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Presidential Search

Stephen F Austin statue

Presidential Search

SFA Regents select presidential finalist

Dr. Scott GordonNACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents unanimously named Dr. Scott Gordon, a first-generation college student who became provost of Eastern Washington University, as sole finalist for SFA president.
A native of Malone, New York, Gordon received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Cortland. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate in botany and mycology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and holds certifications from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in educational management and leadership.

As EWU provost, Gordon is the university’s chief academic officer, overseeing more than 500 faculty members in six academic colleges, with responsibility for academic policy and planning, distance education, international programs and institutional research.

Gordon led a complete reorganization of EWU’s Academic Affairs unit, led the development and implementation of the university’s strategic plan in 2018 and developed partnerships with community colleges, business and industry, as well as government entities. This work was highlighted by a unique partnership with Microsoft and the collaboration with multiple businesses on The Catalyst, a 140,000-square-foot facility in downtown Spokane.    

Prior to joining Eastern Washington, Gordon spent 22 years at the University of Southern Indiana, where he served as dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education. In addition, Gordon served for 10 years as the Faculty Athletics Representative, was named a NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative Fellow, and was vice president and treasurer of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which includes 14 NCAA Division II institutions.
“I am honored to be named sole finalist for the position of president at Stephen F. Austin State University,” Gordon said. “I look forward to the next steps in this process and the opportunity to work with the SFA Board of Regents, university leadership, faculty, staff, students and the great community of Nacogdoches to build on the tradition of excellence at SFA.”

Gordon called the opportunity to serve as a leader at SFA a “dream come true.”  

“I am deeply committed to the vision, mission and goals of SFA and believe my background and values are a great fit with the institution,” he said. “I look forward to joining the SFA family.”

If confirmed by regents after the state-required 21-day waiting period, Gordon will become SFA’s ninth president, succeeding Dr. Baker Pattillo, who was SFA president from 2006 until his death in December 2018.

Before interviewing finalists for the presidency, Regents considered recommendations from a presidential screening committee that worked with an executive search firm, R. William Funk & Associates of Dallas, to review applications and meet with prospective candidates.
Alton Frailey, who chaired the search committee, said Gordon is an accomplished visionary who will lead SFA into its second hundred-year history.

“Dr. Gordon has an outstanding track record in all aspects of academic leadership, from both student and faculty recruitment to core curriculum development and strategic planning,” Frailey said. “His vision for a student-centered education aligns with SFA’s values, and we look forward to introducing him to the campus and the community.”

Gordon is expected to attend a public reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Cole Art Center.

A message from Regent Alton Frailey

Alton L. Frailey, SecretaryIt is my pleasure, as chair of the presidential screening committee, to provide you with information regarding the beginning of a comprehensive national search for the ninth president of Stephen F. Austin State University. Both the Board of Regents and the screening committee are committed to pursuing a search that yields the very best outcome for the university and all of its constituents.

This website has been created to provide up-to-date information and includes the presidential profile and an anticipated timeline. It also includes information about R. William Funk and Associates, one of the country’s premier search firms, who will assist in the process. The Funk and Associates team has recruited presidents for top national universities and was selected from among several firms that were considered by the Board of Regents. 

This is a significant moment in the history of Stephen F. Austin State University, and with the support of and assistance from our SFA community, we are confident we will attract and select an accomplished, visionary and inspirational president with an appreciation for the value of public higher education to lead SFA to its brightest future. 


Alton Frailey ’83, ’85
Member, SFA Board of Regents
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Anticipated search timeline

The following timeline is fluid and subject to change. The Board of Regents seeks to locate the best candidates for its next president, and dates will be adjusted as needed to accomplish that goal.

Timeline Search Process Activity Responsibility
February 22, 2019 Appointment of Screening Committee Board of Regents
March 11-12, 2019 Public engagement to develop Profile/Leadership Statement R. William Funk & Associates
Screening Committee
April Confirmation of the Profile/Leadership Statement R. William Funk & Associates
Board of Regents
April – May Advertisement for the position and Profile/Leadership Statement used to search for candidates R. William Funk & Associates
May – June Candidates are screened and top ~10 candidates are identified R. William Funk & Associates
Screening Committee
June – July Initial interviews with top ~10 candidates are conducted R. William Funk & Associates
Screening Committee
July Board of Regents considers comments from interviews
Leading candidates are identified and interviewed by Board of Regents and select campus/community constituents
Board of Regents
R. William Funk & Associates
July – August Finalist is identified and formal announcement made
Formal action to approve appointment made (to occur at least 21 days following announcement)
Board of Regents

About the President

The president shall be responsible for developing and maintaining excellence and efficiency within the university.

The president shall be answerable to the Board of Regents and shall have discretionary powers broad enough to effectively administer the university within the policies and guidelines as set forth by the Board of Regents. The president shall have such powers as may be from time to time delegated by the board.

The president shall be prepared to make recommendations to the board on university matters which require board approval.

The president shall be responsible for implementing all board action items affecting the university.

The president shall interpret the board's policies to the faculty and staff and interpret the university's programs and needs to the board. The president shall at all times also represent and interpret the university's programs, needs and interests to the public.

The president shall recommend appropriate operating budgets and supervise expenditures under approved budgets.

The president shall nominate to the board the appointment and reappointment of all members of the faculty, administrative officers and professional staff and recommend such individuals for promotion, retention, or dismissal.

The president shall develop and maintain efficient personnel programs for all employees, including faculty and administrative officers.

The president shall ensure efficient management of business affairs and physical property and shall recommend additions and alterations to the physical plant.

The president shall assume active leadership in developing private fund support for the university.

Without prior notice or hearing, the president of the university may suspend without pay and immediately remove from the university or assign to other duties with pay any employee, and suspend and immediately remove from the university any student who: (1) poses a continuing danger to persons or property; (2) disrupts the orderly operation of the university; (3) endangers the education of students; or (4) has been convicted by a trial court of any felony or a crime of moral turpitude. The president shall, as soon as possible, notify the general counsel of such action. In such cases the president will set a hearing before the appropriate administrator or committee on the employee's or student's case as soon thereafter as is practicable unless otherwise waived by the employee or student.

The president shall have the ultimate responsibility for the proper administration of all university contracts, agreements, or purchases which are delegated to the president under the board's policy.

The president is authorized to accept grants and contracts and enter into agreements involving the furnishing of educational services with the various agencies of the federal and state governments, foundations, and private corporations and is authorized to advance funds as necessary to finance federal grants and contracts which are on a reimbursement basis provided the university will be reimbursed by the agencies for any cost resulting from such grants or contracts.

Letter from Brigettee Henderson to the members of the screening committee

On behalf of the Board of Regents, thank you for agreeing to serve as a member of the screening committee of candidates for president of Stephen F. Austin State University. In accordance with the Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, this committee's membership represents the board, faculty, staff, alumni, students and the community. This cross-section of representation of various SFA stakeholders will prove invaluable to the search process.

This screening committee is charged with working directly with R. William Funk & Associates to screen candidates for SFA's next president. This committee will review credentials and conduct preliminary interviews. The committee will conclude its service by reviewing qualifications of suitable candidates for presentation to the Board of Regents.

Thank you again for your willingness to serve in this important role. The university community is grateful for your service


Brigettee Henderson
Chair, Board of Regents

Presidential Search Screening Committee

  • Board of Regents
    • Nelda Blair - Secretary,  Board of Regents
    • Alton Frailey - Vice Chair, Board of Regents
    • Bridgettee Henderson - Chair, Board of Regents
  • Faculty Representative
    • Jason Reese Ph.D.
      • Assistant Professor of Management and Marketing
      • Chair of SFA Faculty Senate
  • Staff Representative
    • Erma Nieto Brecht - Executive Director of SFA Enrollment Management
  • Alumni Association Representative
    • Charlotte Ashcraft
      • President-Elect of the SFA Alumni Association
      • Vice President, Marketing Director Commercial Bank of Texas
  • Student Representative
    • Jeffrey Agouna-Deciat - President of the SFA Student Government Association
  • Community Representative
    • Robert Flores - CFO of Elliott Electric

*In case a change in the presidency is made, the board will accept for consideration suggested nominations from a screening committee representing the board, the faculty, the staff, the Alumni Association, the community, and the student body. Committee members shall be selected by a majority vote of the Board of Regents.

*Rules and Regulations
Board of Regents
Stephen F. Austin State University
Amended October 29, 2018

Constituent Meetings

Monday, March 11

  • 1 to 2:15 p.m.: Screening Committee, Baker Pattillo Student Center President's Suite
  • 2:30 to 4 p.m.: Open Forum, Baker Pattillo Student Center Theater
  • 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.: President's Cabinet, Austin Building, Room 305

Tuesday, March 12

  • 8:15 to 9:15 a.m.: Deans Council/Chairs Forum, Baker Pattillo Student Center President's Suite
  • 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Faculty Senate, Baker Pattillo Student Center President's Suite
  • 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.: Compliance Committee, Baker Pattillo Student Center President's Suite
  • Noon to 1 p.m.: Student Government Association, Baker Pattillo Student Center President's Suite​

Open forum recording

Watch the recording on SFA's YouTube channel.


Office of the President