Frederick G. Slabach has served as the 20th president of Texas Wesleyan University since 2011. During his tenure, the university has reached new heights in all areas, including academic excellence, the student experience, and the revitalization of the campus and its historic neighborhood.
These strategic initiatives were part of the University's 2020 Vision, a strategic plan to make Texas Wesleyan a leader in innovative education in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. President Slabach and leaders from across campus are currently developing the latest plan to guide Texas Wesleyan into its newest era.
Under President Slabach’s leadership, Texas Wesleyan has made more than $50 million in capital improvements to the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, and the University endowment has doubled. Freshman applications have increased 282 percent, and overall freshman enrollment has increased more than 80 percent since 2011. The increase in the number of residential students has exceeded strategic plan goals.
In fall 2017, football returned to Texas Wesleyan for the first time in more than 75 years to an overwhelmingly positive response from the local community and football fans across the nation.
In 2013, Texas Wesleyan broke ground on the Rosedale Renaissance, a $6.7 million project designed to revitalize the campus and Fort Worth's historic Polytechnic Heights neighborhood, which Texas Wesleyan has called home since its founding in 1890.
Its four key pieces include the "front door" to the University and iconic Canafax Clock Tower, an investment in the streets adjacent to campus that leverages $32 million in street improvements along East Rosedale, the United Methodist Church Central Texas Conference Service Center, and renovations to the historic Polytechnic Firehouse which is now home Texas Wesleyan’s art gallery.
The Rosedale Renaissance continues to thrive with the relocation of the University’s community counseling center, the opening of the Jack Morton Business Accelerator next door and Ben’s Triple B: Biscuits, Burgers and Brews, from Ben Merritt, a local celebrity chef. The latest embodiment of the Renaissance is the addition of a 100-student, on-campus housing complex scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.
Also, under President Slabach's leadership, in the fall of 2019, Texas Wesleyan dedicated the new, $20.25 million, 44,000-square-foot student center, the Nick & Lou Martin University Center. The fully-funded project is the most significant capital improvement project at Texas Wesleyan in a century and a result of generous donors and friends of the University who are dedicated to supporting Texas Wesleyan students as they persist to graduation. The student center is the hub for student life and engagement, featuring the University bookstore, a food court, welcome center, outdoor amphitheater and more.
In 2020, Texas Wesleyan maintained its newest level of national acclaim when, for the second consecutive year, U.S. News and World Report named the University to its annual list of nationally-recognized universities. For the previous nine years, the University had been in the top tier of the magazine's west regional rankings. The California-based education nonprofit Educate to Career also named Texas Wesleyan one of the best universities in its handling of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, including its ability to support virtual learning.
President Slabach is chair of the Independent College & Universities of Texas Board of Directors and serves on the board of directors of the North American Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities. He also serves as the treasurer of the board of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation and is the immediate past chair of the board of the Texas United Methodist College Association. Additionally, Slabach is the immediate past chair of the board of the Development Corporation of Tarrant County, immediate past chair of the community development organization Renaissance Heights United, and serves on the boards of the Mary I. Gourley Scholarship Foundation and Southeast Fort Worth, Inc.
President Slabach received his LL.M from Columbia University School of Law, his J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law and his B.S. from Mississippi College.
Prior to joining Texas Wesleyan as president, Slabach was CEO of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation in Washington, D.C. He was the dean of the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law from 2003 to 2006. He has also served in senior positions at the state and national levels of government. He was assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for congressional relations and counsel to the secretary, legislative counsel to the president protempore of the U.S. Senate, and a senior assistant to the governor of Mississippi.
He is married to the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Melany Neilson. They have twin sons and a daughter.