Meet the President: Dr. David T. McFaddin

Published on April 25, 2022

Dr. David T. McFaddin was appointed 14th president of Eastern Kentucky University by the Board of Regents on August 20, 2020. He is the third EKU alumnus to serve as the institution’s president and the first from the university’s service region in Eastern Kentucky. 

McFaddin initially arrived on campus as a first-generation college student from Paintsville, Kentucky. He received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from EKU, a master’s in business administration from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from EKU.

Upon graduating with his bachelor’s degree, McFaddin enjoyed a prosperous career with BellSouth, now AT&T, following a proud family tradition. McFaddin’s grandfather and dad both worked for the company, making him the third generation. While at AT&T, McFaddin held regional and statewide posts, where he led significant legislative, regulatory and strategic initiatives, paving the way for billions of dollars of capital investments in Kentucky. 

McFaddin began teaching communications courses as an adjunct professor at EKU and in 2012, shifted his entire career to Eastern, becoming the executive director of government relations and regional stewardship and later, the senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives. In December 2019, McFaddin assumed the role of interim president and was named president several months later after a unanimous vote and endorsement by the EKU Presidential Search Committee. 

While interim president, McFaddin began using “One Eastern” in the closing salutation of his communications, beginning a movement and re-defined era of community and inclusivity at EKU. 

“One Eastern permeates who we are,” McFaddin said. “That’s us being transparent and building on trust every day. That is us growing together. One Eastern means we come together. We’re a family, we are a community, and we are working toward one goal.”

As president, McFaddin prioritizes innovation, creativity and excellence. Beginning in Fall 2021 under McFaddin’s leadership, the university launched the innovative BookSmart program, providing free textbooks for all undergraduate students at EKU.  

“When students are trying to get through a class and it’s ‘buy the textbooks or pay the rent, or buy the textbooks or eat,’ that is just not a barrier that we can let stand at our institution,” McFaddin commented. “My own experiences, the experience of others and our vision to be the best version of ourselves has led us to continue to push on initiatives like BookSmart.”

As his presidency continues, McFaddin remains focused on serving his alma mater, leading with excellence and innovation, and ensuring EKU provides a transformational experience for all students. 

“It's not about being the president; it's about serving the institution in the way that it needs to be served,” McFaddin said. “So long as the season is as such that this institution needs a president like me, a native son of Kentucky, a two-time alum of the institution, someone who's here for the long term, then I will serve in that capacity, and I will serve Eastern faithfully.”

McFaddin and his wife, Melissa, a 2002 EKU graduate and licensed marriage and family therapist, live on a farm in Richmond and have three young children: Isabel, Sophia and Connor.