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The title of Regents Scholar is the highest honor that the university may bestow upon a member of the faculty.The honor is reserved for faculty members who are exemplary role models to the university community. The title of Regents Scholar is not an academic rank, but an honorary title held for the duration of the recipient’s service to the university. Our last award of this title was made in April 2023, effective for Academic Year 2023/2024. 

2023-24 Regents Scholar

Dr. Dan Bruton

As one of its final duties, the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents named Dr. Dan Bruton, professor of physics and director of the SFA Planetarium, the 2023-24 Regents Scholar.

The title of Regents Scholar is the highest honor the university can bestow upon a faculty member. The honor is reserved for faculty members who are exemplary role models to the university community. The title is not an academic rank but an honorary title held for the duration of the recipient’s service to the university. 

As part of the recognition, Bruton received a $2,000 grant to support his research efforts, which involve the search for minor planets as well as engineering design projects.

Previously named Regents Professor, SFA’s Regents Scholar program was established in 1979. Bruton will be the last to receive this recognition as SFA joins The University of Texas System this fall and becomes governed by the system’s board. 

Bruton earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from SFA in 1988 and 1990, respectively, and obtained his doctoral degree in physics from Texas A&M University in 1996. Shortly after, he joined the SFA faculty and now teaches astronomy, engineering and physics courses. A recipient of SFA’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2003, Bruton was integral in the establishment of SFA’s engineering program, including the electrical engineering and mechanical engineering degree programs.

Bruton also helps develop curriculum for younger students, including STEM Academy educational modules on engineering for the Nacogdoches and Lufkin independent school districts. He has involved students in Near Space projects that take instruments to the edge of space with high-altitude balloons, and he is currently working with students on an engineering design project for the collegiate Society of Automotive Engineers’ Baja national competition.

Bruton has worked with students to discover 11 new asteroids and make observations of over 40 other minor planets. He also has written free astronomy educational computer programs and made them available online. In addition, he educates the whole community through SFA Planetarium programming.

Previous Regents Scholars


Regent Scholar(s)

2022-23 Dr. Stephen Taaffee
2021-22 Dr. Mark Ludorf
2020-21 Dr. Leslie Cecil
2019-20 None Awarded
2018-19 Dr. DawnElla Rust
2017-18 Dr. Patrick Jenlink
2016-17 Dr. Kenneth Farrish
2015-16 Dr. Ray Darville
2014-15 Dr. Tim King
2013-14 Dr. Harry Downing
2012-13 Dr. Brian Oswald
2011-12 Dr. Jimmie Yeiser
2010-11 Dr. Hans Williams
2009-10 Dr. Tom Segady
2008-09 Dr. John Moore
2007-08 Dr. Leon Young
2006-07 Dr. Allen Richman
Dr. David Creech
2005-06 None Awarded
2004-05 Dr. Sandra McCune
Dr. Sammie Smith
2003-04 Dr. Suzy Weems
Mr. Charles D. Jones
2002-03 Ms. Mary McCleary
Dr. Robert Szafran
2001-02 Dr. Anna Bradfield
Dr. Michael Legg
2000-2001 Dr. Norman Markworth
Dr. Leonard Cheever
1999-20 Dr. Scott Bills
Dr. James Corbin
1998-99 Dr. Tom Callaway
Dr. Mingteh Chang
1997-98 Dr. Mel Finkenberg
Dr. Jose Rodriguez
1996-97 Dr. David Kulhavy
Dr. Jere Jackson
1995-96 Dr. James Kroll
Dr. Donnya Stephens
1994-95 Dr. James Towns
Dr. Syliva McGrath
1993-94 Dr. Vinay Kothari
Dr. Elvia Rodriguez
1992-93 Dr. Bobby Johnson
Dr. James DiNucci
1991-92 Dr. Gloria Durr
Dr. E. Donice McCune
1990-91 Dr. Francis Abernethy
Dr. Thomas J. Stanly
1989-90 Dr. Lynnette Solomon
Dr. William Young
1988-89 Dr. James G. Dickson
Dr. Dillard Tinsley
1987-88 Dr. David Petty
Dr. Neal Houston
1986-87 Dr. David W. Jones
Dr. Elray Nixon
1985-86 Dr. Archie McDonald
Dr. Victor Bilan
1984-85 Mr. William E. Arscott
Dr. Alfred S. Shivers
1983-84 Dr. June Irwin
Dr. Donald Beason
1982-83 Dr. Walter Robertson
Dr. Dan Beaty
1981-82 Dr. William Cozart
Dr. Jack McCullough
1980-81 Dr. James Garrett
Dr. Robert S. Maxwell


Office of the Provost

Physical Address:
1936 North Street
Austin Building
Room 316

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 6079, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962