SFA University

August 20, 2021 – The Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will host its annual Middle School Choir Camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in Wright Music Building on the SFA campus, according to Alba Madrid, Music Prep director.

Fee is $20 per participant, and those attending should bring their Region 21 All-Region music, a pencil, water and a snack. Concessions can be purchased during scheduled breaks. Lunch is not provided. The west dining hall in the Baker Pattillo Student Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Camp conductors are Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities at SFA, and Claire Murphy, coordinator of music education. Clinicians include Sara Rosado, soprano I; Dianna Grabowski, soprano II; Nicole Stewart, alto; Nita Hudson, tenor; and Dr. Scott LaGraff, bass.

For additional information, contact the Music Prep office at (936) 468-1291 or Madrid at musicprep@sfasu.edu. More information is also available online at www.sfamusicprep.com.

August 19, 2021 — After being postponed then canceled more than a year ago as a result of the pandemic, Stephen F. Austin State University's SFA Gardens will bring back its monthly Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series next month with a presentation by gardens staff members.

Dawn Stover, research associate, and Jordan Cunningham, greenhouse technician, will present “Plant Sale Preview” at 7 p.m. September 9 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building in the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

Each year, Stover and Cunningham are responsible for organizing two successful plant sales, coordinating student workers and volunteers for the events, which provide additional funding for the gardens as well as community outreach.

The presentation will highlight a few of the exciting new selections and old favorites available at the upcoming fall sale, which will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 9 and 10 at the PNPC. After being presented in a socially distanced format since 2020, the plant sale will return to a traditional in-person setting this fall.

The Theresa and Les Reeves Lecture Series is held the second Thursday of each month and includes a rare plant raffle 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 PNPC and Raguet Elementary School, located at 2428 Raguet St.

For more information, visit sfasu.edu/sfagardens.


Visit sfamusicprep.com or call (936) 468-1291 to learn about the many classes available to musicians of all ages through the Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music.

August 18, 2021 – The Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music has announced new classes that will appeal to younger musicians and adult hobbyists alike.

“Musical Moments” piano classes for adults begins September 7. “Musical Moments” was written to create a stress-free, enjoyable learning experience for the beginning adult student, according to Alba Madrid, Music Prep director.

“Students will learn to read music, play by chords and create music with other hobbyists,” she said. “Join the growing number of adults across the country who are learning to play piano using this fun and innovative program.” Morning and evening classes are available.

Also new for the fall semester is guitar group instruction beginning Aug. 20 for students ages 9 through 16 who are interested in learning to play guitar. Emphasis is placed on classical technique, fundamentals and ear training using standard repertoire.

“Way Cool Keyboarding 4 Kids” for children ages 6 through 10 will begin September 8. In this class, students will experience the fun of playing in their own piano band, Madrid said.

“This group environment provides many positive musical and non-musical benefits, including the development of concentration and listening skills as they learn to blend together as an ensemble,” she said. “Your child will look forward to each week as they make music with their friends.”

Piloted this past spring, Music Prep’s String Project continues this fall. The initiative includes the nine public school districts within Nacogdoches County and some surrounding districts. String Project students have the opportunity to learn to play a stringed instrument at a low tuition cost as part of an after-school activity. The project is grant and community funded. Lessons begin September 2.

More information, including class times and dates and tuition costs, on each of these offerings is available online at sfamusicprep.com or by calling (936) 468-1291. Madrid can also be reached by email at madrida@sfasu.edu or musicprep@sfasu.edu. Program information is also available on Facebook and Instagram.

August 16, 2021 – Fans of the 12 X 12 Scholarship Fundraiser for the Friends of the Visual Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University will be excited to know that the benefit that funds scholarships and grants for students in the SFA School of Art is returning this fall.

Mark your calendars now for Oct. 2 through 16 to make sure you have time to participate in silent bidding, and plan now to attend the art party on Saturday, Oct. 16, all at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. The event was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

The silent auction features 12-by-12-inch pieces of art created by approximately 80 artists from Nacogdoches, Lufkin and other areas of East Texas. Anyone may silently bid on the unique one-of-a-kind pieces, according to David Cozadd, event committee chairman.

“The SFA Friends of the Visual Arts organization is excited for the return of this fundraiser event,” Cozadd said. “There’s always a lot of outstanding 12 X 12 works of art. Furthermore, the arts are in need of support now more than ever.”

Silent bidding ($250 minimum) begins Saturday, Oct. 2, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House and will continue up to the day of the art party, which is planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at the art center. Starting bids drop to $100 the night of the event, and raffle tickets will be sold five for $20. Refreshments will be served at the party.

Local artists, as well as former SFA students and professors, provide original works of art for the event. The purpose of 12 X 12 is to raise funds for the FVA scholarships and grants that are awarded to SFA art students. Between $12,000 and $15,000 is awarded annually in scholarships to deserving students in the School of Art.

The awards help students defray the costs of special projects for art classes or M.B.A./B.A. exhibitions. Some recipients have attended conferences or gone on school trips that will help with their professional development. This has included Maymester trips for art students to go to Italy. The organization also awards scholarships for elementary school students to attend the SFA Art Academy.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information about 12 X 12 or to become a sponsor, call Cozadd at (936) 585-2170.

Cutline: These entries from the 2019 12 X 12 event are examples of the kind of artwork that will be available for bidding in this year’s 12 X 12 Scholarship Fundraiser for the Friends of the Visual Arts at SFA. The event is planned for Oct. 2 through 16 at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House with the art party scheduled for Saturday night, Oct. 16.

Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its fifth Kiwifruit Field Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building. Participants will hear presentations on the growing, research and marketing of kiwifruit, as well as tour kiwifruit field trials in SFA Gardens.August 5, 2021 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its fifth Kiwifruit Field Day with presentations on the growing, research and marketing of kiwifruit.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 24 in the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, located at 2900 Raguet St.

Lunch will be provided, followed by a tour of the kiwifruit field trials at SFA Gardens from 1 to 4 p.m.

Speakers will include Dr. David Creech of SFA Gardens, Tim Hartmann of Texas A&M University, Jay Spears of Auburn University, David Anderson of Anderson Food Sales and Marketing in Nacogdoches, and economic analyst Alan Burnie.

Topics include kiwifruit production in Texas and Alabama, growing potential for Texas farmers, kiwifruit market trends, and economic risks in kiwifruit production.

The cost of the field day is $45 per person. Advance registration is required, and the deadline to register is September 20. To register, visit the SFA Gardens website or Facebook page, or send an inquiry email to sfagardens@sfasu.edu.

Dr. John Michael Mehaffey, SFA associate professor of agriculture, appeared on RFD-TV Network’s “Texas Agriculture Matters,” a nationally broadcast television program hosted by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, to discuss the SFA Swine Center’s role in engaging Texas youth in agriculture.August 4, 2021 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Agriculture reached a national audience when Dr. John Michael Mehaffey, associate professor of agriculture, appeared on RFD-TV Network’s “Texas Agriculture Matters.”

The weekly television program, hosted by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, explores Texas-focused agricultural topics on the nation’s first 24-hour television network dedicated to agricultural programming, rural living and entertainment.

Mehaffey directs the SFA Swine Center located at the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center and spoke about the importance of involving youth in agriculture through organizations such as the Four-H Club and National FFA Organization.

“I think it’s a huge step, especially in today’s world, to make sure we engage youth and let them know how important agriculture is,” Mehaffey said.

Although commercial swine production isn’t a top industry in Texas, the state is a national leader in producing quality pigs for livestock competitions.

Mehaffey said the SFA Swine Center annually places 100 to 150 show pigs with 4-H and FFA youth across East Texas.

The SFA Swine Show Team, comprising agriculture majors, also participates in regional, state and national shows using SFA-produced swine.

Due to the center’s involvement in show pig production, agriculture majors gain hands-on experience in livestock reproduction, nutrition, health and sales.

Mehaffey said this is increasingly important as more students from urban areas pursue careers in agriculture.

“In any given year, anywhere from 50 to 60% of our freshman class is from urban areas,” Mehaffey said. “Being from those urban areas, they have little experience with FFA and 4-H programs, or animals aside from dogs and cats. This makes SFA’s agricultural resources, facilities and research centers invaluable.”

To watch Mehaffey’s “Texas Agriculture Matters” segment, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtpOGYjdKuY.

August 3, 2021 — Dr. Bob Szafran, former department chair and professor in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology, will offer the commencement address during the university’s two graduation ceremonies, Saturday, August 7.

Szafran received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago and a master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Joining the SFA faculty in 1983, he has served in a variety of roles, including assistant dean and interim dean of the College of Liberal and Applied Arts. Szafran also served as a Regents Professor of Sociology.

Graduates and their guests must present tickets to enter Johnson Coliseum for commencement. Tickets are free but will help university officials ensure the venue is not overcrowded and adequate spacing can be maintained during the event. Each graduate will be allotted one ticket for themselves and a maximum of 15 guest tickets.

Candidates from the James I. Perkins College of Education and 2020 May and August graduates will participate in a 9:30 a.m. ceremony.

Candidates from the Rusche College of Business, the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, and the College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate in a 12:30 p.m. ceremony.

Degrees to be awarded include 328 bachelor’s, 134 master’s and six doctoral degrees. Approximately 61 students will graduate with honors, including 31 cum laude, nine magna cum laude and 21 summa cum laude. Four will graduate with the university scholar designation.

The ceremony will be livestreamed on the SFA Facebook page, facebook.com/sfasu. For more information, visit sfasu.edu/commencement.


An artistic rendering of the 10 granite pillars to be installed on the SFA campus this fall. The monuments will pay homage to the National Pan-Hellenic Council and its “Divine Nine” historically black fraternities and sororities.

July 26, 2021 — Ten granite pillars to be installed on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus will pay homage to the National Pan-Hellenic Council and its “Divine Nine” historically black fraternities and sororities.

The 10-foot monuments will be erected in two rows of five along a pedestrian-only section of Raguet Street between the McGee Business and Miller Science buildings in the heart of campus. The name of each NPHC Greek organization will be engraved on one of the historic markers, and the 10th pillar will recognize the council as a whole.

“I am excited to see the continuous progress of SFA’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives through these monuments,” said Dr. Michara Delaney-Fields, SFA’s chief diversity officer. “This project demonstrates our constant commitment to creating a clear and concise path of transformative change.”

The $85,000 installation is being entirely funded through donations and will include lighting, landscaping and site beautification. SFA’s Student Government Association and Interfraternity Council already have contributed to the project. Organizers are hoping the monuments can be funded and installed in time for SFA Homecoming in late October.

“These monuments will provide greater visibility for our historically black fraternities and sororities, as well as honor the historic legacy of these organizations on our campus and across the country,” said Saville Harris, a 2010 and 2013 graduate of SFA and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Until recently, Harris served as the SFA assistant director of student engagement-Greek life, and has been instrumental in the project’s planning.

Engraved benches will be placed between each marker in the colonnade, which is designed to be a place of reflection and remembrance, a designated space for NPHC celebrations and ceremonies, and a destination for campus guests and visiting alumni. Similar installations honoring historically black Greek organizations are located at Texas Christian University and Baylor University.

“Walking through these columns, I think people will get the sense of being in a cathedral or coliseum or some other place of great history, tradition and reverence,” Harris said. “It is going to be a phenomenal addition to the campus.”

Shamia Gipson, a 2020 SFA graduate and past president of SFA’s chapter of NPHC, said the idea for the project grew out of conversations she and Harris often shared about how historically black Greek organizations could be more visible on campus.

“We started talking about NPHC monuments at other universities and how much we would love to have something bold and lasting to spread awareness about the importance of these groups at SFA,” said Gipson, who is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. “It is really humbling and exciting to think that those conversations eventually led to this project being approved, and the incredible history and contributions of these organizations are going to be recognized and celebrated.”

Gipson’s sorority sister Courtney Bradley, a recent SFA graduate who served as the NPHC president during the spring 2021 semester, said she is most excited about the impact the project could potentially have on current and future students.

“One of the most important things in regard to student success is having representation, seeing people who look like you be successful in college and beyond,” Bradley said. “These monuments will be a sacred, historical marker for my culture and my community, a celebration of how far we have come and how far we can go in the future.”

The monuments will be created and installed by SFA alumni-owned Martus Stone-Nacogdoches Monument Company, which is completing the project for the cost of materials alone, according to wholesale manager and two-time SFA graduate Jenny Rhodes.

“We are Lumberjacks, once and always. We’re family,” Rhodes said. “When SFA reached out and we saw the need, we never hesitated. What these monuments stand for — the magnitude of the statement they are going to make for past, current and future students — it was just a no-brainer for us. We can’t wait to start.”

The NPHC comprises nine member organizations dedicated to promoting camaraderie, academic excellence and community service. The organizations, known collectively as “The Divine Nine,” include Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta.

To donate to the marker project, visit sfasu.edu/nphc. Those who donate $1,000 or more will be recognized as a sponsor during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For more information, contact the SFA Office of Development at (936) 468-5406 or givetosfa@sfasu.edu.

Story by Amy Roquemore, director of student publications and divisional media for the SFA Division of Student Affairs.

July 23, 2021 - Stephen F. Austin State University has named a new assistant vice president for student affairs to serve as dean of students.

Andrew J. Dies recently served as dean of students at Northern Arizona University, where he was chief student conduct officer and the primary contact for students in crisis, in addition to serving on the emergency management team and the academic standards committee.

Dies previously served as dean of students and student affairs campus lead at the Armstrong and Liberty campuses of Georgia Southern University. During his higher education career, he has led or served on committees dedicated to student behavioral intervention, threat assessment, and Clery Act Compliance.

“We had a very strong applicant pool from this national search, and Andrew’s commitment to student success and advocacy stood out during the interview process,” said Dr. Brandon Frye, SFA vice president for student affairs. “He has demonstrated a commitment to helping students throughout his career, and we believe he will be a dynamic and collaborative leader focused on student support, well-being, safety, belonging, resilience and success.”

Dies received his Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and his Master of Education in higher education administration from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is currently completing his dissertation at Georgia Southern University for a doctoral degree in educational leadership.

“I’m excited to join the SFA family,” Dies said. “The student affairs team at the university is highly talented, and I look forward to working with the great students who attend SFA.”

Dies will begin in his new role on August 9, with responsibility for the development and management of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the Behavioral Intervention Team, Counseling Services, Campus Recreation and Health Services. He also will provide advisement of the Student Government Association.

July 22, 2021 — Stephen F. Austin State University’s SFA Gardens will host its monthly Lunch Bunch event from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 18, at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building, 2900 Raguet St., in historic Nacogdoches.

Participants should bring their own lunch and join staff members from SFA Gardens as they share the topics of this year’s Lunch Bunch meetings, which are geared toward garden-minded individuals.

This event raises awareness for upcoming SFA Garden’s events and volunteer opportunities, including at SFA Gardens plant sales and weekly landscape upkeep on the SFA Gardens grounds. Parking will be available at the nearby Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

For more information, call (936) 468-4404 or visit sfagardens.sfasu.edu.

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