GSW's Dr. Neal Weaver as Sole Finalist for President of Stephen F. Austin State University

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has unanimously voted to name Neal Weaver, PhD, the sole finalist to become the next president of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Weaver has served as president of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) — a member of the University of Georgia System based in Americus, Georgia — for the past seven years.

Per state law, the UT Regents now must wait 21 days before officially naming Weaver president. Once approved, he would succeed Interim President Gina Oglesbee to become the 11th president in SFA’s 100-year history and first as a member of the UT System. SFA, which has six colleges that offer more than 80 bachelor’s degree programs, 40 master’s degree programs, and four doctoral degrees that cover more than 120 areas of study, officially became the 14th member institution of the UT System last September.

With an impressive 33-year career in higher education administration across four public university systems, Weaver has demonstrated his leadership prowess at GSW. Under his guidance, the university experienced notable growth in enrollment, student retention and fundraising. GSW’s fall 2023 enrollment of 3,300 marked a historic high for the university and included an 18.5% increase in freshman enrollment, as well as 16.8% increase in graduate enrollment. Additionally, first-year student retention rose by more than 7%, and annual giving to the GSW Foundation more than doubled.

“The Regents met with outstanding candidates, and Dr. Weaver’s ability to lead in a thriving academic environment, coupled with his commitment to innovation and strategic growth, make him an ideal appointment to serve Stephen F. Austin State University as it enters its new era as a UT institution,” said UT System Board Chairman Kevin P. Eltife. “We are grateful for the thorough work of SFA’s presidential search advisory committee and the UT System leadership whose guidance and recommendations helped us arrive at today’s final selection.”

Weaver’s candidacy was recommended to the board of regents by a presidential search advisory committee that was chaired by UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. The search committee included representation from the SFA faculty, students, alumni and community leaders, as well as UT presidents and regents.

Milliken praised Weaver’s ability to maximize the potential of the institutions he has served throughout his career.

“Dr. Weaver's accomplishments in fostering student success, driving enrollment growth, and spearheading successful fundraising efforts position him to guide Stephen F. Austin State University into new opportunities as a member of the University of Texas System,” Milliken said. “I am pleased with the regents’ unanimous support of his candidacy and appreciate the efforts of everyone that helped us navigate this historic search.”

Before his role at GSW, Weaver served as the vice president for university advancement and innovation at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. In this capacity, he provided leadership in fundraising, enrollment management and athletics while generating new revenue and improving retention, operating efficiencies and customer service. Weaver's previous roles include vice president for institutional advancement at West Texas A&M University and vice president for university relations at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

Weaver earned a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from The University of Oklahoma, a Master of Business Administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He is a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.