“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ‒ Henry David Thoreau
What drew you to the higher education world?
My dad earned an associate degree before I was born. My mother decided to begin pursuing a college degree when she was in her 30s. This was a foundational reason for my love of education. I watched her struggle with the challenges of raising two kids while making the long commute to school, but I also saw her thrive. When she competed her degree, I noticed the difference it made in our lives. Her story taught me that hard work pays off, and it inspired me to follow in her footsteps. When I had the chance to pursue college, I had many impactful mentors. They inspired me to learn more, to challenge myself and to face adversity with grit and determination. When I saw that I could be that kind of mentor for students, it ignited a passion in me that continues to this day.
What do you enjoy most about your role at SFA (so far)?
I love to be with our students as they make new discoveries and accomplish their goals. You are as likely to see me at a fine arts event as you are at a basketball game. When a student comes to my office to tell me they’ve been offered their first job or have been admitted to the graduate program of their dreams, I get a kind of joy that is hard to describe. My absolute favorite time of year is commencement, especially in the spring. For weeks, I see students taking graduation pictures all over our beautiful campus. Their beaming smiles show the pride they take in this important accomplishment, and I feel a similar pride knowing how likely it is that one of my outstanding colleagues made the difference that helped the student succeed.
What do you hope students gain from SFA?
Across campus you will see posters with the slogan, “Your most important project in college is YOU.” That sums up what I hope students will gain. In college, students are asked to complete many assignments, exams and projects. In the end, it’s about shaping yourself into the person you want to become. At SFA, we want the college experience to be about more than just getting a degree but also about transformative experiences inside and outside the classroom. SFA is seen as a leader in helping students make meaning of what they learn and articulate it to potential employers. I have researched how these experiences help prepare students with the marketable skills desired most by employers and have published more than 40 scholarly articles and two books on this subject.
What are you passionate about outside your role at SFA?
I am passionate about SFA and my family, and my work often gives me the ability to combine both. In my free time, you will often see me with my wife of nearly 20 years, Michele, and our two teenage children, Noble and Josie. My children are alumni of the SFA Charter School and participate in many activities on campus, including Barrio Writers, Junior Jacks Theatre Camp, STEM Academy and Mark Kellogg Ladyjack Hoops Camp. When I have a quiet moment, I like to play piano.
- Interim Vice President for University Affairs
Stephen F. Austin State University (Current)
- Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
Stephen F. Austin State University (2013–2019)
- Dean of Student Affairs
Stephen F. Austin State University (2008–2013)
- Director of Student Life
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO (2005–2008)
- Senior Student Affairs Administrator
The Texas Union, The University of Texas at Austin (2001–2005)
- Director of Student Activities and the Alumni Student Center
Texas Lutheran University (2001)
- Director of Student Activities
McKendree College (now McKendree University) (1998–2001)
- Residence Hall Director
McKendree College (1997–1999)
- Theater Manager
Belleville Area College (now Southwestern Illinois College)
- Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Lewis University (1995)
- Master of Arts in Speech Communication, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (2000)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration, The University of Texas at Austin (2006)
Awards / achievements
- Founder’s Award National Association for Campus Activities (2018)
- Champion of Assessment Campus Labs (2017)
- Honorary induction into Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society SFA Circle of ODK (2009)
- Larry Markley Award Central Region of the National Association for Campus Activities (2009)
- Eyes of Texas Excellence Award The University of Texas at Austin (2002)