ANN ARBOR (AP) – University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has announced that she will retire next year.

The Ann Arbor school’s first-ever female president will step down on July 31, 2014, when her contract expires.

The 69-year-old Coleman was hired by Michigan in 2002.

She made the announcement at Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents, which will hire her replacement.

Coleman says heading up the university was “the most challenging and rewarding work” of her career. The biochemist and former University of Iowa president is the fourth-longest-serving president in the University of Michigan’s history.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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