NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - SFA turning 95 is worthy of a huge banner that hangs from the Austin Building. Even cake and purple ice cream is worthy, but anything more was a matter of discussion.
"I raised the question as to whether we should observe 95,” said SFA president Dr. Baker Patillo. “Because we had just done 90 and now coming up on 100."
The verdict is this SFA milestone is worthy of a party.
A standing room only crowd in the newly remodeled Twilight Ballroom was invited to sing the school anthem.
Earlier dignitaries were invited to speak of SFA then and now.
SFA is celebrating more than an anniversary. The university has marked its first enrollment of more than 13,000 students. Students on campus, plus those taking online courses attribute to the growth.
The most special guest was the oldest living SFA alumni, Esthermay Johnston. At age 99 she shared what she most gained from attending SFA in the early 1940's.
"Getting the education is one thing and meeting all, so many new and good friends. Two of them together,” said Johnston. Then she had an afterthought. “There is a third one. I met my husband, I mean I met the boy I eventually married."
University historian Dr. Jeri Jackson knows it's the kind of history that shapes lives.
History is not 20/20. It is not perfect. It does not repeat itself, but you can learn from studying the past," said Jackson.
The next big celebration will be the 100th in five years.
The youngest lifetime member of the SFA Alumni Association will be 10. Jackson Brown, the 5 year old grandson of Dr. Patillo, hasn’t missed a milestone anniversary since his birth. He and his grandfather have plans of being part of the centennial.
“I would love to serve to the 100,” said Patillo. “It depends on the regents. It depends on my health. If I have my way, I would finish out on the 100th anniversary.