SFA names lone finalist in search for new president

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NACGODOCHES, Texas (KETK) – SFA has been without an official president since October.

President Dr. Baker Patillo passed away just a few days before he was officially set to retire last winter.

After a lengthy search, university leaders say they have a lone finalist to fill some big shoes.

For 50 years Dr. Patillo was involved with SFA, first as a student then as the president of the university.

After announcing his retirement in October, Dr. Pattillo died in December.

“It’s going to be hard to not visualize him on the fourth floor in the Austin building in his beautiful office and at the events that go on in Nacogdoches and the ball games,” SFA alumni Mike Bay said in January.

Since then, Dr. Steve Westbrook served as interim president.

“Steve has done a remarkable job of demonstrating leadership and providing a steady hand at the helm,” said David Alders, SFA regent.

Though some said no one could fill Dr. Pattillo’s shoes, the university still needed a president.

So a nationwide search was launched.

“We looked at a number of applications, we looked at about 75 candidates directly as the screening committee and settled in on our top eight,” said Alton Frailey, SFA regent

Eventually, one individual stuck out.

Dr. Scott Gordon, current provost of Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, Washington, was named the sole finalist.

“He’s a very energetic person, he’s a former college athlete so he gets the whole package of the university setting,” said Frailey. “Mainly I think he’ll really reach out and connect and find a lot of credibility with the faculty and staff.”

A sigh of relief, as SFA is done searching.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for, really, quite a while,” said Alders. “It sets the future course of the university and its future leadership.”

The work they commit to their campus truly has the power to make an impact across the state and nation.

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