ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman on Thursday told regents at the Ann Arbor school that she is stepping down when her current contract expires.
Coleman will leave as the university's first female president and the school's fourth longest-serving leader.
"Leading the University of Michigan is the most challenging and rewarding work of my career," Coleman said on the school's website. "It is a tremendous privilege and one that continually energizes me. I have often said I have the best job in higher education, and I look forward to continuing to work with faculty, students, staff and alumni in the upcoming year."
Her contract expires July 31, 2014.
A formal search for Coleman's replacement likely will start this summer, said board vice chair Andrea Fischer Newman.
The 69-year-old Coleman was hired in 2002 after seven years as president at the University of Iowa. Her time in Ann Arbor has been marked by much physical change to the campus and the aftermath of scandal that saw the men's basketball program put on probation.
"Mary Sue Coleman has been an extraordinary leader of an extraordinary university," Newman said. "The board is profoundly grateful for her service."
Coleman is a great supporter of diversity on the school's campus and opposed a state law that prohibited undergraduate admissions based on race and gender.
A biochemist, she leaves a school that has the largest research budget for a public university in the country.
The North Quad building, Mott Children's Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital and Ross Business School complex are some of the buildings erected during Coleman's presidency, according to the university.
The school also bought 173 acres of land and 30 buildings in 2009 that now is home to a research complex. A new Nursing school building also is in the works.
Coleman said Thursday that the school has received a $110 million gift that will be used on new graduate student housing. She also led the $3 billion Michigan Difference fundraising campaign.
A year after Coleman was hired, the Wolverine basketball program was put on probation for violations involving booster Ed Martin and $600,000 in payments to four former players.
The NCAA also forced the school to dissociate itself from Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock until this year. Banners won during their time on the team were taken down from Crisler Arena and put in storage.
Coleman said last year that she was opposed to putting the banners back up.
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