Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young announced Wednesday morning he will retire from his position, effective May 31, 2021.
According to a statement released by the university, Young and his wife have been discussing his retirement for over a year.
“We concluded that, after almost a quarter century of serving in senior academic leadership roles and an increasing desire to turn back to topics that occupied much of my previous career, this would be our last year,” Young said.
Young has served as A&M’s president since 2015, when he was recruited by A&M System Chancellor John Sharp from the University of Washington where he also served as president.
“I thank Mike Young for his tremendous service to Texas A&M,” Sharp said. “When we recruited him, we wanted him to help Texas A&M become the best public university in the country and we have made great strides in doing so under his leadership. We appreciate his service and look forward to recognizing his achievements in the months to come.”
Following his tenure as president, Young will join the faculty of the Bush School of Government and Public Service as the director of A&M’s new Institute for Religious Liberties and International Affairs.
“I am at heart an academic and I have an opportunity here created last year an institute for religious liberties and international affairs that is an area that I feel passionately about and have been working on for much of my career,” Young said. “[I have] a chance to stay here and really advance that cause both academically and I’m a bit of an activist as well.”
Chairman of the University System Board of Regents Elaine Mendoza said Young’s achievements during his presidency include boosting the reputation of A&M and helping students flourish.
“President Young has been a transformational leader, contributing to a rise in Texas A&M’s national and international reputation as a global tier one research institution while meeting the growing needs of the citizens of Texas,” Mendoza said. “Of particular note is his work toward student retention, helping those who come to Texas A&M succeed in fulfilling Texas A&M’s mission to graduate leaders who selflessly serve.”
During Young’s five years as president, A&M research expenditures have reached almost $1 billion, almost two million square feet of space have been added to the university and the Student Success Initiative has increased A&M’s first-year retention rate as well as the four and six-year graduation rates. Young said he is most proud of the senior leadership team which he attributes many of these successes.
“I’m really pleased and thrilled with all of that, but I can attach a face to every one of those accomplishments to our senior leadership team and all the way through to the deans to the department chairs and staff and faculty,” Young said. “I think the thing that I am most proud of is the people who have joined us in this endeavor over the last five years. Those successes really have their name and their picture attached to every one of them.”
Upon his first visit to Aggieland, Young said he was most impressed by the students he met and the way they represented the spirit of the school.
“I remember meeting students on my first visit to Texas A&M before accepting the position,” Young said. “While the students were not aware of the nature of my visit, their core values of respect, leadership, excellence, loyalty, integrity and selfless service shined through. I knew what a wonderful opportunity it would be to serve them.”
Young said he would like this to be students’ take away from his service as president after his term concludes in May 2021:
“Every waking moment that’s what we’re thinking about, ‘How can we ensure that we have the greatest educational opportunity possible?’ I just hope that they always take that away.”