SFA Integration and Diversity - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/27/07 - Nacogdoches

SFA Integration and Diversity

by Tashun Chism

During the Civil Rights Movement, school integration was a rough transition for many schools across the nation. But the experience at Stephen F. Austin was easier than most other places.

"What I hear from the old timers around here is it was a fairly smooth process that didn't require or didn't include the kind of protests and marches and things like that happened at other campuses," said Stephen F. Austin State University Associate Provost and Vice President Richard Berry.

SFAdmitted its first African American student in 1964. The school has been promoting diversity ever since.

"We continue to see really impressive growth in terms of the presence of minorities on campus. The African American population has grown considerably. The Hispanic population has grown considerably. And so this is our mission. We need to service the population of the state of Texas and so that's something that we are determined to do," said Berry.

"Stephen F. Austin is a very diverse campus. That's part of the reason why I along with other students choose to come here, because of it's location. Secondly, because of their different ethnicities that are here on campus. And it's very widespread. There's not just too many of this or too many of that. It's very diverse and that's what I like about it here," SFA freshman Rafael Fields said.

SFA students agree America has come a long way since schools first intergrated. Many of them told us they're proud to have the opportunity to get an education, a privilege many people before them didn't have.

"I feel honored because some of my family didn't even get to go to college and I'm the first male out of my family to go and probably, hopefully finish. So I feel honored just to have the privilege to go," SFA Freshman Anthony Dixon told us.

"I think it's a huge deal. That's something be proud of for everyone. That's to that, everyone is able to get an education now. That's definitely a huge part in our life and in history," SFA Freshman George Lizardo added.

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