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Texas A&M announces John Junkins as new Interim President, Dr. Mark Weichold as Interim Provost

Posted at 5:35 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 06:30:43-05

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Big changes are coming to Texas A&M University, as two very vital leadership roles will soon see new faces.

"Those are two very big opportunities," Lauren Lewandowski, a Freshman at Texas A&M said.

Texas A&M President Michael Young announced back in September that he would retire from his current role in May of 2021, a few months later, that date has been pushed up and he will now be leaving his position on December 31 of this year.

"I completely trust the administration here at A&M. It is a big thing for a President to step down, but I do trust the administration that is going to pick someone that is going to continue and do all the right things," Trey Pinnelli, a Freshman at Texas A&M said.

Outside of the news of President Young stepping down, the Office of President Young announced this week that Provost Carol Fierke will be leaving College Station and will be joining her Alma Mater Brandeis University in a similar role. Provost Fierke's last day will also December 31.

The Chancellor's Office at Texas A&M sent this in a statement to 25 News:

"Typically, every new President selects his or her own Provost. We have known of President Young’s plans for some time, so it is no surprise that Provost Fierke chose to return to the university where she got her Ph.D. We congratulate and thank her for her time with the Aggie Family. She will be missed," Chancellor Sharp said.

"They've sent out emails as far as saying the President is going to step down and who they are replacing him with. The guy that they are replacing him with sent out an email with this thoughts on it, so they've been keeping us in the loop about what's going on. They haven't given the reasoning other than saying it's about time," Jacob Galle, a Texas A&M Sophomore said.

Students still lingering on campus over the holiday break are appreciative of the communication from A&M and are ready for what lies ahead for 2021.

"Hopefully someone coming in right now at this time has seen the lead-up to what's gotten us here and from that, they will come in with the right mindset to make the right changes... all new ideas... new concepts... hopefully the new leadership will make a good change," Galle added.

The reason or reasons for the changes happening in Aggieland are unknown, but students say they trust the administration along with the process of filling the vital openings and are hopeful.

"I think that it does leave a really good opportunity for some new opinions and new ideas to come in and change campus, especially right now it could be a good time to get some new voices in there so... it will be exciting," Lauren Lewandowski, a Texas A&M freshman said.

John Junkins has been named the Interim President and has been with A&M for 35 years. Three-time A&M graduate Dr. Mark Weichold has been named Interim Provost, both will begin to serve in January.

"Whoever does end up filling those spots they are going to have a lot of responsibilities and they are going to really take charge. It's a lot of kids to be in charge of... for sure," Lewandowski added.

Harvard Law Graduate Michael Young became Texas A&M's 25th President in May of 2015. President Young will continue to serve as a faculty member for the Bush School of Government and Public Service and the Texas A&M School of Law.