(1870-1954)This plaza is dedicated to the memory of the first president of Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. In 1917 the state created an "East Texas Normal" and selected Nacogdoches as its location. The State Board of Regents selected East Texas historian Alton W. Birdwell to lead the new institution. From his arrival in Nacogdoches until his death, Birdwell dedicated his life to the interests of the institution and set rigorous standards for the new college. He pioneered higher education in East Texas by forging a lasting partnership with the citizens of Nacogdoches and other towns of East Texas in support of the institution's educational mission. He laid out the campus, established the rules, and recruited a dedicated faculty. He always placed the needs of the institution above circumstances. When faced with collapsing enrollments, limited funds, and a legislative threat to close the college during the Great Depression, Birdwell organized a regional defense of the college that saved the institution. Despite criticism, he welcomed Public Works Administration aid and continued the expansion of the college buildings. Birdwell prepared SFA students and oversaw the first campus responses to World War II. As President Emeritus after 1942, Birdwell endeared himself to his successor Dr. Paul Boynton.
|Placed By||Stephen F. Austin State University|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 1:26am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||15R E 343285 N 3499801|
|Decimal Degrees||31.62270000, -94.65230000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 31° 37.362', W 94° 39.138'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||31° 37' 21.72" N, 94° 39' 8.28" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 2100-2106 North St, Nacogdoches TX 75965, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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