Texas A&M University President Michael Young was on a short list of 30 applicants for the top position at the University of Colorado System and went on to interview with the school's board of regents, according to reporting from The Colorado Independent, which was anonymously leaked a Feb. 27 document that was authenticated by the board's lawyer.
Former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who was named president of the University of Texas at El Paso in April, and former Texas Tech University System Chancellor John T. Montford were also on the list of candidates. Wilson withdrew from consideration to take the UTEP position, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy of Minnesota was named to the Colorado job in May, The Colorado Independent reported.
At least 160 people applied for the job. Young was among 11 applicants who were selected for in-person interviews, according to The Colorado Independent.
Young could not immediately be reached for comment but Amy Smith, a Texas A&M spokesperson, said: “It’s not uncommon for presidents of universities with his experience to be contacted by search firms."
"I know that he loves Texas A&M University and loves working here," Smith said.
Montford said he applied at the urging of several friends but did not aggressively pursue the job.
The Texas Tribune reported last year that Young’s five-year employment contract would not be renewed when it expires in April 2020. But in a letter Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp sent to Young at the time, the college president was told the change was “in no way a reflection” of his performance.
“While your employment agreement allows for a 5-year renewal term, the System desires to bring your employment status into line with our other university presidents, none of whom has an employment agreement,” Sharp wrote. “The Board of Regents and I believe that, going forward, the better practice is to rely on appointment letters and System policy as it relates to the terms and conditions of employment for our university presidents.
“We look forward to your continued service as our President,” Sharp added.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Young was the highest-compensated university president in Texas in 2017 and among the top dozen nationwide, according to a ranking compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education. He earned $1 million a year.
Disclosure: Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at El Paso have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.