University Distinguished Professor Recipients

2019-2020 University Distinguished Professor Guidelines

University Distinguished Professor Nomination Package Template 

University Distinguished Professor Coversheet

University Distinguished Professor Standard Solicitation Letter 

Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors

The Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors consists of nine Distinguished Professors. Each year, three are elected for a three year term. The current Executive Committee members are:

  • Paul Hardin, Biology (2019)
  • Nick Suntzeff, Physics & Astronomy (2019) 
  • Jeffrey Savell, Animal Science (2019)
  • Bill Johnson, Mathematics (2019)
  • B. Don Russell, Electrical & Computer Engineering (2020) --Chair 2019-2020
  • Margaret Ezell, English (2020)
  • Stephen Safe, Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology (2020)
  • John Gladysz, Science (2021)
  • Fuller Bazer, Agriculture and Life Sciences (2021)
  • Catherine Eckel, Liberal Arts (2021) --Vice Chair 2019-2020
The elections for the Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors have been finalized.  It is my privilege to inform you that the Distinguished Professors listed below have been elected to serve on the executive committee for a three-year term.  Their term will commence on September 1, 2019 and will conclude August 31, 2022.
Paul Hardin, Science
Dorothy Shippen, Agriculture and Life Sciences
Nick Suntzeff, Science

Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors Bylaws



  1. The number of nominations may vary in a given year, but the number of awards will not exceed five (5) awards in a given award cycle without expressed approval of the Provost at the request of the committee.
  2. To be eligible for the title of University Distinguished Professor, the candidate will have made one or more seminal contributions that are widely recognized to have significantly advanced or redirected scholarship in the relevant field. Seminal implies that the work was a substantial intellectual leap forward, rather than an incremental extension of existing knowledge.
  3. The impact of the candidate’s contribution should have resulted in the candidate being recognized as a pre-eminent world authority in his or her field.
  4. These types of accomplishments are likely to be exemplified by an outstanding teaching and mentoring record, leading to a cadre of outstanding academic descendants, and by major national and international awards. It is recognized that individuals with unique career paths, or fields with few or no awards, may provide other indicators of intellectual leadership within their field and the Texas A&M University System.
  5. Candidates will be recognized by peer statements to be among the most pre-eminent active individuals worldwide in their area of research or scholarship. A minimum of ten letters of evaluation from leaders in the field is required. At least four of the letters should normally be from distinguished foreign academics. The letters should confirm that candidates meet these standards above and strongly endorse the University Distinguished Professor designation.
  6. Candidates must be active faculty members at Texas A&M University for a minimum of one year before consideration for the title of University Distinguished Professor begins.
  7. Candidates may hold administrative assignments, but administrative competency will not be evaluated as a basis for qualification.
  8. The following, in themselves, are insufficient to qualify for the University Distinguished Professor designation: 
    1. A substantial and sustained record of high quality research productivity;
    2. Testing, applying and/or implementing original work done by others.


1. Each awardee will be named University Distinguished Professor and will keep his or her current title and rank (i.e., Professor of ‘Name of Field’).  Existing Distinguished Professors can add the University Distinguished Professor title and continue to use their current title and rank (i.e., Distinguished Professor of 'Name of Field').

2. The title is bestowed forever.

3. The number of nominations may vary from year to year.

4. All University Distinguished Professors appointed after the summer of 2011 will be guaranteed one month of summer salary for any two of the first three years after receiving the honor. (The Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost will fund one month during the second summer following the appointment. The second month of summer will be funded by the college/department either the first or third year after receiving the honor).

5. Each University Distinguished Professor will receive an annual bursary of $5,000 for five years. There is no time limit to spend the bursary as long as the faculty member is employed by the university. Any balances remaining in the bursary accounts five years after a faculty member retires will be returned to the Office of the Dean of Faculties. Any balances remaining in the account after a faculty member leaves the university will be returned to the Office of the Dean of Faculties at the time of separation.

Distinguished Professor Award Committee

The Awards Committee is composed of six University Distinguished Professors who serve staggered two-year terms. Half are appointed by the Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors, and the other three are appointed by the Provost. The member of the Awards Committee must be from six different colleges/schools, and any member must not be reappointed for two years after their term is finished. The members of the Awards Committee select their chair annually.