John Sharp was appointed chancellor of The Texas A&M University System by the Board of Regents on Sept. 6, 2011. As chancellor, Sharp leads the 19-member system, which has an annual budget of $4.2 billion. Enrollment at the A&M System’s 11 universities and health science center has grown to more than 137,000, and externally funded research expenditures are in excess of $820 million.
The system’s flagship, Texas A&M University, stands among the nation’s top research universities for total research expenditures and is the only Texas institution of higher education listed in the National Science Foundation’s top 20.
Sharp brings with him more than three decades of public service. He came to the A&M System from Ryan & Company, where he was a principal with the largest state and local tax consulting firm of its kind in Texas.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Texas A&M University in 1972, where he was a member of the Corps staff of the Corps of Cadets and was elected student body president. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves. He belongs to American Legion.
In 1976, Sharp received a master’s degree in public administration from Southwest Texas State University while working full-time with the Legislative Budget Board in Austin. In 1978 he opened a one-man real estate firm in Victoria and became a successful small business owner.
That same year he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and was named “Outstanding Freshman” by Texas Monthly. He won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1982, where he served on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1986.
Sharp was elected state comptroller in 1990 and re-elected in 1994. When he took office, he quickly began working to fulfill his pledge to “make government work more like our most successful businesses.” Eight years later, he reinvented Texas state government and turned it into a high-quality, low-cost customer service operation that has saved taxpayers billions, helped avert a state income tax and served as a model around the world.
Sharp has been married to Charlotte Han of Austin since 1978. They have a son, Spencer, and a daughter, Victoria. The Sharps are active members of their church and are involved in many community and humanitarian efforts.