So many adjectives come to mind to describe the past several months — challenging, confusing and uncertain are among them. However, even with all that is going on around us, I find optimistic best describes my outlook for the future.
A large portion of my optimism stems from stories about people helping people during this pandemic — stories like those included in this issue of Sawdust.
In times of crisis, it is comforting to know we are surrounded by those who genuinely care about their communities and the people who live in them. Many of the heroes during this pandemic have been health care workers — like SFA alumni Dr. Nancy Dickey, Dr. Frederick Poage and nurse Lisa Miller, who put their own lives at risk to save others. There also have been people who work outside of health care — like Cody Johnson, Dan Bruton and Angela Bacarisse, who have played a vital role in fighting COVID-19. They are all featured in this issue of Sawdust.
During these trying times, Lumberjacks from all walks of life have used their knowledge, skills, resources and talents to fight against this virus. I am proud to know many of them. I also want to acknowledge the SFA students, administrators, faculty and staff for their determination and resilience during this unprecedented time. Many adjustments were necessary to completely transition classes to an online format during the spring and summer semesters, and it has been challenging to rework nearly every aspect of university life going forward to ensure we are still serving students, but it has been accomplished.
Although life as a Lumberjack will be different for the foreseeable future, it will be flexible. Students can take classes on campus or online. They can live in the residence halls or off campus. They can build special friendships and a connection to SFA that will last a lifetime.
For our alumni, things also will be different. With the necessity of physical distancing, events have been canceled or postponed. However, as soon as we are safely able to do so, your Alumni Association will once again be ready to welcome you to the campus. In the meantime, some virtual events are in the works, and you are always invited to connect with us by email, mail or phone.
I also would like to invite you, if you are not already a member, to join the SFA Alumni Association. Your involvement plays a vital role in maintaining SFA excellence and helps us ensure valued traditions are carried into the future. You can join online at sfaalumni.com/join or call 936.468.3407, and an Alumni Association representative will sign you up. There are options for annual or lifetime membership, and each level comes with its own perks.
If you prefer, you can make a one-time donation to the Alumni Association. Every gift makes a difference and helps us continue the important work we do in serving our alumni and students.
I am looking forward to the time when we can all celebrate Homecoming activities again on campus, attend network meetings and recall our wonderful SFA experiences.
Stay well, and axe 'em, Jacks!
Bob Francis '78
President, SFA Alumni Association