SFA president clears up false perceptions about Stephen F. Austin State University

SFA president clears up false perceptions about Stephen F. Austin State University
Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 6:29 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 12:27 AM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A state of the university address was given Thursday by Stephen F. Austin State University president Dr. Scott Gordon.

It’s a true indication that the president is back in the public eye following last summer’s harsh criticism over a salary contract.

Gordon is certain the difficult period will not hinder his leadership abilities at SFA.

Before Nacogdoches Chamber membership, Gordon began by dispelling perceptions concerning SFA.

“Some of you may have gotten a picture over this last year that little has been accomplished, initiatives haven’t proceeded, and we’re broke and falling apart. Far from accurate,” said Gordon at the Eggs and Issues chamber breakfast.

Gordon acknowledged setbacks of $10 million in tuition refunds and loss of on-campus housing revenue.

However, he assured, “We’re coming out of it. We’re recovered.”

The university is also close to reaching the goal in an elevated fundraising campaign.

“We are now over $90 million of a $100-million goal.”

The money came from donations observers feared could never happen.

In 2021 regents approved for Gordon an $85,000 annual raise during budget shortfalls. Following harsh criticism, the president rejected the amended contract, but the damage was done.

He’s now regaining the trust and support of faculty and staff. For the first time at SFA, there’s a “shared governance doctrine.”

“It’s a set of principals regarding the involvement and the collaboration of the constituencies across campus,” Gordon explained.

It is a change that may not have happened if Gordon hadn’t experienced a low point.

“There’s going to be detractors. There’s always going to be detractors, Gordon said. And often times they are the loudest voices that you hear. I don’t like backing away from a challenge. And you go through those challenges, and you come out stronger.”

Gordon said he came out strong enough to elevate SFA to its true potential, but not without the help of those on and off campus.

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