University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson announced in a statement Monday that he will resign when his term ends in June 2011.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a steward of this university," Wilson said. "It has been a joy to work on behalf of the students, faculty and staff of the university through the good times and through the challenges. But now it is time for me to prepare to hand the baton to the next president."
In the eight years of Wilson's leadership, UMass has increased research funding, financial aid spending and enrollment, reported higher average grades and test scores for its incoming students, and completed sizable facility upgrades to its five campuses.
Gov. Deval Patrick called Wilson's presidency a success.
"By any measure, Jack Wilson's tenure has moved the University of Massachusetts forward," Patrick said. "He has been a terrific partner in our shared commitment to making the public higher education system in Massachusetts a national model for excellence while keeping it affordable and accessible for our students."
During Wilson's term, enrollment increased by 14.5 percent, while the endowment grew from $146 million in 2003 to $454 million at the end of 2009. Wilson also oversaw $1.23 billion in construction, including a new integrated science building and student residence at the flagship Amherst campus.
He also advocated for the integration of the Southern New England School of Law into the university's Dartmouth campus. That much-debated plan, creating the state's first public law school, won final approval in early February.
Wilson said he will consider offers over the course of the next year. He has said that he plans to stay in Massachusetts and possibly return to teaching.
“At my core, I am an educator, and I look forward to being able to focus on teaching and to advancing research," he said. "I feel that it will soon be time to open a new chapter in my career.”
Wilson first came to the university to develop the UMassOnline distance education program after holding positions as a physics professor and acting provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was appointed as interim president in 2003 when his predecessor, William Bulger, resigned under pressure from then-Gov. Mitt Romney.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This program aired on March 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.