NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Hundreds of past, present and future Lumberjacks as well as Nacogdoches community members came to Stephen F. Austin State University Sept. 15-18 for the university’s centennial in a four-day celebration that began with an awards ceremony and ended with a cake-filled birthday party.
Now, an online repository of photos from the weekend is available for attendees to download and relive centennial moments. It includes folders of images organized by events held throughout the weekend. Additionally, a YouTube playlist has been created to provide a centralized place to view videos from the centennial weekend.
“Marking such a historic milestone is naturally a time we both share and capture a lot of images and stories about the larger history of SFA,” said Graham Garner, chief marketing communications officer and a member of SFA’s Centennial Committee. “We benefited so much from the generations before us who preserved photos and even video, and we are honored to continue that. Making all of this accessible to SFA’s many constituents through this website is something the University Marketing Communications team does with pride and gratitude toward all who made this celebration a success.”
The photo repository and YouTube playlist can be accessed on SFA’s centennial website at sfasu.edu/centennial. The site also provides links to centennial merchandise and updates on other initiatives.
More than 300 alumni enjoyed an evening of “purple tie” celebrations at the annual SFA Alumni Awards, which kicked off the Centennial Celebration weekend when nine former Lumberjacks were honored Sept. 15.
A community partnership day Sept. 16 recognized the support the Nacogdoches community has given to SFA over the past 100 years. Local businesses and organizations provided business specials, fun and creative deals, activities and other SFA-inspired initiatives.
On Sept. 17, a grand re-opening of the Griffith Fine Arts Building and dedication of the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts entertained more than 500 people. The grand re-opening concluded with the 750-seat sold-out Centennial Concert, which premiered the original composition, “How Proud the Pines,” by Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition, inspired by the poetry of Karle Wilson Baker, an early faculty member.
SFA’s Founders’ Day Sept. 18 was filled with events to celebrate the centennial, starting with a dedication of the new Centennial Ring Plaza, featuring a 9-foot-tall statue of the SFA ring. Craig Turnage, a 2000 and 2005 SFA graduate and SFA Alumni Association executive director, addressed a crowd of more than 500 people eager to take photos with the new statue.
After the ring statue dedication, nearly 400 guests made their way to the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom for the centennial luncheon. Guests were addressed by Interim President Gina Oglesbee and watched video interviews with living Lumberjacks sharing their accounts of the university over the years.
Festivities ended with a sprawling centennial birthday party on and along Vista and Alumni drives. More than 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members took part in the celebration, which featured bounce houses, food trucks, photo booths, cake and ice cream, and other games and activities. The Student Government Association sliced up 120 watermelons for the university’s oldest-standing tradition, the annual Watermelon Bash, which began in the 1920s.
The culmination of multiple centennial initiatives also was touted during the birthday party. As of today, nearly 120,000 volunteer hours have been logged as part of the “100K Service Hours for 100 Years” competition, and the 2023 Giving Day surpassed its original $192,300 goal with a total of $206,128 raised.
The Alumni Association’s Car Cruise In hosted 41 vehicles and named six winners: best car, Tommy Dees’ 1955 Chevrolet BelAir; best truck, Charlie Muckleroy’s 1955 Chevrolet Truck; best off-road vehicle, A.C. “Buddy” Himes’ 2020 Jeep Rubicon; special class, Sean Hightower’s 1940 Chevrolet Super Deluxe; best motorcycle, Brad Fox’s 2008 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200XL; and the Lumberjacks Choice Award, James Standley’s 1959 Porsche Cabriolet.
For more information and a look back on SFA’s 100 years, visit sfasu.edu/centennial.
ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY
Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 36 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at sfasu.edu.