Dr. Kelly Damphousse was named the tenth president of Texas State University on April 21, 2022, after a unanimous vote of The Texas State University System Board of Regents.
Before joining Texas State, President Damphousse served as chancellor of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for five years. He previously served as associate dean and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.
President Damphousse began his academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and then at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, before joining the University of Oklahoma faculty. He is an accomplished scholar, having earned the title of Presidential Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma based on his extensive research on terrorism, substance abuse, and the criminal justice system.
President Damphousse, or Kelly as he prefers to be known, was born and raised in a small fishing village in northern Canada. He moved to southern Alberta in Grade 12, where he later earned an associate degree in law enforcement from Lethbridge Community College. After graduation, he worked as a prison guard for three years.
Kelly had two early ambitions, the first being to become a goalie in the National Hockey League. After a failed attempt at a hockey tryout, he pursued his second dream to be a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, which inspired him to head south to the Lone Star State to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Sam Houston State.
In Texas, Kelly developed a new dream, which involved staying in the states with his future wife Beth, whom he met while they attended Sam Houston State. After he completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston State, he and Beth were married in her hometown of Bryan, Texas. She encouraged him to enter graduate school, and he eventually earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University, during which time both their daughters were born.
Though a native Canadian, Kelly considers Texas to be his and Beth’s “home state.” Now, his dream has come full circle – serving two component institutions of The Texas State University System, first, as a faculty member at Sam Houston State, and now, as president of Texas State.
Kelly has never met a stranger; he is a friend to all. He is accessible to anyone who has a question, a concern, or just wants to talk. Kelly was adopted and his adoptive parents took in foster children throughout his childhood, which left him with a passion for justice and inclusion. He is a first-generation student who personally knows the life-changing impact that higher education can have on a student’s life. Led by the guiding principle that everyone matters, Kelly is steadfast in ensuring that all are welcome, all belong, and all are heard.
In addition to his university responsibilities, Kelly is actively engaged in athletics at a national level. Currently, he serves on the NCAA Board of Directors and the NCAA Board of Governors, and as president of the Sun Belt Conference Board of Directors. He also served as the Faculty Athletics Representative at University of Oklahoma for five years.
Kelly and Beth’s daughters earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Kayleigh in sociology and Kristen in biology. Kayleigh then went on to earn a master’s degree in higher education administration at the University of Kansas and is now the transition coordinator in the first-year program at the University of Texas at Austin. Kristen earned her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Memphis and is a research scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Damphousses are also the proud parents of a labradoodle named Maple, who has lived on college campuses her entire life.