Texas A&M class of '80 graduate (and astronaut) Fossum to lead A&M Galveston (which includes the Te


10-Year Member
Jan 29, 2011
Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that astronaut and Texas A&M class of '80 graduate Col. Michael E. Fossum will lead the university's Galveston campus as its chief operating officer.

Expected to officially begin in the new role March 1, Fossum also will serve as an executive professor at the Galveston campus and a vice president of Texas A&M University.

Citing his strong pride as an Aggie, Fossum said he is excited to be a part of the research and education being conducted in Galveston.

"In my heart I've always had a strong interest in science and engineering, and the way [the Galveston campus] puts it together in a focused way that's making a difference right here -- I find that very intriguing," Fossum said. "I want to be a cheerleader for that campus, to help promote the work they are doing and be a part of that."

After graduating from Texas A&M, Fossum joined the Air Force, serving until transferring to NASA in 1993. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998 and has logged a total of nearly 200 days in space.

Since his last return from the International Space Station in 2011, Fossum said he took on a leadership role as assistant chief for the International Space Station in the Astronaut Office at NASA.

Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson said in a statement that she is pleased to see Fossum "bringing his vast experience in collaborative leadership and consensus-building to the Texas A&M University Galveston campus."

Although he initially was skeptical of leaving what he described as "the best job in the world," Fossum said he and his wife decided to seek the opportunity to have a different kind of impact on their community.

"I can think of no better way to continue to serve than to do something like this," he said. "I want to have the opportunity to have a bigger impact in the future through the work that's going on at the Galveston campus."

A scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America, Fossum said he looks forward to bringing his longtime passion and commitment for preparing youth for future achievement to the Galveston campus.

"I'm excited about being able to carry on [Texas A&M's] tradition of excellence and inspiring and equipping our next generation of leaders and explorers," Fossum said. "I can think of nothing more noble than to be a part of that for the rest of my working career."

Texas A&M's Galveston campus is a branch of the flagship university in College Station. A&M also has a branch campus in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar.

Very cool. I lived in McAllen Texas for a number of years where Col Fossum grew up- they named a Middle School after him a few years ago. Good luck to him in his new position.