbie Ann Todd Anderson and Richard Todd, in memory of their mother, whose life dramatically changed after her father’s death.
“My grandmother and her five children had to do whatever they could to survive and move forward,” Anderson said. “My mom and her siblings certainly would have benefited from financial assistance like this for college.”
Fortunately, Bobbie was able to live at home with her mother a few blocks from SFA. Her older siblings managed to chip in and help pay her tuition. While attending SFA, she was a cheerleader and member of the Fideles Social Club. During her freshman year, she began dating World War II veteran Joe “Orville” Todd, and they married Feb. 22, 1948.
“Upon their marriage, Mom moved from Nacogdoches to live with her husband and widowed father-in-law on a farm in Henderson. It was quite an adjustment,” Anderson said.
Employed first at the Rusk County Courthouse, it was after the birth of her first two children that Bobbie made the decision, encouraged by her husband, to return to college. She commuted daily to SFA and earned her degree in elementary education in 1957. She then taught third and fourth grade in the Henderson Independent School District for 23 years.
“Many times in her career, Mom was asked to advance to a principal position, but she wanted to teach,” Todd said. “She loved the kids.”
Bobbie’s students loved her back. For years after leaving the classroom, she received letters of admiration from former students for the way she successfully faced adversity following the death of her father, and the inspiration and encouragement she gave to her students.
“Because of her upbringing in a family with no father, mom had a special skill of working with children from low-income families,” Anderson said.
Both Anderson and Todd recall many students referencing the strong math and reading skills they learned in her classroom.
To continue their mother’s spirit of survival and support, Anderson and Todd established this scholarship for students whose parent or spouse has died in the line of duty, with preference given to students pursuing a degree in elementary education.
Texas Ranger Jim Hicks said the child or spouse of an officer killed in the line of duty can make one of two choices. “They can give up, or they can press forward. This scholarship is a tool that can help them move forward,” Hicks said.
Sabine County Sherriff Thomas Maddox, president of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, knew Bobbie and understood how hard she worked to be successful. “She also had a special way of making you feel like the most important person in the world,” he said. “She would have been very proud of this scholarship.”
Anderson said her mother’s unusual circumstances made her very strong, and she hopes the scholarship can pass that strength to others facing the same challenges.
“The children and spouses of officers killed in the line of duty form a very tight-knit community,” Anderson said. “We want them to know we’re here to support them.”
For information on how you can aid students who have lost a parent or spouse in the line of duty through this scholarship, contact the Office of Development at (936) 468-2278.
By Jo Gilmore, marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University.
December 26, 2019 Nacogdoches – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of the documentary “Quincy” at 7 p.m. Friday, Janiary 3, in The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.
Taking an intimate look into the life of iconic American record producer, singer and film producer Quincy Jones, the documentary looks at Jones as a unique force in music and popular culture for 70 years. The film demonstrates how Jones transcended racial and cultural boundaries, according to imdb.com. It was written and directed by Jones’ daughter, Rashida Jones, and Alan Hicks and also stars Tony Bennett, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Michael Caine, Jay-Z, John Legend, Paul McCartney and other music legends.
“Quincy” is a Grammy Award winner for Best Music Film and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. It garnered top awards from the African-American Film Critics Association, Black Reel Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards and Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by William Arscott, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, David Kulhavy, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal, Richard Orton and the Nacogdoches Junior Forum.
The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.
December 20, 2019 – 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 a portion of the holiday season through January 4.
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.
Cole Art Center will be closed Monday through Wednesday, December 23 through 25 and December 30 through January 1.
Currently showing at the downtown gallery is the annual Vintage Christmas Display and “Picturing Books: Illustrations in Print from the 15th to the 20th Centuries,” Vol. I.
The documentary “Quincy,” which takes an intimate look into the life of iconic American record producer, singer and film producer Quincy Jones, will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, January 3, at the art center. Admission is free.
Cole Art Center will be closed beginning Jan. 5 for the installation of Volume II of the “Picturing Books” exhibition, which will open Tuesday, January 21. A reception for Volume II is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, January 30.
Griffith Fine Arts Gallery on the SFA campus is closed for the holiday break and will reopen when classes resume on Jan. 15. A reception for the graduate student exhibition, “Pondering the Moment,” is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23. The student show runs through March 3 in Griffith Gallery.
SFA art exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. For additional information about exhibitions, call (936) 468-1131.
December 13, 2019 - Stephen F. Austin State University will honor several prominent donors during the 31st annual SFA Gala Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom.
This year’s honorees include the late Marilyn Cranford, Linda and the late Roy Bush, and Mike and Jackie Harbordt.
"The selflessness of this year's Gala honorees, both through generous contributions and years of service, has established a lasting impact on the lives of students and the campus community," said Jill Still, SFA vice president for university advancement. "We are pleased to be able to recognize their generosity, as well as faculty members whose dedication to teaching and research continues to enrich our university."
The Gala cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m.and will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m.Entertainment will be provided by Royal Dukes of Houston, a high-energy band playing music from pop, rock and jazz to rhythm and blues, funk, and Motown.
Tickets are $175 for orchestra seating and $125 for ballroom seating. For more information or to purchase tickets, call April Smith, associate director of development, at (936) 468-5406.
The late Marilyn Cranford is slated to be inducted into the Stephen F. Austin Society.
Cranford was born and raised in Sacul, Texas. She completed her high school education at the Stephen F. Austin State College Finishing School. She remained a steadfast friend of the university through the years, with her primary areas of support being the School of Art and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
More than 30 years ago, Cranford established the Melba Cranford Memorial Art Scholarship in memory of her sister, who was an SFA alumnus of the class of 1940. In 1998, she endowed the Arkan E. and Bonnie G. Cranford Scholarship to support students in the fields of forestry and horticulture.
Throughout the years, she lent her generous support to academic research efforts at SFA, most notably toward the groundbreaking work conducted by the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops.
Cranford spent most of her adult life in Dallas, Texas, where she was employed as an X-ray technician. She returned to Sacul in 1979, where she remained until 2008. The last 10 years of her life were spent in Jacksonville, Texas.
SFA proudly recognizes Cranford for her support of the university.
Roy and Linda Bush
Roy was born in 1931 in Amarillo, though he grew up in Childress, spending his childhood helping raise chickens, cows, turkeys and mules.
Roy was a star football player in high school and was affectionately known as “Hollywood” due to his taste for expensive clothing, nice cars and fine footwear, according to his obituary.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from SFA in 1957 and put to use the knowledge and skills he cultivated at the university while serving in the U.S. Navy and throughout his career.
In January 1965, Roy married Houston native Linda Stone before enjoying a 25-year career with Conoco, managing drilling operations in Louisiana and Italy, and eventually serving as vice president of Conoco Egypt.
Linda received her accounting degree from Louisiana State University and then began a career in the oil and gas industry. She later transitioned into the real estate field, working in New Orleans, Houston and Austin.
Roy and Linda Bush will be inducted into the Stephen F. Austin Society.
Following Roy’s death in 2018, Linda honored her late husband’s legacy by endowing the Roy E. and Linda Bush Fund, supporting the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
In April 2019, the SFA Board of Regents approved the university’s math building to be named the Roy E. and Linda Bush Mathematical Sciences Building in honor of the couple’s continual support of higher education and SFA.
The endowment’s distribution supports all areas within SFA’s College of Sciences and Mathematics.
Mike and Jackie Harbordt
The relationship Mike and Jackie Harbordt have with SFA has been one of immense service.
In fact, service is at the heart of most personal and professional endeavors the Harbordts have undertaken. They’ve been involved with the First United Methodist churches of Lufkin and Nacogdoches, the Diboll Jaycees, Rotary International, Deep East Texas Council of Government’s Health Services Committee and United Way.
The couple has supported a number of environmental nonprofits, which goes along with Mike’s educational and professional background engaging in environmental conservation and outreach. He graduated from SFA in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science then went on to receive a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and ultimately a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University.
Mike worked with Texaco Inc. before joining Temple-Inland Inc. in 1971, where he was tasked with building an environmental department and company-wide environmental program. Mike worked with that company for more than 30 years.
Jackie and Mike are sustaining life members of the SFA Alumni Association; major supporters of the former SFA Varsity Club, now named the Purple Lights Fund; and have endowed several scholarships in support of areas across campus.
Endowments include the Mike and Jackie Harbordt Ladyjack Basketball Scholarship, Harbordt-Ward STEM Scholarship, Harbordt-Shumard STEM Scholarship, Katherine Harbordt Studer Scholarship in Criminal Justice, and the Julie Harbordt Whipple Scholarship in Elementary Education.
Since 2002, Mike has served in various positions on the SFA Alumni Association board, including president. He also has served on the SFASU Foundation board and SFA’s former Alumni Foundation as chair.
In 1994, Mike was named a Distinguished Alumnus and, just this year, he was named SFA Alumni Association director emeritus.
Jackie co-chaired SFA’s Hoops for Scholars Campaign for several years, raising approximately $100,000 for the program.
The Harbordts will be inducted into the Fredonia Society.
The Society of American Foresters named Stephen F. Austin State University senior Kathryn Christensen as a 2019 Diversity Scholar and recognized the SFA student chapter as one of the top three student chapters in the nation during the organization’s national conference held last month in Louisville, Kentucky. Pictured, front row, SFA student chapter members Rachel Murray, Lauren Vaughn, Kathryn Christensen, Lauren Lara and Alanna Crowley; back row, John Cornett, Jacob Muggeridge, Grayson Dean and Reid Viegut.
December 10, 2019 Nacogdoches — The Society of American Foresters named Stephen F. Austin State University senior Kathryn Christensen as a 2019 Diversity Scholar and recognized the SFA student chapter of the SAF as one of the top three student chapters in the nation during the organization’s national conference held last month in Louisville, Kentucky.
The SAF Diversity Scholar Program is designed to promote leadership and create community within the SAF by encouraging the involvement of a variety of people in the profession. As the 2019 Diversity Scholar, Christensen participated in the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and was paired with a mentor who works in the field of natural resources.
Christensen, a forestry major, said she advocates for expanding access to outdoor recreation in marginalized communities.
“My love for the outdoors came from my mother’s amazingly creative ways to get us in touch with nature on a budget,” Christensen said. “My past experiences of feeling left out because of the inability to afford camps, cruises and more luxurious ways of viewing nature has only fueled my passion for giving opportunities to those who find outdoor recreation unattainable.”
Christensen serves as the president of the student chapter of the SAF, and along with other organization members, she was instrumental in the SFA chapter being recognized on a national stage for its accomplishments in service, involvement with other natural resource organizations and building community relationships.
To learn more about this and other SFA student organizations, visit atcofa.sfasu.edu.
Story by Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Contact information: (936) 468-1185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Michara Delaney-Fields, center, was recently hired to head Stephen F. Austin State University’s newly restructured Office of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. She brings with her more than a decade of experience in secondary and higher education. Photo by Hardy Meredith
December 4, 2019 Nacogdoches — As a kindergartener at an elementary school in southeast Houston, Dr. Michara Delaney-Fields fell in love with the world of education and aspired to hold an important position within it one day.
Her dream has since come true several times over, most recently when she was selected to serve as Stephen F. Austin State University’s new assistant dean of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
“In this role, it is my goal to create a network of caring responses to our diverse student body,” Delaney-Fields said. “This would be enacted by ensuring critical services and programs are accessible to all students, as well as increasing their knowledge of the resources available to them.”
The office houses a number of student service-based areas on campus, including, Counseling Services, Disability Services, Veterans Resource Center and Health Services.
“We want to ensure that we are meeting the students where they are, that we are providing our students with the skills necessary for this global society and equipping them with the ability to be culturally responsive and sensitive through our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.”
Delaney-Fields received a bachelor’s degree in health studies and two master’s degrees, one in health education and the other in human performance and kinesiology, from Texas Southern University. During her formative years in higher education, she saw what was once a passion grow into a future.
“The biggest educational transformation for me was the observation and teachings of my department head as a young professional,” Delaney-Fields said. “I watched her have a daily effect on students and administrators. It was then that I decided my goal, despite previous leanings and plans, was to obtain my doctorate in higher education.”
To that end, Delaney-Fields was successful, going on to receive a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Prairie View A&M University.
For more than 11 years, Delaney-Fields has served in various capacities as an educator, advisor and mentor. She began her professional career as a teacher in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, teaching in the K-12 public school system for two years before transitioning to higher education.
“I have formed an unbreakable bond with this career,” Delaney-Fields said. “Although it is challenging, it is far more rewarding. I fell in love with being able to connect with students, faculty, staff and others in ways that enhance, develop and encourage a positive experience. Education has always been my passion, but it is humbling when it becomes your purpose.”
In 2017, Delaney-Fields and her family, moved to Albany, Georgia, where she served as interim dean of students, interim vice president for student affairs, and assistant vice president for student affairs and student engagement at Albany State University. This also is where she met her husband, John Fields Jr., SFA’s new chief of police.
“Dr. Fields comes to us with Texas roots and senior-level leadership in the field of student affairs,” said Dr. Adam Peck, SFA’s dean of student affairs. “We had an impressive field of candidates, but she really stood out among this group. In addition to her remarkable qualifications, she also has the personal qualities that are going to assist her in our mission.”
Creation of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion officially puts a name to a long-held university mission that considers the student body’s ethnic, ability-centered, racial and background diversity first in all ways possible.
“This can include students who are in crisis, struggling with counseling issues, injured on or off campus, or who are part of our underrepresented populations,” Delaney-Fields said. “The intent of this position is to foster an open and welcoming environment where our students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds can learn, work and serve while embracing all human differences and building on the commonalities.”
SFA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is a revamped version of the university’s former Office of Student Support Services. As part of the office’s internal restructuring, it now houses the Office of Multicultural Affairs and no longer includes the direct responsibility of coordinating Title IX office operations.
However, regardless of the name’s alteration, “equity, diversity and inclusion have always been a part of the mission of areas like Disability Services, community standards, Counseling Services and other areas this position oversees,” Peck said.
“Though Dr. Fields has only been at SFA a short time, we've already had broad conversations about our short- and long-term goals for this position,” Peck added. “Our first priority is to help her meet and interact with as many members of our community as possible. Ultimately, our ‘north star’ is to make the experiences of all of our students better. We want to play a role in attracting diverse students, faculty and staff and ensuring that they feel well supported at SFA.”
Delaney-Fields is glad to be back in her home state and says she is already in love with Nacogdoches’ friendly community. She also is excited to help shape the restructured office in campus-wide, positive ways.
“Diversity is a call toward action,” Delaney-Fields said. “To enact diversity, we must be inclusive. To be inclusive, we must be equitable. Diversity and inclusion should not make a majority of our students feel intruded upon or a minority of our students feel neglected. It should be natural and business as usual. This position will create this network of caring responses for all of our students through the SFA Way, which highlights the five principles of respect, caring, responsibility, unity and integrity.”
November 22, 2019 Nacogdoches – Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present its annual SFA Holiday Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.
A highlight of the program will be a performance of “Christmas Cantata,” or “Sinfonia Sacra,” by Daniel Pinkham. The concert will also feature works by Dominick Argento, Felix Mendelssohn, George Frideric Handel, Eric Edward Whitacre and Giuseppe Verdi, along with seasonal favorites.
The celebration will showcase the SFA A Cappella Choir, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir and SFA Brass ensemble. Conductors will be Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities at SFA; Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities; and graduate conductors Jacob Rivas of The Colony and David Zielke of Albany, Oregon. Accompanists will be SFA collaborative pianists Dr. Ron Petti, Dr. Thomas Nixon and Hyun Ji Oh.
“American composer Daniel Pinkham composed his ‘Christmas Cantata’ as a 20th century homage to the Venetian School of choir and brass,” Murphy explained. “This style was particularly embodied in the works of Giovanni Gabrieli. The work is comprised of three movements and features a double brass choir.”
The SFA Women’s Choir will present Verdi’s “Laudi alla Vergine Maria” from his famous “Quattro pezzi sacri” (Four Sacred Pieces). The work is scored for four-part women’s choir. This year’s SFA Women’s Choir has been invited to sing in March at the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Men’s Chorus will present Whitacre’s “Lux Arumque,” arranged for mixed choirs, men’s choirs and wind band. The work was inspired by Edward Esch’s poem, “Light and Gold.”
Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.
November 18, 2019 - A Stephen F. Austin State University art student will compete in an episode of “Forged in Fire” that will air between 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, on the History Channel.
Nacogdoches junior Kevin Burgess is an art metals student studying with Lauren Selden, professor of metalworking and jewelry in the School of Art.
Produced by Outpost Entertainment, “Forged in Fire” is a competition in which four bladesmiths compete in timed elimination rounds to forge bladed weapons for a chance to win a $10,000 prize and be named a “Forged in Fire” champion. In its seventh season, the competition, which is judged by experts in weapon history and use, tests some of the best in the industry as they attempt to re-create historic weapons.
The road to the reality series competition began in the summer of 2018 when Burgess, at the urging of a friend and fellow bladesmith, signed up online as a contestant. After an initial screening process, Burgess was required to complete a form where he outlined his experience and described the bladesmith equipment he used and the longest blade he had forged.
“They required you to have forged at least a 15-inch blade at some time in your career, and at that point, I had forged a blade only about 13 inches long,” he said. “I had a big chunk of material left over from another project, so I went crazy and forged a full 32-inch arming sword.”
Burgess was then contacted by show officials for a Skype interview where he displayed some of his creations. From that point on, it was a waiting game until this past summer when he was contacted again for a final interview to determine if he would actually compete. In early August, he flew to the forge location where filming began.
The results of the competition will be aired Wednesday night.
Burgess first became interested in bladesmithing about four years ago after watching “Man at Arms: Reforged” YouTube videos where skilled bladesmiths recreate weapons from TV shows and video games. He is currently a member in and an apprentice with the American Bladesmith Society, hoping to eventually pursue journeyman distinction.
He started his college career at SFA studying computer science but soon changed his major to art where he could follow his passion. Following graduation, he plans to earn a master’s degree with the hope of teaching bladesmithing at the college level.
“Bladesmithing is something I am really passionate about,” he said, “and I’d like to pass that on to the next generation.”
Cutline: SFA art student Kevin Burgess of Nacogdoches will compete on the reality show “Forged in Fire” at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, on the History Channel.
Nacogdoches 12, 2019 - The Rockin’ Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a rock concert at 6pm Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus.
The Rockin’ Axes is directed by Nick Lambson, a Sound Recording Technology faculty member within the School of Music. One of three SRT performance groups, the Rockin’ Axes will perform “YYZ” by Rush, “Schism” by Tool, “Part III” by Crumb and “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter, among other rock favorites.
The SRT program added a new, third ensemble this year to meet overwhelming student demand. “We have also made each ensemble smaller,” Lambson said. “This allows each student to perform on more songs, and it also became more competitive.
“As a result, we are working on some more advanced music like ‘YYZ’ and ‘Schism,’ which are technically and musically complex, with challenging rhythms, like changing meters,” he said. “We are also using music technology for special effects and using timbales for Winter’s ‘Frankenstein.’”
Music students attending this concert will receive recital credit. For additional information about the Rockin’ Axes, visit https://www.facebook.com/RockinAxesOfSFAStateUniversity/.
Admission to the concert is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.
Cutline: The Rockin’ Axes at SFA will perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Kennedy Auditorium on the SFA campus.