SFA University

Laura Poynor, Stephen F. Austin State University senior and Braille and Cane Club president, along with SFA student Trenton Rowland help children build Santa beards during a holiday celebration in SFA’s Human Services Building.

December 11, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Santa hats, glitter and glue covered the tables inside Stephen F. Austin State University’s Human Services Building, as university students and more than 10 children from area schools attended a collaborative holiday celebration Wednesday.


SFA’s visual impairment, orientation and mobility program, SFA’s Braille and Cane Club, the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services - Division for Blind Services, and the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind hosted the event.

“This event is an opportunity to collaborate with different agencies and give back to the community. It gives our program students an opportunity to work directly on various skills with some incredible area children who are blind or visually impaired,” said Michael Munro, program director of the visual impairment, orientation and mobility program in SFA’s Department of Human Services.

During the event, the children worked with SFA volunteers and students on different activities at craft stations. Activities included painting, ornament making, card decorating, Santa beard making, a treasure hunt through the snow and more. Santa also made a special visit.

Laura Poynor, SFA senior and Braille and Cane Club president, helped coordinate the event and said its benefits are two-fold.

“This event is really fun for a variety of reasons. First, the club can come together in a creative way. Several of our student members have visual impairments and several of us don’t, but we are all together as a club,” Poynor said. “For the kids, the crafts and activities get them moving, which is great for fine motor skills, problem solving and a lot of developmental qualities, but in the big scheme of things everyone just has fun.”

Children from Nacogdoches ISD, Joaquin ISD and six schools in Lufkin attended.

December 9, 2015 - Three Stephen F. Austin State University donors will be honored during the 27th annual SFA Gala on Saturday, Dec. 12, in the Grand Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

This year’s Gala honorees include Jimmy W. Murphy, the late Marleta Chadwick and The Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation.

“We are excited about plans for this year’s Gala,” said Jill Still, SFA vice president for university advancement. “We look forward to honoring the commitment of generous donors whose kindness has impacted our students and our community, as well as recognizing the accomplishments of two outstanding faculty members.”

The Gala cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a candlelight dinner at 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Blind Date, featuring seven of Austin’s most accomplished musicians whose repertoire ranges from dance music to jazz, rock, country and hip hop.

Tickets are $175 for orchestra seating and $125 for ballroom seating. Proceeds from the Gala help build a permanent endowment created by the SFASU Foundation to honor faculty achievement. For more information or to purchase tickets, call April Smith at (936) 468-5406.

Jimmy W. Murphy

Murphy transferred to SFA in 1954 and in two seasons earned a reputation as an outstanding football player, receiving All Lone Star Conference tackle honors and being named to the Dallas Morning News All Texas Football Squad. Murphy graduated from SFA in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and received his master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University in 1959.

The Chicago Cardinals drafted Murphy, but an injury forced his retirement from professional football. He coached high school athletics in Houston before joining the team at Lincoln Liberty Life.

Since then, Murphy has earned virtually every honor awarded in the life insurance industry, including Qualifying and Life Membership for 44 years in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table, The Texas Leader’s Round Table, The Top of the Table, and the Twenty-Five Million Dollar Forum.

Murphy was named to SFA’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 and received the SFA Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987. He served on SFA’s Board of Regents from 1995 to 2001, where his peers elected him to serve as chairman for two successive terms. In 1998, the university named the Jimmy W. Murphy Wellness Center in his honor.

Outside the SFA community, Murphy also has gained recognition for his outstanding leadership skills and volunteer work, including serving as chairman of the board for the Business Benefits Corporation, board member and chairman of the Joint Conference Committee for Sam Houston Memorial Hospital, founding director and board chairman of the Memorial Spring Branch Chamber of Commerce, and the founder and director of the Spring Branch FFA & Livestock Show.

Murphy has supported athletics, the Lumberjack football program and scholarships at SFA.

Marleta Todd Chadwick

The late Marleta Todd Chadwick had a heart for giving and sharing with others. She truly had a servant’s heart and was well known in her community for her hospitality and service to others.

Chadwick was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Center, where her husband Carroll served as pastor until his death in 1973. After Carroll’s death, Marleta continued to serve the church in the children’s area of Sunday school, teaching in the beginner’s department and welcoming infants into the Cradle Roll.

Whether in the Fellowship Hall or at her home, Chadwick’s friendliness and warmth toward others was evident. Much of her ministry was connected to her kitchen, where she enjoyed preparing meals for large and small groups alike, including sandwiches for Sunday evening activities at church, dozens of cookies for wedding receptions and anniversaries, special meals for deacons and their families, and snow cones for Vacation Bible School.

The Chadwick home was always open to young couples as the site for their wedding. Chadwick took pride in knowing that she had a part in the beginning of their lives as a married couple.

In addition to her numerous church activities, Chadwick was a member of the Center Garden Club, the Women’s Reading Club and the Center Music Study Club. Her contributions frequently included service as a judge at flower shows and home demonstration contests and as a presenter at various organizational programs.

Chadwick’s charitable giving supports scholarships for the James I. Perkins College of Education; scholarships for the Nelson Rusche College of Business; support of the Student Financial Advisors program; and support for the creation of the new banking program within the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

The Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation

The Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation provides assistance to duly-qualified public and private foundations and charities, as well as governmental organizations located primarily in Nacogdoches County for the purpose of providing relief for the poor and disadvantaged; construction and maintenance of public buildings, monuments and works; the advancement of education and science; and prevention of community deterioration.

Charles and Lois Marie married in 1967. Charles owned and managed Bright Coop, a manufacturer of live-haul poultry transportation equipment, until his death in 2013. Lois taught public school in Nacogdoches until her retirement and later owned and operated an antique business until her death in 2006.

An avid supporter of organizations that promote the preservation and restoration of properties that support tourism and the recording of Nacogdoches history, Charles gave his time, service, leadership and financial support to help create the Plaza Principal, Main Street Historical Light Project and the monument honoring the veterans of the Battle of Nacogdoches.

Charles served on the City of Nacogdoches Historical Commission and on the Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital Board for 22 years, with 16 as chairman. He was a member of the Downtown Business Association, Nacogdoches Historical Association and the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce.

The Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation has contributed to many projects that have increased tourism and enhanced the appeal of downtown Nacogdoches, including the Gateway Statue, which stands in the center of downtown, and the antique light poles, planter boxes and benches that line both sides of Main Street.

In 2012, the Nacogdoches City Council unanimously voted to name the visitor center The Charles Bright Historic Town Center in honor of his contributions. The Bright Pavilion at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital also is named in his honor.

The Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation has been a supporter of the College of Fine Arts and the Student Financial Advisors program in the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

Faculty Awards

The faculty awards presented during the Gala recognize innovation and excellence in teaching and research. Dr. Eric Jones, associate professor of exercise physiology and human performance in the James I. Perkins College of Education, is the recipient of the 2015 Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching. Dr. Christopher Comer, professor of forest wildlife management in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, has earned the Faculty Achievement Award for Research.

SFA’s Charter School students collected approximately 12,000 aluminum pull tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, which serves as a home for families with children being treated in Texas Medical Center member institutions. Students enrolled from kindergarten through fifth grade have been participating in this project since August. Proceeds from the recycled pull tabs will help with the house’s expenses.

December 8, 2015 NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Students in the Junior Jacks Give Back program at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Charter School collected approximately 12,000 aluminum pull tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, which will be delivered to the house this week. Proceeds from the recycled pull tabs will help with the house’s expenses.

Students enrolled from kindergarten through fifth grade have been participating in this project since August. Jan Wisener, who teaches fifth grade, served as the teacher/sponsor responsible for coordinating the project.

Junior Jacks Give Back offers students an opportunity for engagement in service learning. During the semester, students deliberate, plan, implement and reflect on a special community service goal, such as donating to the Ronald McDonald House.

“SFA Charter School Junior Jacks Give Back concept was developed to allow children opportunities to do good for others and begin to launch the next generation of generosity,” said Lysa Hagan, principal and CEO of the SFA Charter School. “Our students collaborate with teacher sponsors to determine easily accessible, age-appropriate opportunities that have meaning to the children and our school community. Junior Jacks Give Back is one way we strive to support social and emotional development as our school community focuses on educating the whole child.”

The Ronald McDonald House in Houston is a home away from home for families with children being treated in Texas Medical Center member institutions. The SFA Charter School plans to make a second donation to the house in the spring.

December 8, 2015 NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Human Sciences participated in the “Dine In” project on Family and Consumer Sciences Day to encourage families to cook and eat together.

Dr. Mary Olle, SFA assistant professor in the School of Human Sciences, supervised the project. Olle’s Management in Meal Production classes were divided into 12 “families” and assigned to create themes that encourage families to dine in.

The labs in the Human Sciences North Building on the SFA campus were bustling with chefs, as students prepared themed meals, which included “Star Wars” movie night, family heritage, camping, Italian night, football, Christmas movies and more.

Jamason Garcia, SFA hospitality administration major, explained the project was “promoting families having a meal together.”

The “Dine In” project is a nationwide campaign sponsored by the American Association on Family and Consumer Sciences. More than 120,000 people across the nation committed to preparing and eating a healthy meal together on Dec. 3, according to AAFCS.

Lucas Fandry, sophomore hospitality administration major, was a member of a group that created dishes for a football theme. Fandry explained how his group cooked ham and cheese sliders with an onion and poppy seed topping, spicy barbecue wings, cream cheese and bacon-stuffed jalapeño pepper poppers, double daisy cookies, strawberry lemonade punch and buffalo chicken dip.

“We chose our theme because, being college kids and it being football season, we felt it was really something that would be familiar to everybody in the lab,” Fandry said.

Another group prepared meals with a Christmas movie theme, which included Buddy the elf’s faux pasta made from funnel cakes, a salad in the shape of a wreath to represent the wreaths the Grinch steals in the movie, and more.

“This project taught us to work as a team, and it taught us that we can be really creative,” said Adison Dolch, senior hospitality administration major with a culinary emphasis.

SFA students involved in the project also live tweeted during the meal planning and preparation stages.

Stephen F. Austin State University sophomore Sarah Weatherford assembles a wreath made from materials gathered from nature to help prepare for SFA Gardens’ seminar on Dec. 5. Weatherford is a student worker at the SFA Mast Arboretum.December 1, 2015 - The SFA Gardens will host a garden seminar “Deck the Halls—Using Evergreens to Decorate for the Holidays” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St. in Nacogdoches.

Evergreen branches and garlands once served as symbols of enduring life and a fruitful year to come. Join Dawn Stover, research associate at the SFA Mast Arboretum, to learn how to create elegant wreaths and garlands using materials from the garden. Participants will learn principles of wreath, garland and centerpiece construction. Participants also will make a wreath to enjoy at home for the holidays. In addition to the traditional wreaths and garlands, Stover will introduce new crafts using natural items from the garden and forest. All materials will be provided.

Class size is limited, and participants are encouraged to register in advance for this holiday seminar. The seminar costs $25 for SFA Garden members and $30 for non-members. To register or for more information, call (936) 468-1832 or email sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

November 24, 2015 - The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches will be open during a portion of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, gallery officials have announced.

Cole Art Center will be open Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 24 and 25, closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 26 and 27, and open Saturday, Nov. 28, for the downtown Wassail Fest and Main Street’s holiday lighting contest.

The theme of the art center’s window display is based on the 1913 stop-action film “The Insects’ Christmas” by Wladyslaw Starewicz, with a few modern twists thrown in. Starewicz is recognized as the father of Russian animation, pioneering his fanciful stop-motion films. “The Insects' Christmas” is a six-and-a-half-minute silent, animated and captioned film, emphasizing the joy of the holiday season.

Exhibitions showing in the art center include “The Devil You Say! The Saintly, and Not So Saintly, in Folk Art,” which shows in Reavley Gallery through Jan. 16. Two other exhibitions, “The Tenderness of Egocentrism: Drawings by Manuel Miranda” in the Reception Gallery and “25 Veinticinco: Mexican-American Prints from UT San Antonio” in Ledbetter Gallery, will run through Jan. 2.

Normal gallery hours are from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The exhibitions are free and open to the public. They are sponsored in part by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and the Nacogdoches Junior Forum. The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For additional information, call (936) 468-1131.

November 24, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS – Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. The competition provides an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents.

This year, the artwork submitted for the competition by students living within U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s congressional district will be displayed in Griffith Gallery on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

The entries will be exhibited beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1, and will be displayed through Saturday, Dec. 5. An awards ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday in W.M. Turner Auditorium followed by a reception in Griffith Gallery. The exhibition will close following the reception. Griffith Gallery is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building and is open from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The exhibition will open at 10 a.m. prior to the awards ceremony.

First place winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Since it began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of local artists in each district select the winning entries.

First place winning entries will be displayed in the hallway of the U.S. Capitol; second place winning entries will be displayed in Gohmert’s office in Washington; and third place winning entries will be displayed in Gohmert’s district office in Tyler.

November 24, 2015 - NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Jordan Maddox, a graduate student studying accounting in the Nelson Rusche College of Business at Stephen F. Austin State University, participated in the 2015 Project Run With It competition, where he and his team placed first for their work with the not-for-profit organization, Sojourner Family Peace Center. Maddox’s team worked specifically on the Sojourner Family Peace Center’s shelter, the Sojourner Truth House.


The competition was part of the annual Beta Alpha Psi meeting, which took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this August. Beta Alpha Psi is an international honor organization for financial information professionals, and Maddox is a member of the SFA chapter, Epsilon Mu. Members must maintain a high GPA and commit to community service and professional hours.

Maddox was awarded a plaque, and the chapter earned a $1,000 award.

“Winning was a big surprise,” Maddox said. “It felt good because we put a lot of hard work into the project.”

SFA Epsilon Mu co-faculty advisers Nikki Shoemaker and Kelly Noe attended the meeting with 10 students. Students who were not competing attended various workshops.

“We were so excited and thrilled when Jordan won,” Shoemaker said. “He deserved it because he worked very hard on this.”

Shoemaker said this accomplishment gives the college national recognition and gives the students a great networking opportunity.

“The opportunity for our students to network and learn from professionals is priceless,” Shoemaker said.

Project Run With It involves 72 Beta Alpha Psi student representatives working in 18 teams of four for about 30 hours to develop solutions to real-life business problems of three not-for-profit organizations.

“This year we helped the Sojourner Truth House, which deals with domestic violence predominantly with women,” Maddox said. “We were in charge of creating a model the organization could present to businesses with solid take aways that would invite businesses to donate and become part of the Sojourner family.”

Six months before the competition, the project’s head coordinator emailed participants a Dropbox link that included articles for individual research. Maddox was tasked with researching the effects of domestic violence. During the competition, Maddox and his teammates created a framework for their solution and built a 5-10 minute presentation. Maddox focused on the intangible and tangible effects of domestic violence.

“It made me feel a lot better about the competition because win or lose we all are helping not-for-profits that are helping people,” Maddox said. “Overall, it was a good experience.”

November 23, 2015 NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and the Children’s Performing Arts Series will present “Kids For President” in two performances Friday, December 4, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus.

Just in time for the 2016 presidential election year, "Kids for President" is comprised of several short plays and songs adapted from children’s writings, capturing their curiosity and excitement about the election process.

The production by Child’s Play Touring Theatre combines whimsy and political thought, backed up by live music, colorful costumes and backdrops based on children’s artwork, according to Diane Peterson, SFA Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

“This show runs the gamut from silly to serious, with suggestions for improving the world and kids' own ideas on what it's like to be the president,” Peterson said.

One of the major issues discussed is education and the improvements that are needed in the current system.

“‘Kids For President’ is about students who are given the chance to assume the nation’s highest office and make a difference in our country,” Peterson said. “However, they quickly learn that there are a lot of issues facing the world that are a big and challenging part of being ‘in charge.’”

A study guide is available online for teachers to prepare students to see the show and to discuss it afterward.

Performances are at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for individuals and $6 per person for groups of 20 or more.

To order tickets, call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. Visit the CPAS website at www.cpas.sfasu.edu for additional information.

November 20, 2015 NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin State University voice students will present eight staged and semi-costumed opera scenes in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 3, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

“Fall Opera Scenes” will feature upper level and graduate students enrolled in the opera class taught by Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestras and musical director of opera, and Dr. Deborah Dalton, associate professor of voice and opera at SFA.

“This is the largest fall opera workshop class I have ever taught,” said Dalton. “There are 27 in the class. My goal is to cast each student in a scene that is appropriate to their voice type and stage of vocal development.”

The program features scenes from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Falstaff” and “La traviata,” Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” and “Die Zauberflöte” and Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Old Maid and the Thief.” The program will also feature two scenes from “The Mikado” by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

Graduate conducting students Jeff Leung and Nathan Hamilton will conduct the scenes, and Moon and Robert Killingsworth will provide piano accompaniment.

The recital is a joint presentation of the College of Fine Arts and School of Music.
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