The longtime Hendrix College president will step down and eventually return to being a professor at the college, spokesman Rob O’Connor said Friday.

J. Timothy Cloyd will leave his position effective immediately, according to a news release. Cloyd earned a base pay of about $314,000 a year, according to the college’s 2010 tax form.

Cloyd served as president of the private college for 12 years. He announced his decision during the Board of Trustees meeting. After a sabbatical, Cloyd will return to the Hendrix faculty as a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations and work in higher education consulting. 

“One thing I have learned is that organizations are living, evolving organisms,” Cloyd said in a news release. “Twelve years is a reasonable time to run an organization and, during that time, Hendrix has assumed national leadership among private, liberal arts colleges and has successfully completed a major capital campaign. The time is right to bring in fresh leadership to forge a new strategic direction for the college.”

Cloyd became the 10th President of Hendrix in October 2001 after serving as Vice President for College Relations and Development for five years. 

During Cloyd’s presidential tenure, the College launched Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning. The program brought significant national recognition to Hendrix as a national model for engaged learning in higher education. As a result of Odyssey, Hendrix received national media attention, including being featured on the front page of the New York Times and named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years. 

Also during Cloyd’s tenure, the Hendrix student body and faculty grew by almost 40 percent and Hendrix successfully completed a $100 million comprehensive campaign — the largest in the school’s history. The campaign helped Hendrix increased student financial assistance. The money also helped Hendrix projects that included the endowed innovative academic co-curricular and student life programs and developed facilities for art, science, literature and language, wellness and athletics. 

The college increased student housing, building student apartments above the mixed-use buildings in The Village at Hendrix and a New Urbanist community adjacent to campus. 

Hendrix played a lead role in the formation of the Rwanda Presidential Scholars initiative, with the support of the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, and launched the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling and the Crain-Maling Center of Jewish Culture under Cloyd.

“President Cloyd has positioned Hendrix as a major innovator and nationally recognized leader in the field of engaged liberal arts education,” said Hendrix alumnus David Knight, trustee chairman, in a news release. “We are deeply grateful for President Cloyd’s bold vision and perseverance during these extraordinary times.”

Hendrix alumnus W. Ellis Arnold III, executive vice president, general counsel and dean of Advancement, will serve as acting president during a national search for Cloyd’s successor. Arnold said in the release he looks forward to working with faculty, staff, students and alumni to “continue the advancement of the Hendrix mission.”

Cloyd said Hendrix will continue to move forward.