NACOGDOCHES, Texas - 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.