CINCINNATI -- University of Cincinnati president Santa J. Ono is resigning to serve as the 15th president of the University of British Columbia.
University of British Colombia administrators announced Ono's new position during a news conference from the school's Vancouver campus. Ono will remain at UC until mid-July, and he will transition to UBC on August 15 where he has signed a five-year contract.
He succeeds Dr. Martha C. Piper, who will end her term as Interim President and Vice Chancellor on June 30.
Ono was born in Vancouver, and his father was a mathematics professor at UBC in the 1960s.
In a letter addressed to the "UC community and Cincinnati friends," Ono expressed the difficulty he faced in making the decision to leave the city.
"It is with very mixed emotions that I write to tell you that I have accepted (this) offer...This decision was by far the most difficult I have ever made," he wrote.
Ono mentioned some successes UC has had during his presidency, including record-breaking enrollment, new faculty hires and elevating study abroad programs.
He called the position at UBC "a special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," and said he took the job so his life could "come full circle."
The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees said Beverly Davenport, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, will serve as Interim President.
The board also said it will launch a presidential search committee in the coming weeks, and more details on the search process will be "forthcoming."
Ono announced his resignation on Twitter Monday.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve the Univ. of Cincinnati as your 28th President. I will miss you. https://t.co/TQ99ru1ULa
— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) June 13,
Ono, 53, has served as UC president since 2012. He was named America's most notable university president in 2015 by Inside Higher Education.
He has more than 72,000 followers on Twitter , and members of the UC community have responded to his announcement.
Prez Ono leaving is the worst Santa news I've experienced since 2nd grade
— Drew Schierloh (@itsDrewber) June 13, 2016
@PrezOno thank you. I've been a part of UC for 7 years and what you've done in that time is astounding. Congrats. You'll be missed.
— Chad Harvey (@charv10) June 13, 2016
"I thank God for every minute of my time at UC and in Cincinnati. Our work together here is unquestionably the highlight of my career. Elevating UC has been a passion and a labor of love. So many of you have become close personal friends; friends I shall cherish forever," Ono wrote.
One of the more challenging events of Ono's presidency was responding to the UC police shooting of Sam DuBose during a traffic stop for a missing license plate. Watch his response in the video player below.