Texas A&M University’s 26th President Takes The Helm
M. Katherine Banks officially became Texas A&M University’s 26th president today after serving for nine years as vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories, dean of the College of Engineering and director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.
Banks will continue serving as vice chancellor of national laboratories and national security strategic initiatives for The Texas A&M University System. Her efforts helped lead the system to secure the management contract for Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as the creation of the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex at the RELLIS campus.
Described by colleagues as visionary, Banks was named in March as the sole finalist in the nationwide search for the next Texas A&M president — a move unanimously confirmed three weeks later by the Board of Regents.
A&M System Chancellor John Sharp recruited Banks to the top leadership post, citing her remarkable success with each initiative with which she’s been involved, including transforming the engineering college, which in March was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being the best graduate engineering program in Texas.
Banks — who joined a group of students for lunch on her first day, which also marked the opening day of summer classes — said she’s embarking on several rounds of “crucial listening sessions” with students, faculty, staff, former students and other key stakeholders across the campus and beyond to learn different perspectives about the challenges and opportunities facing Texas A&M.
“As a result of these conversations, together, we will develop a framework for the future,” Banks wrote in a message emailed today to students, faculty and staff. “I am eager to hear about your experiences, thoughts, concerns and aspirations for Aggieland as we identify key priorities for our university.”
John L. Junkins, a university distinguished professor of aerospace engineering who served as interim president from Jan. 1 to May 31, said he believes Dr. Banks brings with her a “new era of optimism and advancement for Texas A&M.”
The longtime national leader in higher education also established Texas A&M’s Engineering Medicine (EnMed) program, which is a first-of-its-kind engineering medical school program designed to educate physician-engineers who will create transformational technology for health care.
In her recent role as vice chancellor, Banks coordinated and collaborated with the engineering, academic and research programs at seven universities throughout the Texas A&M System, as well as oversaw three state agencies, including the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Banks also served as TEES director, overseeing research administration, technology commercialization and technology workforce development.