As spring unfolds in Nacogdoches, there’s a lot blooming. It’s a great time to visit and take a stroll through the campus — especially the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden.

At the Alumni Association, one of the frequent questions we are asked is, “How can I get involved?” We are always eager to share the multiple ways people can make a positive impact on our university. So, I thought we would use this forum to discuss how you can help.

The Alumni Association’s day-to-day operations are managed by a staff of eight full-time professionals and a group of part-time students who are all under the leadership of Craig Turnage, the Alumni Association’s executive director and a two-time SFA alumnus. These folks work together to plan and host events throughout the state, maintain a database of our 100,000-plus alums, and support various alumni groups, including those who were members of fraternities, sororities and campus organizations. Annually, they host two signature events — Homecoming and the Alumni Awards. In addition, they handle the sales of the SFA Ring and organize the Big Dip, which has grown to three ceremonies each semester to accommodate the large number of participants and their families.

The Alumni Association is governed by an 18-member board of directors elected by the general membership during Homecoming each year. The board comprises representatives from different geographic regions, SFA’s six colleges and graduation years. We strive to be as diverse as possible to easily engage with a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

We depend on a large network of volunteers who have their “boots on the ground” to help with events and marketing. We have designated three geographic regions: East Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and the Houston metroplex. We are hoping to add a Hill Country region soon. All of our board members and volunteers are considered ambassadors in the region where they live. These ambassadors serve as a team and are led by a regional chairperson, who also is a board member.

As the alumni calendar of events evolves, the regional representatives are asked for input about venues and programs. As events near, the ambassadors reach out to people in their circle of influence and invite their former classmates, co-workers, neighbors and friends who have an interest in SFA to attend. As each event launches, the ambassadors help greet attendees and assist the Alumni Association’s staff members during the event. Our ambassadors are a key component in reaching more people and making it possible to cover so much territory.

So back to the original question, “How can I get involved?” To become an ambassador or board member, call the Alumni Association at (936) 468-3407 to obtain an application. After your application is received, it will be presented to the executive committee for review with notification taking place soon after.

Speaking of upcoming events, add the Alumni Awards to your calendar. It will be held Sept. 18. Also, be sure to save Oct. 23 through 25 for Homecoming. We would love to see you!

Axe ’em, Jacks!

francis signature

Bob Francis ’78 - Bullard
President, SFA Alumni Association