Alfred State College President John M. Anderson is stepping down March 31 to assume the presidency of Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

Alfred announced his resignation Saturday.

“Naturally, I am excited about this new opportunity for many personal and professional reasons. Yet, this new transition requires me to separate from a community that I care deeply about,” Anderson said in prepared statements. “There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Alfred State and the students who make it their home.”

Anderson has been president of Alfred since 2008 and previously had more than 20 years in senior-level administrative experience in numerous capacities. He left Alfred in 2003 to serve as interim executive vice president for academic affairs at the State University Institute of Technology. A year later, he was named executive vice president and provost of Hartwick College in Oneonta, a position he held for four years before returning to lead Alfred State.

“It is, of course, with mixed emotions that we congratulate John on his new position,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “He has served SUNY with absolute distinction.”

Anderson will succeed Francine G. McNairy as president of Millersville. McNairy is retiring after nearly a decade in the post. Zimpher said SUNY will work with the College Council at Alfred State to initiate a search for the college’s next president.

Among colleagues at Alfred State, Anderson is known for his innovative approaches to leadership. He also taught for more than 11 years at Alfred State as a professor of chemistry and physics, before moving into administrative duties and eventually becoming its president.

Under Anderson’s leadership, enrollment at Alfred State grew 20 percent and the college embarked on a new strategic plan that included the reallocation of more than $1 million in new strategic initiatives. Programs also were added, including baccalaureate programs in sports management, forensic science technology, human services management and nursing.

The college also has undergone a building boom, adding state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms, and a $33.5 million Student Leadership Center.