SFA University

February 20, 2023 — College-bound students and their families are invited to Stephen F. Austin State University’s in-person, on-campus Showcase Saturday event February 25, which offers participants a unique opportunity to experience life as a Lumberjack.

“Showcase Saturday is more than a campus visit — it’s a chance for you to be immersed in the full Lumberjack experience,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, SFA president-elect. “I welcome prospective students and their families to our beautiful campus for the chance to learn about our academics, ask questions, and take their first steps toward making SFA their future home.”

SFA’s Showcase Saturday provides an opportunity for college-bound students to spend a day experiencing university life firsthand, touring the campus and having all their college questions answered.

In addition to a high-energy Lumberjack experience, participating prospective students will receive discounted and complimentary tickets to a School of Theatre production and a men’s basketball game, respectively. They also will receive a free SFA T-shirt at check-in.

Registration and check-in will begin at 10 a.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza. Several optional early-bird sessions will be ongoing between check-in and the day’s opening program, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. 

Those include a student services fair, campus tours and special interest sessions covering a range of topics, like Veterans Affairs, the Hazlewood Act, and being a first-generation college student and family, among others.

During the opening program, students will attend presentations by college representatives based on their academic major of interest.

Come-and-go events will run from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. These include an academic fair from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center, tours of residence halls and the recreation center from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and a #JacksGetInvolved student organization fair from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the student center atrium.

A student leader meet and greet also will be available from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in the student center, and tours of our Health and Wellness Hub will be ongoing throughout the day in the Tucker Building.

Thirty-minute breakout sessions will run from 1:45 to 3 p.m. and will cover such topics as financial aid, first-year and transfer admissions, and both Residence Life and Dining Services. A session for parents of admitted students also will be available.

Optional tours of academic facilities will run from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and will allow participants to visit the DeWitt School of Nursing Complex, Todd Agricultural Research Center, A.L. Mangham Jr. Regional Airport, and the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center.

To register for SFA’s Showcase Saturday and for more information, visit sfasu.edu/showcase.

Cutline: Attendees chat with faculty and staff during Stephen F. Austin State University’s Showcase Saturday academic fair. The university will host its in-person spring Showcase Saturday, February 25 on campus.

February 16, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University recognized the outstanding academic achievements of a select number of students by naming 923 to the President's Honor Roll for fall 2022. To qualify for the President's Honor Roll at SFA, the student must have earned a 4.0 semester GPA in 12 or more semester hours while a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student.

Below are the students from Shelby County on the President’s List. To view the full list, visit https://sfasu.meritpages.com.

Jase Bird (Majoring in General Business)
Camryn Crouch (Majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies)
Mitchell Fountain (Majoring in Engineering Physics, Minoring in Mathematics)
Kamryn Holt (Majoring in Art)
Kase Hooper (Majoring in Kinesiology)
Katherine Nichols (Majoring in General Studies)
Anthony Tello (Majoring in Art)

Michalla Byrd (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Cheyenne Howard (Majoring in Art)

Yolanda Caporali (Majoring in Criminal Justice)
Dawson Jackson (Majoring in Mathematics)

Timpson - Skylar Causey (Majoring in Nursing)

February 16, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University recognized the outstanding academic achievements of a select number of students by naming 1,500 to the Dean's List for fall 2022.

To qualify for the Dean's List at SFA, the student must have earned a semester GPA over 3.5 in 12 or more semester hours while a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student. Below are the students from Shelby County on the Dean's List. To view the full list, visit https://sfasu.meritpages.com.

Naquila Barnes (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Carmen Choate (Majoring in General Business)
Christian Clark (Majoring in Kinesiology)
Hagan Crumpton (Majoring in Political Science, Minoring in Pre-Law)
Bridda Flores (Majoring in Music)
Benjamin Galindo (Majoring in History, Minoring in Public History)
Dulce Gonzalez (Majoring in Kinesiology, Minoring in Sports Business)
Aidan Hagler (Majoring in Kinesiology, Minoring in Combined Sciences)
Brendon Henson (Majoring in General Business)
Jackelyn Hernandez Cervantes (Majoring in Accounting)
Jennifer Huichapa (Majoring in Communication Science & Disorders)
Madison Kirby (Majoring in Nursing, Minoring in Human Development & Family Studies)
Jacob Liker (Majoring in Geospatial Science)
Nathaniel Morris (Majoring in Art, Minoring in Psychology)
Thazin Mu (Majoring in General Agriculture)
Aaron Triplett (Majoring in Construction Management)
Holly Wilburn (Majoring in Art)

Joaquin - Autumn Hughes (Majoring in Art)

Shelbyville - Alexis Shankle (Majoring in General Agriculture, Minoring in General Business)

Jessica Alvarado (Majoring in Biology, Minoring in Psychology)
Wesley Wages (Majoring in General Agriculture, Minoring in General Business)

Emily Hackworth (Majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies)
Alexus Wallace (Majoring in Social Work)

February 15, 2023 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of History will host Gordon Williams, an award-winning writer, producer and director, for an event titled “Beaumont’s Black History — In Moving Pictures” at 6 p.m. February 20 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Theater. The presentation is part of the Robert S. Maxwell Lecture Series.

Williams will start the event with a brief presentation before screening two films — both of which he had a significant role in creating. “The Example,” on which Williams is credited as the principal writer, is an award-winning historical fiction short film based on the 1943 Beaumont race riot. The second film, “They Will Talk About Us: The Charlton-Pollard Story,” is an award-winning documentary about the oldest Black neighborhood in Beaumont. It was written, directed and produced by Williams.

A Q&A session will follow the screenings.

“The event will be part of SFA's celebration of Black History Month and will serve to highlight the history of Black communities in East Texas,” said Dr. Andrew Lannen, chair of the Department of History. “It also will highlight the talents and skills of Texas filmmakers.”

Williams, who is currently the television studio operations manager at Lamar University, has completed several other award-winning independent film projects, including “The Story of Marcus and Reyna,” “The Grater Ambition,” “Gemini” and “Do You.” He has also produced award-winning television programs, commercials and documentaries for Lamar University’s television productions.

In addition to television, Williams has ventured into sports production as a producer for Lamar University’s athletics video department. Williams is an advisor for the Jefferson County Historical Commission and was recently named to the advisory board of the Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration prior to the event is not required.

For more information, contact the Department of History at history@sfasu.edu.

February 10, 2023 — Stephen F. Austin State University's SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. March 9 in the Pineywoods Native Plant Center’s Brundrett Conservation Education Building.

Greg Grant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist for Smith County, will present “Making Scents of the Genus Narcissus.”

Grant is a lifetime member of the Southern Garden History Society, the Native Plant Society of Texas and the Texas Bluebird Society. In addition to authoring a number of gardening books, Grant writes the column, “In Greg’s Garden,” for Texas Gardener magazine; the blog, “Greg’s Ramblings,” at arborgate.com; and a weekly garden column in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Additionally, he hosts Facebook pages Greg Grant Gardens and Rebel Eloy Emanis Pine Savanna and Bird Sanctuary.

Grant currently is working on a doctorate in forestry at SFA and, along with his wife, tends his late grandparents’ deep East Texas farmhouse, his Rebel Eloy Emanis Pine Savanna and Bird Sanctuary, a dozen laying hens, two cats, and one Jack Russell terrier.

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month. A rare plant raffle will follow the program. The lecture is free and open to the public, but donations to the Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series fund are always appreciated.

Parking is available at the PNPC and Raguet Elementary School, located at 2708 Raguet Street.

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

February 7, 2023 — Self-described poet, activist and educator Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton will serve as the keynote speaker for Stephen F. Austin State University’s ninth annual Diversity Conference, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, February 10 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

“Deborah is not only a poet but also a storyteller, coach and educator,” said Dr. Veronica Beavers, deputy chief diversity officer and director of SFA’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. “We’re thrilled to have her as this year’s keynote speaker and to be able to watch her put the weight of her experiences, activism, and unique perspectives into a keynote that speaks to this year’s theme of everyday inclusion.”

Internationally known for her written works, Mouton is poet laureate emeritus of Houston. Her recent poetry collection, “Newsworthy,” garnered her a Pushcart nomination, was named a finalist for the 2019 Writer’s League of Texas Book Award, and received an honorable mention for the Summerlee Book Prize. A German translation, titled "Berichtenswert," was released in summer 2021 by Elif Verlag.

Her most recent choreopoem, “PLUMSHUGA: The rise of Lauren Anderson,” debuted at Stages Houston in October and was recently mentioned in the New York Times fall preview. Her upcoming memoir, “Black Chameleon,” explores the use of modern mythology as a path to social commentary and has ties to the collaborative art exhibit "_____ as Myth," which was on display at Rice University in January.

Hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the 2023 Diversity Conference theme “Inclusion as an Everyday Act: Setting Intentions for SFA’s Next Century” invites conference presenters to speak on how inclusion can be an approachable and livable act. Organizers will also incorporate discussions on the intended role of inclusion for SFA’s second century.

Presentations and workshops will take place throughout the day, and all will center on the daily actions one can take to create a more welcoming environment for diverse groups.

Check-in will open at 8:30 a.m. outside the student center’s Grand Ballroom before the opening session begins at 9 a.m. Developmental workshops and a discussion session will take place until the noon luncheon and keynote address.

As workshops and breakout sessions are ongoing, attendees are invited to experience several come-and-go activities, including a Diversity Art Gallery, collaborative mural art piece and beading workshop, among others.

Local nonprofit organizations also will be present during the morning sessions to share information about their inclusion and equity work within the community.

“Passive programming opportunities are new to this year’s conference,” Beavers said. “We will have sensory and relaxation stations, as well as interactive art activities within our Diversity Art Gallery. Additionally, this year's format will include expanded sessions that qualify for our DEI certification program, such as safe space training and interactive sessions.”

The conference is free and open to the public. To register for the conference and learn more, visit sfasu.edu/odei/diversityconference.

February 3, 2023 — Dr. David Creech, Stephen F. Austin State University professor emeritus of agriculture and director of SFA Gardens, will discuss plant grafting techniques during a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon March 11 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building, located at 2900 Raguet Street.

"There's an art and a science to budding and grafting, and I learned both looking over the shoulder of an old nurseryman in Roans Prairie,” Creech said. “He was proud of his talent and said he could graft two fence posts together and make them stick. Both grafting and budding depend on the quality of the rootstock and scion, timing and the skill of the grafter. Once you do several thousand you can count yourself as skilled.”

The seminar will have a brief PowerPoint overview and then participants will get to try their hand at grafting with most of the needed supplies, including rootstocks, scions, grafting tape and rubber budding strips. Attendees should bring a small, sharp pocketknife. Participants will practice on a variety of plants and will take home their own grafted Japanese maple tree.

Register by calling (936) 468-4129 starting after 1pm February 6. The workshop is limited to 25 participants. The cost is $30 for SFA Gardens members and $40 for nonmembers.

Dr. David Creech, Stephen F. Austin State University professor emeritus of agriculture and director of SFA Gardens, will discuss plant grafting techniques during a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon March 11 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building, located at 2900 Raguet Street.

Jim and Margaret Perkins were the recipients of this year’s Texas Higher Education Distinguished Service Award. The two were honored at an event Wednesday at Headliners Club in Austin. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun, president, The University of Texas at Tyler; Dr. Steve Westbrook, interim president, Stephen F. Austin State University; Jim and Margaret Perkins; Dr. Juan E. Mejia, president and CEO, Tyler Junior College; and Dr. J. Blair Blackburn, president, East Texas Baptist University

January 26,2023 — Presidents, chancellors and the leaders of more than 100 Texas higher education institutions honored Jim and Margaret Perkins from East Texas by naming them recipients of this year’s Texas Higher Education Distinguished Service Award during a ceremony held in Austin this week.

They were co-nominated by faculty and staff from Stephen F. Austin State University and Tyler Junior College. The nomination referred to their establishment in 2006 of the James I. Perkins Family Foundation, which was created to support students, institutions of higher education and communities in East Texas. The Perkins family has generously supported SFA’s James I. Perkins College of Education, the Tyler Junior College Foundation, The University of Texas at Tyler, The University of Texas School of Law, and East Texas Baptist University.

“Margaret and I are honored to receive this recognition from such prestigious organizations representing institutions of higher education and applaud their collaborative efforts to promote higher education in the great state of Texas,” Jim Perkins said.

Margaret Perkins is a former junior high and high school English and history teacher. She also served as a librarian, substitute teacher and board member for the Rusk Independent School District. Jim Perkins served on SFA’s board of regents from 1969 to 1981 and spearheaded the development of the SFASU Foundation. He is an attorney serving as president and chair of the board with Citizens 1st Bank. He’s also known for celebrating the fact that more than half of the bank’s employees are SFA students or graduates.

Through their James I. Perkins Family Foundation, the couple continues to support student development, research grants and professorships at SFA. They have served as lead partners in the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce’s Nacogdoches Opportunity for Better Learning Experience, or NOBLE, since 2000. This program annually awards 20 students from Nacogdoches County scholarships to attend SFA.

“Jim and Margaret are longtime champions of SFA,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, SFA’s interim president. “Together, they provide extraordinary support to the college of education with its mission of preparing competent, successful, caring and enthusiastic professional educators from diverse backgrounds. In addition, they support our JacksTeach program, which helps students in our science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs earn secondary STEM teaching certifications while earning degrees in their respective disciplines.”

The Perkins family is active in numerous civic and community activities in East Texas, including the Nacogdoches ISD Education Foundation and the Regents Academy in Nacogdoches.

Distinguished Service Award recipients are selected by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors and the Texas Association of Community Colleges. The award has been presented 43 times in the past 45 years.

January 25, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University has been recognized as an affordable institution by Colleges of Distinction, a new designation that helps cost-conscious students and families navigate complicated college financing information.

“How to pay for college is a near-universal question at the top of new students’ minds,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer at Colleges of Distinction. “SFA has demonstrated to us that its students are graduating with manageable debt and careers that help them thrive.”

Fewer than 150 institutions received Colleges of Distinction’s affordable designation. Using institutional data published by the U.S. Department of Education, College of Distinction’s affordability list named institutions with low net prices that were directly proportional to student household income.

Rachele’ Garrett, SFA’s director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and interim executive director of enrollment management, said the university works hard to keep costs down and the quality of education high.

“With more than 80% of full-time undergraduate students receiving some type of financial assistance, SFA is providing quality academic programs that meet students’ needs,” Garrett said. “We also offer a host of scholarship and grant assistance programs for students.”

In addition to financial aid packages, the university provides a flat-rate tuition plan that allows students to pay a set rate for 12 or more credit hours.

“Students can take up to 21 credit hours for the cost of 12, and Student Business Services offers tuition programs that reduce the cost of pursuing an advanced degree,” Garrett said.

Beyond net price, Colleges of Distinction looked at the graduates’ median debt and mean earnings data. These were then controlled for each school’s location, size, public/private affiliation status and percentage of Pell grant recipients.

“Our affordable Colleges of Distinction are not just those with a low sticker price; they exemplify a solid return on a student’s investment.” Schritter said. “SFA has shown us that an engaging, real-world education doesn’t have to break the bank.”

For more information on SFA’s financial aid and scholarships, visit sfasu.edu/finaid.

January 24, 2023 - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies recently announced the 2023 recipients of the President’s Innovation Fund, which rewards efforts to enhance innovative recruitment, retention and teaching practices that focus on student success.

This year, there were 13 recipients — those included teams and individuals, faculty and staff — who received more than $145,000 in total awards. They are given to those who proposed novel ways to approach recruitment, retention, teaching and learning, with a particular focus on helping more students from all backgrounds to not only persist but to excel.

Highlights include a $34,000 award to Dr. Keith Hubbard, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Dr. Dipak Singh, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, to build on a multiyear effort to collect and analyze data on student engagement and success; and a $7,435 award to a team from the DeWitt School of Nursing to implement a three-day nursing summer camp for high school students.

Faculty members who received implementation awards in the previous cycle were invited to submit a follow-up proposal that focused on enhancing or refining the initial implementation project, with a second phase to replicate the project on a broader scale or across other disciplines.

Recipients will present the results of their projects in fall 2023. For a complete list of recipients and the awards they received, visit the President’s Innovation Fund.