Chancellor John Sharp announced today that The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has named Michael K. Young as the sole finalist for president of Texas A&M University. Young was selected as sole finalist during a telephonic meeting today of the Board of Regents.
“Our search for the next President of Texas A&M was thorough, comprehensive, and deliberate,” said Phil Adams, chairman of the Board of Regents. “I applaud the work of Chancellor Sharp and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, chaired by Regent Cliff Thomas, in identifying the very best leader we could have for this important time in the history of Texas A&M. Mike Young’s proven record at the head of major centers of learning made him a clear choice.”
“With Mike Young as our President, Texas A&M will make great strides toward our goal to become the best public university in the country,” said Chancellor Sharp. “His stature as one of the top 10 university presidents in America and his background at major research universities will help take us to new heights, and I am honored to have Mike and his wife, Marti, become part of the Texas A&M family.”
Young comes to Texas A&M from the University of Washington, where he has served as President since July 2011. He brings more than three decades of teaching, research, public service, and leadership in higher education. Under his leadership at the University of Washington, in the face of significant cuts in state funding, the university was able to maintain economic stability and retain its “AAA – Stable” rating, research funding increased dramatically, and fundraising records were set.
“If other presidents could see what I saw in visits to Texas A&M, they would see a university that is already the largest research university in the Southwest, but also a university poised to be one of the greatest research universities in America,” said Young. “Marti and I want to be part of expanding that excellence and a part of the great spirit and tradition that is Texas A&M. Chancellor Sharp is a leader of vision and I look forward to working with someone who has such a passion for excellence and commitment to the highest standards.”
Prior to serving as president of the University of Washington, he was president and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah from 2004 to 2011, during which time the university built more than two million square feet of research and teaching space and rose in stature to become one of the top 100 universities in the world.
Young, a native of California, received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Japanese from Brigham Young University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors. He received a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, where he served on the Harvard Law Review and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Following graduation from Harvard, he served as a law clerk to the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. He spent 20 years at Columbia University Law School as Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law, teaching, researching international law and human rights, and serving as founder and director of the Centers for Japanese and Korean Legal Studies.
From Columbia, Young was appointed dean of the George Washington University Law School, where he focused on building top-level faculty and students and establishing study and research relationships with foreign institutions, propelling GW into a top 20 nationally ranked law school.
Concurrently with his academic career, Young served on and chaired the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2006, and from 1989 to 1993 pursued trade, international, environmental and human rights agreements for the United States as Deputy Legal Advisor, Deputy Under-Secretary and Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.
He has also served on (among others), the Committee on International Judicial Relations for the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, the U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Visitors, and as Counsel on the Select Subcommittee on Transfers of Iranian Arms to Bosnian Muslims. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and also currently serves as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and on the American Council on Education Commission on International Initiatives.
Young is the author of numerous books, monographs and articles, and the recipient of a wide variety of awards and honors, including: the Distinguished Service Award, L.D.S. International Association; International Leader of the Year, World Trade Association of Utah; U.S.-China Educational Collaboration Leadership Award, Chinese Association for Science and Technology – USA; Helping Hands Award, Utah Youth Village; Award in Recognition of Excellence in the Promotion of International Religious Freedom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Award for Distinguished Service in Promoting Religious Freedom, The International Center for Law Religious Studies at Brigham Young University; Award of Excellence in Education, Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Award for Excellence in Ethics, Utah Valley State University; and Honored Alumni of the Year, College of Humanities, Brigham Young University.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for president at least 21 days before making an appointment. The Board of Regents will meet again to make the appointment, and the A&M System expects Young to begin his new duties this spring.
Statements about Michael K. Young and Texas A&M University:
James Baker III, Partner, Baker Botts, Houston
I congratulate Texas A&M for hiring Michael Young, welcome him to our state, and look forward to his distinct brand of leadership being practiced at one of the nation’s premier universities.
Robert Gates, 22nd President of Texas A&M and Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Kansas
I congratulate Michael Young on his selection as the finalist to become the next president of Texas A&M University. In Mike Young, the Board of Regents have selected a leader of national stature in higher education as well as someone with a broad and diverse background. I am confident he will lead Texas A&M to even greater successes in the future, and I am also impressed with his focus on the needs and interests of students as well as on the research enterprise. I believe he will be a great fit for Texas A&M.
B.J. “Red” McCombs, Businessman, San Antonio
Texas A&M, you are on a roll! Congratulations on snatching the best President you could possibly ever find. You have made all of Texas proud with the announcement of President-Elect Michael Young. The Longhorns have really got their work cut out for them now. Gig ‘Em Aggies!
Dr. David Pershing, President, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Congratulations to Texas A&M University for attracting a highly skilled leader of higher education and an internationally regarded academic scholar. During his years as president of the University of Utah, Michael Young was responsible for advancing commercialization of faculty and student inventions, improving physical facilities, internationalizing the campus focus, increasing state legislative funding, and expansion of the medical center. He also initiated the largest capital campaign in the history of the university and paved the way for the U to join the Pac-12. President Young’s academic achievements include selection by the Distinguished Professors at the University of Utah to receive the rank of Presidential Professor. He is dedicated to the mission of higher education and is an innovative leader.
Dr. Hunter Rawlings, President, Association of American Universities, Washington, D.C.
Mike’s great strength is his experience at very strong research universities. As Dean of the George Washington University Law School and President at the University of Utah and the University of Washington, he has been at top public and private research universities in leadership positions. He is well known as a consensus builder and a fundraiser, and as someone who works effectively with political leaders. This is a strong combination of assets for a leader of a major research institution such as Texas A&M. Mike has a good deal of experience in Washington, D.C., which is also important since so much of the support for research universities comes from the federal government.
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Michael Young is among the most respected leaders in higher education today. His vast experience, seasoned imagination and great human qualities make him the best in the business. Young’s appointment sends a bold message that Texas A&M aspires to take a great university and move it to the forefront of higher education in the United States and the world.
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.8 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 131,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $820 million and help drive the state’s economy.