My term as president of the SFA Alumni Association Board of Directors concludes at the end of 2016, and this is my final Sawdust letter.

I have been honored to serve you during the past two years, and I am proud of the Alumni Association’s accomplishments during that time. More importantly, our alumni are expressing their pride in SFA, which is our primary goal.

In late 2014, the Alumni Association Board of Directors held a workshop to chart the direction of the Alumni Association. We evaluated services offered by the Alumni Association and the events we host. You were at the center of our discussion — our focus was on what our alumni and friends want from their Alumni Association. The board created an action statement expressing the primary role of the association: We Grow Lumberjack Pride. During the past two years, the Alumni Association has tirelessly worked to grow your Lumberjack Pride.

With this goal in mind, we began hosting Lumberjack Network breakfast events in Dallas in 2015. These events continued in Dallas this year and expanded into Houston and The Woodlands. Guest speakers often are Lumberjack alumni who showcase their professional achievements. During the breakfasts, attendees learn about the impressive career of a fellow alum and also have the opportunity to network with other Lumberjacks who live and work nearby.

In 2017, the Alumni Association will continue to host breakfast networking events. We also will offer Lumberjack Professional Network events during the evenings in East Texas, Dallas, Houston and other areas. Our goal is to grow more Lumberjack Pride by connecting with alumni and friends and letting them know about the great things happening at our university.

We want to keep you informed about what is happening on campus. In past letters, I discussed the benefits of many now-complete construction projects, including the Student Recreation Center, a host of new residence halls and the Baker Pattillo Student Center. The university recently broke ground on the $46 million Ed and Gwen Cole STEM Building, which is scheduled to open in 2018. In addition to the progress on our campus, did you know this about your alma mater:

  • 96 percent of Lumberjacks report Texas residency
  • Most Lumberjacks (83 percent) come from the Dallas (24 percent), East Texas (30 percent) and Houston (29 percent) areas
  • Lumberjacks from outside Texas originate from 43 states (335 students) and 46 countries (116 students)
  • SFA has 548 full-time faculty members and more than 120 areas of study and concentrations, and
  • With 12,742 students (fall 2016), there is a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 20:1.

As Lumberjacks, we have so much in which to take pride, including the men’s basketball team that has brought the national spotlight to our university. Additionally, our mascot is becoming equally well known. In 2014, ESPN included the Lumberjack in its “Top 10 mascots in college basketball.” During March Madness 2016, ESPN again recognized the Lumberjack and declared him, “The mascot you’d want on your side if you got into a fight.” Who can argue with that?

It has been my honor to serve you during the past two years and work to Grow Lumberjack Pride. Now, we want you to spread the word. Raise your SFA flag! Put an SFA sticker on your car! If you don’t have an SFA flag or any SFA swag, visit and get some. When you see another Lumberjack, salute with your Axe ’em, Jacks hand sign. If you use social media, use #LumberjackPride. Let the world know you are proud to be a Lumberjack.

Axe ’em, Jacks!

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Karen Gregory Gantt '95 - McKinney, Texas
President, SFA Alumni Association