Albany- Dr. Portia Holmes Shields has been president of Albany State for the past eight years. Saturday, during the Fall graduation ceremony she told the crowd of graduates, staff members, and family that this year would be her last.
With tears in her eyes Dr. Portia Holmes Shields makes her emotional announcement.
"I have decided that the May graduation will be my last. I love you. I enjoyed this job. It was the best job I've ever had. The peaks and the valleys are all blessings that I'm aware of, and I am so grateful to God for this chance," Shields says.
The graduates, happy about their own accomplishments couldn't help but share feelings of sadness and shock that Shields was stepping down.
"That was shocking. Seriously. It was like where did that come from. I'm sad she'll be leaving, but she knows what she wants and she knows what she wants to do, so good luck to her," says graduate Quichecia Smith.
"It least she was here for us, so that made it a little bit better," says class president and graduate Dearica Mathis.
Just like the 406 members of the graduating class Shields says she'll also be making a major transition in her life, a transition that will include spending more time with her husband.
"A college president gives her heart to the job. On June 30th I'm giving my heart back to you. I love you," she tells her husband from the podium.
Now after nearly a decade of devoting her life to ASU, Dr. Shields will put her focus back on her first love, her family.
Shields is the seventh president and the only woman to hold the office in the school's 101-year history. Her resignation will be effective June 30th, the day of the Spring graduation