NACOGDOCHES, Texas –– The Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Association will honor nine alumni during its annual awards banquet beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches. The event also begins a four-day celebration of the university’s 100th anniversary.
The SFA Alumni Awards honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their professions and the community and who advance the goals and values of SFA.
The award recipients are former SFA presidents, Dr. William R. Johnson and the late Dr. Baker Pattillo, Hall of Fame Award recipients; James D. “Jimmy” Mize, Dr. James “Jim” Ellington Rose and Scott Thompson, Distinguished Alumni Award recipients; Sean Doyle and Hardy C. Meredith, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients; and Scott and Robbie Goodrich, recipients of the Lumberjack Pride Award.
The Alumni Awards banquet is open to the public. To purchase tickets, visit sfaalumni.com/events by Sept. 1. In consultation with Todd Barrios, chef instructor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences, The Fredonia Hotel will prepare a three-course dinner paired with the Alumni Association’s Bucheron wines. All attendees will receive a commemorative, true-to-size, double-bit centennial axe handle.
For more information on SFA’s Centennial Celebration, visit sfasu.edu/centennial.
Hall of Fame Award
Dr. William R. Johnson
Johnson was born in 1933 in Houston to Ernest Henry Johnson and Rosa Belle Thompson Johnson. He attended public school in Houston, and after graduating in 1951 from Charles H. Milby High School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. The Korean War was underway, and Johnson served from 1951 to 1955 with duty stations in California, Morocco and Kansas. After sustaining a serious injury in October 1954, he was hospitalized until July 31, 1955. At that time, he received a medical retirement from the Air Force.
Johnson then enrolled in college at the University of Houston in September 1955. He received a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in 1958 and a Master of Arts in 1959, majoring in education and history. He completed his studies in American history at the University of Oklahoma, earning a doctoral degree in 1963. Johnson taught both history and political science at Austin Peay State College (now university) in Clarksville, Tennessee. In 1964, he began a tenure track position at Texas Tech University teaching American history and then assumed various administrative roles, including associate dean of arts and sciences. He was named vice president for academic affairs at Texas Tech University in 1973.
Johnson was named the fourth president of SFA July 1, 1976. As president, he expanded facilities, including the Rusk Building, University Center and Steen Library, as well as programs, including liberal arts, forestry and chemistry. During his tenure, departmental governance was changed to involve departmental faculty members in the decision to award tenure and promotions. Johnson also served a term as chair of the Council of Texas University Presidents and Chancellors. During this time, the Higher Education Assistance Fund was established as an amendment to the Texas Constitution. The fund provided resources to eligible institutions for the renovation of buildings, new construction and library improvements.
Johnson retired from SFA after 14 years as president. He was named president emeritus by the SFA Board of Regents. Johnson Coliseum was named in his honor.
Dr. Baker Pattillo ’65 & ’66
For 55 years, SFA was a major part of Pattillo’s life. It is where he began as a student, became an administrator and, beginning in 2006, led the institution as its eighth president.
Pattillo earned an associate degree from Tyler Junior College, a Bachelor of Science in English and history in 1965, and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1966 from SFA. He married his high school sweetheart, Janice Anderson, and joined the university staff as assistant director of placement and student financial aid, serving 52 years in all as an SFA administrator.
After earning a doctoral degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University in 1971, Pattillo continued to advance in his service to SFA. He was appointed dean of student services at age 30 and vice president for university affairs at age 36 before being named to the university’s top job in 2006.
The Pattillos’ lives were centered around SFA. Janice received a master’s degree from SFA and taught elementary and early childhood education courses, eventually serving as chair of the Department of Elementary Education. The couple was honored by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce as Citizens of the Year in 2011. Their daughter, Paige, is an attorney and 2000 graduate of SFA, as well as a former feature twirler for the Lumberjack Marching Band. She and her husband, Dr. Todd Brown, associate professor of economics and finance at SFA, have a son, Jackson Baker Brown.
Pattillo served as chair of the Southland Conference board of directors and as chair of the Southland Conference Advisory Council. He was known as a strong advocate dedicated to ensuring the academic and athletic success of student-athletes.
As an SFA leader, Pattillo guided $425 million in campus construction projects, including the Student Recreation Center, three residential halls, four parking garages, new entry signs and a Student Success Center, as well as new academic buildings: the DeWitt School of Nursing Complex, the Cole STEM Building and the Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center, named for his wife. In his final SFA Board of Regents meeting, the regents approved a $125 million expansion and renovation of numerous campus facilities.
One of Pattillo’s major goals was for SFA’s enrollment to reach 13,000, and that goal was surpassed in August 2018 when the fall enrollment totaled 13,144, the highest enrollment in SFA’s 100-year history.
Distinguished Alumni Award
James D. “Jimmy” Mize ’84
Mize graduated from SFA with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. In 1996, he then graduated from the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He has lived most of his life in Nacogdoches and graduated from Nacogdoches High School in 1980.
Mize currently works at Commercial Bank of Texas where he serves as Nacogdoches market president and is a part of the executive team. Prior to his time with CBTx, Mize was regional market president for Southside Bank and executive vice president for Regions Bank. Mize has enjoyed a successful career of more than 40 years in the banking industry.
He has served as the mayor of Nacogdoches, board chair of the SFASU Foundation, chair of the Nacogdoches County Parks Board, chair of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation, chair of the Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation District, past president of the Nacogdoches Boosters Club, past president of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club and has been involved in many other organizations. He was appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to the board of the state’s Product Development and Small Business Incubator.
Mize is married to Dr. Lisa (Rudisill) Mize of Nacogdoches, who also graduated from SFA in 1985 and 1989 and is an associate professor in SFA’s School of Human Sciences. They have one son, Charles, who is the strategic planning manager at CenterPoint Energy in Houston and married this past summer.
Dr. James “Jim” Ellington Rose ’64
While a student at SFA, Rose was student body president, a member of Beta Beta Beta biological society, a botany lab instructor and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Rose graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and completed a general surgical internship prior to deployment to Vietnam as a combat surgeon. While in Vietnam, he was a senior flight surgeon and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He returned to the U.S. as an attending physician and senior flight surgeon at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco at the Presidio.
Upon returning to Texas, Rose completed a residency in neurological surgery at The University of Texas. He was a Kempner Fellow at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, participating in the development of the Glasgow Coma Scale, which is the scoring system used to describe the level of consciousness in a person following a traumatic brain injury. While at UT, he was an assistant professor who taught residents in brain/spine surgery. He and Dr. Robert Grossman established the Department of Neurological Surgery, training doctors to be brain/spine surgeons at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. They also established the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute.
Rose’s clinical and research interests focused on cerebrovascular disease, developing endovascular procedures that are now widely used for treating aneurysms and vascular malformations. He retired as a neurosurgeon at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin.
His hobbies include playing jazz music in Austin and flying his Stearman biplane, which he has had for 35 years. He was recently awarded the prestigious Wright Brothers Award for aviation having had a pilot’s license for 63 years. He and his wife, Pam, live in downtown Austin. He has two daughters and two grandchildren.
Scott Thompson ’80
Thompson received a Bachelor of Arts in accounting, was active in the Sigma Chi fraternity and, most importantly, met his wife of 40 years, Vanessa Thompson, while attending SFA. The Thompsons have two adult children.
Thompson is chair of the board of directors, CEO and president of Tempur Sealy International, a company valued at approximately $10 billion. It is the largest bedding company in the world, servicing more than 100 countries worldwide.
Previously, Thompson was chair of the board of directors and CEO of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. He also played a major role in the founding and growth of Group 1 Automotive, a Fortune 500 company, serving as executive vice president and CFO until his retirement in 2005.
From 1991 to 1996, Thompson served as executive vice president for KSA Industries. With the KSA companies, he was director of Adams Resources & Energy, and he was CFO of the Houston Oilers.
Thompson previously served as chair of the board of Houston Wire and Cable and served on the board of directors of Asbury Automotive Group, Adams Resources & Energy, Conn’s, UAP Holdings, Saint Francis Health System, Tulsa Community Foundation and Tulsa Metro Chamber. Thompson also founded the charitable organizations the DTG Legacy Foundation, the Tempur Sealy Foundation and the Thompson Family Charitable Foundation.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Sean Doyle ’10
As a student at SFA majoring in communications with a minor in sports marketing, Doyle, a Texas City native, was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity SFA Nu-Xi Chapter, serving as philanthropy chair, historian and Interfraternity Council chair.
Following graduation, he served on the SFA Nu-Xi Alumni Board as an advisory member and as chapter advisor. He is a former member of the SFA President’s Executive Advisory Board and is currently a member of the SFA Houston Executive Roundtable.
Following graduation, Doyle was employed with South Land Title as a business development representative and with the University of Houston Alumni Association as assistant director of sales and sponsorship before finding his true calling with Texas First Bank. He has been employed with Texas First since 2011, rising to the position of senior vice president and sales manager.
Doyle has volunteered with Galveston County Food Bank, the Texas City-La Marque Jaycees and the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the board of directors of the Clear Creek Education Foundation and the Special Olympics East Region Advisory Board. Doyle and wife, Megan, reside in League City with their children, Emma and Kasen, and are members of St. Mary of the Expectation Catholic Church.
Hardy C. Meredith ’04
Meredith grew up in and around the Nacogdoches area and, therefore, was raised in close proximity to SFA. Even while attending high school, he was already taking summer and night courses at SFA.
He often accompanied his dad, SFA photographer emeritus Hardy Meredith ’81, to SFA athletic and Homecoming events over the years.
In 2002, Meredith became an Orientation leader for the university, welcoming new students to campus all summer. During the final Orientation that summer, he met his future wife, Carley ’07. Meredith was involved in several organizations at SFA, including Student Activities Association. He served as a Jack Camp counselor and was named Mr. SFA in 2004.
Meredith graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in radio/TV. He soon began working for KTBC Fox 7 in Austin as a camera operator and for News 8 Austin (now Spectrum News) as a news producer, where he was recognized as employee of the year.
Meredith and his family moved to the Bryan/College Station area where he continued to produce and direct daily newscasts for KBTX-TV. His editing for the station helped KBTX win the Associated Press first place award in photojournalism for Texas. Most recently, Meredith accepted a position at KSAT 12 News in San Antonio as a producer for Good Morning San Antonio.
Meredith and Carley have been married for 16 years. They have two children, Jaxon and Hadlee.
Lumberjack Pride Award
Scott ’77 and Robbie ’82 Goodrich
SFA has been an important part of the lives of Scott and Robbie (Battle) Goodrich, fostering business relationships and personal friendships for decades.
Scott was born and raised in Dallas, following his older brother Jim ’69 to SFA in 1971 and pledging Delta Sigma Phi/Sawyers, making lifelong friends of more than 50 years. His younger sister, Laurie, followed both brothers to SFA.
Scott worked offshore for Brown and Root to pay for college before graduating in 1977. He worked in Nacogdoches for the next 43 years in the malt beverage industry, the last 30 at R&K Distributors (Anheuser-Busch), retiring in 2020 as branch manager.
Robbie was born in Houston and raised in Nacogdoches. She graduated from SFA with a journalism degree and began a 30-year career at The Daily Sentinel newspaper as a reporter and editor. Upon leaving The Sentinel, she began a second career at SFA, recently completing 11 years as director of arts information and as a member of the dean’s staff in the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts. Her brother and sister-in-law, Jimmy ’77 & ’83 and Ella ’00 & ’02 Battle, are also graduates of SFA.
Robbie has served on many organization boards, including the Humane Society of Nacogdoches County, Nacogdoches Crime Stoppers, Noon Lions Club, Nacogdoches High School Alumni Association, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, Nacogdoches Treatment Center and the Nacogdoches County Child Welfare Board.
Scott and Robbie married in 1981 while Robbie was still a student at SFA. Scott has been an alumni ambassador since 2020. Married for 42 years, Scott and Robbie attend as many home and away games as possible, supporting the Jacks and reuniting with past and present Lumberjacks.