Spring 2016

2006 graduate lands dream job with NASA


2006 graduate lands dream job with NASA

A graphic artist for UTC Aerospace Systems, a NASA and Johnson Space Center supplier of engineering and technology services, Blake Dumesnil '06 was instrumental in designing the Independence Plaza exhibit, which opened to the public Jan. 23 and highlights the space shuttle program’s 30-year history.

Couple helping orphans in Tanzania

Couple establishes and operates Neema Village in Tanzania

Stepping out of the airport, Michael and Dorris Fortson immediately noticed a difference. It had been more than 40 years since they had been to Africa, and within minutes, they knew this trip would change everything.

Interior design alumna's talents recognized with multiple awards

Interior designer recognized with multiple awards

“Even when I was younger, everything about me was less about sports and more about the arts,” Kara Gordon '06 said. “I excelled at piano, and I was in band. I loved to draw and paint, but I didn’t really practice many of my art skills prior to college. In SFA’s interior design program, I learned about art mediums, art history and art appreciation. I was in heaven.” Gordon heavily emphasized the word “heaven.”

Engineering Photo

First two students to graduate from quickly growing program

Engineering often is the career choice for people who thrive when finding solutions to real-world problems, as the discipline requires the application of math and science to solve complex issues in a variety of industries. Two problem-solving students are about to emerge with the first SFA four-year engineering physics degrees, two years after the launch of the program.

Rodewald-Bates design

Landscape architect reinvents environments

As a landscape architect for international firm Spackman Mossop and Michaels, Seth Rodewald-Bates, who received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from SFA, spends his days working with representatives from cities, communities and some private citizens to reimagine and reinvent urban environments in more functional and beautiful ways.

Dr. Jeffery Roth

First SFA president's house serves as sustainable homestead

Sixteen acres of land covered in pine and hardwood trees, a natural spring and a trickling creek back up to a two-story, light blue home in varying stages of renovation. Dr. Jeffery Roth ’89 and ’96 stands outside the home and land he purchased in 2007, as he details its history and connection to one of his favorite educators—SFA’s first president, Dr. Alton Birdwell.

McGee Renovations ribbon cutting

R.E. McGee Building undergoes renovations

The Nelson Rusche College of Business has taken professionalism to new heights with its multifloor renovations to the R.E. McGee Building. Since 1975, the McGee Building has housed the business college. In summer 2015, the college began a renovation project to help create a more business-oriented, corporate and collaborative space.

Tynan Davis

'Jacks of All Trades: Tynan Davis

After living in New York for 10 years, Tynan Davis ’02 was making plans to move home to Texas when a text message opened the door to a career opportunity she never imagined. A friend gave the casting director of “The Phantom of the Opera” Davis’ contact information, and the next day Davis had an audition, which resulted in her joining the North American tour of the famous opera.

Mr and Miss SFA graphic

Alumni Association names Mr. and Miss SFA

Collin Rutherford of Celina and Olivia Miller of Arlington have been chosen for the 2016 Mr. and Miss SFA Awards. The pair was honored during halftime of the SFA men’s basketball game against Houston Baptist University.

Bettie Griffin

Griffin honored with street naming

Family members of Bettie Griffin ’73 and ’75 recognized her 58-year legacy of service to SFA by naming Alumni Drive in her honor for 2016. The family won the naming right during the SFA Alumni Association’s Homecoming online auction in October. Griffin, a member of the SFASU Foundation Board of Trustees for the past 12 years, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SFA and was employed by the university as both a staff member and educator.

Baker Pattillo

Letter from the President

Spring is a time of growth and renewal, and that is an accurate description of what is happening at your alma mater this season.

Karen Gregory Gantt

Letter from the Alumni Association

The SFA Alumni Association kicked off the year in style with a Dallas-area Lumberjack Business Network breakfast on Jan. 19.

Thomas Walkup

Athletics News

Women's basketball hits 1,000 wins, Demi Payne becomes third woman to vault 16 feet, Men's basketball wins fourth-straight SLC regular season title and Thomas Walkup dazzled.

Clagett photo


The Dr. Arthur and Dorothy Clagett Scholarships are awarded to deserving SFA students who are majoring in sociology, nursing or social work.

Randal Robison

Class Notes

U.S. Army Chaplain Lt. Col. Randal Robison ’88 of Fort Gordon, Georgia, retired after 26 years of military service.

In Memoriam

Michael Terry Wilhite

Lumberjacks whom we recently lost