ETBU to hold Fall Commencement on Dec. 8

East Texas Baptist University will hold its Fall Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, December 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Baker Chapel of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center on campus.

ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn will preside over the ceremony as 106 students will receive undergraduate degrees and 28 receive graduate degrees, for a total of 134 graduates. ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders, assisted by the academic deans, will present the graduating class.

Dean International Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer David Dean will serve as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Dr. Dean obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member and former Chairman of the board for the Wycliffe President's Council, Wycliffe Resources Inc., and the International Linguistics Center.

ETBU offers 11 graduate and 43 undergraduate degree programs to develop Christian servant leaders.

Theatre students excel in state festival contest

Theatre students excel in state festival contest

Panola College theatre students earned 27 awards at the 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival held recently.

Five student actors were nominated for the Irene Ryan Award, which qualifies them for an invitation to the 2019 regional festival. These include Shelby Watson, Justin Gonzales, Sarah Owens, Jasmine Ryan and Cody Osburn.

Earning meritorious achievement honors were Maelbi Calderon, dramaturgy and festival coordinator; Nathaniel Endsley, dramaturgy and festival management; Lacie Sepulvado, costume design; Tailer Chong, sound design; Kyree Williams, directing; Angel Kammer, Kassidy Weatherford, Bethany Crowe, and Madison Spence, festival hospitality; Kassandra Escobar, Keath Kibbey, Peyton Proffitt and Brenton Humphries for technical support excellence; and Karen King, festival hosting.

In addition, the Panola College cast and crew of “I Gelosi” received a meritorious achievement award for production ensemble, and were invited to showcase a scene at the 2019 regional festival. Panola College also earned the Director’s Choice award for “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”

Six singers selected to All-State Choir

Six singers selected to All-State Choir

“I am so proud of these fine singers,” said Sandra Bauer, director of vocal music at Panola College. “They worked hard to prepare for the audition, and I’m thrilled that they were selected for this honor.”

The students include Aaron Tello, Center, Bass 2; Kacia Johnson, Tatum, Alto 2; Loren Caserta, Beckville, Soprano 2; Nichole Painter, Marshall, Soprano 1; Sydnee Taylor, Carthage, Alto 1, and Hunter Moon, Beckville, Tenor 1.

The students will join other college singers from across Texas at the 2019 TMEA Clinic and Convention, February 13-16, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.

Bauer is serving as president of the Texas Two-Year College Choral Directors Association for 2018-2019. “It’s quite an accomplishment to be selected as All-State Choir members. At this event in February, my students will have the opportunity to meet other college musicians and learn from some of the best in the State.”

Sales Tax Revenue Totaled Nearly $3 Billion in November

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today said state sales tax revenue totaled $2.998 billion in November, 7.7 percent more than in November 2017.

“While slower than the double-digit pace of recent months, state sales tax revenue growth in November was strong,” Hegar said. “Increased tax collections continue to be led by remittances from oil- and gas-related sectors, but at a slower pace than in recent months. Growth from retail trade and restaurants, the sectors most dependent on consumer spending, was positive, but comparatively modest.”

Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in November 2018 was up 9.8 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 57 percent of all tax collections.

In November 2018, Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:

motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $405.1 million, down 2.5 percent from November 2017;
motor fuel taxes — $311.4 million, up 1 percent from November 2017; and
oil and natural gas production taxes — $529.6 million, up 49.4 percent from November 2017.