Stephen F. Austin State University

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Stephen F. Austin State University
SFAustin seal.png
Motto Striving For Personal Excellence In Everything That We Do
Type State university, public
Established 1921 (classes began in 1923)
Endowment $59.3 million[1]
President Baker Pattillo
Provost Steven Bullard
Students 12,999[2]
Location Nacogdoches, Texas, U.S.
Campus Urban, 406 acres (Main Campus)
Colors Purple and White[3]
Nickname Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks
Affiliations Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Southland Conference
SFA Texas Logo.png

Stephen F. Austin State University (commonly SFA) is a public university located in Nacogdoches, Texas, United States. Founded as a teachers' college in 1923, the university was named after one of Texas' founding fathers, Stephen F. Austin. Its campus resides on part of the homestead of another Texas founding father, Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Stephen F. Austin is one of four independent public universities in Texas (i.e., those not affiliated with one of Texas' six university systems). In 2014, Stephen F. Austin accepted 55.6% of applications, posting the third lowest acceptance rate in the state among public institutions.[4] Coordinates: 31°37′17″N 94°38′57″W / 31.62139°N 94.64917°W / 31.62139; -94.64917 Stephen F. Austin State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.[5]

The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are members of the Southland Conference and compete in Division I for all varsity sports. The Lumberjacks football team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The Lumberjacks basketball team has made three appearances in the NCAA Division I Tournament, notably upsetting Virginia Commonwealth University in the 2014 Round of 64.

Though the university is located in the rural East Texas college town of Nacogdoches, the vast majority of SFA students come from Greater Houston, the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, and other cities throughout Texas. SFA has also served students from 46 states outside of Texas and 42 countries outside the United States.[6]


Stephen F. Austin offers more than 120 areas of study, including more than 80 undergraduate majors, nearly 60 graduate degrees, and three doctoral programs. Stephen F. Austin offers classes through six colleges, and houses one of only two schools of forestry in the State of Texas (and the only forestry college in the timber-producing East Texas region). The Forestry and Agriculture school at Stephen F. Austin is nationally recognized.

During the 2007-08 academic year, there were 1,732 degrees awarded. Of those degrees, 1,416 (82%) were undergraduate, 301 were post-graduate (17%), and 15 (1%) were doctoral.

In addition to the main campus which is located on 430 acres, the university maintains a 642-acre (2.60 km2) agricultural research center for beef, poultry, and swine production and an equine center; an observatory for astronomy research, an 1,072-hectare (approximately 2,649-acre) experimental forest in southwestern Nacogdoches County and a 25.3-acre (102,000 m2) forestry field station on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Since 2007, Stephen F. Austin has served as the headquarters of the Association for Business Communication. It is also the home of the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops, which in 2011 discovered a potential cancer-fighting agent from the extract of giant salvinia, one of the world's most notorious invasive species.[7]

Stephen F. Austin ranked #71 in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report edition of Best Colleges (Regional Universities - West).[8]

Colleges and Schools[edit]

  • Nelson Rusche College of Business
  • James I. Perkins College of Education
  • College of Fine Arts
  • Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture
  • College of Liberal and Applied Arts
  • College of Sciences and Mathematics


The statue of Stephen F. Austin is located in the middle of the campus.
  • Alton W. Birdwell (1923–1941), for whom Birdwell Plaza is named
  • Paul Boynton (1942–1958), for whom the Communications Building is named
  • Ralph W. Steen (1958–1976), for whom the on-campus library is named
  • William R. Johnson (1976–1990), for whom the SFA Coliseum is named
  • Donald Bowen (1990–1991)
  • William J. Brophy (1991–1992) (interim)
  • Dan Angel (1992–1999)
  • Roland Smith (1999–2001) (interim)
  • Tito Guerrero (2001–2006)
  • Baker Pattillo (2006–present), for whom the SFA Student Center is named


In tribute to the forestry industry, which is a major component of the area's economy, the men's athletic teams are called Lumberjacks, and women's teams are known as Ladyjacks. All of SFA's athletic teams participate in the Southland Conference which hosts teams from the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Stephen F. Austin's color are Purple and White.

Homer Bryce Stadium sign at Stephen F. Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision) for football in the Southland Conference. SFA's football team earned a berth into the FCS playoffs in 2009, which was the first for the university since 1995. The team also earned a playoff berth in 2010, marking the first time in the program's history that the team had reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The 2010 season also marked the first time that the school had won an outright conference championship since 1989. Stephen F. Austin's only bowl appearance was the 1973 Poultry Bowl, in which the team defeated Gardner-Webb 31-10.

The men's basketball team reached its first NCAA tournament in 2009 after winning the Southland Conference regular season and tournament.[9] They lost 59-44 to Syracuse University. In their second appearance in 2014, they upset Virginia Commonwealth in overtime, 77-75.


  • The annual Parents Day is one of the largest student run programs on the campus of SFA. Parents, friends and family members of students visit the campus every fall for a day of activities and school spirit. Parents Day is sponsored by the Residence Hall Association in conjunction with the Housing and Residence Life Departments.
  • The University's main rivals are Sam Houston State University and Northwestern State University.
  • SFA Rugby Fest is a popular event that takes place every year. Many schools in the region show up to play in this tournament.
  • Every year at Homecoming a bonfire is lit by members of Alpha Phi Omega and of the organization that has the most points earned in a series of competitions leading up to the Homecoming celebration. The bonfire is built by the members of Alpha Phi Omega (national service fraternity). Preceding the lighting of the bonfire, a "Torchlight Parade" is held, where students walk through campus with lights to the Homecoming Pep Rally.
  • The Student Activities Association distributes Homecoming Shirts by allowing students to trade in other university-affiliated garments. Participants get new SFA shirts, and the used trade-ins are burned in the Homecoming bonfire.
  • The Sawyers were created in 1927 as the first men's social organization. In November 1960, the Sawyers adapted Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. They were the first group to have a reserved section in the stands at football games, which was requested by Homer Bryce, for whom the stadium is named. The Sawyers began the tradition of bringing axe handles to the football games and using them as noise makers/spirit sticks. The Purple Haze Inc. revived the fading tradition of the axe handle in 2002.
  • The Student Government Association host its annual Watermelon Bash each summer. Watermelons are iced in the fountain around the statue of Stephen F. Austin in the center of campus, and the university president, deans and other administrators help distribute watermelons slices to students and other members of the campus community.

Logo Controversy[edit]

On March 26, 2014, a photo was leaked on Twitter and Facebook claiming to show a new SFA logo. Although the logo had been placed in advertisements as part of a new marketing campaign in the Houston and Dallas areas, many students and alumni were unaware of the logo change. The logo was instantly unpopular with students and alumni alike. Several hours before the logo was to be officially unveiled on the SFA campus, a petition had gathered over 2000 signatures from people who wish to keep the old logo and the ceremony to unveil the decision was rescheduled following the backlash over the new logo design. Within 24 hours the petition to keep the old logo had reached over 8000 signatures. The following day, Baker Patillo, the president of SFA, sent out an announcement stating that the school had suspended the logo change.[10][11]

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

A fountain flows in the SFA Ag Pond
The Arthur Temple School of Forestry is located on the Stephen F. Austin campus.

Points of interest and notable campus buildings[edit]

  • Mast Arboretum
  • Old Stone Fort Museum built in 1779 by Antonio Gil Y'Barbo, the earliest Spanish settler of Nacogdoches, and was rebuilt on campus.[12]
  • The Planetarium[13]
  • The Observatory[14]
  • SFA Art Galleries[15]
    • Griffith Gallery
    • The Art Center
  • Ralph W. Steen Library[16]
  • The AARC, Academic Assistance and Resource Center, is located on the first floor of the Ralph W. Steen Library, and offers free tutoring to Stephen F. Austin State University students:[17]
  • The ETRC, East Texas Research Center, is located for public use on the second floor of the Ralph W. Steen Library:[18]
  • The East Texas Historical Association is based on the Stephen F. Austin campus.


External links[edit]