SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The chancellor of Southern University Shreveport is resigning, effective Dec. 31.

Chancellor Rodney Ellis has served in the post since 2016. He asked to take personal leave until his resignation date to focus on family matters, Southern University System President Ray L. Belton said in a news release Monday.

"It has been an honor to serve the students and citizens of this great community and to work with the incredibly talented and dedicated team of faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners to advance SUSLA's mission," Ellis said.

Vladimir Alexander Appeaning, who is the current vice president for strategic planning, will serve as interim chancellor, effective immediately.

The school said under Ellis' leadership, it has seen historic levels of philanthropic support from individual, community, and corporate partners.

"Dr. Ellis' contributions to the university through innovative strategies to secure major partnerships and by leveraging public/private gifts have been transformational throughout the campus. He has left an indelible footprint at SUSLA — one that will impact our students, our workforce and our overall community for years to come. We are grateful for his service," said Stephanie Rogers, the university's chief advancement officer.

Belton said Ellis leaves the campus "well-positioned for reaffirmation of accreditation at its decennial review next month. His contributions are felt throughout the university system and I have had the great pleasure of working with him during his notable tenure at SUSLA."

Belton plans to visit the campus this week and meet with the members of the SUSLA community.