Sharon Diaz will step down as president and chief executive officer of Samuel Merritt University (SMU) in Oakland, CA, by January 2019. In 2002, Diaz was instrumental in bringing about the merger of SMU and the California College of Podiatric Medicine, now called the California School of Podiatric Medicine. Diaz was the first president of SMU and has been a leader in education for 45 years. “It’s been a great honor to serve Samuel Merritt University,” said Diaz, in her announcement. “I’m proud that the university has built a great reputation on which to grow.” The SMU Board of Regents will conduct a national search for a new president and hopes to identify a qualified candidate by early fall.