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SFA Alumni Spotlight: Julia Pennington

Since Homecoming at Stephen F. Austin State University is this week, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite SFA alumni, Julia Pennington. She graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Education in May 1988 with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood. I asked her a few questions about her time at SFA. 

What was your favorite memory? 

“All of my favorite memories involve friends made during my time at SFA – from BSU to early childhood organizations to church. It was truly one of the best chapters in my life. College is such a unique time of being an adult – with freedoms and opportunities in a protected environment. I don’t think I could name just one.” 

I also asked if she had any experiences with SFA Homecoming. 

“I had not yet learned to love college football or Homecoming traditions until after my time at SFA. I went to part of a football game (I think it was a Homecoming game), but we left before it was over.” 

Why did you choose SFA? 

“I went to college before the internet and the widespread availability to research colleges and universities – so my decision was based on three things: (1) where my parents were willing to allow me to go since they were paying for my education (limited to state schools), (2) information (brochures/pamphlets) sent to me from various universities (I had a huge drawer full of these by the time I graduated from high school), word of mouth information from friends (I had church friends whose son was a student at SFA). My mom worked as a nurse at SMU. I could have gone to school for their tuition free and lived at home, but they did not offer degrees in early childhood education. Ultimately, I chose SFA. It was the only school I applied to – and I never looked back.” 

She was involved in Baptist Student Union, East Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (SFA student representative for 1 year), SFA Early Childhood Organization (president for 1 year), and Fredonia Hill Baptist Church during her time at SFA. She also graduated with many awards and honors:

  • Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society
  • Alpha Chi National Collegiate Honor Society
  • Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society (vice-president for 1 year)
  • Alumni Association Scholarship for Early Childhood for 2 years
  • Magna Cum Laude Graduate
  • Hilda Barfied Most Outstanding Elementary Education Award

“I actually made and framed a small cross-stitched SFA and sent it to Hilda Barfield along with a thank you note. She wrote me back and thanked me – saying that I was the first student to ever send a thank you note.” 

I then asked her if she stayed connected with any of her friends from SFA.

“I did make some dear friends during my years at SFA. Some stayed close friends for many years – until our lives got too busy with jobs/families. I think it would have been so much easier to stay in touch if we had not been limited to phone calls/snail mail. I have several friends from SFA that I still stay in touch with via Facebook. It’s been fun to keep up with their lives and watch their kids grow through the years.” 

She is an Irving, Texas, native but has been currently living in Canton, Texas, for the past 17 years. She lives with her husband Myles Pennington, a Trinity Valley Community College worker. She also has two children, Spencer, who graduated from Baylor in May 2020 (currently works at Bell Flight), and Lauren, a senior at Baylor. 

Julia Pennington is an amazing woman; I am honored to know her and her family for years. I am so happy that I get to share my love for Stephen F. Austin State University with her. 

Hopefully everyone has a wonderful homecoming experience whether at SFA or at another college.

Lastly, Axe’em!

Hannah is a Mass Communications major with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She is a Libra Sun, Pisces Moon, Aquarius Rising. She is a lover of plants, crystals, astrology and anything crafty.
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