Dr. Steve Westbrook, the retired president of Stephen F. Austin State University who lead the institution through much of the affiliation process with the University of Texas System, will be honored as Citizen of the Year when the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce meets this fall.
Westbrook is one of six recipients for the 2023 Gary Justice Business Excellence Awards that will be presented during the chamber’s 101st annual membership meeting and banquet Sept. 26 at the Fredonia Hotel.
Nominations for the award come from the public and are voted on by chamber members.
“Annual banquet chair Betty Shinn and her team are creating a premier event celebrating our chamber of commerce as the voice of the business community,” Beavers said.
Westbrook was officially named president of SFA in February after serving as interim president twice — once following the death of Baker Patillo in 2018 and again following the departure of Scott Gordon in 2022.
He retired at the end of May after leading SFA through much of the transition from a stand-alone university to becoming part of the University of Texas System and entitled to funding through the Permanent University Fund.
SFA prospered for many years as a stand-alone, but being without financial resources and support that nearly every other university in the state had “was an elephant in the room that just had to be addressed,” Westbrook told Rotary Club of Nacogdoches in May.
Westbrook began his career at SFA in 1981 and became a vice president in 2007. He previously held a number of other administrative roles. He earned a bachelor’s degree from SFA in 1981 followed by a master’s of education. He completed a doctorate in education in 2010 at Texas A&M-Commerce.
• Woodland Hills Golf Club, Small Business of the Year, sponsored by Commercial Bank of Texas, N.A.
• UBank, Medium Business of the Year, sponsored by Regions Bank.
• Motorhomes of Texas, Large Business of the Year, sponsored by R&K Distributors, Inc.
• Dr. Steve Westbrook, Citizen of the Year, sponsored by Tipton Ford Lincoln.
• Solid Foundation Association, Non Profit of the Year, sponsored by Charles Pool Real Estate, Inc.
• Dr. Robert Lehmann, Lifetime Achievement Award.