Former Yale Provost Susan Hockfield announced today she will leave her position as president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During her seven years as president, Hockfield has helped maintain the university’s strong research activities through the depths of the recession, according to an MIT press release. But in a letter to the MIT community on Thursday, Hockfield said it’s time for a new president to take the reins of the university as it prepares to launch a significant new fundraising drive.

“A campaign on this scale will require the full focus and sustained attention of the Institute’s president over many years,” Hockfield wrote. “I have concluded that it would be best for the Institute to begin this next chapter with new leadership.”

Hockfield joined Yale’s faculty in 1985 as a professor of neuroscience. She later became the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences before serving as provost from 2003 to 2004. When Hockfield’s appointment as president of MIT was announced in August 2004, current Yale Provost Peter Salovey, who was Yale College Dean at the time, said he thought she would fill her new position “more perfectly” than any other candidate.

After the MIT Corporation appoints her successor, Hockfield will stay at MIT as a member of the school’s faculty.