We began 2020 with such hope and optimism and then were faced with a pandemic that changed everything. I am excited to report your SFA Alumni Association staff members have continued to diligently work during the past several months. They quickly regrouped to navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Craig Turnage continues to lead his talented staff with enthusiasm and creativity.
In recent history, most of our board meetings have been virtual, social events have not happened and Homecoming events were canceled. Through it all, the staff members of your SFA Alumni Association recreated an environment where Lumberjacks could connect. On social media, "Jack Chats" and "How it Started-How it's Going" were created, and through a robust effort on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we reached more than 100,000 views. The Homecoming auction was completely virtual. The staff members and board of directors worked hard to assemble unique items to entice and engage fellow Lumberjacks and raised $35,000.
Meanwhile, in-person graduations were held Dec. 11 and 12. There were five separate graduation ceremonies, where 1,093 new SFA alumni, comprising 968 bachelor's, 122 master's and three doctoral degrees, received their diplomas.
There is anticipation some of the upcoming fall events, such as Homecoming, the Alumni Awards and the Gala, will be held again in person, but at this time no dates have been finalized.
What an outstanding leader Bob Francis has been as the SFA Alumni Association president for the past two years. He led the board during the pandemic and diligently worked to move our accounting efforts to QuickBooks, which is more manageable, providing concise reporting, and it generates an easy-to-follow financial statement. Going forward, we are fortunate to have Bob on the executive committee as past president and finance committee chair.
I also am delighted to have Bob by my side as past president along with Erika Tolar as president-elect. And I am very proud to welcome Matt Adkins '06 from McKinney as a new SFA alumni board director. Since his graduation, he has actively attended SFA sporting events and is involved in sfasawmill.com. He is a great addition to the board.
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the SFA Alumni Association president for the next two years. As we move toward SFA's 100th anniversary celebration in 2023, be sure to watch for exciting events!
If you are not a member of the Alumni Association, I invite you to join. Your involvement is vital to maintaining SFA's excellence and helps keep our valued traditions alive for future generations of Lumberjacks. You can join online at sfaalumni.com/join, or call 936.468.3407 to speak with an Alumni Association representative to sign up. There are levels for annual or lifetime membership.
Here's to better days in 2021 and hoping for more opportunities to connect with other SFA alumni!
Axe 'em, Jacks!
Charlotte Ashcraft '80
President, SFA Alumni Association