Lone finalist for SFA president talks first impressions, educational philosophy

Lone finalist for SFA president talks first impressions, educational philosophy

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The lone finalist in Stephen F. Austin State University’s search for its 9th president is carving out time to speak with students and residents while the process is finalized.

Dr. Scott Gordon’s day Monday was filled with one meeting after another, but his last meeting was among the most important for a candidate in his position: meeting the public. While the SFA Board of Regents finishes the last few steps cementing his position as the next president, Gordon decided to spend an hour of his evening answering questions from the public.

Gordon, formerly provost at Eastern Washington University, was named on July 23 by the SFA Board of Regents as the finalist out of four candidates who were interviewed for the position.

If everything goes as planned, Dr. Gordon will be named as the university’s 9th president by Aug. 12.

“Reading about SFA, doing some research, visiting, it really became apparent that... my background and the mission of this institution kind of was a good match,” said Gordon. “And I think that I’m excited about the transformational nature of the institution; transforming lives, transforming communities, and I want to be a part of that.”

A public reception will be held in Gordon's honor in downtown Nacogdoches, a crucial meeting between the man slated to become SFA's 9th president and the community Gordon will serve. (Source: Donna McCollum, KTRE)
A public reception will be held in Gordon's honor in downtown Nacogdoches, a crucial meeting between the man slated to become SFA's 9th president and the community Gordon will serve. (Source: Donna McCollum, KTRE)

Gordon has spent the last three years in Washington State. A duty was legislative liaison. Aware Deep East Texas is on the opposite end of Washington State politics, Gordon says 22 years in Indiana, undergraduate school in Tennessee and an upbringing in rural New York state serve as a foundation for understanding a conservative approach.

"I'm looking forward to working both sides of the aisle in talking about education," said Gordon.

Dean of Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. Kimberly Childs greets the new prospective president eagerly, even though she, too, was a presidential candidate.

"I think he will bring great new perspectives to SFA and I think that is wonderful. He understands the challenges in the STEM discipline and in recruiting and retaining students," said Childs.

Gordon says he wants to engage SFA stakeholders.

"I think communication is big factor, transparency, collaboration and I look very much forward to working with the faculty and listening.”

A particular concern of Gordon’s was what students thought about the current state of the campus and its leadership.

“I think it’s a great atmosphere when people can dialogue and discuss and do share different opinions,” said Gordon. “I think it’s exciting that they do want some new ideas and new ways of looking at things. I think it’s good for an organization.”

WEBXTRA: Lone finalist for SFA president talks first impressions, educational philosophy

A public reception will be held to introduce Dr. Gordon to the public. The reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cole Arts Center in downtown Nacogdoches.

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