Grit, Grace, Gratitude: New SFA president delivers first State of the University address

Grit, Grace, Gratitude: New SFA president delivers first State of the University address

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Faculty and staff at Stephen F. Austin State University who attended Thursday morning’s State of the University address are now well versed with the new president’s values and principals.

The university’s ninth and recently-hired president, Dr. Scott Gordon, gave his first official presentation during the address. Gordon said he wasn’t nervous stepping up to the podium. He relies on what his rural upper New York family instilled in him to take on the leadership role.

“And those three things are grit, grace, and gratitude,” Gordon explained.

Higher education these days does take grit.

“Higher education is under fire. There’s a lot we need to do. There’s a lot that’s been going on, don’t get me wrong, but we need to be that model for what I call the new American university,” Gordon said.

During the State of the University address, Gordon went into detail about his guiding principles. Transparency and collaboration in decision-making were both highlighted, both of which caught the faculty’s attention.

“I think developing close relationships with the faculty leadership is a must and a priority,” Gordon explained. “When I develop ideas and thoughts, I love to bounce those ideas off of individuals, so I will surround myself with individuals that will give me input.”

“I believe we will be embracing his open-door policies," said Jeremy Stovall, the chair of Faculty Senate. "I know we’re planning to invite him to the Faculty Senate meetings over the coming year, which will be a little bit of a change, and he’s expressed interest in attending, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Gordon reminded listeners of SFA’s transformational nature on individuals, families, and communities. Respected Nacogdoches resident and former SFA regent Peggy Wright lent her support.

“I know he will serve us well, and we will be good constituents," Wright said.

Gordon knows how to reach the SFA spirit.

“I’m all in,” Gordon said, as he gestured the Lumberjack axe handle sign to much laughter and applause.

And Gordon's first official decision as SFA president was no more time-consuming faculty group photos on the steps of the Austin Building. Instead, a selfie sufficed.

Gordon will be guest speaker on Friday at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Fourth Friday luncheon. The luncheon gets underway at noon at Fredonia Hotel.

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