UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp just sent this email to the university’s “FYI Carolina” email list:

Dear Carolina alumni, parents and friends,

Today I am announcing what has been the hardest decision of my life … my intention to step down as your chancellor effective June 30, 2013. I’ve decided that this is best for the future of Carolina.

I told UNC President Tom Ross yesterday of my decision. I also let him know that I am willing to stay longer, if needed, to avoid any gap in leadership until the Board of Trustees, President Ross and the Board of Governors can name a successor.

I will always do what is best for this University. And what is best right now is for me to make plans to step aside. This wasn’t an easy decision personally. But when I thought about the University and how important it’s been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear.

Over the last two years, we have identified a number of areas that need improvement. We have a good start on reforms that are important for the future of this University. I have pledged that we will be a better university, and I am 100 percent confident in that. We still have work to do, and I intend to be fully engaged in that until the day I walk out of this office.

Together, we have accomplished so much. Student applications are up by 24 percent. Our faculty has made us a top 10 university in research funding. We have made excellent progress with faculty retentions. More alumni and friends made gifts to the University last year than ever before. We have pulled the campus through the financial crisis, emerging as a stronger institution. And we have launched a campuswide initiative to define our vision of the 21st Century public research university.

It has been a privilege and honor to lead this great University, and I look forward to continuing to work with you. My love for Carolina, where I have invested three decades of my life as a student, faculty member, researcher and administrator, has only grown deeper with the time I have spent as your chancellor.

With great appreciation for all of you and what you do for Carolina,

– Holden Thorp