University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced Friday his resignation and plans to join Michigan State University as president in the new year. 

The resignation is effective Jan. 12. Guskiewicz has served as chancellor since 2019, when he replaced Carol Folt, who went on to serve as president of the University of Southern California.

“I have loved leading Carolina for nearly five years,” Guskiewicz wrote in a campus email. “We have accomplished so much together, and I am proud of where Carolina is today. We have faced challenging times, but also incredible moments of opportunity. Thank you for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me to ensure our status as the leading global public research university we have aspired to be. It has not always been easy, but as I have often said — easy is boring. We certainly have not been bored.”

The email mentioned a number of accomplishments at UNC-Chapel Hill during Guskiewicz’s stint, including $5.1 billion in fundraising commitments.

“Our board has collaborated successfully with Chancellor Guskiewicz on a range of important initiatives, including campus budget reform, student advocacy, career services, free speech, academic freedom, and the new School of Civic Life and Leadership,” said John P. Preyer, Chairman of the UNC-CH Board of Trustees. “We thank Kevin for his long and notable service to the University, and we wish him and his family well in their new pursuits.”

“A university of the stature of UNC-Chapel Hill deserves a thoughtful and thorough national search for its next chancellor, beginning immediately upon the appointment of an interim chief executive. The trustees, the faculty, and other key members of the Carolina family stand ready to participate fully in the search. My hope is that President Hans will consider interim candidates with strong Carolina ties and stellar credentials who would keep the University moving forward on all fronts until a new chancellor is appointed. Given the challenges and opportunities the University faces, a steady hand through the transition will be important for everyone involved.”

Guskiewicz has also handled his share of controversies while at the helm, including outcry over anti-Israel comments by members of faculty and confusion over last spring’s announcement that the university would offer “free tuition” to qualifying students.

Guskiewicz will join Michigan State University effective March 4.

“This community has made me the person I am today, and words cannot express the gratitude I feel. I will never forget the outpouring of love and support you have shown to me, from when I first started as an assistant professor in exercise and sport science until now,” he said.