Favors, Steve 1948–
Steve Favors 1948–
In the 1970s, when Steve Favors was building his career in university administration, he promised himself that one day he would be the president of a predominantly black institution of higher education. In 1998, he was able to achieve his goal, becoming the sixth president of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana. By this time, Favors had amassed 25 years of administrative experience in higher education, 21 of them at the vice-presidential level.
An article in Grambling State’s alumni magazine described Favors as “an adept administrator who has worked at other historically and predominantly black institutions in the country…Favors brings a repository of leadership experience, expertise and academic perspicacity to the Grambling State University community.” “There are and always will be challenges facing GSU,” Favors wrote in the “president’s letter” section of the university’s alumni magazine. “…In the midst of these challenges, I dare to remain optimistic…. As president, I am interested in creating an academic climate here that is more receptive and responsive to our students. We want the best faculty, administrators, and support personnel. We want to attract the best students.…Simply put, we want to be the best.”
Steve Alexander Favors, the son of Clarence L. and Erma (Newton) Favors, was born on December 30, 1948 in Texarkana, Texas. After graduating with honors from Texarkana’s Dunbar High School in 1967, Favors enrolled at Texas A&M University at Commerce (formerly East Texas State University). He majored in pre-law and minored in history, earning a bachelor of science degree in 1971. Favors remained at Texas A&M to pursue a master’s degree, majoring in student personnel and guidance, and minoring in sociology. He went on to earn a doctorate in education at the same university in 1978, again majoring in student personnel and guidance, and minoring in psychology and junior college administration.
In 1977, Favors was appointed vice president for student affairs at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, a position he held until 1981. Favors’ wide-ranging responsibilities included student health services, placement services, campus security, student housing, intercollegiate athletics, food service, recruitment, student activities, and the student union. In addition to his administrative duties, Favors taught introductory-level
Born Steve Alexander Favors, December 30, 1948, Texarkana, Texas; married to Charlotte; children: Steve Jr. and Jonathan Education: Texas A&M University at Commerce (formerly East Texas State University), B.S. in pre-law, 1971, M.S. in student personnel and guidance, 1973, Ed.D. in student personnel and guidance, 1978. Licensed as a professional counselor, 1984.
Career: Vice president for student affairs at Wiley College, Marshall, Texas, 1977-81; part-time assistant professor, Prairie View A&Jvt University, Prairie, Texas, 1979-81; vice president for student affairs, Dillard University, New Orleans, 1981-85; vice chancellor for student affairs, University of New Orleans, 1985-90; vice president for student affairs, Howard University, Washington D.C, 1990-98; president, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana, 1998-.
Member: Mayor of New Orleans’ War on Drugs Task Force, 1989-90; New Orleans Branch of NAACP, 1981-90; District Leader, Boy Scouts of America, 1981-82; Special Advisor to the Mayor of Marshall, TX, 1981; Marshall, Texas Branch of NAACP, 1978-81.
Addresses: Office —Office of the President, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA, 71245.
classes in the college’s education department. From 1979 to 1981, while still employed at Wiley College, Favors also taught part-time at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie, Texas. As an assistant professor in the school of education, Favors taught all of the courses required to earn a master’s degree in counselor education.
In 1981, Favors moved to Louisiana to take a position as vice president for student affairs at Dillard University in New Orleans. His responsibilities included university student housing, student health services, the student union, student activities, and the student government association. As he had done at Wiley College, Favors also taught introductory classes in the education department.
Four years later, Favors was appointed vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of New Orleans. In this position, Favors oversaw a staff of 150 people and controlled an operating budget of $4 million. Counseling services, student financial aid, placement services, university police, student activities, student health services, and Greek affairs were among Favors’ responsibilities.
In 1990, Favors left the University of New Orleans to take a job as vice president for student affairs at Howard University in Washington, D.C. This new position brought another increase in responsibility. Favors supervised a staff of more than 300 people, and controlled an operating budget of $17 million. In this position, Favors oversaw intercollegiate athletics, university housing, food service, counseling services, career services, and student activities. From 1994 to 1996, Favors was also acting director of athletics at Howard, in addition to his duties in the student affairs office.
Favors was appointed as the sixth president of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana in 1998. According to an article in the Grambling State alumni magazine, Favors “has a well-deserved reputation for encouraging academic excellence while insisting that institutions foster a student-oriented environment.” The article also noted that “the announcement was the realization of the 21-year goal set by Dr. Favors to one day head a predominantly black institution.”
In his inaugural address, Favors outlined six objectives for himself and Grambling State. These included strengthening and maintaining academic programs, promoting excellence in teaching and research, increasing alumni and private financial contributions, developing and maintaining a more productive partnership with the local community, enhancing the quality of student life, and promoting excellence in staff performance. “I am determined to lead the university in a ‘collaborative commitment to excellence,’” Favors was quoted as saying in a university press release. “To this end, we will identify challenges and obstacles and swiftly set measures in place that will help us successfully overcome them.”
Strengthening the university’s financial position is one of Favors’ main goals over the next few years—particularly given the possibility of a freeze in higher education spending in Louisiana. Grambling State “must make every effort to secure a financial basis for ourselves. We can’t always rely on others to come to our aid,” Favors was quoted as saying in a university press release.
Another goal is to strengthen the links with the surrounding community. “A chief administrator must understand the strategic relationship between an institution and its local community, state and region,” Favors wrote in a statement on his administrative philosophy. “Therefore, a chief administrator must use all opportunities available to create partnerships and friends for the institutions. When opportunities are limited, then he or she must find ways to create them.”
Throughout his career, Favors has been involved in a wide range of civic organizations, including the United Way, the NAACP, and the Boy Scouts. In 1981, he was a special advisor to the mayor of Marshall, Texas. From 1989 to 1990 he was a member of the Mayor of New Orleans’ War on Drugs Task Force.
“A chief administrator must be totally committed to his or her work, able to function under extreme stress, not afraid to make tough decisions, ready to work long hours, and have a supportive spouse,” Favors wrote in a statement on his administrative philosophy. Favors has been married to his wife Charlotte for more than 20 years. The couple has two sons, Steve Jr. and Jonathan.
Black Collegian website, www.black-collegian.com/news/grambling599.html
Cirriculum Vitae, Steve Alexander Favors, 1998.
Grambling State University press release, Feb. 2, 1999.
Grambling State University website, www.gram.edu/gsumacro/newfram6.htm
President’s letter,” Grambling State University alumni magazine, summer 1998.
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