Humans of Sam Houston: Dr. Hoyt

Universities are relics. Reckoning back to the ancient Greeks, tracing their lineage through great names such as Oxford and Cambridge, exploding in popularity during the 21st Century, colleges have become the modern day meeting place of the brightest minds alive today.


Humans of Sam Houston is a new series The Houstonian has started to tell the student body about some of the greatest minds, the most interesting individuals, and the dedicated people who work at Sam Houston State University.


For the first installment The Houstonian sat down with Dr. Dana Hoyt, the university’s President, to ask about her job, background, and for advice on what it takes to be successful in college and beyond.


Dr. Hoyt assumed the presidency on September 1st, 2010, her most recent move in a career long transition from public accountant to president.


“Originally I was in public accounting, I got my CPA license and started into public accounting,” the President said. “What I found was that the part I loved the most was the training, working with the people to help them learn what they needed to do.”


This proclivity for instruction and leadership began in Dr. Hoyt’s first career, public accounting, and grew as she focused on the aspects she enjoyed most.


“I had an MBA and went to get a second masters. As I visited with the faculty and they asked what I enjoyed, and they asked if I had ever thought about teaching. I said to myself, ‘That was really interesting!’” Dr. Hoyt said. “I still thoroughly enjoy and still enjoy that aspect of helping people learn and enhancing what they know.”


Dr. Hoyt took the recommendation seriously, and moved into a lecturer position at Texas Woman’s University soon afterward.


At TWU she moved through several positions as a professor, eventually receiving tenure as an associate professor of accounting and management information systems. From there Dr. Hoyt moved into an administrative role and remained in similar positions until she became President.


“I would not have thought of President as a role. Vice President of Finance was my goal,” says Hoyt.


In 2009 she came to SHSU as the Vice President of Finance and Operations. Dr. Hoyt had achieved her original goal of VP, numerous times in fact at many public organizations across the country, but when the opportunity presented itself to become President she took it.

“I think every opportunity in life, whether personal or professional, comes with a certain amount of risk.” The President said. “I’m not one who will jump off into the dep end without any water, but there are very few opportunities that come along without some sort of risk component to them.”
“You can be a little nervous about it, that’s not necessarily wrong, but I think you can’t overlook those opportunities because you’re afraid.”


Dr. Hoyt cited her excellent team as a large reason for the success the University has seen under her leadership.


“I have a really excellent group of Vice Presidents here, and getting their input is invaluable,” said Dr. Hoyt. “You have to listen to your team when they speak up and say ‘Have you thought of this?’”


Even as an accomplished individual in nearly every aspect of professional life, the President wasn’t immune to some of the same pressures as student’s campus wide.


“The most reservation and nervousness I had going into the Presidency was that [Sam] has had some really excellent long term presidents,” Dr. Hoyt said, “It’s the nervousness of, ‘Can I continue that trajectory?’”


Dr. Hoyt also finds herself influenced by a number of individuals, both role models and inspirations.


“One role model of mine was named Nancy Hedrick. She found out that she had breast cancer, she had lost her job and that her husband was leaving her in a two-week span.” Dr. Hoyt said. “But every single day she lived to the fullest, she went through some horrific things and was always a positive and upbeat person. She inspired me to take advantage of opportunities, to tell people you care about them. From a personal standpoint she was a huge inspiration for me.”


For students hoping to succeed in college and life beyond, Dr. Hoyt had a few words of advice and encouragement.


“It’s about strategic focus, time management and strategic focus. IN the long run you need to focus on getting a degree, managing time in the long term for that goal of getting a degree. I think the whole idea of thinking through where you want to be, none of us actually have that huge plan. But in that vein remember that the little things won’t matter to you in five years. You keep moving forward the goal in focus, the big picture and the day to day.”


“You can’t underestimate doing what you enjoy. I love being in higher education, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I changed majors 3 times in college, but when you find that thing that you are passionate about that’s what you should go do because you will always be better at that.”

Leave a Reply