NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Stephen F. Austin State University has announced the sole finalist in search for its new university president.
Doctor Scott Gordon, provost at Eastern Washington University, was named Tuesday by the SFA Board of Regents as the finalist out of four candidates who were interviewed for the position.
Presidential Search Committee Chair Alton Frailey said regents are impressed with Gordon’s attributes.
“He impressed me with his connecting with our students, the collaborative style he expressed with faculty and staff and just his energy and excitement about college life,” said Frailey. “And a first-generation college kid himself, we just felt he would be the right fit.”
Frailey says surveys of faculty, staff and community, as well as an open forum, indicated a desire for the presidential search to reach outside the bounds of SFA.
Two internal candidates were seriously considered. Dr. Kim Childs, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics and interim president, Dr Steve Westbrook. He was one of the four finalists.
The board gave Westbrook two standing ovations for his dedication of service following the December, 2018 death of his mentor, SFA President Dr. Baker Pattillo.
In March, SFA announced it would begin a nationwide search for its next president. A list of 75 qualified candidates was drawn up in early April, according to the university, which was narrowed down to a shortlist of eight candidates in June.
University officials said continued background checks, community engagement, and negotiation of terms and contract will take place over the 21 days. If everything goes as planned, Dr. Gordon will be named as the university’s 9th president by Aug. 12.
Dr. Gordon sent the following statement to the East Texas News.
“I am honored to be named sole finalist for the position of President at Stephen F. Austin State University. I look forward to the next steps in this process and the opportunity to work with the SFA Board of Regents, university leadership, faculty, staff, students and the great community of Nacogdoches to build on the tradition of excellence at SFA."
"The opportunity to serve as a leader at SFA is a dream come true. I am deeply committed to the vision, mission and goals of SFA and believe my background and values are a great fit with the institution. I look forward to joining the SFA family”
Gordon will be in Nacogdoches on Sunday to meet with regents. On Monday a number of receptions will be held in his honor.
Below is Dr. Gordon’s biography as written on Eastern Washington University’s website:
"Dr. Gordon came to EWU in July 2016 after spending 22 years at the University of Southern Indiana, where he most recently served as the Dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education.
As Provost, Dr. Gordon is the university’s chief academic officer, with oversight of academic operations including: 135 areas of study, more than 500 faculty members in six academic colleges, the JFK Library, Academic Policy and Planning, Distance Education, International Programs, Institutional Research, and Grants and Contracts.
A first-generation college student himself, Dr. Gordon’s commitment to students aligns with EWU’s vision for student success."