Aerial view of TAMU

The Genius Of Texas A&M


October 9, 2020

Dear Aggies,

At Texas A&M, we have many faculty members with impressive CVs, filled with long lists of impressive accomplishments. Some of their innovations and advances are so extraordinary that we could truly call them works of genius. However, at the moment there is only one professor at our university who can claim that he has officially been recognized with a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

On Tuesday, the entire campus celebrated along with Professor Thomas W. Mitchell from the Texas A&M School of Law, who was overwhelmed with gratitude when he learned he had been named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. To put his extraordinary achievement in perspective, remember that there are currently more than 330 million people living in America. This year only 21 people in the entire nation were chosen for one of the world’s most recognizable awards. In addition to a $625,000 stipend, Professor Mitchell has earned international acclaim, with hundreds of media outlets requesting interviews or comments in only a matter of days.

All of us at Texas A&M are delighted Professor Mitchell has received this richly-deserved recognition. We are also very proud that this award acknowledges his distinguished career of selfless service, which reflects his deep dedication to helping disadvantaged property owners and underprivileged communities. As the principal drafter of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA), he has assisted families in 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands maintain ownership of their properties and preserve their wealth. His innovative approach to policy was a significant source for portions of the 2018 Congressional Farm Bill, which helped the heirs of farmers and ranchers retain ownership of their families’ properties and access government assistance programs. His dedication to using his personal knowledge to better the lives of others is proof that our faculty have the ability to think boldly and strategically to not only change an industry, but also to transform the world.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Professor Mitchell for this extraordinary honor, and thank him for his selfless service that has enhanced the quality of countless lives.


Michael K. Young