Northern Michigan University Board of Trustee member, Thomas Zurbuchen announced his immediate resignation from the board, according to an NMU press release published Oct. 6.
Zurbuchen was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2013 by Gov. Rick Snyder.
He completed three years of his 8-year term as a trustee. His resignation came after he was named associate administrator for NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. In his new position, Zurbuchen oversees NASA’s programs in astrophysics, planetary science, earth science and heliophysics.
“Serving as an NMU trustee has been a highly rewarding experience for me. Not only do I consider my service to be important to the university itself, and the citizens in the State of Michigan, I also fell in love with this spectacular part of our ‘Pure Michigan’ state. Equally importantly, I made friends for life in our board, in the NMU community and many ‘Yoopers’ in and around Marquette,” Zurbuchen said in his resignation letter to the governor.
Previously a professor of space science and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, Zurbuchen has experience in research in solar and heliospheric physics, experimental space research, space systems, and innovation and entrepreneurship. He earned his master’s and doctorate in physics from the University of Bern in Switzerland.
His honors include the National Science and Technology Council Presidential Early Career for Scientists and Engineers Award in 2004, a NASA Group Achievement Award for the agency’s Ulysses mission in 2006, and the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Young Researcher Award in 1996-97.
“It’s absolutely thrilling to be embarking on this journey,” he said in a NASA press release.
NMU President Fritz Erickson described the resignation as bittersweet, citing the contributions Zurbuchen has made to the NMU community.
“We couldn’t be more proud of or happier for Thomas [Zurbuchen] regarding his new position, but we certainly will miss the work he has done and the engagement he has had at Northern. He has contributed to NMU in so many ways. Our hope is that we will find new ways to stay connected to Thomas Zurbuchen.
He is a rising star and certainly a role model to our students,” Erickson said. Snyder will appoint a new trustee to serve out the remaining years of Zurbuchen’s term.