The former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan who had been on leave from his job at Texas A&M will return to work at the university on August 1.
A&M officials confirmed the return of Ryan Crocker after sources told News 3 the decorated foreign service official was set to resume his duties as dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, a role he took on in 2010.
"I just couldn't be happier and more excited," Crocker said in an interview with News 3 from Yale University, where he was participating in a seminar. "A&M and Aggieland generally felt like home from the first time I got there in January 2010, and I've always had the intention of returning after my service, and look forward to being back on deck more than I can tell you come August."
President Barack Obama asked Crocker to serve as the United States ambassador to Afghanistan in April 2011. He went on leave with A&M during his service, which ended in July 2012 because of health issues.
Andrew Card, the former transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush and White House Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush, has been serving as acting dean.
Crocker has served as an ambassador six times. Prior to his time in Afghanistan and at A&M, the Spokane, Washington native was the top American diplomat in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon. For his service to the nation, Crocker received the highest civilian award in the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In an interview with News 3, Crocker said he had undergone "major surgery" in the fall, but has fully recovered from the procedure.
In November 2012, Crocker pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving in Spokane. He had originally been charged with DUI in connection to an August 2012 accident, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Crocker apologized for the incident. His license was suspended 30 days and he was fined $1,000.
Statement to News 3 from Texas A&M on Ambassador Crocker's impending return:
Ryan Crocker will return as Dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University on August 1, 2013.
His return is part of a mutual agreement negotiated in 2011, prior to a two-year unpaid leave of absence, which included his service as President Barack Obama’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Texas A&M Provost Karan Watson provided the following statement:
“We are pleased to fulfill our commitment to Dean Crocker and welcome him back to Texas A&M. He returns with an even greater wealth of experience and expertise in international affairs and public service.
“Earlier this month I informed faculty and staff in the Bush School of Ambassador Crocker’s intentions and reassured them of my expectations for meeting their ongoing responsibilities and the completion of a number of initiatives under the continued leadership of Dean Andy Card through the transition.
“Andy Card will continue to serve as Acting Dean of the Bush School through July 2013. We are extremely grateful for his service and leadership over the last two years. Without question, Andy has proven to be a noble public servant who has garnered the admiration and respect of our campus and broad community of partners. I look forward to keeping he and Kathleen fully engaged in our university going forward.
“We are confident that the Bush School -- its accomplishments, programs and initiatives -- will continue to gain even greater state, national and international prominence during this transition and under the leadership of both men.”