Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center, will be stepping down from her post at the end of the month, according to a press release

Yoder took the reins of the Lemur Center in 2007 and oversaw a decade-long transformation of the center into a highlight of Duke's research repertoire. 

“I think it’s fair to say that Anne came in and took a primate center with a collection of animals and made it into an excellent facility, one we can be proud of,” Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education and a biology professor, said in the release. “It’s a little bit like a CEO being hired in to take a company to the next level.”

Yoder was recruited from Yale to lead the center, which at that time was "no longer adequate for the security and safety of the animals," then-Provost Peter Lange said in the release.

At the end of her tenure, the Lemur Center was remodeled. Duke invested $10.4 million in the center' revitalization, which introduced new housing facilities for its animals. This period of change also included a name switch—from the Primate Center to the Lemur Center—and the birth of 285 lemurs. 

Now, the center opens its doors to 32,000 visitors per year.

The renewal has resulted in a proliferation of the center's research output. Whereas the center handled approximately 38 research projects per year before Yoder's arrival, the research capacity has now more than doubled to 78 projects in 2017. The increase in projects comes after the introduction a director's fund that provides seed grants for research.

The center also launched the SAVA Conservation project during Yoder's time at the helm. The initiative seeks to protect lemurs' lives and habitats in northeastern Madagascar by improving human lives with education, tree planting and fish farming.

“I’m so proud of it,” she said.

Yoder referred to her time at the center as a "fun, long ride" in the release.

She will take a year-long research sabbatical in northwestern Madagascar and Europe on a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Humboldt Fellowship, before returning to Duke in Fall 2019 as the Braxton Craven Professor of Evolutionary Biology.

Greg Dye, the Lemur Center’s director of operations and administration, will serve as its interim director.

“I love the place with every fiber of my being, but it’s time to step aside and let somebody come in with new ideas,” Yoder said.