Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU's 13th president, is flanked by members of TSU regents
Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU's 13th president, is flanked by members of TSU regents during the June 17, 2021 reception. Credit: Aswad Walker.

Texas Southern University is once again looking for another CEO.

Just two years into her tenure, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, the Houston-area HBCU’s 13th president, has abruptly retired.

Crumpton-Young began her TSU tenure in 2021, following the departure of her predecessor Austin Lane, who left the university amid a law school admissions scandal. TSU’s Board of Regents believed Crumpton-Young was the person to guide the school out of those negative PR waters while also improving TSU’s graduation rates and enrollment numbers, which had declined during the pandemic.

In a letter to the TSU Community, Crumpton Young wrote:

“Collectively we have worked to achieve unprecedented success at an accelerated pace. Texas Southern University is at an excellent point in its transformation and well poised to ensure continued progress.

“Considering our myriad of accomplishments and positive position of the institution, on May 15th, 2023, I submitted a retirement request to the Chairman of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents. I am grateful to each of you, and I will forever cherish the time we’ve spent together in Tiger Nation.”

Albert H. Myers, chairman of the TSU Board of Regents released the following statement:

“In a collegial manner, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young approached me, as Chairman of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents, with her retirement request.

The board unanimously agreed with the request and the mutually beneficial timing that will ultimately lead to the best outcome for Texas Southern University.

I would like to personally thank Dr. Young and her family for their service to this great institution. We wish them the very best.

Effective immediately, a board Transition Oversight Committee, chaired by Dr. Mary Sias, will be formed. All divisional vice presidents will continue to lead their TSU areas of daily responsibility, serve collectively in the executive function role during this interim period, and report to the board via the smaller oversight committee. A formal resolution ratifying the formation of this committee will be presented at the June 15 meeting of the TSU Board of Regents.”

We look forward to the continued growth and success of Texas Southern University. As always, we are TSU Proud.

Crumpton-Young started her career in academia as one of the first Black women to become a full professor in engineering. She rose through the ranks as she worked to diversify the workforce, especially in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Before coming to TSU, she served as an associate provost at Texas A&M University.

A Defender one-on-one interview/article with Crumpton-Young in August 2021 stated, “Dr. Crumpton-Young rose though the ranks of academia, diversifying the science, technology, engineering and math industries and carries that same spirit into her new role as TSU’s thirteenth president. The former Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morgan State University joins TSU at a very critical time. In her month on the job she has hit the ground running addressing past challenges around funding, admission scandals allegations, improving economic and community partnerships and enhancing the quality of education for under-served communities.”

During that 2021 interview, Crumpton-Young listed one of her top priorities as elevating TSU to become one of the first R1 research HBCUs in the nation.

Regarding her priorities, Crumpton-Young added, “I’m sure you’ve heard over the years, many institutions describe their research focused on rural America. Our research is going to be focused on helping urban America. We’re going to address issues of public health, health disparities, climate, poverty, the wealth gap, housing situations, all of the social determinants of health and wellness.”

Crumpton-Young also stated strengthening TSU partnerships with the community as being one of her goals.

“We’re going to lead economic and community development. We’re going to look at issues of being in a food desert, issues of having retail, restaurants and other types of housing and other types of services available,” the now former TSU president said.

It is unclear at this time if Crumpton-Young met those goals to her satisfaction or to the satisfaction of the TSU Board of Regents.

Neither Crumpton-Young nor the TSU Board of Regents have given any specific reasons for Crumpton-Young’s resignation request or the board’s acceptance of that request.

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...