COLLEGE PLACE -- Walla Walla University President John McVay will resign his position effective July 1, the university announced Monday.
McVay, who has led the school the last six years, said he is leaving the leadership post to return to the classroom.
"It has been an honor to serve as president of Walla Walla University," he said in a statement. "The work has stretched and blessed both me and my wife, Pam. We are grateful for the partnership of such an able and committed leadership team, as well as the support of the wider community of faculty, staff and students."
McVay will work as a professor of theology, specializing in New Testament studies, and continue to live in College Place with his wife and family.
McVay took over leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist university in 2006 as the school's 23rd president. One of his first responsibilities was overseeing the name change from Walla Walla College to Walla Walla University.
Renovations for the university's School of Social Work and Sociology, School of Nursing, and Marketing and Enrollment Services offices also took place under his leadership.
The school welcomed its largest freshman class in 17 years this year and yielded the highest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate in university history.
"John McVay has led Walla Walla University courageously through some challenging years. Because of his leadership, we are in a stronger position to meet the future," said Ginger Ketting-Weller, vice president for academic administration, in a statement. "His dedication to strengthening our students' spiritual and academic experience, and to holding high standards for the work of education, has been a blessing. We are delighted that he's chosen to stay with us in a capacity where he will continue to inspire students and colleagues on a daily basis."
Max Torkelsen, II, chairman of the WWU Board of Trustees and president of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said a presidential search committee will be formed shortly to begin the process of selecting a new president.
Walla Walla University is a private university founded in 1892 and affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. More than 1,830 undergraduate and graduate students attend the university, which offers more than 100 areas of study on five campuses.