SFA’s four-day Centennial Celebration kicks of Friday

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s four-day Centennial Celebration weekend will be filled with exciting events running Friday, Sept. 15, through Monday, Sept. 18.

Kicking off the celebration is the SFA Alumni Awards, opening with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. and the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at The Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches. Honorees include two former SFA presidents, Dr. William R. Johnson and the late Dr. Baker Pattillo.

A Community Partnership Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, in honor of SFA’s hometown, Nacogdoches. Several local businesses will offer discounts on all things purple. That same day on campus, the volleyball tailgate for the SFA versus University of Mississippi game will begin 12:30 p.m. outside Shelton Gym until the game at 1:30 p.m.

The Griffith Fine Arts Building grand reopening will be the focus of festivities Sunday, Sept. 17. A ribbon-cutting will take place at 1:30 p.m. followed by plaque unveilings at 2 p.m. The $53 million expansion more than doubled the size of the existing building and added state-of-the-art performance spaces, rehearsal halls and dance studios, among many other additions in the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts. The full scope of the project can be viewed at finearts.sfasu.edu/expansion.

The world premiere of a composition commissioned for the university’s centennial — and created by Dr. Stephen Lias, professor of composition in SFA’s School of Music — will take place at the Centennial Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, in the Griffith Fine Arts Building’s Turner Auditorium. The work is inspired by the poems of Nacogdoches’ own Karle Wilson Baker, one of Texas’ most celebrated poets in the first half of the 20th century.

While all activities of the grand opening are free and open to the public, the concert is a ticketed event due to limited seating. Complimentary tickets, available while they last, can be obtained by contacting the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or boxoffice@sfasu.edu.

The final day of the centennial weekend, Monday, Sept. 18, will begin with the dedication of the Centennial Ring Plaza at 10:30 a.m. and the unveiling of a new campus statue gifted to the university by the SFA Alumni Association. Beginning at 2 p.m., cars will line Vista Drive for the SFA Centennial Car Cruise In.

Visitors can enjoy guided and self-guided tours, as well as special tours of the Naymola Basketball Performance Center, SFA Makerspace and the School of Human Sciences’ aviation simulators. Centennial campus tours begin at 2:15 p.m.

Finally, a sprawling centennial birthday party on and along Vista Drive will take place at 4 p.m. Visitors will be invited to partake in birthday cake and ice cream, enjoy the annual Watermelon Bash, and participate in games and activities set up in the area. Guests will also be invited to tour the Centennial Axe Handle Exhibit, which will be set up in the Pearman Alumni Center’s Hall of Honor.

Monday is also SFA’s annual Giving Day, during which Lumberjacks and friends are invited to give in support of SFA programs and students. A goal of $192,300 was set in honor of SFA’s opening year. Donations can be made online at givingday.sfasu.edu.

All SFA Centennial Celebration events are open to the public, and all except the SFA Alumni Association awards ceremony are free.

View the up-to-date SFA Centennial Celebration schedule of events, read about the university’s history, find downloadable graphics and more at 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. 

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By Parastoo Nikravesh, senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University