Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Michael K. Young, president of the University of Washington, was named the sole finalist to become the next president of Texas A&M University on Tuesday.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents unanimously selected Young at a specially called meeting conducted over the telephone, officials said. System Chancellor John Sharp said Young's experience and reputation as a longtime university president made him a natural pick.
"The first thing that made him attractive was the great reputation not only that he had but also the great reputation that the University of Washington has as well as the University of Utah, and what he has done with those great research universities," Sharp said during a press conference after the vote. "We are the largest research university in the southwest but we have aspirations not only to increase our research, our commercialization, we have aspirations to become one of the very finest public research universities in the country.”
Sharp said all the details of Young's compensation package were still being worked out, but the chancellor indicated it would put Young in the top tier of university presidents in the country.
“He will make a darn good salary for a college president and will be one of the finest paid ones in the country, and we would expect that of someone of his stature,” Sharp said.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Young taught for 20 years at Columbia University Law School, where he founded the Centers for Japanese and Korean Legal Studies, according to his online biography. He also served as a law clerk to William Rehnquist, the late chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before taking the helm of the University of Washington, Young was president of the University of Utah for seven years.
Outside of academia, Young served as deputy under secretary and ambassador for trade and environmental affairs at the U.S. Department of State during the first Bush administration, according to his biography.
In a statement, Young said A&M was "poised to be one of the greatest research universities in America.” He said he and his wife, Marti, "want to be part of expanding that excellence and a part of the great spirit and tradition that is Texas A&M."
The next president will replace Interim President Mark Hussey, who was named to the post in December 2013. He succeeded R. Bowen Loftin, who left Texas A&M to become chancellor of the University of Missouri.
By law, a finalist must be named 21 days before the regents can select a president, but Sharp said that was a mere formality.
“In 21 days he will be the next president of Texas A&M," Sharp said.
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