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After nearly two years at the helm of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), President Mark Becker plans to step down at the end of the year, the organization announced.

Becker, who was president of Georgia State University for almost 13 years before joining APLU in 2022, said he is leaving for personal reasons.

“This decision is a significant departure from what I planned when I assumed my role at APLU in 2022, and it is one that I have considered thoroughly and with due deliberation. I am in good health, and at the same time recent life events have led me to the conclusion that I need to devote more time to my health and family,” Becker said in a Wednesday news release announcing his exit.

He added that his “entire adult life has been tied to APLU” from when he began his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University in 1980 through a career in various roles at land-grant institutions, including as Executive President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina and Assistant Vice President for Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

A search for his successor will begin immediately.

“Mark Becker has been a strong and effective leader for APLU and we greatly appreciate his leadership of the association during a critical period of time for public higher education,” Makola Abdullah, Chair of the APLU Board of Directors and President of Virginia State University said in the organization’s statement. “While we wish he were not going to depart at the end of this year, we respect that this is a personal decision and wish him the very best.”