UW President Named Sole Finalist For Texas A&M University Top Job
University of Washington President Michael Young will become the next president of Texas A&M University sometime this spring, A&M's governing board has announced.
Texas A&M's Board of Regents voted Tuesday to make Young the sole finalist for their open top job. After three weeks passes, the regents can set a date for a brief meeting in which they will make Young's hire official, Texas A&M System President John Sharp said.
Young takes the reins of one of the biggest public universities in the nation after three years at UW, leaving behind a university that's had to fight hard for state funding in Olympia.
"I was not looking to leave the University of Washington," Young said in a statement, "but the allure of the recruitment process led to conversations in which the opportunity to bring new leadership and fresh ideas to another outstanding university presented itself with some force."
The news of Young's departure came "as a surprise to the Board of Regents" at the University of Washington, according to chair Bill Ayer.
"The Board will be convening soon to discuss succession of the presidency — on an interim basis at first and then plans for conducting a search for the next University president," Ayer said in a statement. "We will be making announcements as decisions are reached."
A law professor by training and former U.S. State Department official, Young was president of the University of Utah from 2004 to 2011, when he made the move to Washington.
Not long after he arrived, state lawmakers slashed funding for Washington's research universities nearly in half. Currently, in-state student tuition rates are frozen and Gov. Jay Inslee's budget proposes extending that freeze. Though the state has since restored some of the slashed funding, Young has said the budget remains a top concern.
“The decanting of state funding is an immediate and long-term threat to the access and availability of education for all. We need to not do that,” Young said during his annual address in October, pounding the podium for emphasis.
In October, UW's Board of Regents voted to increase Young's salary by $50,000, bringing his total annual compensation to $854,000.
If Young leaves UW this year, he will lose out on deferred compensation of nearly $1 million, which his contract promised if he stays in the job until June 2016.
Texas A&M has a larger student body than UW, enrolling more than 62,000 students, including more than 55,000 at its main campus in College Station. The school also runs branch campuses in the port city of Galveston and in Doha, Qatar.