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Gina Oglesbee

Dear Lumberjack Family,

I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and optimism. Over the past many months — during our centennial year — serving as your interim president has been both an honor and a unique journey, one marked by challenges, achievements and an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation.

I have had the privilege of interacting more closely with our students, learning about their experiences, aspirations and challenges. These conversations have been eye-opening and inspiring, reinforcing my belief in the transformative power of higher education and the incredible potential of our Lumberjacks.

In my position, my interactions with students were more limited and infrequent. However, as interim president, I have gained a deeper understanding of the backgrounds, talents and perspectives our students bring to SFA. Their creativity and commitment are remarkable, and I am proud to be part of a university that fosters such exceptional individuals.

As we move forward, I am more committed than ever to ensuring that SFA remains a welcoming and supportive environment where all students can thrive. We will continue to invest in programs and resources that enhance the academic experience, promote personal growth and prepare our students for success in their chosen fields. We will also strive to create more opportunities for meaningful engagement between students, faculty, staff and administration, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose.

When I stepped into this role, it was amidst a time of transition for SFA. We embarked on a journey together, navigating the complexities of our integration into The University of Texas System — a historic milestone that promises to bolster our resources, enhance our programs and solidify our standing as a leading institution of higher education in Texas and beyond.

Our progress has been remarkable. Despite the inherent challenges of such a significant transition, our university community has shown adaptability and a collective determination to not only maintain but elevate our standards of excellence. This has been evident in several key areas:

  1. Academic Achievement and Innovation: Our faculty has continued to excel, garnering accolades and fostering an environment of academic rigor and innovation. Our students' achievements continue to prove the quality of education SFA provides.
  2. Enrollment and Retention: In the face of national trends of declining college enrollment, SFA has remained resilient. Our efforts to enhance student life, coupled with strategic initiatives aimed at increasing enrollment and retention, have begun to yield positive results. This is a critical area of focus as we look to the future, and one that we will continue to prioritize.
  3. Community Engagement and Expansion: Our commitment to serving the broader Nacogdoches community and beyond has never been stronger. Through expanded outreach programs, partnerships and service initiatives, we continue to strengthen our bonds with the community, enriching both our university and the lives of those we touch.
  4. Financial Stability and Growth: The transition into the UT System opens new avenues for financial growth and stability. Access to the Permanent University Fund and other resources are enabling us to further invest in our faculty and staff, facilities, and student programs, improving the outlook of SFA for generations to come.

In the coming months, we will welcome Dr. Neal Weaver as the new permanent president of SFA. Dr. Weaver brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of leadership in higher education. Under his guidance, and with the continued support and dedication of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, I am confident SFA will expand its reach and force for good.

This transition is the beginning of a new era of leadership and opportunity. Our goals remain steadfast — to provide an unmatched educational experience, foster a vibrant community of scholarship and service, and uphold our legacy of excellence.

As I transition from my role as interim president, I express my deepest gratitude to each of you for your support, hard work and dedication to SFA. It has been a privilege for me to serve as president, and for Chris to support me as the university's inaugural First Gentleman, as we contributed to the legacy of our beloved university. I look forward to continuing to support SFA and to witnessing the incredible achievements I know lie ahead for our university.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Axe 'em, Jacks!

Gina Oglesbee Signature

Gina Oglesbee '11
Interim President
Stephen F. Austin State University