Texas A&M President Michael K. Young stepping down, interim leader named

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young stepping down, interim leader named
President Michael K. Young (left) and Interim President Dr. John L. Junkins (right)(KBTX) (Source: KBTX)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his position at the end of the semester. Chancellor John Sharp has asked Dr. John L. Junkins to serve as Interim President.

Junkins currently serves as a distinguished professor of aerospace engineering and the holder of the Royce E. Wisenbaker Chair in Innovation in the College of Engineering. He is also the founding director of the Hagler Institute of Advanced Study.

In a release, Chancellor Sharp thanked President Young for his service to Texas A&M and highlighted the university’s growth in research and its successful Lead by Example fundraising campaign under Young’s leadership.

“During his tenure, the university increased research expenditures nearly 13 percent, to almost $1 billion a year; concluded a $4 billion Lead by Example fundraising campaign; and experienced a rise in national and world rankings,” said Sharp. “President Young faced a critical final year because of the pandemic, but he and the campus leadership have navigated it well. They deserve our thanks.”

Sharp said he expects Junkins to continue Young’s legacy of stewardship in his interim role.

“Dr. Junkins is an accomplished researcher, outstanding teacher and an innovator whose Institute has transformed our faculty. He also will bring a steady hand to the tiller to ensure that Texas A&M successfully navigates the next few months until a successor is named,” he said.

Young said he has informed Chancellor Sharp of his departure and will step down as president on Dec. 31, 2020.

“After a quarter of a century in senior academic leadership roles, I find myself increasingly drawn to return to the passions that drew me to a career in higher education in the first place,” said Young in a statement. “I have become particularly excited to soon become immersed as a full-time member of the faculty of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, as well as the School of Law, and again work on the issues that have engaged me for much of my career, especially issues related to religious freedom and international affairs.”

After stepping down, Young will work closely with the newly created Institute for Religious Liberties and International Affairs. He said he wants to begin work on building that Institute as soon as possible.

Young did note that his leaving will not impact how the university is handling the pandemic. He expressed that he is confident that the university has the necessary processes, people and tools in place to successfully navigate the coming year.

“Thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve as your 25th President,” said Young. “As this great university goes forward, please take care of each other, Aggies. Commit to the success of each other in heart and action -- the institution and Aggies will thrive as they always have.”

To read the full statement, click here.

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