NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Robert Barchi confirmed Tuesday he will be stepping down as Rutgers president at the end of the next academic year.

Barchi spoke about stepping down from his post as Rutgers' 20th president - a position he has held since 2012 - at Tuesday's Board of Governors meeting.

Barchi, 72, checked off a long list of milestones and accomplishments realized during his tenure, including a marked improvement in the student experience at the university.

Sign Up for E-News

"The most important thing I think is that I have been able to recruit a cadre of academic leaders to this university that is second to none," he said.

Barchi clasped his hands together in gratitude as the board gave him a standing ovation.

Board president Mark Angelson said that Barchi's tenure as president could be summed up in three words.

"And he succeeded," Angelson said.

"Under Bob Barchi's leadership, Rutgers' national rankings have risen, research at Rutgers has expanded overall and in critical areas, our student's academic profile has enjoyed dramatic improvements, and the physical face of Rutgers has been forever changed," Angelson said.

While his tenure has often been marked by struggles and setbacks, Tuesday was a day for the school to celebrate the strides made under his leadership.

Barchi began his tenure at Rutgers leading one of the largest integrations in American higher education to form Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and later oversaw the partnership with RWJBarnabas Health to create New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive academic health system.

Since he joined Rutgers in 2012, honors colleges in New Brunswick and Newark have been built to attract New Jersey's best students and endowed professorships increased from 41 to 89 to attract world-renowned faculty. More than $2.5 billion in construction provided new facilities for chemistry, nursing, engineering, life sciences, and student life and more than $1 billion in fundraising in the last five years alone set records.