NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Dr. Mary Nelle Brunson, Stephen F. Austin State University associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs, will offer the commencement address during the university’s summer graduation ceremony Saturday, Aug. 11.
An SFA graduate holding a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education, Brunson received her doctoral degree in early childhood education from the University of North Texas. She holds Texas teacher certification for grades pre-kindergarten through eighth and mid-management administrator certification.
Brunson has served SFA for 25 years. After teaching in public schools in Brazosport, Etoile and Nacogdoches and serving as an early childhood consultant, she joined the SFA faculty in 1993 as an instructor of early childhood education. During her tenure, Brunson has served the university in both administrative and teaching capacities.
She was appointed as campus academic leader of the newly formed Nacogdoches ISD and SFA Charter School in 1998 and named assistant department chair of elementary education in 2000. She also was dean of the Graduate School for three years.
Brunson has taught early childhood education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised early childhood internships and student teachers, and developed online courses for the early childhood graduate program. While teaching, she also served as principal of the SFA Charter School, coordinator of advising for elementary education and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education coordinator for the James I. Perkins College of Education.
Dr. Steve Bullard, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs, said Brunson’s work on behalf of students will continue to positively impact both them and the university for years to come.
“Dr. Brunson’s position and commitment to student success will be a very positive legacy at SFA for many years,” Bullard said. “Also, her work to achieve and sustain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools directly benefits every student, faculty and staff member at the university.”
Brunson has served on a number of committees and advisory boards, including the Nacogdoches Head Start Policy Council, Faculty Senate, Teacher Education Council, Nacogdoches ISD Administrative Leadership Team, Professional Development Schools Executive Board, Summer School Task Force, Deep East Texas P-16 Advisory Council and the Community Advisory Board for BancorpSouth. She currently serves as chair of the SFA Re-Imagining the First-Year Initiative and the Southern Region Coordinator for 60x30TX Initiatives.
“While serving SFA in my various roles, I have been privileged to work with faculty and staff who are dedicated to student success,” Brunson said. “We work together to help our students reach their goal of earning a college degree by engaging them in transformative learning experiences and providing the support necessary to attain the desired degree.”
SFA’s summer commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Johnson Coliseum. Approximately 458 degrees are expected to be awarded, including 350 bachelor’s, 107 master’s and one doctoral degree. More than 60 students are expected to graduate with honors, including 35 cum laude, 15 magna cum laude, 12 summa cum laude and two university scholars.