SFA University


Photo courtesy of Maj. James Attaway.

November 7, 2019 Nacogdoches — History has been made for Stephen F. Austin State University’s Army ROTC program with the Ranger Challenge team placing second at the Apache Brigade Head-to-Head Ranger Competition at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.

“Winning the competition put SFA on the map,” said Maj. James Attaway, SFA professor of military science. “Some of the other universities had not heard of us, but halfway through the competition, it was apparent they were noticing the preparedness of our cadets. By the end of the competition, everyone knew us.”

The achievement advances the team to the Sandhurst Military Skills competition, which will be held in April at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Among 274 ROTC programs nationwide, only 16 teams advanced to compete at the Sandhurst competition.

By Emily Brown, marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University. 

Gunnery Sgt. Ken Ebo, U.S. Marine Corps trombonist, will perform with SFA’s Swingin‘ Axes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.November 6, 2019 Nacogdoches – Gunnery Sgt. Ken Ebo, U.S. Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra director and trombonist, will join the Swingin’ Axes jazz band of Stephen F. Austin State University in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 15, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

The concert will also feature the Swingin’ Aces, directed by Dr. J.D. Salas, professor of tuba and euphonium at SFA.

Much of the concert will feature the trombone players from the Swingin’ Axes, directed by Dr. Deb Scott, professor of trombone in the SFA School of Music, as well as some of Ebo’s compositions for jazz band. Among them is “Trombonius Rex,” a fast bebop style tune that will feature Ebo, the entire Axes trombone section and Scott. The Axes will also perform Ebo’s “Sunset Parade,” composed in the Count Basie ballad style, and “Basie Training,” a spoof on basic training, also written in the Count Basie swing style of jazz.

A versatile musician, Ebo will sing one of Natalie Cole’s most famous jazz standards, “Almost Like Being in Love,” with arrangement by Bill Holman.

The Axes will feature its lead saxophone player, graduate music student Felipe Hernandez, and senior music student and trumpet player Isaac Martinez on a Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer song, “Skylark.”

Ebo is the former head of the Instrumental Division at the Naval School of Music in Virginia Beach where he also served as trombone faculty and jazz improvisation instructor. He is currently serving as the music placement director for the Marine Music Program in the Southwestern United States. An active clinician, educator and performer, Ebo holds degrees from Indiana University and the University of South Carolina. He has played with numerous artists in both military and civilian settings including Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Mathis, Jon Faddis, Michael Mossman and Tim Akers & the Smoking Section.

Ebo is a recipient of the Musician of the Year Award for the U.S. Marine Corps and has performed nationwide as the musical director and lead trombonist for the Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra. His compositions and arrangements have been featured as part of USMC national recruiting efforts and have been performed by numerous ensembles. He is the author of “Common Sense for Comeback Chops,” published by Mountain Peak Music.

Ebo also directs his own jazz orchestra in a series of benefit concerts for Toys for Tots in Baltimore, M.D., now in its 17th season, including eight years of annual concerts also held in Virginia Beach. Ebo resides in Fort Worth with his wife, also a professional musician, and their two children, who collectively sing and play trumpet, harp, piano, ukulele, drums and other instruments.

The Swingin’ Aces will perform “Skyliner” by Charlie Barnett; “Midnight Voyage” by Joey Calderazzo and arranged by Alan Baylock; and “My Romance” by Richard Rodgers featuring Mike McGowan, SFA adjunct professor of music theory.

Concert 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.


An expansion of the Griffith Fine Arts Building is scheduled to begin soon at Stephen F. Austin State University. The SFA Board of Regents have approved a budget for the project of up to $50 million.

October 29, 2019 - In the first meeting of the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents since Dr. Scott Gordon was named SFA’s ninth president, approval was given to agenda items that will benefit students across campus, especially students in the College of Fine Arts and those who are ROTC cadets.

Griffith Fine Arts Expansion
Regents approved an increase in the budget for a planned expansion of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, which will accommodate the addition of the dance and cinematography programs in the facility. 

“In February 2019, the university completed a $116.3 million bond issue for projects that included the College of Fine Arts expansion, a basketball practice facility, a welcome center/one-stop shop, a new residence hall and a dining hall,” said Dr. Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration. “The original allocation for the fine arts expansion was $37 million, but the decision was made to include the School of Art’s filmmaking program, as well as the dance program, which is currently housed in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science.”

In order to accommodate the additional space, expanded scope and additional costs, a $50 million project budget was approved by regents. The project, which includes a renovation of Turner Auditorium and improved accessibility, is to be completed at a cost of $50 million or less.

Dining Hall
A major renovation of the dining hall in the Baker Pattillo Student Center will begin in April and will be funded through the university’s food service agreement with Aramark.

“The contract contains provisions for a financial commitment to support multiple infrastructure investments over the term of the agreement,” said Dr. Steve Westbrook, vice president for university affairs. “Aramark has agreed to increase their financial commitment by $4 million to fund the renovation to maintain the high-quality food service program our students expect.”

Regents approved the new contract, and the renovation should be completed prior to the fall 2020 semester.

ROTC Scholarships
New housing scholarships will be available to ROTC cadets as a result of action taken during Monday’s meeting of the Board of Regents.

SFA established its ROTC program in 1968, and the university has maintained an agreement with the U.S. government for support of the program for many years, according to Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs. 

“It is time to update that agreement, as well as a related amendment regarding the mobilization of an ROTC unit,” Bullard explained. “We wanted to take this opportunity to create new housing scholarships for ROTC cadets who receive U.S. Army Cadet Command Scholarships.”

According to Maj. James Attaway, chair of SFA’s Department of Military Science, with an Army scholarship paying for cadets’ tuition, and the SFA scholarship covering the cost of housing, the only remaining expense for the students will be their meal plans.

The SFA ROTC Battalion expects to enroll 16 new cadets for fiscal year 2021 who would be eligible for the housing scholarship. Ultimately, up to 30 housing scholarships could be awarded on an annual basis.

Patent Rights Release
Dr. Matibur Zamadar, assistant professor of chemistry at SFA, has developed novel chemotherapeutic compositions and methods that could benefit cancer patients, and SFA students have shadowed and assisted in the patent application process.

According to the university’s intellectual property policy, the university assists in securing patent protection for inventions arising from academic projects associated with university personnel.

“The potential invention was developed within the scope of Dr. Zamadar’s employment using university funds and facilities, and as a result, title to the potential invention belongs to the university,” Bullard said.

However, rather than committing university resources to pursuing a patenting and licensure of the potential invention, regents approved releasing the rights to Zamadar, but will retain a portion of net income arising from the invention.

Cole Stem Building
The Cole STEM Building was substantially complete in August 2018, and classes began in the fall 2018 semester. The STEM building project budget of $46.4 million was funded by tuition revenue bond proceeds. Investment earnings are expected to total nearly $920,000.

To recognize the total projected investment earnings in the STEM building project, regents approved an increase in the budget at a total not to exceed $47.3 million, the original budget level plus investment earnings.

The board approved multi-year grant awards, changes to course fees and policy revisions. Board members acknowledged the receipt of the audit services report and heard reports from each of the vice presidents, the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and President Gordon.

The next quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents is Jan. 26-28, 2020. For more information, visit sfasu.edu/regents.


Stephen F. Austin State University’s award-winning timbersports team, the Sylvans, invites the community to see if they have what it takes to be a lumberjack or lumberjill at the 2019 Lumberjack Games held during SFA’s Homecoming from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. The fundraising event, held behind the Forestry Building at 419 East College St., will challenge teams of five to compete in a range of timbersport events, including the crosscut saw and axe throw. No experience is necessary, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top teams.

October 21, 2019 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s award-winning timbersports team, the Sylvans, invites members of the community to see if they have what it takes to be a lumberjack or lumberjill at the 2019 Lumberjack Games, which will be held during SFA’s Homecoming from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 26.

Dr. Jeremy Stovall, professor of forestry and the Sylvans faculty advisor, said campuswide lumberjack competitions were held in the past, but they have not taken place for at least a decade.

“From what we’ve heard, the original events had pretty diverse participation from all across campus,” Stovall said. “We’re trying to revive that SFA tradition.”

Teams of five will compete in a range of timbersports, including the axe throw, single and double crosscut sawing, caber toss and tug of war. Single individuals also may sign up as a free agent and be assigned to a team.

“A lot of people come to SFA and aren’t sure what it really means to be a lumberjack or don’t know SFA has a timbersports team,” said John Mike Arnett, forestry senior and Sylvans president. “I think it’s a great way to get our names out there and let people experience what it is like to be a lumberjack.”

Timbersports experience is not necessary, and members of the Sylvans will be on site to provide coaching and answer questions. Safety gear and equipment also will be provided.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Sylvans, with the potential to support other student organizations within the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, based on funds generated through registration.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top teams, as well as a custom-made wood-burned trophy.

The Lumberjack Games will take place behind the Forestry Building, located at 419 East College St. For more information on the games, as well as how to register, visit www.sfasu.edu/lumberjackgames.

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 fullersa@sfasu.edu.

Dr. Daniel Wallace, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, will present “Saving Scripture: The Work of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts” from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Kennedy Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Wallace’s discussion is part of SFA’s Division of Multidisciplinary Programs’ Pre-Seminary Day. October 10, 2019 Nacogdoches — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Division of Multidisciplinary Programs will host a Pre-Seminary Day October 25 on the SFA campus for individuals interested in religious studies or seeking connection with Texas seminaries.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He will present “Saving Scripture: The Work of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts” from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Auditorium. This portion of the day is free and open to the public.

Wallace and his staff have recently discovered more than 75 ancient New Testament manuscripts. Wallace has traveled to 35 countries to examine unique, handwritten manuscripts in dozens of libraries, monasteries and private collections.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Wallace speak at SFA. His work has revolutionized the historical preservation of the Bible,” Dr. Paul Shockley, lecturer in the Division of Multidisciplinary Programs, said. “He’s referred to by many as the Indiana Jones of biblical manuscripts.”

The day’s first event will begin with coffee and muffins at 9 a.m. in the Ferguson Building, Room G77. Wallace will speak with faculty members and students interested in religious studies and philosophy.

Dr. Jim Towns, professor in the Department of Languages, Culture and Communication, will moderate a panel discussion with local pastors for students interested in learning about how to prepare for seminary at 10:30 a.m. in the Ferguson Building, Room 271.

Simultaneously, history graduate students and faculty members will have the opportunity to discuss digital preservation of historical documents with Wallace at 10:30 a.m. in Dugas Liberal Arts North, Room 308.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., seminary recruiters will be available to speak with students in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Spirit Lounge. Representatives from several seminaries, including Dallas Theological, Fuller Theological, Houston Baptist University, Reformed Theological, Southwestern Baptist Theological, George W. Truett Theological and Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology will be present.

Accordance Bible Software will host the final seminar of the day. The company, which offers Hebrew and Greek Bible software, will offer a training session for people in the community who use Accordance Bible Software from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in the Ferguson Building, Room G78. Contact the company at 1-877-339-5855 to reserve a seat.

For more information about Pre-Seminary Day at SFA, contact Shockley at shockleypr@sfasu.edu or Geivonna Little at littlegm@sfasu.edu or (936) 468-1229.

October 8, 2019 — The DC Wonder Woman College Run 5K will be a part of Homecoming festivities this year at Stephen F. Austin State University. The run will begin at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, October 22, near the Baker Pattillo Student Center Plaza on the SFA campus.

The pre-race expo, featuring a DJ, interactive wall of inspiration, photo opportunities, packet pickup and more, will begin at 3 p.m. The course winds through the SFA campus and along the paved trails of the SFA Gardens' Tucker Woods, the SFA Arboretum and the Lanana Creek Trail.

Held nationally, the DC Wonder Woman College Run series is designed to empower adults from all walks of life to unleash the super hero within. Runners, families and “super dogs” are encouraged to dress in bold and colorful super hero attire and costumes for the event.

The SFA student/faculty/alumni registration rate is $30, and the general registration rate is $35. Race registration includes exclusive race shirt, finisher’s medal, commemorative race bib, complimentary photos, and entrance to the pre-race expo and post-race finish line festival with live entertainment. In addition, a contribution from race proceeds will be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas.

Steve Davidson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Deep East Texas, said he’s excited the run will be hosted in Nacogdoches.

“We are honored to be chosen as the race’s nonprofit of choice. As this race empowers us all to find our inner super hero, our staff members work every day to build up our children to be heroes in our communities.”

The race is produced by Riddle & Bloom and Son Events, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC and SFA’s Campus Recreation Department.

For more information, race registration and merchandise, visit sfasu.edu/wwrun.

September 25, 2019 Nacogdoches — A partnership between Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Human Sciences and the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler aims to curb high levels of food insecurity in East Texas through a six-week Cooking Matters program.

This is the fifth year the school has partnered with the food bank to provide the informative and interactive program to the community. Justin Pelham, food, nutrition and dietetics clinical instructor at SFA, is using this program as a class project for students in his community nutrition course to showcase their skills in a real-world setting. This will be Pelham’s fourth year to lead the program.

“My goal is to provide real-world experience in the Nacogdoches community by allowing our students to demonstrate their nutrition knowledge with interactive education and cooking demonstrations,” Pelham said. “Community opportunities enhance the student learning experience when working with our underserved populations locally, making a significant impact in the students’ lives well past their undergraduate experience at SFA.”

The East Texas Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that distributes food to more than 200 partner agencies in an effort to feed children, the working poor and senior citizens throughout 26 counties in East Texas. According to food bank studies, one in four children and one in five adults experience food insecurity in East Texas.

Kinsey Jeffers, food bank nutrition education programs manager, and Brandi Gouldthorpe, SFA alumna and nutrition education specialist, visited Pelham’s community nutrition students recently to outline the food bank's mission and services.

“Cooking Matters is one of our main direct education programs,” Jeffers said. “We offer 15 to 20 six-week courses every year. There are nutrition education components, kitchen and food safety components, grocery store tours and hands-on food preparation. Then we all sit down and eat the meal together.”

Pelham’s students will serve in all Cooking Matters roles, from program recruitment officer to chef and instructor.

“The student-led program provides interactive experiences for all sides,” Pelham said. “Students will be showcasing their leadership abilities among our underserved community and practice their communication skills in written and oral formats with the public. The East Texas Food Bank appreciates the partnership because we are reaching more people in their region who could benefit from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

“The community, too, benefits from the Cooking Matters program because they learn different nutrition education topics that correspond with the practical cooking skills gained through the lesson. Also, each participant receives a bag of groceries with the items prepared that day to cook the same dish at home,” Pelham added.

Another class location has been added to this year’s Cooking Matters partnership, allowing organizers to double program participation. While Pelham’s students lead the course on campus, a second class will occur simultaneously at the Helping Other People Eat Pantry in Nacogdoches. Additionally, SFA’s new mobile food lab, the Lumberjack Express, will be driven to the HOPE Pantry for the class’ graduation event and potluck.

Cooking Matters classes will begin Oct. 7 and continue each Monday through Nov. 11.

For more information about East Texas Food Bank services, visit easttexasfoodbank.org.

September 16, 2019 Nacogdoches — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication in collaboration with the Division of Multidisciplinary Programs will bring five foreign cinematic productions to the SFA campus during the Fifth Annual International Film Festival.
 
The features will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 7, 8 and 9, and Oct. 14 and 16, in Liberal Arts North, Room 142 on SFA’s campus. Admission is free. The festival will show one film each night with English subtitles. SFA faculty members will lead pre- and post-discussions of the films.
 
“Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben)” will kick off the festival. This story follows Laura (Penélope Cruz), a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, who returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her children for a wedding. While catching up with friends, Laura’s daughter is kidnapped, and old secrets find their way into the present.
 
Dr. Mario Morera, SFA visiting professor in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication, will lead a discussion on the film’s topics, including culture and identity, family, immigration and exile, and more.
 
The second night will feature “A Translator (Un traductor)” a film set in Havana, Cuba, in 1989. The film stars Rodrigo Santoro, of “Westworld” fame, as a Russian literature professor who receives orders from the government to act as a translator between Cuban doctors and the families of young patients from the Chernobyl disaster. Dr. Alexandra Martynova-Van Kley, SFA professor in the Department of Biology, will discuss the films portrayal of culture and identity, family, global economy, health and aging, international politics, human rights and more.
 
The third feature, “Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano),” will take the audience to the La Guajira Desert, where an indigenous Wayúu clan tells their story. Guided by matriarch Ursula Pushiana, the clan faces constant risks of violence and incarceration from outsiders in Northern Colombia. Cultural differences arise and threaten to destroy the Wayúu’s way of life. Dr. Gabriela Miranda-Recinos, associate professor in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication, will discuss the film’s use of violence, criminal justice, indigenous people, religion and more.
 
“Camila’s Awakening (El despertar de Camila)” will be featured the fourth night of the festival on Oct. 14. The film explores how Camila, a teenager whose ambition is larger than life, deals with trials after she suffers a cerebrovascular accident that forces her to reinvent herself with courage, humor and love. Dr. Dianne Dentice, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology, will lead a discussion regarding body image, disability, women and youth, and more.
 
The festival’s final feature is “I Girl (Yo niña),” which tells the story of Armonia, a young girl living among the lakes, rivers and forests of Southern Argentina, away from a consumer society and civilization. Armonia navigates life alongside Pablo and Julia, neo-hippies, vegetarians and questioners of the system. Dr. Anne Smith, professor of philosophy, will lead a discussion about activism, education, global economics, sociology and more.
 
Foreign film standards vary from those in the United States, and film topics may address controversial subject matter. Use discretion when deciding to view these films.
 
The International Film Festival was made possible with the support from Pragda, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain, Spain Arts and Culture, and a grant from Humanities Texas.
 
For more information, contact Dr. Gabriela Miranda-Recinos at mirandag@sfasu.edu or Dr. José Neftalí Recinos at recinosjn@sfasu.edu.

September 3, 2019 Nacogdoches — The Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association will honor four alumni during its annual awards banquet September 6 at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches.

The SFA Alumni Awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their professions and the community and who advance the goals and values of SFA.

The award recipients are Steve Whitbeck, Lumberjack Pride Award; Cole Tomberlain, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; and Michael Calbert and Dr. John D. Weete, who each will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Lumberjack Pride Award

Steve Whitbeck ’75 has supported the purple and white since his time as a student. He served as the Lumberjack mascot in 1972 and also as a cheerleader for two years, backing the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks during athletic competitions, while also serving in this capacity as an ambassador for the university at various other university-related events. While pursuing his Bachelor of Business Administration, he became a charter member of the Nu-Xi Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

As an insurance provider in Nacogdoches, Whitbeck has continued his support of SFA and the Nacogdoches community. This support includes his service as co-chair of the Texas Blueberry Festival, 13-year membership with the Nacogdoches Jaycees, honorary life member of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce and three terms on the SFA Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. Whitbeck also endowed a scholarship for future generations of Lumberjacks.

Whitbeck and his wife, Dr. Katherine Whitbeck, a two-time SFA graduate, have many family members who also have graduated from the university, including their two children, Samantha and Kendall.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Cole Tomberlain ’10 enrolled at SFA in 2007 with a desire to get involved and volunteer. While a student, Tomberlain was a member of the SFA chapters of Ducks Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation. He also was involved with the Student Activities Association. In addition, Tomberlain was a student instructor for the freshman seminar SFA 101, executive director of the Student Foundation Association, and he served on the SFA Alumni Association Board of Directors as a student representative. He also cofounded and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Texas Phi Chapter. Outside of SFA, he was a volunteer firefighter with the Appleby Volunteer Fire Department.

After graduating with a business degree, Tomberlain returned to Longview, his hometown, to join the family’s insurance and real estate business. He also is the co-owner of Texas Toasted Cigar Distributors and The Smoking Aces Mobile Cigar Lounge. Tomberlain is the founding chairman of the annual Bourbon & Bowties fundraiser event, which benefits the Longview World of Wonders Children’s Hands-on Discovery Center. He continues to give back to SFA through his service on the Alumni Business Advisory Council with the Nelson Rusche College of Business, and he is highly involved with the SFA East Texas Alumni Network Chapter in Longview. This chapter helps provide scholarships to current and future Lumberjacks through its annual golf tournament fundraiser.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Michael Calbert ’84 was born in San Angelo and raised in Tyler and Longview before coming to SFA by way of his older brother, Craig ’82. During his time at SFA, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, which led to him meeting his wife, Barbara ’84. The Calberts have been married 33 years and have three sons, David, Mitchell and Ryan.

Calbert entered SFA as a music major. However, after taking an accounting class, he discovered his interest in public accounting and quickly changed his major to business with an emphasis in accounting. Calbert started his professional career working in the accounting department at Elliott Electric Supply during his time at SFA.

After graduating from the university, he accepted an auditor position with one of the “big five” accounting firms, Arthur Andersen Worldwide in Houston, and he later moved into the consulting practice. Calbert graduated from the University of Houston with a Master of Business Administration and holds a certified public accountant certificate (inactive).

During his career, Calbert served as the executive vice president/chief financial officer of Randall’s Food Markets, a $2.5-billion revenue retailer based in Texas.

Calbert recently retired after a 15-year career as a partner at private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. He ran the global retail private equity practice, generating more than $30 billion in transactions during his career. While at KKR, he served on the firm’s global private equity investment and portfolio management committees.

Calbert has been a member of the board of directors for Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada) and Toys ’R Us, and chairman of Academy Sports & Outdoors, Dollar General, Pets at Home (United Kingdom) and U.S. Foods.

He continues to serve as chairman of the board for Dollar General. He also serves as lead director for Brookshire Grocery Company and is on the board of directors of Vestcom International and AutoZone. 

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Educator and researcher Dr. John D. Weete ’65 & ’68 came to SFA and majored in biology. He was a cheerleader and member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and as a graduate student, Weete served as the graduate class president and class favorite in 1967.

In 1970, Weete received his doctoral degree from the University of Houston and worked as a scientist at the Lunar Science Institute, which was affiliated with NASA’s Johnson Space Center during the Apollo program.

Weete began his academic career at Auburn University in 1973 in the Department of Botany and Microbiology. In recognition of his work, Weete received the Director’s Research Award, the William Howard Smith Faculty Fellowship Award and was named Alumni Professor. In 1983, he was one of only 36 scientists invited to participate in a conference at the prestigious Rockefeller Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.

Weete has been issued four U.S. patents and has authored more than 100 research articles and two books. He also served as associate dean for research and director of the Leach Science Center in the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University, where he is currently emeritus professor and associate dean.

At West Virginia University, Weete served as vice president for research and economic development and president of the WVU Research Corporation, where he established the infrastructure for linking research to economic development. He is recognized as the architect of the WVU Research Enterprise, where funding for research increased 140% during his tenure.

In 2007, Weete returned to Auburn to serve as executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. He was responsible for developing the Auburn Research Park and the Auburn Business Incubator. In 2016, he was inducted as a fellow by the prestigious National Academy of Inventors.

For more information about the Alumni Awards, contact the SFA Alumni Association at (936) 468-3407 or alumni@sfasu.edu.


“The Color of Grief,” an exhibition set to open Tuesday, Sept. 3, in The Cole Art Center, features artwork by children who have experienced grief through the loss of a loved one.

August 28, 2019 – The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University will open “The Color of Grief ” exhibition Tuesday, Sept. 3, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

“The Color of Grief” features art created by children attending a youth grief camp through Hospice in the Pines.

“This exhibit showcases the existential and spiritual reality children experience in the loss of a loved one, such as a parent or sibling,” according to John Handley, director of SFA art galleries. “Through the expression of art, the inner truth, layers and stages of grief are revealed.”

These small paintings on canvas were created by children ages 4 through 16.

“Each work of art is a living tribute to and bridge between the land of the living and those who have transitioned beyond this life,” Handley said.

The camp and its program started as a vision and dream of social worker Jacob Thomas, director of social services at Hospice in the Pines.

“It was an idea, a vision, that was manifested so our community can have a creative dialogue about the visceral, vulnerable topic of grief and loss and how such matters lead to the inner transformations of individuals,” according to Thomas. “The expression and inner dialogue of grieving youth can be a difficult process and is not always expressed verbally; yet the dialogue that is inwardly experienced can be accessed in non-verbal ways.”

Utilizing water color paintings – brush strokes, color choices and pallets – each child expressed his/her vision, emotion and story, Thomas explained.

“We utilize methodologies such as art making, and in this case paintings, as a symbol and bridge to connect our older generations with the younger generations,” Thomas said, “and to see how the dialogue regarding topics of grief, joy, awe, wonder and loss are communicated as truths and as an alternative form of creating dialogue within our community.”

A reception for “The Color of Grief” is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Cole Art Center. Art exhibitions and receptions are sponsored by William Arscott, the Flower Shop, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and the Friends of the Visual Arts. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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