Foundation President Named A&M's Interim Leader

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The tides of change have just swept through Texas A&M. The former President, Robert Gates, has been sworn in as Defense Secretary, and the new interim president-elect has accepted the bid.

The current president of the Texas A&M Foundation, Ed Davis, has agreed to step in and temporarily lead the university.

Davis starts first thing Tuesday morning and he admits he couldn't be happier to serve his alma mater under a new position.

"A&M is a place that has great magnetism for me," Davis said. "It's always been a place close to me and this is a joyous opportunity to serve in this interim period."

As for taking on the role of president fulltime, Davis says he will not apply. But he did note, if he is a candidate, it will be up to the Regents and the chancellor.

"I don't think you can do the job as interim, which is difficult anyway, if you are running for the regular office," Davis said. "I think you have to make decisions in an unencumbered way in terms of what that may lead to."

When asked what his message to Aggies would be about his new role, Davis laughed and said, "Temporary insanity." But he added on a serious note, "I am just proud, as an Aggie, and Aggie three times over for three degrees, to be leading their institution. I want to hear them and keep A&M on a positive progressive path."

Davis is not a new face on the A&M campus, nor is he a new face to its faculty. In his life so far, he has served as student, faculty, and administration on various levels.

"It's been a long road," he said.

Davis' service to Texas A&M started when he served as Corps Commander during his senior year. Davis graduated from A&M back in 1967.

For more on Ed Davis' background and experience, see the press release from Texas A&M posted below.

COLLEGE STATION—Dr. Ed Davis, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, was named interim president of Texas A&M University Monday during a special telephonic meeting of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

Dr. Davis’ appointment is effective Tuesday. He will assume, on an interim basis, the position of president previously held by Robert M. Gates, who was sworn in earlier today as the nation’s Secretary of Defense.

“Dr. Davis is an excellent choice for the position of interim president of Texas A&M,” said John D. White, chairman of the Board of Regents. “He has worked closely with Dr. Gates and Dr. Prior for many years to secure millions in private support for initiatives that have brought the university to an exciting, new level of excellence, not to mention increased recognition the world over.”

“For more than a decade, Dr. Davis has provided outstanding leadership in guiding Texas A&M’s fund-raising efforts and overseeing management of assets and endowments supporting the university,” said Dr. Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of the A&M System. “He has a solid background in finance and fiscal affairs at both the university and System levels and as a university professor. His knowledge, skills and leadership will be particularly valuable as we enter the next Legislative session in January and work to support state funding for higher education.”

Davis has served as president of the Texas A&M Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising private gifts, particularly endowments, benefiting Texas A&M University, since 1993. He also serves as the primary contact for a portfolio of major donor prospects and as president of the foundation’s subsidiary Trust Company.

“I am honored to assume the position of interim president of this fine university, which I have been proud to serve for many years,” said Davis. “This is an exciting time at Texas A&M, and I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Gates and Dr. Prior on a number of important and visionary initiatives. Now I look forward to building on that foundation. I can think of no better charge than having the opportunity to work with the university students, faculty and staff, the Board of Regents and our new chancellor to enhance Texas A&M’s reputation as a world-class institution serving the people of Texas, our nation and beyond.”

As the Texas A&M Foundation’s chief executive officer, Davis has helped identify and secure millions in major gifts from donors supporting key Texas A&M University initiatives, including diversity, faculty recruitment and retention, and support for students including scholarships and fellowships. Working with foundation trustees, volunteer leaders and staff, Davis has led the university’s two major fund-raising campaigns. The Capturing the Spirit campaign from 1990-1996 exceeded its $500 million goal, raising $637 million. The current One Spirit One Vision campaign, which will conclude Dec. 31, has exceeded its $1 billion goal with $1.4 billion raised, as of Nov. 30.

Before joining the foundation, Davis served in positions including executive deputy chancellor for The Texas A&M University System; vice president for fiscal affairs of Texas A&M University; and vice president for fiscal affairs and treasurer at North Texas State University. He has interacted with and presented before the Texas Legislature on numerous occasions. He is a tenured professor of educational administration at Texas A&M, where he currently teaches a graduate course in higher education policy, concentrating on business and finance. He also has served on the faculty of the University of North Texas. He retired as a colonel in the Army Reserve, having served four years on active duty including a tour with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.

Davis graduated from Texas A&M University in 1967 with a B.S. in agricultural journalism. He served as cadet colonel of the Corps of Cadets during his senior year. He later attended Harvard University’s graduate school of business administration and returned to A&M to earn a master’s degree in educational administration in 1973 and a Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1980.0

Davis has served as a member of numerous professional and civic organizations ranging from Board of Management of the Council on Governmental Relations at the national level to chair of the State of Texas Higher Education Funding Formula Committee to the board of the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce. At A&M, he is a member of the Endowed Diamond Century Club, 12th Man Foundation Advisory Board and A&M Legacy Society.