Albany - The first woman to serve as president of Albany State University is stepping down and now Dr. Portia Holmes-Shields talks about that decision.
Many students were shocked when Shields made the announcement during graduation last week, but now some say it was a compliment to have a president on campus for more than eight years.
Shields will soon say good bye to Albany State University. She says, "No one likes change. But now they understand and I've gotten many, many calls."
Shields says she's ready for a change. She will resign on June 30th. Student, Arkesia Jenkins, says, "It's sad because she's the only president I've known here at Albany State, so I'm sad to see her go."
Shields arrived to ASU in 1996. She's had her ups, like increasing SAT score admission requirements and downs like this year's poor audit. She says the audit has nothing to do with her decision.
The President pledges before she goes by March 30th ASU will have a clean audit and then she'll say her good byes. Former student, Dr. Ontario Wooden, says "I think her greatest legacy here would be the impact she had on students. She made it known that the students were first." Jenkins agrees, "It's rare you would see a college president come down to our level to talk to us and get to know us and see how we're doing."
The resignation decision may be new to students, but Shields has been thinking about it for two and a half years. She adds, "So, it's now time to ratchet up and have someone else come and take it to greater heights."
Those heights may take her and her husband to Atlanta where they are renovating a home.
Dr. Shields says she will not apply for another presidency position but will continue to be involved in education.