In April of 2020, Dr. Thomas W. Newsom began his duties as the 21st President of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Throughout a career of more than 20 years in higher education, he has lead several colleges and universities in the Southwest on a path to academic excellence and achievement.
Prior to arriving in Durant, Newsom served as Vice President of Student Success and Dean of Students at Texas A&M-Commerce. While in Commerce, he oversaw the development of a new student success initiative that was implemented through the creation of student success teams imbedded in each of the university’s academic colleges. As a member of the President’s Executive Team, Newsom also directed all of the student affairs functions at the university, including a residence life program that housed more than 2,500 students on campus; campus recreation; student conduct; student union, and student health services.
Newsom also served for five years as President of Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico. While at Mesalands, the institution was named the top community college in the state of New Mexico and was designated as the 7th fastest growing two-year school of its size in the nation. During this time, Mesalands experienced a double-digit increase in enrollment; increases in persistence; and improved graduation rates to a level that is one of the highest among public two-year schools in New Mexico.
As a community college president, Newsom held several leadership roles, having served as the Chair of the President’s Academy Executive Committee of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In his leadership role, Newsom has attended annual meetings at the White House, and has met with the United States Secretary of Education.
Although only at Southeastern a short time, he has seen the University set an all-time enrollment record with more than 5,000 students in Fall 2020 – all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under his leadership, the University has successfully transitioned from a 100% remote learning environment in the spring and summer to a combination of in-person and online academic delivery in Fall 2020.
Newsom has established a number of working groups at Southeastern to address such important issues as academic excellence, growth, student recruitment and retention, diversity, athletics, and support services. One of his goals is to increase the number of undergraduate students on campus by building a more vibrant in-person experience.
He is active in Imagine Durant and the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce.
A native of Sherman, Texas, Newsom earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of North Texas, an M.S. in Higher Education from Texas A&M-Commerce, and a B.A. in Business Administration from Austin College.
He and his wife Vicky, a fifth-grade teacher, have three children, Will, Katie, and John.