Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University got its name from the old Texas hero Stephen Fuller Austin (who also gave his name to the state capital of Texas). Born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri, Stephen Fuller Austin (1793-1836) is considered the founder of the Anglo-American Texas.
Austin is remembered in Texas history for his many efforts on behalf of Texas before, during, and immediately after Texas' Revolution with Mexico. His contributions to Texas included: long and perilous pilgrimages to Mexico on behalf of Texas; his unwillingness to counsel his people to take up arms against the Mexican government as long as any hope for peace remained; his firm and decided voice, speaking words of encouragement and hope during the darkest days of the revolution; and his laborious travels in the United States to obtain needed support for his struggling countrymen.
In 1915, the Thirty-Fourth Texas Legislature authorized and funded a college with the name, Stephen F. Austin State Normal College, to be located "east of the 96th meridian." In 1917, the Texas School Board voted unanimously to located Stephen F. Austin State Normal in Nacogdoches. Due to some funding issues, the university would not officially open until 1923, and now under the name Stephen F. Austin Teachers College. Later, as SFA expanded from only being a teacher's college to a full-fletched university, it got its present name: Stephen F. Austin State University.
Today, SFA has about 12,000 thousand students and offers a multitude of BA and MA's. It also offers Phd:s in Education and Forestry.
"Location and Traditions"
Stephen F. Austin State University is located in the small East Texas town of Nacogdoches, Texas (about two hours north of Houston). The legend is that the town got its name from the son of old Native American Chief, Chief Caddo. As the legend goes, Chief Caddo knew his time was almost up, but as he had twin sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, he was worried that the sons would start fighting for power after his passing. Therefore, he gave each of them half of the tribe, and sent them in two different directions. Natchitoches went east, and founded the town with the same name in Louisiana, and Nacogdoches went west and settled in East Texas. Many years later, Stephen F. Austin State University was founded in Nacogdoches, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Both schools have the same colors; purple and white (SFA also has a dash of red in there).
Logically, the schools became the fiercest rivals.
In 1960, SFA and Northwestern decided to come up with a trophy to award to the winner of the annual football contest between the two. The loser of the 1961 game would have a tree chopped down from its nearby forests, which would be sent to the winning school, who would have the statue carved. Northwestern State won that 1961 game 35-19, and SFA delivered a 2,000-pound black gum log to Northwestern State. Woodcarver Harold Green spent some 230 hours fashioning the statue. He was named Chief Caddo to honor the Indian tribe that not only settled the two communities, but also provided safety for the early white settlers in the area. Chief Caddo stands 7 feet 6 inches in height and weighs over 320 pounds, and is the largest football trophy in the USA.
SFA and Northwestern State have been playing for Chief Caddo since 1961 and the Demons have a 22-11-1 advantage in the trophy game. Last season, the Lumberjacks brought the Chief back to Nacogdoches for the first time in two years, by virtue of their 29-14 win over Northwestern State.
Stephen F. Austin State University men's athletic teams have been officially known as Lumberjacks since the institution opened in 1923. After the opening of classes in 1923, the SFA students and faculty met in an assembly to decide upon the name for the athletic teams. Several names had been submitted and those assembled considered each name. Those proposing the names led yells to demonstrate their nominations. The assembly chose Lumberjacks, which had been submitted by T.E. Ferguson, professor of English.
The female athletes at SFA are called the Ladyjacks. When asking why they would not logically be called ?Lumberjanes,? you will get the answer that the name Ladyjack more represents the fact that the female athletes should behave in a ?lady like manner.? Which, I guess only means off the field, it is hard to be ?lady like? when you are trying to kick some a** on the soccer field!!!
SFA?s hand sign (demonstrated by the boy in picture) demonstrates an Axe (some say it also demonstrates the map of Texas). When you cheer on the Lumberjacks or the Ladyjacks, hold your hand that way, make a chopping movement, and say: Ax ?em Jacks!
"My Time at SFA: Athletics"
I came to Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) in the fall of 1998. I had worked really hard during my senior year in high school in order to finish both my junior and senior credits (since I had spent my junior year in the US, I had to make up most of my classes). Other than finish high school as fast as I could, there was only one thing that mattered to me; soccer/football. This was essential, as I wanted to fulfill my dream of not only going back to the US to attend college, but also to be a member of the university?s soccer/football team. During the spring of my senior year in high school, my dad and his wife helped me record a video with me playing, and then sent me off to the US for two weeks to go visit with some coaches. While I visited several schools, it was only the school that my US high school coach had recommended to me (SFA), that was not only a good match, but that also offered me a small scholarship. To give somebody that you have never seen play live a scholarship is extremely risky, and I will always be thankful they put their faith in me. Thanks Coach Skinner!
I played for the Ladyjacks for four years, under three different coaches! While I, and the team, had both highs and lows, we learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and the value of friendship. We learned that hard work will in the end pay off, but to achieve success, nothing is more important than respect for the game, our coaches, and our teammates.
"My Time at SFA: Academics"
I was a rarity among incoming college freshmen; I knew exactly what I wanted to study when I started college, and I stayed with it the whole time. I had majored in Social Sciences at high school in Sweden, so my decision to major in Political Science in college was not a surprise to anybody, except for my advisor, who tried to convince me to try different things before deciding my major. My interest in international affairs (after all, I was an international student) led me to minor in International Studies. I also figured I would at least TRY to learn a new language (as a native Swedish speaker, it was not a requirement for me), and started to take Spanish classes. I soon, probably thanks to my wonderful teachers, fell in love with the language, and decided to go on a Study Abroad trip with the SFA Language Department to Madrid in the summer of 2001. I had a great experience, and decided to add Spanish as my second minor.
My Political Science major led me to take classes such as Latin American Politics, and my International Studies minor to take classes such as World Geography and Latin American History. Combine this with my new love for the Spanish language, and my passion for Latin America was born!
On May 18th, 2002, I graduated from SFA with a BA in Political Science. The day after graduation, I packed up my belongings and set off towards graduate school. I have not been back to SFA since, but hope to go back and visit soon. SFA holds many memories for me, and, as most people, I learned and grew a lot during my college years. At SFA, I got my heart broken for the first time. I learned what it means to be a star on a team, and a nobody (and how quickly it can change). I learned time management, and that some times it is ok to just go crazy and forget about self discipline. I learned that while getting As was easy for me, it is not the grade you get but the experience you gain from a class that matters. In addition, and most importantly, I learned the value of friendship.
SFA will always hold a special place in my heart.