Susan Hockfield, the 16th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said she will step down from her post but stay in place until her successor takes office.
Hockfield has served as president since December 2004, MIT said in a press release.
During her presidency, MIT said it has raised nearly has raised nearly $3 billion, the most successful period of fund-raising in the school's history, despite hard economic times.
The university celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.
Hockfield is the school's first female president, as well as the first biologist to lead the school. In the last year alone, she has launched several major initiatives, including a partnership with a Russian group that hopes to build a research hub – similar to Kendall Square and anchored by an MIT-like university -- in that country. She has also led an effort this year to reinvent American manufacturing, which involves both a university-wide project at MIT and a federal work group that Hockfield co-chairs. The project follows another nationwide initiative to rethink energy, which MIT led several years ago.
Hockfield is also involved in the life of the campus. This year, for the first time, she is serving as an academic adviser to a small group of freshman students.
In a letter to the MIT community, Hockfield wrote that the momentum that the school has generated over the last seven years makes the current moment in MIT's history an excellent opportunity for a smooth transition. An excerpt of the letter was included in MIT's release.
"MIT's next president will be selected according to a process set forth in the bylaws of the MIT Corporation, which state that the Corporation's Executive Committee shall recommend to the corporation the names of candidates for president," the press release said.
Chris Reidy can be reached at email@example.com.