Baker University President Pat Long will retire in June 2014, the university's Board of Trustees announced Friday.
Long, who became the university's first female president in July 2006, informed the trustees of her decision Friday afternoon, according to a release.
The trustees also announced they'll start a national search for a new president soon.
Long said in a brief phone interview Friday that she told the trustees she planned on a five- to seven-year stint when she came aboard, and summer 2014 would mark eight years. She said by then the university will have accomplished the goals she had for her tenure, and she wanted to give plenty of advance notice.
"You need to start early with this process, to give the university the right time to hire the next person," said Long, 61.
She said her time as president has been dedicated to Baker's students.
"Dr. Pat's genuine love of students has always been No. 1 in her heart," board chairman Hoot Gibson said in a release. "The relationships she has developed are what have made her tenure so special. Her calling has been a perfect fit for Baker. Through her comprehensive vision, Baker University has expanded its facilities, academic programs and athletic endeavors, and strengthened its position at the forefront of higher education, which is reflected in our consistent national rankings."
Baker ranked No. 33 among regional universities in the Midwest in the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings (defined as institutions that offer bachelor's and master's programs but few doctoral degrees).
Gibson also expressed thanks that Long had informed the trustees about her retirement well ahead of time, allowing for a thorough search for a replacement.
Developments at Baker under Long's watch included an $11.3 million renovation and expansion of the university's science and mathematics facilities, the largest capital project in Baker's history; the construction of a $6.3 million residence hall on the Baldwin City campus, the first in nearly 50 years; a new liberal arts curriculum; and a new doctoral program for higher-education leaders.
"I think we can hand it to the next president with a robust future," Long said.
Long came to Baker from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she was serving as acting executive vice chancellor. She replaced Dan Lambert, who was Baker's president for nearly two decades before retiring.