NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It’s been a few years since Buddy Zeagler retired as the T.L.L. Temple Foundation’s executive director. Yet, the Lufkinite who keeps all of Deep East Texas in mind isn’t quitting what he calls, ‘improving the human condition’.
Zeagler may not go to the office anymore, but his mind continues working on how to improve people’s lives. The thought created the Endowed Professorship for Community Based Research for SFA’s School of Social Work, named in his honor.
From his Lufkin home, Zeagler said, “It was really an easy decision. It was a decision that was driven by the heart and soul.”
Zeagler witnessed a similar drive by SFA's social work master students. Future career social workers conducted one on one interviews with community members in San Augustine County and North Lufkin. Similar plans are set for Nacogdoches County.
SFA School of Social Work Dean and Director Dr. Freddie Avant explains the goal in mind.
"How can you help communities to be more resilient, be more independent and empower them to assume responsibility of making their community better?"
The result led to a community-driven multi-agency children’s center for San Augustine County. Impact Lufkin obtained a blueprint of numerous revitalization projects. An ambitious goal is a neighborhood community on 170 acres purchased in August.
Zeagler was impressed.
“It was overwhelming for me to witness this group of remarkable individuals."
So Zeagler is pleased the first professorship recipient is the student's professor, Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant. Her plan for the endowment is to continue what's already begun.
“We’ll use it on grants and new projects and funding of projects, funding of professional education, continued education."
Funds will also be used for student scholarships. The endowment starts with $125,000. The School of Social Work will operate primarily off the interest. Future contributions will assure continued growth.
Each will honor the work and legacy of Buddy Zeagler.
Zeagler summed his thoughts on community service projects.
“I consider it to be the genius of fulfillment. And that is to devote yourself and commit yourself in service to others."