BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – There is some big news coming from The Bluff on Friday morning.

Southern University President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton is stepping down from the position after seven years.

“By 2022, I will have served as a chief executive officer for more than 21 years, the first 14 years as chancellor of Southern University Shreveport and then, for seven years as president-chancellor for the System and SUBR,” Belton said. “This also will mark 35 years of service with the University. Over the course of my tenure, I have had the great fortune to work with some exceptionally talented colleagues. Together, I believe our work has enabled us to position the University in a manner that it will continue to be seen as a premier institution within the higher education community.”

President Belton is the first president-chancellor in the history of Southern University.

One of the accomplishments at Southern during President Belton’s tenure includes the acquisition of a license to grow medical marijuana.

“We are indebted to Dr. Belton for his many years of service and commitment to the cause of higher education in general, and the Southern University System in particular,” Southern University Board of Supervisors Chairman Domoine D. Rutledge said. “I have had the distinct pleasure of working very closely with him over the past two years as Board Chairman. Invariably, his decision-making process reflected the best interest of the institution and the students we serve were always a priority.”

Belton’s retirement will begin next year.