Amanda Sheriff, Kaylea Fleming, Megan Henderson and Shelby Gilliland

Left to right: Amanda Sheriff, Kaylea Fleming, Megan Henderson and Shelby Gilliland

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts will recognize four students during the presentation of the annual Dean's Awards at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

Megan Eve Henderson, Round Rock junior art major; Amanda J. Sheriff, Houston junior music education major; Kaylea A. Fleming, Kingwood junior music education major; and Shelby K. Gilliland, Frisco junior theatre major, were selected by the faculty of their respective schools on the basis of their potential to further develop their artistic goals and serve as role models, according to Dr. A.C. "Buddy" Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

The Dean's Awards not only recognize the recipients for what they have already accomplished, but the awards are also designed to inspire them to reach deep from within to aspire to a higher level of excellence, Himes explained. The awards were established by the Dean's Circle, an external support organization of community members founded in 2008 and "dedicated, in part, to nurturing potential young artists within the College of Fine Arts," Himes said.

Henderson, who will receive the Ed and Gwen Cole Dean's Award in Art, is working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She came to SFA in the spring of 2013 to study graphic design with a focus on illustration. She has begun exploring the creation of modern, visual interpretations for traditional oral storytelling and folklore. By combining digital illustration with conventional printmaking techniques, she opened up a new arena in the exploration of her voice as an artist. Holding a position in the School of Art office has allowed Henderson to connect with her professors in a more direct way, giving her new mentors in her development as an artist. She also works as a tutor for the art history department, allowing her to help guide incoming art students. Her involvement in the School of Art has been incredibly rewarding, and she hopes to continue the relationships she has begun within the school following graduation.

Sheriff, who will receive the Jack and Naioma Ledbetter Dean's Award in Music, has been a member of ensembles such as Choral Union, A Cappella Choir and the exclusive Madrigal Singers. She has been cast in SFA opera since 2013 and was given the lead soprano role in the 2014 production of "Gianni Schicchi" and the 2015 production of "The Most Happy Fella." Throughout her semesters at SFA, Sheriff has competed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing, placing fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior. Sheriff also was a guest soloist for her high school, Cypress Falls High, at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in 2015. She has been recognized on the Dean's List since 2013, made the President's List in fall of 2014, is a third-year recipient of a voice scholarship through SFA and received the Charles Burklin Alumni Scholarship. Sheriff is a choir member at First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches, under the direction of Dr. Tod Fish since 2013. She was an active member of Student Activities Association in 2014 and will tour Italy with the A Cappella Choir in May.

Fleming, who will receive the Dr. Robert Sidnell Memorial Dean's Award in Music Education, is a member of the A Cappella Choir, a former member of the Women's Choir and has participated in graduate choral conducting recitals. She appeared in SFA's productions of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in 2012, "Street Scene" in 2013, "Suor Angelica" in 2014, and the 2014 Opera Scenes program. She is a member of the School of Honors and has held a place on the President's List and received an Academic Excellence scholarship every semester while at SFA. She is the recipient of the 2012 Ron Anderson Vocal Scholarship, the 2014 Pi Kappa Lambda sophomore scholarship, and a Vera Dugas Memorial Scholarship. She is also a finalist in the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference for work in musicology. She is an active member of the Wesley Foundation, serving as worship chair on the student council, leading freshmen groups, serving in the Forge mentorship program, and volunteering at various service and fellowship events. She appeared in SFA's production of "The Most Happy Fella" in April and will travel to Italy with the A Cappella Choir in May.

Gilliland, who will receive the George and Peggy Schmidbauer Dean's Award in Theatre, is earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in acting and directing and a minor in marketing. Her Mainstage credits include "Stage Door," "Blood Wedding," and during SFA's SummerStage Festival, "To Kill A Mockingbird." She has appeared in the student-directed productions of "Miracle at Blaise," "The Interrogation," "Blood Relations," and most recently, "God of Carnage." She is also a member of Improv Strikes Back. Gilliland was the props master for the student-directed production of "Brainpeople" and for the SummerStage production of "To Kill A Mockingbird." She is currently props assistant for "August: Osage County." She also served as the publicist for the radio show "Phoenix on the Sword" and was the head of publicity for the 2013-2014 term. In addition, Gilliland is co-historian of the Beta Phi cast of Alpha Psi Omega and will serve as president next year. She received the Service Award from the School of Theatre last year. This summer, she will intern at the Rover Dramawerks Theatre in Plano and at the Circle Arts Theatre in New Braunfels.

Each student will be awarded $2,000 to be used to further artistic endeavors.