SFA University

May 4, 2016 NACOGDOCHES, Texas — After a few run-throughs on the 150-foot runway, Stephen F. Austin State University junior Meagan McNabb’s nerves settled. Backstage was mayhem as designers, college students and make-up artists prepared to showcase their creations in front of hundreds of people. In a few moments, McNabb would walk down the runway and proudly display her team’s Renaissance-inspired dress.
Stephen F. Austin State University junior Meagan McNabb models a Renaissance-inspired dress, which SFA students created for Product Runway, an avant-garde couture fashion design competition held in Houston.“I was a little nervous at first, but we were able to go through practice runs a few times, and I became more confident,” McNabb said. “I think it went well and wearing the dress was really cool.”
For eight years, the International Interior Design Association Houston City Center has sponsored Product Runway, an avant-garde couture fashion design competition influenced by the reality TV show, Project Runway.
SFA students Jennifer Gregory, Laura Aguilar, Brittany Rathbun, Pamela Garcia and McNabb competed in this spring’s challenge, which doubles as a learning experience and charity event. Proceeds from the event benefit the Houston Furniture Bank, a non-profit organization that provides a more comfortable and livable environment to families in need. This was the third year SFA participated.
“This was my first time participating in the event, and I really enjoyed it,” Gregory said. “Being able to implement teamwork with my friends while representing SFA and helping raise money for those in need of furniture in the Houston area was an amazing experience, and I cannot wait for next year.”
Gregory added working backstage and seeing the behind-the-scenes action was an eye-opening experience.
Product Runway puts teams of interior design and architecture professionals and interior design students in a fashion design competition where competitors are tasked with creating handmade garments out of standard architectural finish materials, such as glass, tile, carpet and wood. This year’s theme was Avant Art, and teams had to create looks inspired by a specific art style, such as Renaissance, baroque, neoclassical and impressionism.
SFA team members created a Renaissance-inspired outfit with materials from Global Furniture Group and Formica. Per the competition’s rules, 80 percent of the garment’s design had to include one soft and one hard material.
SFA’s team design was inspired by the Renaissance time period and the groundbreaking boldness of “Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli, according to the team’s concept statement. The look’s concept was developed to depict the rebirth of an old Renaissance style to create a modern, edgy transitional dress using structured laminate by Formica while creating movement using a variety of fabrics, including Global’s Imprint, Replay and Softhide. The design features confident reds, which show the empowerment Venus portrayed, and softer creams, which represent awareness of the natural world, to create a seamless transition into modern times, as explained in the concept statement.

May 4, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Three alumni of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will return to their alma mater to perform in the annual choral masterworks series concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

Under the direction of Dr. Tim King, director of choral studies at SFA, the A Cappella Choir, Choral Union, Women’s Chorus and the Orchestra of the Pines will perform “An American Requiem” by Richard Danielpour. Guest soloists will be SFA alumni Erin Roth, mezzo-soprano; Dr. Richard Novak, tenor; and Casey Jones Parrish, baritone.

Roth’s career as a lyric mezzo-soprano has advanced with performances at Opéra Louisiane, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, singing roles that include Pitti-Sing in W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's “The Mikado,” Meg Page in Giuseppe Verdi's “Falstaff,” Siébel in Charles Gounod’s “Faust,” and Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss' “Die Fledermaus.” She has performed as a featured soloist in many works, including George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” Verdi’s Requiem, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, Felix Mendelssohn's “Elijah” and, most recently, Vivaldi's “Gloria.” She was a grant recipient in the Fielder Grant competition and a national finalist in the American Prize competition, as well as the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year, where she received the Audience Choice Award. Roth recently performed in the inaugural season of the Dallas Choral Festival, singing Ludwig van Beethoven's “Missa Solemnis” with a professional chorus of 100 singers from across the nation. She now lives in Plano with her husband, Chad, and currently serves as the alto section leader and soloist-in-residence with the Sanctuary Choir at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas. She regularly performs as a soloist and chorister with the Highland Park Chorale, a professional choral group. She most recently joined the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Dallas-Fort Worth’s premier chamber ensemble, where she was a soloist in Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. She earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at SFA in 2007 and was a student of Nita Hudson.

Novak has established a national reputation as a professional tenor and voice teacher. He has performed with Washington Concert Opera, Opera Carolina, San Antonio Opera, Opera Piccola, Annapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, The Living Opera, Wagner Society of Washington, San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Chamber Choir, San Antonio Choral Society, Chautauqua Symphony, Prince William Symphony, the Monroe Symphony, the Conservatorio di Musica Agostino Steffani in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and the Institute of Culture in Culiacán and Mazatlán, Mexico. Among Novak’s operatic credits are Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Alfredo, Don José, Nemorino, Ernesto, Werther, Eisenstein, Tamino, Lippo, Roméo, and Tybalt. In 2005 and 2006, Novak won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Tulsa District. He is also a former winner of the Texoma NATS Singer of the Year award. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance from SFA, and a doctoral degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas. He is the music director at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in New Braunfels where he is also choir director and music teacher. He is an adjunct voice instructor at the University of the Incarnate Word and is founder/artistic director of the Saints Peter & Paul Young Artist Recital Series, which presents young artists with performance opportunities and financial support for furthering musical pursuits. He resides in New Braunfels with his wife, Laura, and three children.

Parrish is a native of Livingston and has lived in Houston since July of 2015. After graduating from SFA in 2014, he served as assistant choir director under the leadership of Dr. Tod Fish at Coronado High School in Lubbock. Later, Parrish moved to Houston with his fiancé where he now serves as assistant choir director at Cook Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD. He is a member of the Houston Men’s Choir along with other SFA alumni Jake Taylor, Clint Jordan and Brian Miller. Parrish is a staff singer at the United Methodist Church-Downtown Houston under the direction of SFA alumnus Dr. Terry Morris. During his years at SFA, Parrish had the opportunity to perform a variety of opera roles, including Olin Blitch from Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah,” Marco from Bedřich Smetana’s “The Bartered Bride,” and Germont from Verdi’s “La Traviata.” He has traveled to several European countries performing a wide variety of choral works with King and the SFA A Cappella Choir. In 2011, he had the opportunity to perform the baritone solo from Velio Tormis’ “Raua Needmine” at the TMEA convention in San Antonio with the A Cappella Choir. Parrish earned both a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance in 2012 and master’s degree in choral conducting in 2014 at SFA under the mentorship of King and Hudson.

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.

State Rep. Chris Paddie will offer the commencement address during Stephen F. Austin State University’s spring graduation ceremonies Saturday, May 14.May 3, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — State Rep. Chris Paddie will offer the commencement address during Stephen F. Austin State University’s spring graduation ceremonies Saturday, May 14.

Serving his second legislative term representing the Texas House of Representatives District 9, Paddie, a native of Center, served as the vice chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee as well as a member of the Transportation and House Administration Committees.

He also served on the Transportation Subcommittee on Long-term Transportation Planning and Infrastructure, and was the House of Representatives appointee to the Texas Bioenergy Policy Counsel.

Paddie is a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a vice-chair of the Texas Energy Caucus, vice-chair of the Young Texans Legislative Caucus, a member of the Texas Tourism Caucus and the Fine Arts Caucus.

The Texas Conservative Coalition honored Paddie as a Courageous Conservative for his work during the 83rd Legislative Session, and the Texas Conservative Roundtable recognized him as a Lone Star Conservative Leader.

The Texas Association of Business named Paddie a Champion of Free Enterprise and the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas called Paddie one of the Best in the House.

Paddie currently serves as the chairman of the Texas Association of Broadcasters. Previously, he served as the chairman of the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors for the Marshall Harrison County Literacy Council. He is a past president of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Pines.

Paddie received his bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M University. After graduation, he worked in Houston selling safety equipment and industrial products.

While in Houston, he married his high school sweetheart, Brooke Hanszen. The couple returned to East Texas and settled in Marshall, where Paddie worked as the general manager of KMHT radio. He was elected to the Marshall City Commission in 2008 and served as mayor, where he became known for his leadership and values.

The Paddies have two sons, Christopher and Noah.

Graduates from SFA's James I. Perkins College of Education and College of Fine Arts will participate in a 9:30 a.m. ceremony in William R. Johnson Coliseum. Candidates from the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, the Nelson Rusche College of Business, the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, and the College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate in a 2 p.m. ceremony.

An estimated 1,453 degrees will be awarded, including 1,145 bachelor’s degrees, 294 master’s degrees and 14 doctoral degrees. More than 320 students will graduate with honors, including 132 cum laude, 103 magna cum laude and 85 summa cum laude. Also, there will be more than 60 university scholar honors.

Master's and doctoral degree candidates will graduate with their respective colleges, and Paddie will provide the commencement address at both ceremonies.

May 3, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host the monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, 2900 Raguet St. Dr. Lisa Alexander, United States National Arboretum geneticist, will present “Improving the World One Plant at a Time.”

Alexander is a U.S. Department of Agriculture research geneticist working to improve woody ornamental landscape plants for the USNA. She received a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2005 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she conducted research on American chestnut tree restoration. She received her doctoral degree in molecular genetics from Purdue University in 2010. Her dissertation focused on using molecular markers for oak seed orchard management.

Her current research focuses on breeding hydrangeas and other ornamental landscape species for improved disease resistance and cold tolerance, and introducing unique traits to popular ornamental species through hybridization and other advanced-breeding techniques. More information on Alexander’s work can be found online at http://www.usna.usda.gov/Research/sy-info.html.

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month at SFA’s Pineywoods Native Plant Center. A rare plant raffle will be held after 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 nearby Raguet Elementary School, 2428 Raguet St., with continual shuttle service to the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building.

For more information, call (936) 468-1832 or email grantdamon@sfasu.edu.

April 29, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of “Ida” at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, the film tells the story of Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, who is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation, according to information at imdb.com.

“Ida” won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015. The film is 82 minutes and is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and smoking.

This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Film Festival, William Arscott, Nacogdoches Junior Forum, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, Main Street Nacogdoches, David Kulhavy, John and Kristen Heath, Brad Maule, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens and Jim and Mary Neal.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

April 28, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University’s Jacks Council on Family Relations and Residence Hall Association recently donated approximately 1,000 books to Greater East Texas Community Action Program Head Start and Early Head Start.
During the past few weeks, the two organizations planned the book drive on campus and throughout the Nacogdoches community and collected books to benefit area children in the GETCAP program.
Representatives from GETCAP Head Start and Early Head Start visited campus Wednesday, April 27, to collect the books. Dian Wise, GETCAP Head Start education coordinator, was overwhelmed and excited to receive them.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Jacks Council on Family Relations and Residence Hall Association recently donated approximately 1,000 books to the Greater East Texas Community Action Program Head Start and Early Head Start.   Pictured, from left, are Adrian Gutierrez, SFA child development and family living senior and Jacks Council on Family Relations president; Vanessa Thorn, SFA child development and family living senior and JCFR member; Dr. Jennifer Newquist, SFA assistant professor of child development and family living, who supervised the book drive; Dian Wise, GETCAP Head Start education coordinator; Shannon White, ISD education coordinator for GETCAP Head Start; and Shanté Teal, ISD education coordinator for GETCAP Early Head Start.

“We are very thankful,” Wise said. “We really appreciate the collaboration and the good partnership we have with SFA. These books will make a huge difference for the children involved.”
SFA child development and family living senior and JCFR president Adrian Gutierrez also was on hand to help distribute the books.
“We are always looking for service opportunities, and this book drive was amazing. It has really grown a lot since last year,” Gutierrez said. “Helping out and working with children are my passions, so I’m very excited the children will get these books to read, and it is really going to impact them in the long run. I’m excited to see where this program goes in the future.”


April 26, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin State University bands will present the annual “Concert in the Park” at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, on the lawn in front of the Wright Music Building.

Performing will be the University Band and the Symphonic Band, both directed by Dr. James Dreiling, acting assistant director of bands at SFA; the Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Tamey Anglley, acting associate director of bands; and the Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. David Campo, acting director of bands while Fred J. Allen is on spring sabbatical.

The SFA University Band will open the concert with “Into the Clouds” by Richard Saucedo and guest conducted by graduate assistant Dwight Watson of Wylie. The second selection is conducted by graduate assistant Taylor Goodwin of Ennis and was inspired by the untimely death of gifted actor James Dean. “As Summer Was Just Beginning” was composed by Larry Daehn in 1994 and has become a popular ballad with bands across the nation. The University Band will conclude its portion of the concert with a march by Karl L. King. “Liberty Fleet” was composed in 1942 and is one of his lesser-known marches.

The Symphonic Band will open its portion of the concert with “Albanian Dance” by Shelley Hanson followed by a medley of familiar tunes from the 1938 classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” including “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The Symphonic Band will conclude with the classic march “Them Basses” by G.F. Huffine featuring the low brass and woodwinds sections. 

The Wind Symphony will perform Scott Joplin’s second published march “Combination March” written in 1896 for piano. “Combination March” was only Joplin’s second published march. Wind Symphony will finish with George Gershwin’s well-known “An American In Paris.”

Concert in the Park will close with the Wind Ensemble performing highlights of the semester with selections from composers Steven Bryant, Léo Delibes, Darius Milhaud and Henry Fillmore.  The performance will feature Bryant’s “In This Broad Earth,” Delibes’ stirring “March and Cortege of Bacchus,” first presented by the Wind Ensemble on their annual spring tour, and selections from Milhaud’s“ Suite Francaise” and Fillmore’s rousing march, “Rolling Thunder.”

The “Concert in the Park” setting was created by SFA Director of Bands Emeritus Melvin B. Montgomery. Admission is free. Beginning at 1 p.m., Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, honorary band service fraternity and sorority, will sell $5 hamburger plates that include a burger, chips and drink.

For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

April 25, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Rockin’ Axes at Stephen F. Austin State University will present “The Sounds of the ’70s, Part II” when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Directed by Andy Sperandeo, instructor in SFA School of Music’s Sound Recording Technology program, the Rockin’ Axes consists of SRT students who study influential, popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries, according to Sperandeo. The course work helps students to develop skills necessary to transcribe, rehearse, arrange and perform in an ensemble setting.

“The Sounds of the ’70s, Part II” will feature the music of Michael Jackson, Styx, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Earth Wind & Fire and more.

“We did ‘The Sounds of the ‘70s, Part I’ last semester, but there was still so much great music from that era we didn’t cover that I wanted to carry the theme over to this semester,” Sperandeo said.

Among the pieces to be performed are Jackson’s “Rock With You,”  “Come Sail Away” by the progressive band Styx, and Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”

“Billy Joel was and still is one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time,” Sperandeo said. “I think the students can learn a thing or two from his writing style and learn to appreciate what a great voice he has, as well.”

The Rockin’ Axes will also perform “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones and “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire.

“The Stones were one of the first super groups of the ’60s and’ 70s, so they had to be included in the set list,” Sperandeo said. “‘Wild Horses’ has been covered by so many artists over the years, showing its staying power and connectedness to so many generations.

“Earth, Wind & Fire had it all – progressive, soulful, powerful horn section, soaring harmony vocals, catchy ‘poppy’/funk tunes,” he said. “We also would like to pay homage to the late great founder, Maurice White.”

As guest artists on the program, the Contemporary Guitar Ensemble, also a product of the SRT program and directed by Sperandeo, will perform an arrangement of guitar great Jimi Hendrix.

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.

Stephen F. Austin State University junior Sarah Hutchins makes history come to life as she portrays Sam Houston in a living wax museum at Millard’s Crossing Historic Village. This activity is part of an interactive field trip known as Pioneer Days, which is hosted by SFA, area schools and Millard’s Crossing Historic Village.April 21, 2016 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — With the ringing of a bell, Sam Houston, played by Stephen F. Austin State University junior Sarah Hutchins, comes to life in a living wax museum at Millard’s Crossing Historic Village in Nacogdoches. As a group of third-grade students gathers around her, Hutchins, dressed in a fringe jacket and black hat, reflects to the early 1900s while sharing Sam Houston’s story.

“He did a lot in his day. He lived with the Cherokees and had a very good relationship with them. He was a politician in Texas and Tennessee and a war hero in both states,” Hutchins explained to an attentive group of students. “He made Texas what it is today, and he was like the George Washington of Texas.”
For more than 20 years, SFA, area schools and Millard’s Crossing Historic Village have worked together to bring the past to life in an interactive field trip known as Pioneer Days. Roz Couch, assistant director for Millard’s Crossing Historic Village, said the collaboration is wonderful.
“Part of our mission at Milliard’s Crossing is to connect the generations. I think it’s important for children to learn that people who lived in the old days weren’t that different than we are now. They still had to eat, wash their clothes, do chores and go to school,” Couch said. “I think it’s wonderful for students to find out where they came from so they can appreciate the hard work and struggles their ancestors had and appreciate all the benefits and advantages they have in the 21st century.”
During the event, SFA elementary education students interact with third graders though a variety of experiential learning activities, such as the living wax museum.
“It’s really neat interacting with the children,” Hutchins said. “It’s fun to put the students in the context of this time and have them enjoy a period they are probably unfamiliar with.”
In the living wax museum tour, students walk through the Millard-Lee House, which dates to 1837, and engage in conversations with various characters such as Anna Raguet and Lera Millard Thomas. Students learn about each person’s contributions to the city, state and nation.
“First, we looked at curriculum for third grade, and then we figured out what we wanted the students to take away from their experience,” said Emma Avery, SFA senior elementary education major who portrayed Lera Millard Thomas. “It’s really fun to see the students get excited when they ring the bell and we come to life.”
Additional activities for participants included attending school in a one-room schoolhouse, hand washing clothes, playing pioneer games, plowing a garden, making toys from corncobs and feathers, and more. At each station, SFA students were dressed in traditional pioneer clothing and discussed aspects of life in the early 1900s.
Event coordinator and organizer Dr. Vicki Thomas, assistant professor of elementary education at SFA, said this event serves a dual purpose. It provides SFA students a platform to practice skills and methods learned in class while also educating area children about Texas history.
“Some of our best practices as teachers are using role playing and experiential learning. Hands-on activities like ones used during Pioneer Days really make concepts and lessons concrete for both our teacher candidates and for our area third graders,” Thomas said.
To prepare for this event, approximately 50 SFA students in Thomas’ classes researched the history of Millard’s Crossing, life in the early 1900s and influential people from the time period. Students also prepared lesson plans in line with the Texas Education Agency’s essential knowledge and skills standards. Through performance-based activities, SFA students practiced lesson planning and managing groups of students.
The April 19 and 21 event served approximately 300 third graders from various schools in Nacogdoches County. 

April 20, 2016 - Sixty-five Girl Scouts attended an informative and hands-on science, technology, engineering and math day organized by the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Sciences and Mathematics this month.

Begun in 2011, the annual Girl Scout STEM Day is hosted by SFA’s STEM Research and Learning Center. Through hands-on learning discoveries, the event is designed for girls to cultivate an early interest in the STEM fields.

“We had approximately 65 Girl Scouts attending our annual Girl Scout STEM Day, which is an increase from 50 attendees last year,” said Julie Sandifer, the SFA STEM Research and Learning Center K-12 outreach coordinator. “The theme was ‘Science is my Superpower’ and was designed for girls kindergarten through sixth grade.”

Girl Scouts who attended the Saturday afternoon event worked with SFA faculty and staff members to make fossils, learn how to use microscopes and computer coding on iPads, and investigated engineering in science with origami. Participants also examined the golden ratio in nature, investigated the properties of fungi, and explored the world of reptiles, bugs and animals with the interactive Wildlife on the Move presentation by K.C. Rudy, an SFA alumnus and co-owner of Wildlife on the Move, a Dallas-based company that is dedicated to helping children develop an appreciation for nature and fostering a stewardship for Earth’s wildlife.