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Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp names interim president, Young stepping down Dec. 31

President Young had announced he was retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Now it will be at the end of the semester.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M President Michael K Young, who announced his retirement in September of 2020, has decided to step down earlier than expected, according to an announcement made Tuesday.

President Young wrote a statement and posted it to his website. He stated as the year of 2020 winds down, he has been thinking about his own interests and how he can make a difference. He said he is being drawn back to the classroom sooner than he expected.

RELATED: President Young announces retirement from Texas A&M, will return to teaching

Chancellor John Sharp has named Dr. John L. Junkins as Interim President. Junkins is a Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering and the holder of the Royce E.  Wisenbaker Chair in Innovation in the College of Engineering.

"Dr. Junkins is an accomplished researcher, outstanding teacher and an innovator whose Institute has transformed our faculty," Sharp said in a statement. "He also will bring a steady hand to the tiller to ensure that Texas A&M successfully navigates the next few months until a successor is named."

Chancellor Sharp signed a contract with one of the nation's top executive search firms back in September after the formal announcement of Young's retirement was made.

MICHAEL K. YOUNG PRESIDENT November 24, 2020 Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and all other members of the Aggie Family, As I reflect on the year, I am immensely thankful that we have arrived where we are.

According to Sharp, the university's next president needs to have more than just "superb academic credentials," he wants someone that proves they have exceptional leadership.

RELATED: Texas A&M hires search firm to find next president

You can read President Young's statement below:

November 24, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and all other members of the Aggie Family,

As I reflect on the year, I am immensely thankful that we have arrived where we are. We have combatted the pandemic with some success - and must continue to do so - while maintaining focus upon continuity of health and safety, our educational and research mission, best-in-class athletics, and, as always, our core values.

We are clearly not out of the woods yet, but I am confident that we have the necessary processes, people and tools in place to successfully navigate the coming year. Undoubtedly, the new year will be filled with continued health protection protocols, vaccinations, hard work in service to others on and off campus, hope and continued resiliency, as is the Aggie way.

As this year comes to an end, I have also had time to reflect on my own interests and where I can make the greatest contribution. After a quarter of a century in senior academic leadership roles, I find myself increasingly drawn to return to the passions that drew me to a career in higher education in the first place. I have become particularly excited to soon become immersed as a full-time member of the faculty of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, as well as the School of Law, and again work on the issues that have engaged me for much of my career, especially issues related to religious freedom and international affairs. I believe our newly created Institute for Religious Liberties and International Affairs will be an enormously powerful vehicle to explore these issues and advance our understanding, and I want to begin work on building that Institute as soon as possible.

To this end, I have informed Chancellor Sharp of my wish to complete the fall semester and then step down as President, effective December 31, 2020.

We have a busy month ahead with final exams, graduation ceremonies, athletic events and holidays. I will be engaged to finish out this year successfully and facilitate a smooth transition.

Thank you for the incredible opportunity to serve as your 25th President. As this great university goes forward, please take care of each other, Aggies. Commit to the success of each other in heart and action -- the institution and Aggies will thrive as they always have.

Michael K. Young