Johnson C. Smith University President Ron Carter announced on Monday that he will step down from the helm in 2017. This is an end to a historic era at the university. Carter, who has led the private historically black university since 2008, helped to usher in a new era at JCSU, successfully raising the school’s academic profile and surrounding community, according to Charlotte Observer. In a statement, Carter said, “Those who know me appreciate that I have never been content to rest on the University’s undeniable progress or on my laurels. If anything they are signs—still, small calls—for me to move into my next service.”

“These past few weeks have been the perfect fulfillment of an adventure that started eight years ago,” said Carter. “I can see and experience the effects of the university’s radical transformation. As we begin this 2016-2017 academic year, the university’s sesquicentennial anniversary, I can say with confidence that the university’s radical transformation is now a thriving reality … There is no doubt in my mind that this is the turning-point time for me to make room for a successor to look well to the growing edge of this historic institution with a new strategic plan in mind to move the university to another fertile plateau.” U.S. Rep. Alma Adams said in a statement that she has admired Carter over the years “as an extraordinary leader” adding that his successor “is going to have big shoes to fill,” reported Charlotte Observer. Founded in 1867, JCSU has been ranked several times by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best comprehensive colleges in the South.