Dr. Nancy Dickey has resigned as president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs effective immediately.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp appointed E.J. "Jere" Pederson, former executive vice president and chief operating officer of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, as acting head of TAMHSC.
Dickey said in a Texas A&M press release Tuesday that the timing of the announcement was impacted by the A&M System's decision to transfer direct control of the health science center from the system to Texas A&M University.
"For the last 11 years, the administration of the health-related programs of the Texas A&M System has essentially been my life," said Dickey in the press release. "Effective today, I am resigning my current role. The impending merger of the TAMHSC into the university seems an appropriate time for new leadership to take the helm. This is an opportunity for me to return to my passion regarding health policy, health care delivery solutions, medical ethics, and professionalism -- and the importance of these topics in the education of health professionals."
Dickey, who has taught classes throughout her career, will return to the health science center faculty, said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin.
Dickey will likely retire as the final president of the Health Science Center as an independent institution. It spans six colleges across the state for doctors, nurses, dentists and academics.
Texas A&M University System officials hope to merge the center into the flagship university by January 2013. The transfer is dependent on approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of College and Schools.
It is unclear how big of a role the proposed oversight transfer played in the decorated administrator's decision to step down. Dickey did not return a request for comment from The Eagle.
Since Dickey took over as president in January 2002, the center has grown from four to six colleges, added three campuses and doubled enrollment from 880 to 2,100 students.
Dickey had a decorated career before coming to A&M. She was the first woman president of the American Medical Association and was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2007 and the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 2010. She has been awarded a slew of medals and recognitions, including six honorary doctorate degrees in science and law.
Sharp did not return a request for comment but was quoted in the press release.
Loftin called Pederson a good friend and said Texas A&M shouldn't miss a beat during the administrative transition.
"He comes into this as a very seasoned administrator," Loftin said. "He's done this a very long time."
Pederson will be voted on as interim head at the next board of regents meeting in November.
Dickey is the second high-ranking Texas A&M official to resign, effective immediately, this month. Jeffrey Seemann, Texas A&M's vice president for research, resigned on Oct. 3.
"Dr. Dickey has been a committed and forceful leader of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and we owe her a debt of gratitude," Sharp said in the release.