Gen. John W. Rosa, USAF (Ret.), announced Wednesday plans to retire as The Citadel's 19th president next year.

Rosa, will retire from his alma mater on June 30, 2018, the end of the next academic year, after 12 years of service.

“The Citadel will be celebrating its rich heritage and 175th anniversary in the 2017-18 academic year and will continue to produce principled leaders far into the future,” said Rosa. “It has been my honor to serve my alma mater and a privilege for Donna and me to see our young men and women go forth putting service above self in the military, private enterprise, public institutions and in the pursuit of advanced degrees.”

Under Rosa’s leadership, The Citadel has earned the title No. 1 Public College in the South among its peers as ranked by U.S. News & World Report for six consecutive years out of his 12 years as president. The highly decorated pilot and three-star general became president of The Citadel on January 3, 2006, after serving as the superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He graduated from The Citadel in 1973.

“On behalf of the Board of Visitors, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to Lt. Gen. Rosa for his strategic vision and leadership,” said Lt. Gen. John B. Sams, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Board of Visitors chair. “His focus on our mission to educate and develop graduates to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling in them The Citadel’s core values of Honor, Duty and Respect in a challenging intellectual environment will carry on for generations to come.”

Under his leadership, the college was designated a 2016 National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The Citadel School of Engineering was also named No. 13 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

As The Citadel Graduate College celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rosa is recognized for expanding its impact as a community resource with new graduate and evening undergraduate programs and certificates. He was instrumental in establishing online programs for undergraduate and masters’ degrees with a particular emphasis on supporting Citadel alumni and active military personnel around the world.

His term as president produced the largest Corps of Cadets in the history of the college with three new companies added to fill the five battalions to capacity with 21 companies and more than 2,350 cadets. The Class of 2020 is the largest class since 1961 and is the most diverse class to date, which is fitting for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of African-Americans and 20th anniversary of females in the Corps during the 2016-2017 school year.

“One of his greatest legacies will be his unwavering support of The Citadel’s mission to educate and develop principled leaders by teaching through the servant-leader model,” said Conway Saylor, Ph.D., director of service learning for the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics.

To date, 1,582 cadets have commissioned as officers in all five branches of the U.S. armed forces during the Rosa administration. Rosa also reinstated The Citadel Veterans Program, growing it to more than 246 veterans in 2016-17 alone. Moreover, The Citadel was named the No. 1 College for Veterans in the South among its peers by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

“It has been remarkable to be a part of the dedicated efforts of faculty and staff to provide an outstanding learning environment for current and future students. I look forward to The Citadel’s bright future and continued success,” Rosa said.