NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry will add his handprints to a collection of concrete handprints during a ceremony at 2:45 p.m. Thursday in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Spirit Lounge at Stephen F. Austin State University. The collection serves as a tribute to leaders who have left a permanent impression on SFA and on higher education in Texas.

"This will be a historic day for the university," said Dr. Baker Pattillo, university president. "Governor Perry has demonstrated his support of quality educational programs throughout the state, and we are especially pleased that he has agreed to create a visible monument to the importance of education on our campus."

The 47th governor of Texas, Perry has maintained a strong focus on fiscal discipline since being sworn in as governor on Dec. 21, 2000. In addition to signing budgets that reduced general revenue spending, Perry has focused his efforts on maintaining fair business regulations and an equitable legal system. He also introduced the largest teacher incentive pay program in the country and has overseen a 43-percent increase in total spending on public education in the state.

Perry began his political career in 1985 in the House of Representatives and was elected Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 1990. He graduated from Texas A&M and served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, flying C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Perry's handprints will be the fifth set made at SFA. Inspired by the handprint ceremonies of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, SFA's hall-of-fame tradition began in October 1998, when former President George W. Bush cast his handprints in cement while he was serving as Texas Governor. Former president George H.W. Bush added his handprints to the collection during the university's 75th anniversary celebration in April 1999. U. S. Sen. Phil Gramm made handprint impressions at SFA in June 1999, and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's handprints were cast in February 2001.

The public is invited to attend, and there will be no admission fee to this ceremony. For more information, call (936) 468-2605.