History of the Office
Texas A&M is a university known for its rich traditions and rich history. As the state’s first public institution for higher education, Texas A&M’s past successes, current directions, and future visions are all due to the leadership of its presidents. Past presidents of Texas A&M range from former governors and legislators to professors and researchers. Some have guided the university through the nation’s darkest hours, some have helped further Texas A&M as a national and international leader in teaching and research. A list of those who serve and and have served is provided below with information regarding their presidency.
Michael K. Young
President of Texas A&M University May 1, 2015 – Present
Michael K. Young became the 25th President of Texas A&M University on May 1, 2015. Previously, he served as President and tenured Professor of Law at the University of Washington and President and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah. He served as Dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School, and he was a professor at Columbia University for more than 20 years. He also has been a visiting professor and scholar at three universities in Japan. A graduate of Harvard Law School, President Young served as a law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court, and has held a number of government positions, including Deputy Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, and Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs in the Department of State during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. He also served for eight years on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which he chaired twice.
Mark A. Hussey, Ph.D.
Interim President of Texas A&M University January 14, 2014 – April 30, 2014
Dr. Mark A. Hussey was named vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences in 2008. He joined Texas A&M’s agriculture program after earning his Ph.D. in plant breeding from Texas A&M in 1983, and has served as a faculty member, head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and administrator with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. As vice chancellor and dean, Dr. Hussey oversees the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Texas A&M University System’s four agricultural agencies: Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Texas A&M Forest Service, and the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. He is a native of Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and master’s degree from Texas A&M.
R. Bowen Loftin, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University February 12, 2010 – January 13, 2014
Interim President of Texas A&M University June 15, 2009 – February 11, 2010
Before his appointment as interim president, R. Bowen Loftin served as vice president and chief executive officer of Texas A&M University’s branch campus in Galveston, where he was also a professor of maritime systems engineering. He has also been a professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of computer science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and executive director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. Earlier, he was professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and director of the NASA Virtual Environments Research Institute at the University of Houston. He was one of only five Texas A&M graduates to serve as president, earning a bachelor's degree in physics, with high honors, in three years, in 1971. He earned a master's degree and doctorate, also in physics, from Rice University. After leaving Texas A&M, he became chancellor at the University of Missouri at Columbia. He is known for his use of social media to connect with students and others, and can be followed on Twitter at @aggieprezemeri and @bowtieger.
Elsa A. Murano, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University January 3, 2008 – June 15, 2009
Elsa Murano became the president of Texas A&M on January 3, 2008. Previous to the position of president, Murano served as vice chancellor for The A&M System and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. She was the first woman and first Hispanic-American to hold the Texas A&M presidency. Murano resigned on June 15, 2009, to return to teaching and research as a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science.
Eddie J. Davis, Ph.D.
Interim President of Texas A&M University December 17, 2006 – January 2, 2008
Eddie J. Davis, president of the Texas A&M Foundation since 1993, took leave from this position to serve as Interim President after the departure of Dr. Gates and until the appointment of Dr. Elsa Murano.
Robert M. Gates, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University August 1, 2002 – December 16, 2006
Robert Gates previously served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999-2001 and as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from November 6, 1991 until January 20, 1993. On December 16, 2006, Gates officially resigned the presidency to assume the role of Secretary of Defense of the United States after his nomination by President George W. Bush.
Ray M. Bowen, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University June 1, 1994 – July 31, 2002
Prior to being selected to lead his alma mater, Ray Bowen was the interim president of Oklahoma State University. Bowen’s tenure as president was highlighted by the launching of “Vision 2020″ – Texas A&M’s roadmap to attain consensus “top 10″ status among the nation’s public universities by the year 2020. Bowen also led the university during one of its worst on-campus tragedies – the collapse of the 1999 Bonfire in which 12 Aggies were killed and 27 others injured. He became a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering on July 31, 2002. Dr. Bowen, a 1958 graduate of Texas A&M, was the fourth Aggie to serve as president, following Dr. Jarvis Miller ’50, Gen. James Earl Rudder ’32 and Dr. Marion Thomas Harrington ’22.
E. Dean Gage, DVM
Acting President of Texas A&M University September 1, 1993 – June 1, 1994
E. Dean Gage was serving as a provost and academic vice-president at Texas A&M when he was appointed acting President on September 1, 1993, following the promotion of President Mobley. After withdrawing his name as a candidate from the presidential search he left the office on June 1, 1994.
William H. Mobley, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University September 1, 1988 – August 31, 1993
Chancellor of Texas A&M University System September 1, 1993 – June 12, 1994
Serving as the Executive Deputy Chancellor of the A&M System, William Mobley assumed the presidency of Texas A&M University on September 1, 1988 following the resignation of Frank Vandiver. Mobley served as president until his promotion to chancellor of The A&M System on September 1, 1993. On June 12, 1994, Mobley resigned the chancellor’s position in order to return to teaching.
Frank E. Vandiver, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University September 1, 1981- August 31, 1988
Formerly the President of North Texas State University, Frank Vandiver was elected president of Texas A&M on September 1, 1981 and served for seven years. On September 1, 1988, Vandiver resigned to head the Mosher Defense Institute at Texas A&M University.
Charles H. Samson, Jr., Ph.D.
Acting President of Texas A&M University July 10, 1980-August 31, 1981
Serving as the head of the Department of Civil Engineering since 1964, Charles Samson was appointed the university’s acting president on July 10, 1980, following the re-assignment of Jarvis Miller. Samson served until September 1, 1981, when Frank E. Vandiver assumed the Presidency, and Samson was subsequently appointed the vice president for planning.
Jarvis E. Miller, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University August 1, 1977-July 10, 1980
Jarvis Miller was serving as the director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (now Texas AgriLife Research) when named president of Texas A&M University on August 1, 1977. Miller was reassigned by the Board of Regents as a Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System on July 10, 1980. Dr. Miller, a 1950 graduate of Texas A&M, was the third Aggie to serve as president, following Gen. James Earl Rudder ’32 and Dr. Marion Thomas Harrington ’22.
W. Clyde Freeman, Jr.
Acting CEO of Texas A&M University, 1976 and 1977
W. Clyde Freeman, Jr., took leave from his role as Executive Vice President for Administration to serve as Acting CEO while President Jack Williams recuperated from two heart attacks.
Jack Kenny Williams, Ph.D.
President of Texas A&M University November 1, 1970-July 31, 1977
President of the Texas A&M University System November 1, 1970-July 31, 1977
Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System August 1, 1977-January 24, 1979
Jack Williams was the vice-president for academic affairs for the University of Tennessee System when he was elected to be the president of Texas A&M University and president of the Texas A&M University System. His tenure for both roles began on November 1, 1970 and he was elevated to Chancellor of the System on May 24, 1977. Williams resigned as chancellor on January 24, 1979 in order to return to teaching.
Alvin Roubal Luedecke, LL.D.
Acting President March 30, 1970-November 1, 1970
Alvin Luedecke was serving as the associate dean of the College of Engineering when he was appointed to be the acting president. Luedecke served from March 30, 1970 until November 1, 1970.
Major General James Earl Rudder
President of Texas A&M University July 1, 1959-March 23, 1970
President of the Texas A&M University System September 1, 1965-March 23, 1970
James Earl Rudder, hero of D-Day as Commander of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion, which stormed the beach at Pointe du Hoc, was serving as vice president when appointed president on June 27, 1959 (effective July 1, 1959). In 1963, during Rudder’s administration, the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas became Texas A&M University. Enrollment doubled as participation in the Corps of Cadets was made optional and women students were admitted. In addition, the research program was greatly expanded and academic and faculty standards were improved. On September 1, 1965, when Dr. Harrington retired as chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, the title was changed to president, and Gen. Rudder took over this position as well, both of which he held until his death on March 23, 1970. Gen. Rudder received an honorary law degree from Baylor University in 1960. General Rudder, a 1932 graduate of Texas A&M, was the second Aggie to serve as president, after Dr. Marion Thomas Harrington ’22.