Children’s Museum Annual Brunch with Santa

Children’s Museum Annual Brunch with Santa

Santa Claus will make a special stop at the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum on December 1 from 9:30 to 11:30. Commerce Lil’ Angels will provide a pancake breakfast. Christmas crafts and, of course, pictures with Santa Claus, will make the event a wonderful way to begin the Christmas Season.

“This is a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season,” said Sharline Freeman, Executive Director. “It is exciting for us to see the children so happy with the excitement of Christmas.”

In addition to Brunch, several Christmas craft areas will entertain the children. They may make Christmas ornaments or have their face painted. They may even write a letter to Santa and mail it at the Children’s Museum. Children have the opportunity to play in all the exhibits. They can make bubbles in the Commerce Lil Angels Bubble Room, doctor the dogs in the Commerce Veterinary Clinic, buy groceries in the Brookshire’s Grocery exhibit, milk a cow, or play in any of the other play areas.

“This event has become a highlight for families in northeast Texas,” said Donna Tavener, Board President. “It is one of my favorite events of the year.”

Get ready for a picture with Santa, bring your wish list and say “hello” to jolly, old Saint Nick on December 1. Tickets for the event are $8.00 per person and are $10.00 at the door on the day of the event. For more information, call the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum at (903) 886-6055.

Austin College Launches $125 Million Campaign

Austin College Launches $125 Million Campaign

Austin College President Steven P. O’Day announced a $125 million fundraising campaign, “POWER Austin College,” before a gathering of the College’s faithful at Homecoming & Family Weekend today, November 10. The Sherman High School drumline, Katy ’Roo, and the Austin College cheerleaders were on hand to add to the festivities of the morning and the spirit of the weekend.

President O’Day told his audience that Austin College has much good news to celebrate. He explained that the College has been in the “quiet phase” of the campaign and has reached 75 percent of the goal, following a record-setting fiscal year of fundraising that brought in $31 million.

The president announced the campaign launch internally a few weeks ago to faculty and staff since they POWER the College in its mission. “Now we publicly launch the campaign with you, our alumni and current parents, because you know firsthand the POWER of an Austin College education to transform students, so they can transform the world,” President O’Day said.

“In this campaign, we are working to raise the funds needed to continue those transformations today and into the future,” the president said. “We need to support and enhance the scholarships, programs, and facilities involved in educating the whole student—mind, body, and spirit. These experiences are, after all, the essence of an Austin College education.” The campaign goals specifically focus on scholarships, capital (facilities), and endowment growth.

The “fun part” as he said this morning, is the celebration of the successes that have brought the campaign to this stage.”We are so very thankful for each one of these gifts to Austin College,” the president said. “The generosity of our friends and alumni is quite amazing.”

He told the group of some of the gifts of the last 10 months:

  • A $1.5 million gift from Robert and Joyce Johnson of McLean, Virginia, in support of Faith and Engagement and the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching. Johnson is a member of the Class of 1953, a former chair of the Board of Trustees, and a current member of the senior board.
  • A lead gift from Mary K. Grum of Lufkin, Texas, to renovate Wynne Chapel in honor of her late husband, Clifford Grum ’56, who was a devoted supporter of Austin College students throughout his lifetime and a longtime member of the College’s Board of Trustees.
  • A $4 million gift from Nancy Bickel Bryant ’67 and her husband, Jerry Taylor, in support of STEM education. Students have already benefited from the instrumentation this gift has provided, and a STEM faculty chair and scholarships for physics majors are also part of that generous gift.
  • A $7 million gift from The Morris Family Foundation of Fort Worth—the lead gift toward the renovation of the former Moody Science Center, which will become The Jack B. Morris Center for Business Studies.

The president had new milestones to announce as well:

  • A $2 million gift from trustee Sally Nation ’64 and her husband, Jim, of Dallas, to renovate in 2019 Ida Green Communication Center’s lobby and main theatre, to be named Sally and Jim Nation Theatre. The renovation will include new seating as well as technical upgrades to lighting, sound, and audio visual systems. The lobby renovations will create a Learning Commons.
  • A $9 million gift from the estate of Bill Richardson ’64 of Sherman, who had a long family legacy and personal history of support and advocacy of Austin College. His gift will endow four faculty chairs each named, at his request, “Bill Richardson Chair in Skeptical Thought.”
  • A $1 million unrestricted and fully funded endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

An ambitious Athletics Master Plan with upgrades and enhancements of virtually all athletics facilities is another portion of the campaign. “I am very excited to announce our lead gift for athletics renovation,” President O’Day said:

  • A $500,000 gift from the Jordan Family Foundation, continuing the family’s legacy of generosity to the College. The Jordan name has had a place in Austin College history since George R. Jordan graduated in 1915. The family has created the Jordan Family Language House, the President’s Suite in Caruth Administration Building, a substantial scholarship program that has benefited many students, and endowed two faculty chairs.

The president added that four alumni and their spouses had each given $50,000 or more toward athletics also:

  • Thomas ’91 & Halley Ortiz
  • Scott ’83 & Denise Austin
  • Bill ’80 & Clyde Crook
  • Rodney ’84 & Kim Moore

The Jordan Family gift and the individual alumni gifts will fully fund reconstruction of the competition tennis courts in the coming weeks, he said.

The final gift announcement from the president involved a challenge.

  • A $500,000 matching challenge for scholarships from David ’65 and Judy Easterly of Atlanta, Georgia

“David Easterly and his wife, Judy, have put forward—for the second time in two years—a generous scholarship matching challenge,” President O’Day said. “They have agreed to match up to $500,000 this year for scholarships. For every dollar donated, David and Judy will match it TWO to one—with $1 toward immediate-use scholarships and $1 toward endowed scholarships. David and Judy believe in the power of Austin College and the importance of providing access to the education offered here.”

The president stressed the impact made by all alumni and friends of the College working together to make the POWER campaign successful. “Whatever size gift you make toward scholarships this year will effectively be tripled by the Easterly match,” President O’Day said. “I urge you to become involved in this scholarship match and the POWER Austin College campaign today. Every gift is important. Every gift has impact. Whatever size gift you make toward scholarships this year will effectively be tripled by the Easterly match!

Allison McBee Dawson ’03, vice president for Institutional Advancement, says more campaign news will be shared over the coming months. “We are proud of the progress we have made to date,” she said. “It was great to announce all the successes and ‘wow’ people with the big numbers, but there are a lot of dollars left to come in. Some of those will be big gifts. Many will be $25 or $50 or $100; those gifts are just as meaningful and can be just as generous. When all those gifts are put together, they have big impact.”

For information about the campaign, call Dawson at 903.813.2056 or email her at Campaign specifics can be found at

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. A residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Sherman Museum holds Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Drives

Sherman Museum holds Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Drives

On Nov. 17th, The Sherman Museum will be having half-priced admissions during normal 10 am-4 pm hours for all who show up with non-perishable canned goods. The Sherman Museum will then deliver the canned food to the local food pantry to aid those in need for Thanksgiving. There will be also be Thanksgiving themed arts and crafts.

On Dec. 8th, The Sherman Museum will be hosting Christmas at the Museum. Patrons will receive half-priced admissions during normal 10 am-4 pm hours for all who show up with non-perishable canned goods. The Sherman Museum will then deliver the canned food to the local food pantry to aid those in need around the Christmas holidays. There will be Christmas themed arts and crafts, as well as a Christmas film, and a possible visit from the Jolly Man in Red himself. There will also be a tree in the museum gallery where guests can place an ornament that they made in the Community room.  “We really look forward to sharing the holiday spirit with the community, during both events, as well as helping those in need. We hope that there will be a great turnout for both events, because it is always wonderful to see a community that cares and works together to help aid those who are less fortunate,” says Natalie R. Bonner, Assistant Director of The Sherman Museum.

The museum’s normal business hours are Wednesday- Saturday 10 am-4 pm. We will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd- Friday, November 23rd, for Thanksgiving. We will reopen Saturday, November 24th, at regular hours.

About The Sherman Museum

The Sherman Museum is a non-profit 501(c) (3) educational organization devoted to collecting, preserving and interpreting objects of historical significance for visitors and residents of Grayson County and the Greater North Texas Region. The museum was previously known as The Red River Historical Museum prior to a name change in March 2011.