SFA University

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.


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.

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