Yale Divinity School Dean Rebecca Chopp is leaving Yale to become the president of Colgate University.

Chopp, the first female dean of the Divinity School, said in a statement that the decision to leave Yale was difficult.

“Colgate is so impressive and dynamic, however, that I am compelled to accept the invitation to become president,” she said. “I have been honored to be part of positioning the Yale Divinity School for its vibrant future.”

Her time at the University was brief: Chopp assumed her position at Yale July 1, 2001. She will begin her tenure at Colgate exactly a year later, on July 1, 2002.

Yale President Richard Levin said he was surprised by Chopp’s departure but that it was a good opportunity for her.

“She felt that it was something she really wanted to do. We are obviously very disappointed that she is leaving,” Levin said. “She did an outstanding job in her first year.”

Divinity School Assistant Dean of Academics David Bartlett, who learned of Chopp’s offer a few days ago, also said the news was unexpected and praised her work at Yale.

“I think she has been an excellent dean, and I’ll be sorry to see her go,” Bartlett said.

Professor Nicholas Wolterstorff, head of the Divinity School search committee that selected Chopp, said at the time of her selection that Chopp had been considered by a number of universities seeking new presidents. He said Chopp did not want the work and responsibility involved in being a major university president.

Before arriving at Yale, Chopp served as provost at Emory University.

Levin said he would colloborate with Divinity School faculty to appoint Chopp’s successor. He said he plans to begin a search process next week after Commencement.