NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University will honor several prominent donors during the 29th annual SFA Gala Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom.
Honorees this year include Susan and Sam Calomino and Alfred and Madeline Danheim.
“This year’s Gala honorees have significantly impacted the lives of students and the campus community through their generous contributions,” said Jill Still, SFA vice president for university advancement. “We are pleased to recognize their generosity as well as faculty members whose dedication to teaching and research establishes an accomplished university community.”
The Gala cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a candlelight dinner at 7 p.m. Entertainment will begin at 8:30 p.m. and 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. For more information or to purchase tickets, call April Smith, associate director of development at SFA, at (936) 468-5406.
Susan and Sam Calomino
Susan is the daughter of Sara “Jane” and Roy Metcalf. Susan and her husband, Sam, have made donations toward liberal and applied arts areas, but their most enduring gift was the creation of the Jane Metcalf Memorial Scholarship, which supports students from Panola County pursuing a degree at SFA.
The Calominos will be inducted into SFA’s Fredonia Society.
Born in 1922, Jane Metcalf and her husband, Roy, grew up during the Great Depression in Beckville and married during World War II. As the fourth of six daughters born to farmers, Jane understood college was not an option because of costs. Instead, she joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1943, trained at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and she was stationed at Grenier Air Force Base in New Hampshire.
Roy was discharged in 1944 from the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the couple settled in Dallas before returning to Beckville. Afforded new educational opportunities through the financial support of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill, Jane was one of the first students to enroll at Panola Junior College when it opened in 1947. She was the top student in the first class of 13 graduates in 1948. She continued her studies at East Texas Baptist College and eventually Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. Jane received a Bachelor of Arts in 1956 and a Master of Arts in 1961 from SFA.
Roy and Jane had five children and the three youngest received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SFA.
The Calominos established the scholarship in Jane’s honor to afford students from her hometown educational opportunities. Preference is given to graduates of Beckville High School and any other high schools located within Panola County.
Alfred and Madeline Danheim
The late Alfred and Madeline Danheim donated many times during their lives to the College of Fine Arts before bequeathing a considerable monetary gift. They were most passionate about the School of Music where both received their Bachelor of Arts in 1960 from SFA. Alfred also received his Master of Arts from SFA in 1961.
The Danheims will be inducted into the Fredonia Society.
Alfred was born in Victoria and raised in Alto where he graduated from high school in the early 1940s. After graduating from SFA, Alfred worked as a principal for a school in El Paso and then for Pasadena Independent School District for 30 years where he taught high school history and English. He later became executive director of secondary curriculum for Pasadena ISD.
Madeline was born in Nacogdoches and graduated from Nacogdoches High School in the mid-1940s. She taught first grade in El Paso before relocating to Pasadena where she also taught first grade.
The Danheims were members of Asbury United Methodist Church where Alfred taught Sunday school. Madeline was the church’s pianist for many years. The couple later moved their membership to A. Frank Smith United Methodist Church in Alto where Alfred taught the Downtown Bible Class for 28 years, and Madeline served as pianist for 24 years.
Faculty member awards presented during the Gala recognize innovation and excellence in teaching and research. Deans and chairs from 33 departments across SFA’s six colleges nominated candidates. Lauren Selden, associate professor of art, is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching. Candace Hicks, assistant professor in SFA’s School of Art, is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Achievement Award for Research.