Economist and writer Julianne Malveaux Feb. 28 announced she will step down as president of Bennett College five years after taking the helm of the Historically Black College for women.

“As I reflect on my accomplishments and of the college’s growth and transformation during my tenure, I realize that it is time for Bennett, and for me, to embark on a new chapter,” she said in a statement. She will leave in May.

“Five years is the longest time I’ve ever held a job in my life, and while I remain committed to HBCUs and the compelling cause of access in higher education, I will actualize that commitment, now, in other arenas. I will miss Bennett College and will remain one of its most passionate advocates,” she said.

Her departure comes amid continuing financial difficulty for the 139 year-old institution in Greensboro, N.C.

During her tenure the school’s enrollment increased to a historic high of 739 students. Charles Barrentine, chairman of the board of trustees, praised her record and achievements in a Feb. 28 statement that applauded Malveaux for guiding the school to renewed accreditation through 2014 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

He also hailed her for orchestrating a $21 million capital improvement program that has resulted in the first new construction on the campus in 28 years.

Malveaux, a frequent contributor to the AFRO’s opinion pages, followed former Spelman College President Johnetta Cole at Bennett. Together, the two women helped revive the status of Bennett among HBCUs, Barrentine told the Triad Journal. ““It is a high bar we’ve got” in choosing Bennett’s next president, he said.

Esther Terry, the college’s chief academic officer, will be interim president. Bennett and Spelman College in Atlanta are the only all-woman HBCUs.