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Baker Pattillo, Ph.D.

“The words of Mirabeau Lamar are etched in stone on the side of one of our SFA buildings: ‘The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy. The work we commit to on our campus truly has the power to make an impact across our state and nation.’”

What drew you to the higher education world?

I met Dr. Ralph Steen, the third president of SFA, when he was the commencement speaker at my high school graduation ceremony. I remained in contact with him after I enrolled at SFA, and he became a mentor to me and assisted me as I began my career in higher education. Dr. Steen was an inspirational leader, and it is always my goal to continue his legacy of making a positive impact in the lives of SFA students.

What do you enjoy most about your role at SFA?

My entire adult life has revolved around SFA, and having a role in leading the university is the most fulfilling job I can imagine. Working with colleagues from across the campus to develop and implement a vision for the future of SFA is an inspiring and humbling challenge. I am continually impressed by the determination and ingenuity that faculty and staff members invest in maintaining the quality of our university and the opportunities for our students.

What do you hope students gain from SFA?

For many of our first-generation students, obtaining a university degree is much more than just an academic goal; it is a lifelong dream sometimes shared with several generations of family members. It is my goal to assist our campus in delivering high-quality educational opportunities for all Lumberjacks in a beautiful and safe environment that allows for every possible support mechanism so that SFA students achieve their goals.

What are you passionate about outside of your role at SFA?

My passion for SFA extends through every member of my family. My wife, Janice, is also an SFA alumna and is former chair of the Department of Elementary Education. My daughter, Paige — also an SFA alumna and former feature twirler for the Lumberjack Marching Band — is an attorney. Her husband, Todd Brown, is not an SFA alumnus, but he is a lifetime member of the SFA Alumni Association and associate dean of the SFA Nelson Rusche College of Business. Even my grandson, Jackson Baker Brown, is an SFA student in our Early Childhood Research Center. Spending time with my family is the most important thing to me, but with our shared interest in SFA, much of our time together revolves around the university.

Education and Experience

Academic experience

  • University President 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (2006-2018)
  • Vice President, University Affairs 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1982-2006)
  • Vice President, Student Affairs 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1979-1982)
  • Dean, Student Services 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1972-1979)
  • Director, Placement and Student Financial Aid 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1970-1972)
  • Assistant Director, Placement and Student Financial Aid 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1966 – 1970)


  • Ph.D. 
    Texas A&M University (1971)
  • Master of Education 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1966)
  • Bachelor of Science 
    Stephen F. Austin State University (1965)

Awards / achievements

  • Former chairman, Southland Conference Board of Directors
  • Member, National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I Board of Directors
  • Member, NCAA Board of Governors


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