UT Regents Name Neal Weaver as sole finalist for president of Stephen F. Austin State University

AUSTIN, TEXAS - The University of Texas System Board of Regents has unanimously voted to name Neal Weaver, Ph.D., 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, GA – for the past seven years.

Neal Weaver profile photo

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 seven percent, 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 make him an ideal fit to lead 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, LA. 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 doctorate 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, OK.

About The University of Texas System

With 14 institutions that enroll over 256,000 students overall, the UT System is the largest university system in Texas and one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produced over 63,000 graduates last year and awarded more than one-third of the undergraduate degrees in Texas, as well as 60% of the state's medical degrees. The combined efforts of UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics resulted in over 10.6 million outpatient visits and more than 2 million hospital days in 2023. UT’s $4.3 billion research enterprise is one of the nation’s most innovative, ranking No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the U.S. for federal research expenditures. With an operating budget of $29.1 billion for fiscal year 2024, UT institutions collectively employ more than 122,000 faculty, health care professionals, support staff and students.

News Contact Information

Catherine Frazier: cfrazier@utsystem.edu • 512-499-4360 (direct)