Guilford College President Jane Fernandes this week announced she would leave that office July 1, 2021.

Fernandes is the first female president of Guilford College and her contract extends through July 2022. She was named president in 2014.

Her letter of resignation follows the standard for such letters in many ways. She states, “I have loved my time as President at Guilford, and I am proud of the things we have done together. It has been a great privilege to be part of this community and to work with extraordinary faculty, dedicated staff, and promising students.”

But she deviated from that standard with this, “Over the past year and half while dreaming about how I might create the next chapter of my career and life, I was considering stepping down, probably in 2022. Now with the increasing uncertainty of our altered reality that this pandemic is causing, I think it best to complete some of the hard decisions we need to make, assist the Board of Trustees with a transition, and allow another leader to envision and implement the structural adjustments in higher education that undoubtedly will follow this crisis.”

The letter from Chairman of the Guilford College Board of Trustees Edward Winslow lists many of the accomplishments of Fernandes as president and states, “President Fernandes’ tenure has been a period of progress and bold leadership. She has found new ways forward that are firmly grounded in Guilford’s noble and historic past rooted in our Quaker values.”

Winslow notes that “The Guilford Edge,” an innovative academic calendar with a three-week experiential term was a successful initiative by Fernandes. He states that recruitment and enrollment increased under the direction of Fernandes and that many campus improvements were completed.

He also praises Fernandes for establishing a new vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and increasing the participation by female athletes in varsity sports by actions that included adding women’s rugby and triathlon teams.

Fernandes states that after leaving the office of president in 2021 she plans to move to a faculty position at Guilford College.