University Distinguished Professor Recipients

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:

  • John J. McDermott, Philosophy & Humanities (2017)
  • B. Don Russell, Electrical & Computer Engineering (2017) (Vice-Chair 2016-2017)
  • John Crompton, Recreation, Parks & Tourism Science (2017)
  • John Gladysz, Chemistry (2018)
  • R.J.Q Adams, History (2018) (Chair 2016-2017)
  • Christopher Layne, International Affairs (2018)
  • Paul Hardin, Biology (2019)
  • Nick Suntzeff, Physics & Astronomy (2019)
  • Jeffrey Savell, Animal Science (2019)
  • Bill Johnson, Mathematics (2019)

Executive Committee of Distinguished Professors Bylaws


The Title

The title of University Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University is an honor. To become a University Distinguished Professor faculty must fulfill three criteria:
1. Is considered Pre-eminent in his or her own field (at a minimum, this is indicated when the candidate is among the top 2-5% of active researchers in his or her area of research or scholarship on an international basis);

2. Has made at least one Seminal Contribution (i.e., the work caused a substantial intellectual leap forward in the discipline rather than an incremental extension of existing knowledge); and

3. Has had a Major Impact (i.e., his/her work is central in any narrative of the field, and he/she is widely recognized to have redirected scholarship in the field).


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. Starting in September of 2011, each and only newly named 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.