NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers President Robert Barchi, whose tenure at the 253-year-old school has been marked by unprecedented successes as well as setbacks, will step down after the 2019-20 school year.

Barchi's pending departure was confirmed to TAPinto New Brunswick by a source familiar with the situation.

The announcement of Barchi's apparent exit gives school officials time to find his successor before his contract expires next July.

Sign Up for Camden Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

A spokesperson for the university said Sunday that Barchi was not available for comment.

"President Barchi is out of state and unreachable at the moment," according to a statement released by the school. "Last year he accepted an invitation from the Board of Governors to remain president for at least two additional academic years. There is absolutely no reason to believe that he won’t fulfill that obligation."

A spokesperson for the university could not confirm that Barchi would attend Tuesday's Board of Governors meeting.

TAPinto New Brunswick reported last year that Barchi told members of the Board of Governors that he would remain at least two more years.

During last month's five-year report on the University Strategic Plan to the Board of Governors, Barchi detailed some of the "tremendous progress" in building faculty excellence, improving student experience, raising the school's profile and other areas.

Barchi clicked off some of the most significant advances in the university, including more than doubling externally endowed professorships, starting more than $2.5 billion in new construction, including facilities for chemistry, nursing, engineering, life sciences and state-of-the-art laboratories and launching online services to simplify student transactions and planning.

He also lauded the fact that the school had raised its profile and pointed to when President Obama delivered the commencement address in May 2016 before 10,475 graduates and 42,000 guests as Exhibit A.

Barchi, 72, has sometimes been dogged by criticism since his arrival at Rutgers in 2012.

The most repeated remarks from critics say Barchi, who helped lead Rutgers into the Big Ten Athletic Conference, focuses too much of his time and the university's resources on the athletic department. That hue and cry only grew louder during the protracted and very public contract negotiations with the union representing about 5,000 faculty members that stretched on for almost a year.

With the threat of a university-wide strike that would have affected almost every one of the 71,000 undergraduate students, faculty members this spring took over Winants Hall, where Barchi's office is located. It was unclear if he was upstairs at the time when they staged a "grade-in" to bring attention to the fact they had been working on a contract that had expired almost a year prior.

Barchi came to Rutgers after serving as president of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for eight years. Previously, he served as provost and chief academic officer at the University of Pennsylvania.

He earns a base salary of about $700,000 and reportedly earned a bonus of about $150,000 this year.