Union Leader Correspondent
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen announced Thursday that she will be stepping down next summer after serving the university for nine years.
“My husband and I just felt like it was a good time to move on,” said Steen, 64, adding that she has no plans for the future, and doesn’t have plans to leave the area.
The university, which will begin looking for a new president in the fall, will be losing one of the most popular and successful presidents in its history, according to school officials.
And according to the local chamber of commerce, the town will lose one of the best university partners it’s ever had.
“She set totally new standards in how a university and community interact,” said Scott Stephens, executive director of the Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“She encouraged all of the people at the university to get engaged with the town, and now there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t work with someone from campus,” he said. “We’re losing an extremely valuable mentor and partner.”
Steen said she is humbled by the praise.
“It has been my honor to serve as president of Plymouth State University,” Steen said. “I am proud of this vibrant university that is transforming students’ lives and making a difference.”
Steen said the timing for her departure is appropriate, saying “significant milestones have been achieved.”
PSU’s new strategic plan, Focus 2020, is in place to advance students through their college careers and after.
A new $32 million building, ALLWell North, is under construction, having been paid for in great part through fundraising.
“It will provide space for teaching, research, and recreation and athletics, all in one building,” she said.
The university’s current $20 million fundraising campaign, titled “Imagine A Way,” will soon be completed. Steen is credited with development of the university’s advancement division, university officials said.
Steen, who has a lengthy list of accomplishments as the university’s leader, said she will remember her time at Plymouth fondly.
“It’s been my honor to work there, and we got a lot done,” she said.